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Obj. ID: 15838
Modern Jewish Art
  Monument to the Deported Citizens of Antwerp, Belgium, 1997

© Vladimir Levin, Photographer: Levin, Vladimir, 2010

Memorial Name

Monument voor de gedeporteerde Antwerpse Burgers (Monument to the Deported Citizens of Antwerp)

Who is Commemorated?

Jewish Deportees from Antwerp 

Description

The tall monument is situated close to the railway line in the Jewish quarter. It is set in the median of Belgiëlei between two rows of trees. The monument is set on a low grassy mound, the front of which is paved in stone at a low angle where wreaths and flowers are frequently placed.

The monument structure is in three parts: a plinth, a tall shaft which has the form of a wide I-beam, and an uppermost section of the “I-beam” that opens into a platform on which are placed figures of a man, woman, and child, enclosed in barbed wire. The sides “beam” extend beyond the horizontal platform on which the figures stand and create three separate spaces. The man and woman are each alone and face outward in different directions. The child is in the inner space. The human figures are quite detailed but without facial features.

The plinth is undecorated except for a small Magen David on the front side (above where flowers are placed), and set on the recessed center part of the shaft, about midway up, is a cut metal relief of a Torah Scroll with the edges of the parchment shown as flames. Superimposed on this are the Hebrew letters for the word “Zachor” (Remember).

A low fence of eleven independent Corten steel panels closes the memorial space at the intersection with Belgielei. A triangle is cut in each panel recalling the badges worn by inmates in the caps. In front of each panel, facing the monument is a concrete block. These panels and blocks provide visual closure to the memorial but also serve as a protective security barrier to stop cars. In front and center of the row of pedestals sits another plaque with an inscription in Dutch thanking all who helped Jews. 

Inscription

There are two blocks at the ground level in front of the monument with inscribed bronze plaques. 

On the right block inscriptions in Hebrew and Dutch citing Psalm 78: 3-4

אשר שמענו ונדעם
ואבותינו ספרו לנו,
לא נכחד מבניהם לדור אחרון ו[ג](נ)ו'
תהלים ע"ח

Al wat wij ervaren hebben;
Al wat wij vernomen hebben van onze voorvaderen,
laten wij het niet weerhouden voor het nageslacht.
Psalm 78

Translation: Everything we have experienced / Everything we have heard from our ancestors / Let's not hold it back for posterity / Psalm 78

On the left block an inscription in Flemish-Dutch and Hebrew reads:

... waar boze geesten heersen
en het mensenvolk geen naam meer heeft.

 Ter nagedachtenis
aan de Joodse gedeporteerde burgers  הי"ד [=השם יקום דמם]

  1940-’45.

Op initiatief van het
"Forum der Joodse Organisaties" en
de Stad Antwerpen.

27 mei 1997 - 20 IYAR 5757

Translation: Where evil spirits rule and the people of mankind no longer have a name. / In memory of the Jewish citizens deported 1940-'45. May God avenge their blood [in Hebrew]. / At the initiative of the Forum of Jewish Organizations and the City of Antwerp. /May 27, 1997 - 20 IYAR 5757.

Thus the inscription includes a Hebrew formula commonly used while mentioning a martyred person, but this inscription is "invisible" to a non-Jew.

In front of the row of pedestals sits another block with the inscribed plaque in Flemish Dutch thanking all who helped Jews:

Wij zijn
eeuwige dank verschuldigd
aan allen dis,
op gevaar van hun eigen leven,
ons uit de gruwel der nazi’s hebben gered.

Translation: We are eternally indebted to all who, at the risk of their own lives, rescued us from the horror of the Nazis.

Commissioned by

Forum der Joodse Organisaties (The Forum of Jewish Organizations of the Flemish Region) and the City of Antwerp

Summary and Remarks

6 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Name/Title
Monument to the Deported Citizens of Antwerp | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Date
1997
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Bierwerts, Willem (sculptor)
(Unknown)
{"3744":"Dutch, 1927-2012"}
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Unknown |
Congregation
Unknown
Location
Belgium | Antwerp (Antwerpen, Anvers)
| Intersection of Mercatorstraat and Belgiëlei
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Unknown |
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Textual Content
Languages of inscription
Type of grave
Unknown
Material/Technique
Iron, bronze
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
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Panel Measurements
Condition
Extant
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents
Codicology
Scribes
Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin
Coin Series
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Denomination
Signature
Colophon
Scribal Notes
Watermark
Hallmark
Group
Group
Group
Group
Group
Trade Mark
Binding
Decoration Program
Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance

Beginning in August 1942 the German SS,  assisted by Belgian police and collaborators, organized raids in Antwerp in which non-Belgian Jews were arrested and deported. Jews with Belgian citizenship were arrested a year later on the night of September 3, 1943 and deported to the Mechelen collection camp. Most transports from there went to Auschwitz, where most deportees were murdered. The majority of the Jewish population of Antwerp consisted of immigrants and East European refugees; only very few survived the war. 24,916 Jews and about 350 Sinti and Roma were deported from Belgium.

The monument was sponsored by the regional Jewish organization with the permission of the City of Antwerp. It was dedicated on May 27, 1997 and commemorates the deportation of all the city’s Jews, but the depiction Torah scrolls on fire also commemorate the pogrom which took place on April 14, 1941. 

Main Surveys & Excavations
Sources

 “Antwerp Jews protest relocation of Holocaust monument to ‘quieter place, ’moving structure would result in ‘loss of historical, emotional and educational dimension,’ says Jewish community," Jewish Telegraphic Agency, April 7, 2017, https://www.timesofisrael.com/antwerp-jews-protest-relocation-of-holocaust-monument-to-quieter-place/ (accessed December 29, 2021)

Braeken, Jo. "Monument Gedeporteerde Joodse Bevolking," Vlaanderen. Onroerend erfgoed. Inventaris. 2015, https://id.erfgoed.net/erfgoedobjecten/300692 (accessed December 29, 2021)

Hecht, Esther. “The Jewish Traveler: Antwerp,” Hadassah Magazine, April 2007, (https://www.hadassahmagazine.org/2007/04/12/jewish-traveler-antwerp/) (accessed December 29, 2021)

"Monument to the Deported Citizens of Antwerp," The Information Portal to European Sites of Remembrance, https://www.memorialmuseums.org/eng/denkmaeler/view/1395/Monument-to-the-Deported-Citizens-of-Antwerp (accessed December 29, 2021)

“Photos: Antwerp Deportation Monument,” A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust, https://fcit.usf.edu/holocaust/photos/antwp/antwp1.htm#antwp124 (accessed December 29, 2021)

van Ruyssevelt, A. Stadsbeelden Antwerpen anno 2001. Een gids-inventaris van de beelden en de monumenten (Antwerpen, 2001)., 123-124.
Type
Documenter
Vladimir Levin | 2010
Author of description
Samuel D. Gruber | 2021
Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconstruction
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Section Head
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Language Editor
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Donor
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Negative/Photo. No.
The following information on this monument will be completed: