Belgium – Never Again?: Neo-Nazis stage Hitlerian ceremony at former Nazi prison camp

Belgium - Never Again?: Neo-Nazis stage Hitlerian ceremony at former Nazi prison camp

Belgian neo-Nazis gathered at Fort Breendonk, a former Nazi prison camp during the Second World War, to stage a Hitlerian ceremony.

It was last summer that a group belonging to the recently formed Flemish wing of “Right Wing Resistance” visited the fort, according to local reports surfaced on Saturday.

Right Wing Resistance is a far-right group founded by Kyle Chapman, a neo-Nazi from New Zealand, and has chapters in Australia, Sweden, and Scotland.

The Fort’s management wasn’t aware of the events.

“Half of all those deported didn’t survive. 100,000 people visit the Fort every year.  We’ve never experienced problems like this,” said museum curator Dimitri Roden.

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Fort Breendonk was originally built for the Belgian army between 1906-13 as part of the second ring of defenses of the National Redoubt protecting the important port-city of Antwerp.

During World War II, the fort was taken by the Nazis as a prison camp for detaining Belgian political dissidents, captured resistance members, and Jews.

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Although technically a prison rather than a concentration camp, the Fort was infamous for its prisoners’ poor living conditions and for the use of torture. Most prisoners who were detained at the camp were later transferred to larger concentration camps in Eastern Europe.

Of the 3,590 prisoners known to have been imprisoned at Breendonk, 303 died or were executed within the fort itself but as many as 1,741 died subsequently in other camps before the end of the war.

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About one in four Europeans hold anti-Semitic beliefs, according to a poll of 14 European countries done for the New York-based Anti-Defamation League which was published earlier this week.

The poll found anti-Semitic attitudes most prevalent in Poland, where such sentiment rose to 48% of the population from 37% in 2015, and Ukraine, where the rise was even greater– to 46% from 32% in 2016.

Anti-Semitic views in Belgium were little changed but remained high, increasing from 21% to 24%.