L'enfer de Breendonck - souvenirs vecus - The Hell of Breendonk - Lived Memories" by former camp prisoner Frans Fischer, published by Labor in Brussels, 1944 - First edition. Dedicated copy by author. French.
A detailed testimony from a prisoner who spent four months in the Breendonk camp, published in 1944 immediately after the liberation of Belgium. One of the first testimonies published from a prisoner in the Breendonk camp. A harrowing description of the cruel conditions and atrocities he and his fellow prisoners endured. For the first time, a prisoner documented for the wider world the structure and brutal daily routine of the fortress which was turned into a Nazi death camp. He writes of the constant hunger and thirst, loss of sense of time, the especially cruel treatment Jews received compared to other prisoners, beatings and torture, the terrifying conditions in the camp jail, and executions carried out by SS guards. He also describes the resilience and courage of prisoners, who found ways to support each other and resist their captors.
Before the war, Breendonk served as a fortified military base of the Belgian army located between Antwerp and Brussels. During the German occupation of Belgium in World War II, it served as an internment camp where Belgian Jews were also imprisoned. On September 20, 1940, the first prisoners arrived at the fortress. Belgian Communists, resistance fighters, hostages of the Germans, Belgian Jews and also common criminals were imprisoned there. In the camp's first year, Jews made up half the prisoner population, and were held separately from other inmates. Among others, Rabbi Salomon Ullman, the Chief Rabbi of Belgian Jewry, and heads of Belgian Jewish organizations were imprisoned in the fortress. Prisoners typically stayed three months before being deported to concentration camps in Germany, Austria and Poland. Prisoners suffered dire living conditions, starvation, denial of medical treatment and cruel treatment by camp staff, and were subjected to forced labor. The Germans also conducted interrogations, torture and hangings in the fortress. Various political prisoners were tortured under interrogation. The first German camp commandant, Philipp Schmitt, was tried in Belgium in 1949, convicted, sentenced to death and executed in 1950.
156 p. Light stains on cover. Stains at the top of the title page and on the first few pages. Good condition.