Frequently Asked Questions

The city of Antwerp wants to be as clear and transparent about the research and plans for the memorial as possible. This FAQ section shows frequently asked questions about each phase of the project.

PHASE 1: RESEARCH PHASE FAQ

Waarom doet stad Antwerpen onderzoek naar de namen van slachtoffers van de Tweede Wereldoorlog?

Why is the city of Antwerp researching the names of World War II victims?

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The Antwerp Names Project offers insight into the current research into the names. It is therefore the (digital) precursor of the actual memorial. It shows a preliminary list of the names of victims already known to FelixArchief – Antwerp City Archives. Use the search function to view the current status of the names research. You can look up names, but you can also supply additional information about victims, correct the spelling of a certain name or suggest any missing names.

Who is conducting the research?

FelixArchief – Antwerp City Archives is conducting the historical research into the names of Antwerp World War II victims. The research uses sources from various archives and will continue until 2023.

Which victims will go on the list of names?

The Antwerp Names Project lists the names of deceased war victims who have lived and/or died in Antwerp. There are four main groups: Holocaust victims, civilian victims of Nazi violence, civilian victims of military violence and military victims.

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The city of Antwerp distinguishes four groups of victims:  
• Holocaust victims (Jewish victims)  
• Civilian victims of Nazi violence: those engaging in civil disobedience, forced labourers, resistance fighters and political prisoners
• Civilian victims of military violence: victims of bombings, V-weapons and other types of military conflict in Antwerp
• Military casualties: Belgian and international forces (allied soldiers and Antwerp prisoners of war)

All these deceased victims had an Antwerp connection. They lived and/or died in Antwerp and its suburbs (the current districts). Their deaths were the result of acts of war or war events. They were:
• People who died between the official start and end of World War II in Belgium (10 May 1940 and 8 May 1945)
• Victims who survived the camps and then lost their lives in the weeks and months during or after their repatriation (until 31 December 1945)

The names project focuses on the victims who died. The new memorial will show their names only. However, the monument is for all the other victims as well: those who survived the war and carried the suffering inside them for the rest of their lives. It also commemorates the dead whose names we will no longer find.

Which sources does the city of Antwerp use to create the list of names?

The city of Antwerp consults many sources. Some sources offer specific information on one particular victim group. For the Jewish victims, for example, the research relies mainly on the Belgian Register of Jews, the transport lists of Kazerne Dossin and the so-called Drancy File. The information about the victims of Nazi violence comes mainly from the archives of the main Belgian resistance organisations (such as the White Brigade and the National Royalist Movement), the War Victims' Service and the Ministry of Defence Resistance Service. Other source material is more general and covers all the different groups. These include the cemetery archives, the register office, statutory death certificates and many other official documents.

Can I see whether a victim is already on the list of names?

You can use this website’s search function to see whether a victim is included in the list of names Please note that the research is still ongoing. This means that not all the names have been included in the list yet. The name of the victim you are looking for may not have been entered yet. In that case, you can inform FelixArchief – Antwerp City Archives here

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From September 2021 onwards, you can use the search function of the Antwerp Names Project to look up the names that have been included in the list so far. The basic details of each victim will be shown: first name, surname, place of birth and date of birth. So the city of Antwerp gives the general public access to the ongoing research.

Why can I only search by surname, first name and date of birth?

As long as the research into the names is still in progress, the city of Antwerp only publishes certain basic details about each victim. These are the victim's first name, surname, place of birth and date of birth. This information is necessary to identify a victim and is therefore used as the basis of the search feature. Searching by birthplace is not (yet) possible.

I have information about a victim: how can I share this?

Everyone can submit corrections, additions and new suggestions to FelixArchief – Antwerp City Archives. You can do this by submitting an application on this website .

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The names research by FelixArchief will continue until the autumn of 2023. You can pass on additional information via the Antwerp Names Project until then. The list of names will also be incorporated into the memorial. However, it will still be possible to add names after the memorial has been completed. It is not clear yet how this will be done exactly. This will be part of the selected design team’s task.

The information about a listed victim is incorrect or incomplete. Can I suggest a correction?

Everyone can submit corrections, additions and new suggestions to FelixArchief – Antwerp City Archives. We welcome all additional information. It is how we make sure the new memorial shows the right information. Corrections and additional information can be submitted by clicking on this link.

I have documentation about a victim on the list (deeds, photos, ...). Can this contribute to the research? Can I submit it to the city of Antwerp?

Any additional documentation about a victim can contribute to the research. You can also (scan and) send photographs, deeds and other archive materials to FelixArchief – Antwerp City Archives by clicking on this link.

PHASE 2: FAQ ON THE MEMORIAL

Who are we commemorating?

The memorial commemorates all the victims of World War II who lived and/or died in Antwerp.

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World War II hit Antwerp very hard. No Belgian town or city had more fatalities. This was mainly due to the persecution and deportation of Antwerp Jews. Many Antwerp civilians died in bombings. The V-weapons that struck the city and the port between October 1944 and March 1945 were particularly devastating. Finally, the murderous Nazi regime also killed political prisoners, resistance fighters, forced labourers and soldiers.

The new memorial will display the names of all the war dead. This will immediately show visitors how many different people died in Antwerp. The Antwerp Names Project already allows people to search (part of) the list of names.

We also commemorate the dead whose names we can no longer find and the victims who managed to survive the war. The war scarred many of them for life. Even though the memorial does not explicitly mention their names, it also remembers them.

Why is the city erecting a new memorial?

The city of Antwerp wants to renew its commemoration of World War II. The memorial will be a place of remembrance where residents and visitors can reflect on the suffering during World War II. It will be a place of commemoration, reflection and educational activities. The monument will keep the memory of this hugely important period alive, and will pass on the tradition of commemoration to future generations.

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In 2019 the city organised a comprehensive commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Antwerp. Since then, the city of Antwerp has organised many initiatives based on its central idea 'Always free. Never taken for granted’ together with its partners: exhibitions, commemorations, lectures, newsletters, testimonies, easily accessible information, collections of objects and war stories, educational programmes and teaching packs. We are now adding the names project and memorial to those initiatives.

The new memorial aims to bridge the gap between the past, present and future: Antwerp's war history, how the war is perceived now and how it will continue to live on in future generations. It offers everyone the opportunity to reflect on the complexities of the war years. More than ever, we focus on the suffering of the many thousands of Antwerp war victims.

The city of Antwerp is erecting the new memorial to underline the importance of values such as freedom, equality and democracy. It is also a warning against indifference, racism and dehumanisation. Historical awareness can encourage citizens to take joint responsibility and actively counter disrespectful behaviour.

What names will we put on the monument?

The memorial will commemorate all the victims of World War II who lived and/or died in Antwerp. There are four main groups: Holocaust victims, civilian victims of Nazi violence, civilian victims of military violence and military victims.

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The city of Antwerp distinguishes four groups of victims. All names will be displayed on the monument based on their group:

• Holocaust victims (Jewish victims)
• Civilian victims of Nazi violence: those engaging in civil disobedience, forced labourers, resistance fighters and political prisoners
• Civilian victims of military violence: victims of bombings, V-weapons and other types of military conflict in Antwerp
• Military casualties: Belgian and international forces (allied soldiers and Antwerp prisoners of war)

All these deceased victims had an Antwerp connection. They lived and/or died in Antwerp and its suburbs (the current districts). Their deaths were the result of acts of war or war events. They were:
• People who died between the official start and end of World War II in Belgium (10 May 1940 and 8 May 1945)
• Victims who survived the camps and then lost their lives in the weeks and months during or after their repatriation (until 31 December 1945).

FelixArchief – Antwerp City Archives is creating an inventory of these names. The historical research will continue until 2023, but will never fully end. This means that changes can still be made once the memorial has been erected.

The memorial will only display the names of killed victims, but it will certainly pay attention to the many other victims as well. It is also there for all those who managed to survive the war and carried the suffering inside them for the rest of their lives. It also will commemorate the dead whose names we will no longer find.

How many names will be on the monument?

The number of deceased Antwerp war victims is currently estimated at about 25,000. The research is still ongoing. The exact number will therefore only become clear at a later stage. You can look at the Antwerp Names Project counter to see the number of names that have been confirmed so far.

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The number of victims’ names to be included on the monument is certainly not final yet. We now have these indicative numbers:

• Almost 3 in 5 fatalities – about 15,000 – were Jewish.
• The research currently found about 1,440 names of civilian victims of Nazi violence. These include people engaging in civil disobedience, forced labourers, resistance fighters and political prisoners
• We suspect that just over 4,500 civilians were killed by military warfare such as bombing with V-weapons and other types of military conflict in the city.
• On the military side, at least 600 Belgian soldiers also died in Antwerp. Again, this number is still preliminary. The figures for foreign allied troops are not yet known.

The research into the names of victims will not end when the memorial is finished. We will continue to complete and correct the existing lists and information with new information well after the cornerstone has been laid in 2024.

Where will the memorial be located?

The new monument will be located near the Pilotage Building on Tavernierkaai in Antwerp. This spot is located on the quays along the Scheldt near the Antwerp district of 't Eilandje

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The location of the memorial was chosen very carefully. The site of the Pilotage Building is very visible to all and connects the city centre and the port, which were two important areas during World War II. The location is also close to the Red Star Line Museum, FelixArchief – Antwerp City Archives and MAS museum. These three institutions are all part of the city's 'memory'. In 2023, an exhibition about World War II and Antwerp will open at the MAS. The exhibition will focus on the personal experiences of all Antwerp citizens during that difficult time.

The site of the Pilotage Building is being developed as a sub-project of the master plan for the reconstruction of the quays along the Scheldt. The design and construction of the memorial will be integrated in this development. Read more here.

What will the memorial look like?

Exactly what the memorial will look like is as yet unknown. We do know that it will show the names of the deceased Antwerp war victims. The city of Antwerp has asked the designers to create an innovative and forward-looking memorial.

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An international design contest will determine who gets to create the memorial. The city will announce the selected design agency in late 2021 or early 2022.

The city of Antwerp wants to commemorate the World War II in an innovative way. It is therefore encouraging the artist and the design team to think beyond the conventional monumental imagery and architecture. The memorial will be of the highest artistic quality.

The memorial's form and presence are part of the design process. The designers are asked to include the victims’ names and to distinguish the four victim groups.

How will the memorial be used in the future?

Het monument-memoriaal schept de kans om samen te herdenken en te ontmoeten. Daarom is het open en voor iedereen toegankelijk.

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The memorial is open to everyone. Its first objective is to be a place for people with a strong connection to the victims. Everyone can find a place there to remember and honour those victims.

It encourages visitors to think about the great suffering of the people of Antwerp and about Antwerp's complex war history.

The memorial also focuses on the violence and traumas from the past with remembrance education, school visits and references to the exhibition at the nearby MAS museum. Its location along the Scheldt makes the monument a place of peace and reflection.

Is this the only monument commemorating World War II in Antwerp?

No, Antwerp already has many historical monuments and commemorative plaques. They have an important historical and emotional value, and of course they will continue to exist alongside the new memorial.

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Some of the existing war memorials are large and impressive. Others are smaller and more intimate. They are often dedicated to specific victim groups. Some monuments even commemorate both world wars. These monuments and commemorative plaques often play an important role in (local) communities and will certainly continue to do so in the future.

A unique feature of the new memorial is that it brings together all the names of the Antwerp casualties from World War II for the first time.

What are the next steps?

In late 2021 or early 2022, the city will announce who has been selected to design the future memorial and what the preliminary design is like. The cornerstone will be laid in 2024. Meanwhile, FelixArchief will continue its extensive names research of the Antwerp Names Project and the development of a digital monument will be launched.

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The Antwerp Names Project is the digital precursor of the memorial. It shows a preliminary list of the names of victims already known to FelixArchief. Their families and other interested parties can use the search function to view the current status of the research into the names. They can look up names, supply additional information on the victims, correct the spelling of a certain name or suggest any missing names.

The research will continue until 2023. The list of names will be more or less final then (although there will always be room for corrections and additions), and we can start integrating the names into the physical memorial. A digital monument will also be developed so that people can also commemorate (individual) victims online.

What is the digital monument?

The physical monument will be complemented by a digital monument. This online environment will focus on the (provisional) list of Antwerp victims’ names. The digital monument will give their families and other interested parties the opportunity to commemorate the victims of World War II and reflect on the significant war history of the city. The platform also offers the opportunity to commemorate victims individually.

Building a new memorial

The City of Antwerp is building a new monument-memorial to commemorate the victims of the Second World War in Antwerp. The laying of the foundation stone is planned for early 2024.

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Search the current list of names

During the research phase of the Names Project, you can search the provisional list of victims here. To find a victim, you can enter surname, first name or year of birth.

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