Introduction

Kazerne Dossin is an intense place of remembrance, a unique "lieu de mémoire" that gives the Belgian case of the Holocaust a permanent presence and questions its topicality. In 2020, we once again welcomed a range of visitors - relatives, groups of pupils, families, youngsters and professionals - and drew their attention to the history and underlying mechanisms of persecution and collective violence. We did this by means of objects and collections, but also through human stories from the past and the present.

This year several significant achievements were accomplished: the opening of the renewed Memorial, the development of several websites on specific themes, the launch and development of European partnerships, two successful temporary exhibitions, several training courses, .... You will find more details in this report.

In the spring, a pithy discussion about Kazerne Dossin's societal assignment led to a reaffirmation of the organisation's mission: it is about the Holocaust and human rights. Subsequently, we unanimously finalised a long-term policy plan with clear outlines for the period 2020-2024. In the coming years, we will make room for remembrance, provide an up-to-date offer tailored to different target groups, conduct research, engage in partnerships and focus on good management of the organisation.

In 2020, a number of key employees left. We have put together a new team and I am very happy that we have found competent people: new colleagues who want to drive the Kazerne Dossin project forward.

We will not go into it too much, but an annual report in a pandemic year must take into account the difficult context in which the work was done. One does not choose to close the museum, to furlough employees or to work from home: one makes the best of it. In these circumstances, we have thoroughly reviewed our operations with an eye to the future. We hope to reap the rewards of this in the coming years. We look forward, with you, to better times, in which we have the leeway to find the balance between freedom, safety, health and humanity.

Tomas Baum, director

2020 in figures

0 Visitors to the site
0 Permanent exhibition 0 Temporary exhibitions
  • auschwitz.camp
  • Exodus
  • Unsung Heroes
  • 13991 Kids and youngsters (in group or individually)
  • 4578 Adults on training courses
  • 16065 Adults in their free time
0 Events
0 Research center
0 Lectures and training
0 Followers
  • 143555 Unique visitors to the website
  • 7442 Followers on social media

2020 in a nutshell

15 January 2020

Remembrance of the Deportation of Jewish and ‘Rom’ Communities

15.01.2020

Kazerne Dossin commemorates the deportation and extirpation of the Jewish and ‘Rom’ communities of Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France. The date refers to the deportation of 352 ‘Rom’ who were taken from the Mechelen assembly camp to Auschwitz-Birkenau in convoy Z on 15 January 1944.

2020
20 January 2020

Theme evening on children’s transports

20.01.2020

Kazerne Dossin organised a theme evening on the children’s transports in collaboration with Harper Collins Holland. Holocaust survivor and child in hiding Henri Roanne-Rosenblatt conversed with Meg Waite Clayton, author of the book The Last Train to London.

26 January 2020

Inauguration of the Memorial

26.01.2020

On the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a section of the original Dossin Barracks reopened to the public as place of quiet reflection. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Jan Jambon. Open to all visitors and free of charge, the Memorial is a valuable addition to the museum visit.

27 January 2020

The Anne Frank Tree

27.01.2020

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a very special tree was planted next to Kazerne Dossin. The Anne Frank Tree is a descendant of the white horse chestnut that stood in the garden of the famous Achterhuis. It is a symbol of life, transience and freedom. The tree was planted by the pupils of year 6 of Primary School De Knikkerbaan in Berchem.

 

27 January 2020

Guest exhibition: Exodus

27.01.2020

The photographer Hilde Braet visualised two stories, one on Charlotte and one on Esra. Although they differ in time in space, they have much in common. They are stories about the debilitating effect of being permanently on the run. Charlotte Klipstein, now a lady of 95, immigrated to Belgium just before the Second World War. To escape deportation to Auschwitz, she was forced into hiding on several occasions. Esra fled Afghanistan and, after wandering aimlessly, eventually ended up in a Red Cross refuge centre. Together with many others, she is waiting there for the result of the procedure. Every conversation ends with the question: “What is your understanding of happiness?”

 

 

28 January 2020

Presentation of the Book ‘Mijn triomf van de wil’ by Flor Peeters

28.01.2020

Flor Peeters survived 40 months in Sachsenhausen concentration camp and experienced the Death March, a vengeance-filled hell-hike in the apocalyptic final days of the war. After returning home, he wrote down his experiences in a diary. Mijn Triomf van de wil was presented on 28 January in Kazerne Dossin.

9 February 2020

Presentation of the Book ‘Auschwitz bevrijd’

09.02.2020

Under the guidance of Frédéric Crahay and Johan Puttemans of the Auschwitz Foundation, historians from a variety of research institutes added new information to our knowledge of one of the blackest pages in history, through the book Auschwitz bevrijd.

22 February 2020

Krokuskriebels

22.02.2020 - 01.03.2020

This interactive family tour of Kazerne Dossin sent children and their (grand)parents out into the museum to discover ‘Simon’s Story’. On this ‘box and key’ quest they learned all about Simon, a young boy who managed to escape.

5 March 2020

Guest exhibition: Unsung Heroes

05.03.2020 - 25.10.2020

On 5 March, Kazerne Dossin opened the doors to the #UnsungHeroes exhibition, organised by Dokters Van de Wereld/Médecins du monde. The exhibition grew from a project that collated photographs and witness accounts of violence against women and gave a voice to strong women around the world. It cast a light on public and silent protests, all with a single purpose: to turn the tide for women and restore basic human rights.

1 June 2020

Launch of the Human Rights Walk & Traces of Kazerne Dossin

01.06.2020

Kazerne Dossin launched two new walks in the city of Mechelen. The Human Rights Walk spotlights several exceptional moments in Mechelen’s history, based on articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Traces of Kazerne Dossin walks you past 11 places of significance to the transit camp. These walks are available through the free IZI Travel app, and they all begin at Kazerne Dossin.

1 July 2020

VIP Thursdays for Teachers

01.07.2020 - 31.08.2020

Kazerne Dossin gave teachers the opportunity to visit the museum free of charge throughout the summer holidays. They and a friend were given free entry to explore the exhibitions and to get acquainted with our school offering.

2 July 2020

Schatten van Vlieg

02.07.2020 - 31.08.2020

As part of the Schatten van Vlieg (Uit In Vlaanderen) project, children went on a listening trail of discovery in Kazerne Dossin Memorial over the summer holidays. The aim was to find a hidden treasure chest, aided by the character Simon Gronowski, an eleven-year-old boy who knows all the building’s sounds… The children got to learn a lot more about the place by following in his tracks.

13 August 2020

Nocturnes

13.08.2020 & 27.08.2020

Kazerne Dossin stayed open until 10 pm, giving visitors the opportunity to see three exhibitions at their leisure at half the price: the permanent exhibition, the Auschwitz.camp temporary exhibition and the Unsung Heroes guest exhibition.

6 September 2020

Temporary exhibhtion: Auschwitz.camp

24.10.2019 - 06.09.2020

The images of barbed wire, maltreatment and mass murder have turned Auschwitz into the symbol of the Holocaust. But the story behind the horror is one of subtle complexity. How did a prison for hard labour become an extermination camp, with killing centres? How did colonialism, racial ideology and an extermination policy lead to one of recent history’s most notorious episodes? Images, maps and artefacts show us that the Interessengebiet Auschwitz was more than a camp. It was a Nazi empire in the making.

Due to Covid-19 and public interest, Kazerne Dossin extended the exhibition to 6 September 2020. The exhibition project is available as a touring exhibition and is now permanently accessible through the auschwitz.camp website.

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13 September 2020

Open Monuments Day

13.09.2020

The 32nd edition of Open Monuments Day was devoted to education. Visitors were granted free entry to the museum and the new walks (see 1 June) were promoted.

24 September 2020

De mensen maken de stad

24.09.2020

For more than two years, the project ‘De Mensen Maken de Stad’ collected stories about Mechelen and its inhabitants. This resulted in a photo exhibition at no less than 16 locations in and around Mechelen. On each location hangs a life-size portrait of a citizen of Mechelen. Each photo is accompanied by a personal story. Kazerne Dossin participated in this project. The facade of Kazerne Dossin features the photograph of Paul Larivière. Kazerne Dossin influenced his life in various ways.

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26 November 2020

Portrait Ceremony

26.11.2020

In 2020 Kazerne Dossin identified and received 281 new portraits of Holocaust victims deported from Mechelen. On 26 November, these photographs were added to the museum’s remembrance wall. The portrait ceremony went virtual for the first time.

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3 December 2020

Tree of Light

03.12.2020 - 07.01.2021

In the dark days of winter, Kazerne Dossin joined the #zorgvoorlicht solidarity action. A special tree of light, a seven-metre high stylised, steel construction, was installed in the square behind the museum. The tree’s lights shone between 6 and 10 pm every night. An inviting square bench, around the tree, welcomed all to sit and reflect on recent times with a hug buddy or bubble contacts.

10 December 2020

Signing of the New Cooperation Agreement on the Holocaust, Police and Human Rights course

10.12.2020

On 10 December 2020, the Minister of the Interior, Institutional Reform and Democratic Renewal, Annelies Verlinden, Kazerne Dossin and the Integrated Police Force signed a structural cooperation agreement. This structural cooperation aims to impact society and create added value for both organisations. The core themes are knowledge, expertise and respect for each other’s corporate culture.

Public engagement & Education

0 number of talks, lectures and training sessions
0 members of the police force on the HPM course

Talks, lectures and training sessions for groups

In 2020, the museum staff gave lectures, lessons and courses on a wide variety of themes for student, pupil and professional groups and sociocultural societies.

  • Polarisation20
  • A demonic transition3
  • From bystander to upstander6
  • Holocaust and Remembrance education1
  • Kazerne Dossin1
  • Archiving2

Guides

2020 was an atypical year for the guides. It started like any other: innumerable groups were welcomed and given tours by motivated and expert guides. As always, they did this with the support of the guide monitoring team. This team monitors guided tours on a regular basis, updates the guide competency profiles, carries out guide reviews and evaluations, provides information through the guide platform and newsletters and organises meetings. The competency profiles for two guided tours (Workshop van Simon Workshop and Instapsessie/ Introductory Session) were updated early in 2020.

On 12 March everything suddenly changed. The museum shut its doors. After the first relaxation of the restrictions in the summer of 2020, a few tours were booked but the figures were negligible. The guide services were placed on hold for the remainder of 2020.

The guide monitoring team kept in touch with the guides by email. At one point a meeting was held in early July. On that day the new director, Tomas Baum, and the new coordinator of the guides, Céline Joris, were introduced.

A digital training session was however organised in preparation for the #Fake Images exhibition. The guides were also trained to guide in the Memorial. The teams Collections & Research and Public Engagement  & Education teams provided the guides with a syllabus (in French and Dutch).

Reaction of one of the guides:

“We are eager to start the guided tours again. Visitors are all we need. Being a guide is like riding a bike. You never forget!”

Training Holocaust, Police and Human Rights

Despite the museum’s closure and the challenges faced by the HPHR course, the sessions went ahead safely. In the first term there were 18 sessions, and in the second, 22. We reached French- and Dutch-speaking trainees and members of the Federal and Local Police, and had 530 participants in all.

In early December, in the presence of the Minister of the Interior, Annelies Verlinden, the cooperation agreement between Kazerne Dossin and the Police was consolidated for the future.

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RETHINK project

The RETHINK project (Remembrance Education for Thinking critically) developed further in 2020 with the aim of promoting tolerance and respect of diversity. In association with the 7 international partners behind this ambitious remembrance education project, Kazerne Dossin set out to provide insight into European history.

Kazerne Dossin created two education modules for the Rethink Learning Platform. The first centres on propaganda, the second on remembrance education.

Kazerne Dossin handled the preparations for the end-of-project conference. This had been scheduled for November, in the Flemish Parliament in Brussels, but was prevented by the COVID-19 pandemic. For that reason, the project as a whole was extended until late March 2021.

 

 

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Polarization project

The ‘us and them’ project came about through a desire to set up a network and hub on the theme of polarisation. For that purpose, in 2018 Kazerne Dossin assembled a heterogeneous group of organisations that felt united by their need, and indeed demand, for a sustainable response to polarisation, controversy and conflict.

The network’s main objectives are to develop and exchange internal expertise and to disseminate tools and strategies giving professional guidance. The network directs its efforts primarily towards target groups with a potentially multiplying effect: education, government, police, welfare and civil society.

In 2020 the network managed to draw on its own resources to continue streamlining the project. The ‘us and them’ online knowledge platform, wij-zij.be, was extended to include items on research, best practices and experiences. Unfortunately, the project’s educational effect was seriously disrupted by the coronavirus crisis. Nevertheless, 20 courses were organised for 468 professionals in 2020.

 

 

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Training session: ‘Polarization: a threat or an opportunity  for the police?’ 

The course entitled Polarisation: Threat or Opportunity for the Police? made a successful transition from live to online in 2020. This one-day training session’s conversion to the virtual world went smoothly thanks to the team’s flexibility and the time they invested in the project. Despite the challenges posed in 2020, there were more sessions in the 2nd term of 2020 than there were in the same period in 2019. We reached 227 participants after the offering was converted to digital. This is in line with the reach in 2019.

Preparations for the What’s new app, propaganda, conspiracy and fake news

Kazerne Dossin and Mediawijs have joined forces to develop materials that can help children to become more media savvy. Under the name What’s New?, the Public engegament & Education team worked on a guided tour about propaganda then and now, and on a workshop that gives youngsters the tools to be more conspiracy-theory resistant. The workshop and the materials were tested by teachers during online Nieuws in de Klas (News in the classroom) days, which were held between 29 September and 2 October.

It became obvious on those days that the medium should be adapted from tour to app, which works individually and in groups. This in response to current needs (COVID-19) and the interests of young people (app).

With thanks to the King Baudouin Foundation.

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Bijzonder Comité voor Herinneringseducatie (BCH) and Conseil de la Transmission de la Mémoire

In 2020 the Special Committee for Remembrance Education finalised a new website, with impressive results. A new house style was launched along with an animation film, in which the purpose of remembrance education is explained for teachers.

The development work on a project website continued with the Education Archives. We joined FARO to produce a remembrance education section on the Klascement website. Teachers will soon be able to take inspiration from the site and get their classes working on all kinds of remembrance education themes.

On the French-speaking side, Kazerne Dossin seats in the Conseil de la Transmission de la Mémoire de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.

 

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Museum shop

2020 got off to a good start with two book presentations. Covid-19 threw a spanner in the works where the other three presentations were concerned. The shop merchandise was given a thorough review and was partly updated. For Unsung Heroes an adapted offering was put together, as was the case for earlier temporary exhibitions.

External events

After a successful 2019, quite a few external events involving room hire had been booked. However, most of these bookings were cancelled due to COVID-19.

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Collections & research

0 Bequests
0 Publications
0 New photographs
for the portrait wall
0 Digital requests for
the research centre
0 New collections in the digital image bank

Bequests

Donation Van Velzen-Viskoper

The Dutch Velzen-Viskoper family moves to Antwerp in 1927. Mother Rebecca and youngest son Raphael are deported on transport X in September 1942 and murdered in Birkenau. Father Barend and the elder sons Louis, Benjamin and Salomon are held in a forced labour camp in Northern France until October, when they too are transported to Auschwitz. Only Benjamin survives. In 2020 his daughter Cicilia donates original family documents to Kazerne Dossin.
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Donation Gittel Eisner

In late 1942 or early 1943, Gittel Eisner and her second husband flee the Netherlands for Belgium. They settle in Brussels under the false name of Dierckx, but are arrested and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau on transport XXI on 31 July 1943. Neither survives. Gittel’s daughter Deborah Cohn, who remains in hiding in the Dutch province of Friesland during the war, donates digital copies of two family photographs to Kazerne Dossin in 2020.
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Donation Aronsfrau-Hollander

The Aronsfrau-Hollander family from Brussels goes into hiding during the war with the help of their good friend Simone, alias Monique Goossens-Magnée. In 1943 the family are reported. Sons Norbert and Siegbert escape over the rooftop before they can be arrested and survive the war thanks to Simone. Mother Eva is shot dead when she jumps off transport XX. Father Leon and daughter Leonore are taken away on transport XXI and murdered. In 2020 Mathieu Magnée, Simone's grandson, donates 76 original documents and photographs belonging to the Aronsfrau-Hollander family to Kazerne Dossin.
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Donation Figowitz-Hoch

The Figowitz-Hoch family flees to Antwerp in the wake of Kristallnacht. In the summer of 1942 father Hermann is sent to Northern France as a forced labourer and then deported on transport XVII. Mother Etta and children Anna and Manfred are deported on transport VI. Only the eldest son Ignaz, deported on transport XIII, survives the camps. In 1947, he migrates to the United States where he starts a family of his own. In 2020, his daughter, Carole Kaufman, donates copies of 16 family photographs to Kazerne Dossin on behalf of the entire family.
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Interview Lucy Mandelbaum-Lipiner

In June 2020, Kazerne Dossin conducts an online interview with Lucy Mandelbaum-Lipiner. Lucy was born in Poland, and after fleeing the Nazi invasion with her parents and older sister she arrives on Russian territory. They survive the war in Siberia and Tajikistan, after which they end up in a German displaced persons camp. Lucy and her sister are homed in an orphanage in Antwerp in 1947-1948, after which the family migrates to the United States.
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Donation Rozenblum-Suknik

Natan Rozenblum follows his beloved Curtla Suknik from Poland to Belgium in 1930, where they marry in 1931. During the occupation, Natan joins several resistance organisations, including the Jewish Defence Committee. He is picked up and deported on transport XXIV to Auschwitz-Birkenau. In March 1945 he is killed in Buchenwald. Curtla and her young son Charles survive the war in hiding. In 2020 David Rozenblum, son of Charles, donates digital copies of 152 items to Kazerne Dossin.
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Donation Herta Frucht

Herta Frucht is from a large family and attends Antwerp Municipal Primary School, where she makes friends with Maria De Roy. The two girls are not from affluent families and spend their summers in the Diesterweg children's holiday camp in Heide-Kalmthout. When Herta is deported transport XXI in 1943 and killed, Maria holds on to two photographs of her childhood friend for the rest of her life. In 2020 Maria’s son Luc Boeva donates the originals to Kazerne Dossin.
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Donation Ehrenfeld

Just before and during the war Anna Lambrechts works as a governess for widower Jacques Ehrenfeld and his sons Sylvain and Marcel. When the Ehrenfeld family is deported in 1943, Anna keeps photographs of the family for the rest of her life. In 2020, Kazerne Dossin helps Guy Bosmans, Anna's son, and his neighbour and researcher Peter Van Hoecke to identify Jacques and the other members of the family. Afterwards Guy and Peter donate a digital copy of the items to Kazerne Dossin.
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Donation Dutkiewicz-Wagner

Gdalja Dutkiewicz and Laja Wagner migrate to Brussels, via Paris, in 1921. Their three children are born in Brussels. During the war, Laja, widowed since 1939, assumes the false identity of Jeanne Dandoitt. However, she is apprehended, deported on transport XXIV in 1944 and murdered. Her eldest children Raphael and Pauline are killed after deportation on transport I. Only the youngest son Joseph, in hiding in the Leuven region, survives. His son Patrick Dutkiewicz donates a copy of Laja’s wedding photo and false identity card to Kazerne Dossin in 2020.
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Image Library

In 2020, ten collections were added to the image library. All were recent donations by researchers and relatives of the deportees. Taken as a whole, the collections run to 990 scans of almost 300 items, which include objects, documents, photographs and witness accounts. This takes the number of images to 1,022,762 at the end of 2020. There was also a rise in the number of digital image archive users. In 2020, the website was visited by 12,129 unique users. Also, Kazerne Dossin and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) concluded a user agreement in 2020. In November 2020 it became possible to access the image archive from the USHMM reading room in Washington DC.

 

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Digitisation

Despite the coronavirus crisis, Kazerne Dossin continued its digitisation project in 2020. In August, a new member of staff joined the team under the article 60 charter. He and the volunteers scanned in the interview files compiled by Johannes Blum, a researcher who has interviewed more than 1,200 survivors since 1994. Kazerne Dossin joined forces with Auschwitz Foundation in 2020 to open this collection of interviews to the public: Kazerne Dossin scanned the documents, and the Foundation converted the recordings into a workable format. At the end of the project, the two organisations each had a complete copy of the Johannes Blum records. In 2020, digitisation worker Gunter Vandeplas scanned 333 additional immigration police documents (18,221 scans), which are stored in the State Archives of Belgium.

Collaborations

The FelixArchief is working on a memorial of names for war victims from Antwerp. Kazerne Dossin supplied lists of Jewish deportees and assisted the FelixArchief with its research. The team also worked on A World of Diamond, an AMSAB project on the exchange and linking of data held on (deported) Jewish diamond merchants. The collaboration with Cinematek also continued in 2020. Kazerne Dossin transferred the raw cuts and recordings of the De Laatste Getuigen [The Last Witnesses] series by Luckas Vander Taelen and provided a digital copy for consultation in the reading room. Finally, Kazerne Dossin entered into a collaboration with the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS). In 2021 the two museums are coming together to organise collection acquisition days to document privately-held documents and artefacts relating to the Second World War. In 2020, the conservator Veerle Vanden Daelen helped produce a video about these registration days (mas.be/nl/oproepWOII). Dr. Laurence Schram and Dorien Styven joined the Jews saving Jews Forum at the Bar Ilan University in Israel in 2020.

European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI)

Kazerne Dossin is an active consortium partner in the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI). The EHRI is currently engaged with two projects. On the one hand, there is the EHRI Preparatory Phase project, which commenced in late 2019 and lays the foundations for a stable, permanent EHRI by 2025. The kick-off meeting for this project was held in Munich from 11 to 13 February 2020. On the other hand, there is the EHRI 3 project, which commenced with a virtual kick-off in September 2020. EHRI 3 continues and develops all activities commenced by the EHRI since 2010. The project runs until 2024. Kazerne Dossin coordinates the content of the EHRI Portal (portal.ehri-project.eu). More information is available on the EHRI project website ehri-project.eu.

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International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)

Due to the pandemic, the meetings of the IHRA were held virtually in 2020. Veerle Vanden Daelen participated actively in the Academic Working Group and the Committee on Holocaust, Genocide and Crimes against Humanity during both plenary sessions (29 June – 2 July and 16 – 19 November) under the German chairmanship of the IHRA. As deputy coordinator of the IHRA’s Monitoring Access to Archives Project she also gave a presentation on the subject at a virtual round table for the heads of the European national archives on 22 October 2020. Kazerne Dossin project #FakeImages was honoured with IHRA funding (holocaustremembrance.com) in 2020.

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Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH)

Kazerne Dossin has been a member of the DARIAH network since 2016 (Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities) and is a co-founder of the working group Sustainable Publishing of Metadata. In that role Kazerne Dossin attended the annual meeting, which was held virtually in 2020. On 25 November, the working group gave an account of its work for over 40 interested parties. The meeting focused attention on the Social Sciences and Digital Humanities Archive project (SODHA). Again in November, the working group launched its hypothesis blog, which features contributions designed to promote collaboration between researchers, archivists and digital humanities experts.

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Datenbanktagung

Once a year, archivists and researchers from camp memorials and Holocaust institutions around the world meet for the Datenbanktagung. Over three days, they share projects on data processing, accessibility and presentation, and exchange ideas. In 2020, Kazerne Dossin hosted the meeting, but due to the pandemic a virtual meeting had to be held on 4 November. Thirty-one colleagues followed a shortened programme of presentations on projects by the NIOD, the POLIN museum, the EHRI and the IHRA. Kazerne Dossin will host the Datenbanktagung again in 2021, when it hopes to welcome these colleagues in person in Mechelen.

 

Kinderen van de Holocaust

In April 2020, Canvas broadcast the first episode of Kinderen van de Holocaust (Children of the Holocaust). In 7 episodes, survivors and their descendants told of the impact of the Second World War on their Jewish families. Kazerne Dossin provided its input for the series in 2019. In early 2020 Kazerne Dossin was a soundboard for the initial versions of the episodes. The team gave feedback on the structure, content and contextualisation of the witness accounts. The experts presented in the series were: Laurence Schram (historian, Kazerne Dossin), Mary Fulbrook (historian, University College London), Ine Van Linthout (professor of applied language at the VUB), Christophe Busch (criminologist, former director of Kazerne Dossin), Herman Van Goethem (lawyer/historian, University of Antwerp, former director of Kazerne Dossin), Ugur Üngör (sociologist/historian, NIOD) and Frank Seberechts (historian). After the series was broadcast, Kazerne Dossin received a copy of all episodes, the raw cuts of the recordings and their transcriptions. This allows access to the Children of the Holocaust archive for research purposes.

Portrait Ceremony

On 26 November, Kazerne Dossin held its annual portrait ceremony. Descendants from around the world traditionally gather in the museum to attend the ceremony: recently discovered photographs of deportees are displayed and the names of these victims are read aloud. In 2020, the pandemic threw a spanner in the works. For that reason, Kazerne Dossin went virtual and broadcast the ceremony on its website. Central to the commemoration was the story of the Ehrenfeld family from Antwerp, none of whom survived the war. Oscar Bohnen and Bart Vanistendael provided musical accompaniment for the contributions by director Tomas Baum, conservator Veerle Vanden Daelen and volunteer Reinier Heinsman. The archivist Dorien Styven read out the names for the 281 new portraits that were added to the remembrance wall. The camera was operated by Jess De Gruyter. The ceremony had 1,321 views.

 

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memoriaal

Renewed Memorial

The renewed Memorial opened on 27 January 2020. This project would not have been possible without the exceptional dedication of Mr Georges Ingber, whose memory we cherish.

The Memorial is a place of remembrance for more than 25,500 Jewish and Romani victims of the Holocaust, who were deported from Mechelen. Designer Antoine Goldschmidt made the renewed Memorial a different experience to the museum,in collaboration with the Collections & Research team. The Memorial also offers a unique area of contemplation for relatives and loved ones.

 

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Left behind

Between June and September 1942, the occupying forces deported 2,252 Jewish men from Belgium to Organisation Todt (OT) labour camps in Northern France. In the Left Behind project, Kazerne Dossin investigated the impact of the forced labour on the survival chances of the workers’ families in Antwerp. Thanks to the generous support of Howard and Gaby Morris, Kazerne Dossin managed to build a database in 2020 containing 1,400 relatives of 602 Jewish OT labourers from Antwerp. This shed a light on where they stayed and on the fate that awaited them. A study was also made of the correspondence between the families and the men in the camps. An academic article on the research results and a visualising website for the general public are expected in 2022.

Publications

The employees of Collections and research are active members of several advisory and expert committees, carry out original academic research and present this alongside publications at conferences and colloquia.

  • Kazerne Dossin & Tijdsbeeld/Pièce montée, Musée Kazerne Dossin. La Shoah et les droits humains, Gand/Malines, 2020.
  • Dorien Styven, “75 jaar geleden: Buchenwald, een concentratiekamp bevrijd door zijn gevangenen”, in: Van D-Day tot V-Day, VRT NWS, blog contribution, 11 April 2020, vrtnws.
  • Dorien Styven, “Privacybescherming of slachtofferherdenking? Persoonsgegevens van Joodse onderduikers onder de AVG”, in: META. Tijdschrift voor bibliotheek en archief, 2020, no. 4.
  • Dorien Styven, Marius Caragea and Veerle Vanden Daelen, “The learning curve in sharing data with the EHRI project: the example of a memorial site, Kazerne Dossin, Mechelen”, in: DARIAH-EU WG Sustainable Publishing of Metadata, hypotheses blog contribution, 13 November 2020 [taken from the EHRI document blog]. metadata.hypotheses.org .
  • Laurence Schram, “27 januari 1945: de bevrijding van Auschwitz”, Van D- tot V-day, VRT NWS, 23 January 2020.
  • Laurence Schram, “De Malines à Auschwitz. Déportation des Juifs et des Tsiganes du Nord de la France”, in : Tsafon -Revue d’études juives du Nord, no.79, Lille, 2020, p. 75-96.
  • Laurence Schram, Gotovitch José & Schram Laurence, “Biographie de Maxime Steinberg”, in: Nouvelle Biographie nationale, Tome 15, Bruxelles, 2020, p. 330-333.
  • Vanden Daelen, Veerle, “Recensie: Herman Van Rens, Annelies Wilms. “Tussenstation Cosel. Joodse mannen uit West-Europa naar dwangarbeiderskampen in Silezië”, 1942-1945. Hilversum, Verloren, 2020, 352 p., Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Nieuwste Geschiedenis (BTNG) 3-4 (2020): p. 153-154.
  • Veerle Vanden Daelen, “75 jaar geleden: een lichtje in de duisternis, de heropleving van het Joods leven in Antwerpen”, published on 1 June 2020, Van V-Day tot D-Day, vrtnws.
  • Veerle Vanden Daelen, Laurence Schram & Dorien Styven, “ ‘De Antwerpse specificiteit’. Cijfers van de Jodendeportatie in perspectief”, Getuigen tussen geschiedenis en herinnering (no. 131, October 2020): p. 115-127.

Marketing & communication

0 Unique visitors to the website
0 Followers on social media
0 Press articles

Website, mailings and social media

With 143,555 unique visitors, kazernedossin.eu saw a fall of 11% compared to 2019. This is probably attributable to the coronavirus crisis and the compulsory closure in the March-July and November-December periods. Kazerne Dossin managed to reach people at home through social media: with 136 posts we reached 271,569 people and gained almost 16% more followers than in 2019. There is a strong growth to report for the Instagram account as well.

On 8 October 2020, Kazerne Dossin launched the website auschwitz.camp, which was created for the travelling temporary Auschwitz.camp exhibition. As well as lots of media attention, it generated a healthy number of visitors: between 8 October and 31 December 2020 the new website had 1,396 visitors.

 

Press

Kazerne Dossin was mentioned 868 times in the press. That is 40.4% more than in 2019. 59.4% of the articles appeared online and 30.4% appeared in newspapers and magazines, and Kazerne Dossin attracted 10.1 % of its media attention through radio and television. The majority of the articles focused attention on the Unsung Heroes and Auschwitz.camp temporary exhibitions, the renewed Memorial, the discord over the societal assignment and activities of Kazerne Dossin and the appointment of Tomas Baum as its new director.

Feedback from our visitors

Karin Peter Reis Jobertholet
Guy Vanstreels Karel

Organisation

Figures

  • Full-time employees18
  • Men8
  • Women10
  • Part-time employees9
  • People joined5
  • People left5
  • Seconded employees (integrated police)2
  • Guides56
  • Volunteers (hosts and stewards)21
  • HPM coaches89
  • Working students4

COVID-19 pandemic aside, 2020 was an eventful year in terms of personnel turnover. Kazerne Dossin welcomed a new director, a new manager and new staff for its Public Engagement & Education service and new staff for the Communication team. Four working students joined the reception team and were put to work on weekends, or as and when needed through the week. This helped reduce the weekend burden for the remainder of the reception staff.
The coronavirus crisis also affected the pace of work for the staff. The closure of the museum and the ban on school outings forced the management to partially furlough the staff. The situation also hampered the guides, who gave only a few guided tours in 2020.
For most employees it was a matter of working from home. Most of the meetings and events were arranged online. To preserve some sort of contact between colleagues, a few (online) team events were organised. An investment was also made in HR careers policy (recruitment process, performance management, education and training, and a personal development programme).



Education & training

Kazerne Dossin continued to invest in professional training for its team by offering group and individual courses. Due to the health crisis, only one group training session on online communication was arranged in 2020.  In addition, a number of online courses were taken by individual employees, on subjects such as WordPress, current socio-legal issues, safety and awareness for the new employees, press and social media etc. Several employees sat in on online lectures and colloquia on the Holocaust, human rights and museology.

Subsidies and partners

In the 2020 operating year, Kazerne Dossin relied on structural support from the Government of Flanders. The National Lottery continued its maintenance support for the Belgian pavilion in the Auschwitz museum. The #FakeImages temporary exhibition, which was postponed until early 2021 due to Covid-19, received support from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the National Lottery, the Jewish Foundation of Belgium and the AWDC. Project funding was obtained from Europe for the RETHINK and EHRI projects. The Auschwitz.camp project was developed with support from the Government of Flanders and the Claims Conference.

Friends and gifts

Eighteen sympathisers renewed their friendships or started commitments in 2020.

In 2020, Kazerne Dossin was also able to rely on financial donations from private individuals and victims’ families.

 

Security and infrastructure

As in recent years, the security manager gave a course on security for new employees. This comprised an individual tour of the buildings followed by an introduction to aspects of cyber and human security. Furthermore, we maintained our security structure in cooperation with various partners.

 

 

With thanks to

None of the achievements in 2020 would have been possible without the full dedication of all the employees, guides, volunteers and interns at Kazerne Dossin.

The members of the Board of Directors and the General Meeting are also an indispensible link in the fulfilment of Kazerne Dossin’ activities.

Kazerne Dossin would also like to thank its partners, sponsors and supportive friends. Special thanks go to the relatives and friends of the victims, for their gifts and donations.

 

The operation of Kazerne Dossin

Flemish government: operating subsidy

City of Mechelen: operating subsidy

Specific Projects

Auschwitz.camp: Flemish government – commemoration World War II, Claim Conference (Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany)

Belgian Auschwitz Pavilion: Nationale Loterij/ Loterie nationale

Digital access to archives: Brussels Capital Region – Actiris

Special Committee for Remembrance Education: Flemish Ministry of Education

What’s New App: Koning Boudewijn Stichting/Foundation Roi Baudouin

Preparations #FakeImages: Nationale Loterij/ Loterie nationale, Stichting van het Jodendom van België/Fondation du Judaïsme de Belgique, Antwerp World Diamond Center, International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), Mémorial de Caen

Renewed memorial: Flemish Government, Friends of the Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance, Stichting van het Jodendom van België/Fondation du Judaïsme de Belgique, Simon & Lina Haïm Foundation, Ruth et Willy Berler Foundation,Grootoosten van België/Grand Orient de Belgique

EHRI: Horizon2020 programme of the European Commission

Rethink: Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission

 

Kazerne Dossin is especially grateful for the following donations to the research centre:

Donation by the Velzen-Viskoper family with thanks to Cicilia van Velzen, donation by Gittel Eisner with thanks to Deborah Herz-Cohn and Gitta Pegt-Herz, donation by Aronsfrau-Hollander with thanks to Mathieu Magnée, donation by the Altenhaus-Wieselman family with thanks to Linda Peck, donation by the Treitler family with thanks to Marie Treitler, donation by Huguette De Molenaer, donation by Geert Dobbelaere, donation of a medal with thanks to Marcel Berkovitch, donation by the Figowitz-Hoch family with thanks to Carole Kaufman and family, donation by Lucy Mandelbaum-Lipiner, donation by VRT – Kinderen van de Holocaust [Children of the Holocaust], donation by Anna-Grunfeld-Landau, donation by Fernand Van Heuverswijn, donation by M. Dikmans, donation by professor emeritus P. Vanden Abeele, donation by the Rozenblum-Suknik family with thanks to David Rozenblum, donation by Patricia Ramet, donation by the Awret-Spicker family with thanks to Uziel Awret, donation by Herta Frucht with thanks to Luc Boeva, donation by Guido Dekeyser, donation by M. Malfliet, donation by Hans Citroen, donation by the Ehrenfeld family with thanks to Guy Bosmans and Peter Van Hoecke, donation by the Dutkiewicz-Wagner family with thanks to Patrick Dutkiewicz, donation by vzw Het Ondergedoken Kind.

Kazerne Dossin offers its thanks to all of the researchers and to the friends and relatives of the deportees who donated photographs for the portrait wall.

Kazerne Dossin offers its thanks to the following people and institutions for their donations to the library: Guy Embrechts, Ward Adriaens, Cheryl Halpern, Cyriel Gladines, the Hendrik Conscience Library.

 

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