Belgium

Jan-Marie Deboutte

Head of the Belgian Delegation to the IHRA

Member country since: 2005

Remembrance Days: 27 January (International Holocaust Remembrance Day), 8 May (Commemoration of the day of victory for democracy and remembrance of the Nazi-German genocide)


François Bontemps (Foreign Ministry) – Deputy Head of Delegation

Yasmina Amire (Chancery of the Prime Minister)

Francoise Capacchi (Ministry of Education) – Education Working Group

Frédéric Crahay (Auschwitz Foundation - Remembrance of Auschwitz) Academic Working Group

Charlotte Dekempeneer (Government of the Flemish Community) –  Education Working Group

Philippe Evrard (Territoires de la Memoire) – Museums and Memorials Working Group

Michel Jaupart (War Heritage Institute ) – Museums and Memorials Working Group

Joël Kotek (Ministère de la Communauté française de Belgique) – Academic Working Group

Yves Monin ("Démocratie ou Barbarie" unit of the French Community of Belgium - Education Working Group

Philippe Plumet (Démocratie ou Barbarie/Conseil de la transmission de la mémoire) – Education Working Group.

Veerle Vanden Daelen (Kazerne Dossin) – Academic Working Group

Jens Giesdorf (Ministry of the Germanspeaking Community of Belgium) – Education Working Group


During Belgium’s IHRA Chairmanship, two high-visibility plenaries in Mechelen and Liège took place, attracting widespread media attention. The most lasting contribution of Belgium's membership in the IHRA was the inauguration of the ‘Kazerne Dossin — Memorial, Museum and Documentation Centre on Holocaust and Human Rights’ in November 2012, on the spot where the Nazis and their collaborators organized the deportation of more than 25,000 men, women and children. The museum and documentation centre are rapidly gaining a reputation for excellence nationally and  internationally.

An IHRA co-sponsored three-year cycle of international conferences, "Connecting Law and Memory" which concluded in 2018, focused on the collaboration of national police forces with the Nazi occupier and aimed to create a coordinating forum and network for sharing and benchmarking expertise, intended to strengthen civil servant resilience.

At the initiative of the War Heritage Institute and the Auschwitz Foundation, a train carrying 1000 young people from Belgium and Europe travels every three years from Brussels to Auschwitz. A year-long preparation and intensive follow-up makes this an experience with life-long impact. 

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