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Belgium returns 100 boxes of diplomatic archives of 1914-1944 to Germany

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31/03/2014 - Digitisation - State archives in Saint-Hubert - National Archives of Belgium

In late 1944, just a couple of days before Brussels was freed from the occupant, the personnel of the German Embassy in Brussels received the order to evacuate the country, leaving behind a significant number of documents, books, posters, photographs and propaganda material.

After the Second World War, these documents were handed over to the War Archives in Anderlecht and later, in 1953, to the National Archives of Belgium. The propaganda posters and a number of books were transferred to the Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society (CEGES/SOMA). For a couple of years, some records were conserved at the State Archives in Saint-Hubert. Finally, in the Sixties and in 2012, the State Archives inventoried the archive group.

In March 2014, that is to say 100 years after the First World War broke out and 75 years after the start of the Second World War, the 17 linear metres of archives (100 boxes) were returned to Germany – to the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. Indeed, diplomatic archives are the property of the country that created them.

Parts of the archive were digitised and can be accessed in the reading rooms of the State Archives.

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