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Third Public History Encounter at the CegeSoma

 on 23 April 2019 (12.30 pm – 2.00 pm)

The use of Violence in Times of War

A conference-debate (in Dutch) with guest speakers Frank Seberechts and Bruno De Wever moderated by Bart Willems


 In 1984, Lannoo published the work of Bruno De Wever entitled 'Oostfronters. Vlamingen in het Vlaams Legioen en de Waffen SS'

In 2019, the book by Frank Seberechts entitled 'Drang naar het Oosten. Vlaamse soldaten en kolonisten aan het oostfront' is published.

These two seminal works are  thirty-five years apart….

The work of Frank Seberechts deals with war crimes and crimes against humanity that Flemish volunteers have committed or that they have witnessed while deployed at the Eastern Front' during the Second World War.

This is the first time that this issue is addressed so thoroughly.


For a long time, the volunteers of the Flemish Legion and the SS regiment Westland, the Flemish members of the NSKK-Vervoerkorps and the Todt Organisation were represented as idealists engaged in the battle against Communism, as though they had nothing to do with the murder of civilians, of partisans and Jews from Poland, Ukraine and Russia between 1939 and 1945.

This fight against partisans is certainly addressed in the book by Bruno De Wever, but it is only one aspect of his research.

The context of publication and the approach were different. Knowledge and susceptibility was different as well.


But why exactly? Which archives were available at the time?

What has changed since 1984 ? How did  historiography change?



On 23 April, CegeSoma will give the floor to the authors, Frank Seberechts and Bruno De Wever. They will be interviewed by Bart Willems (scientific collaborator at the State Archives in Antwerp). Together they will address the delicate issue of violence in times of war.





Frank Seberechts (PhD) holds degrees of history of the universities of Antwerp and Ghent.

He has worked at CegeSoma and at ADVN, where he led research about the history of the Flemish movement, Flemish nationalism, the Second World War and the persecution of the Jews in Belgium.

Today, he is a researcher at Vredescentrum Provincie en Stad Antwerpen and assiciated researcher at CegeSoma.

He has published, among others, about Flemish nationalism, the Second World War, the port of Antwerp and local history.


Bruno De Wever is a professor at Ghent University.

He is expert in the history of the Second World War.

His other fields of interest are the history of Flemish nationalism and of fascism.

He is the author of numerous articles and books about various topics. He is vice-chairman of the Scientific Committee of CegeSoma.


Bart Willems is a historian and archivist at the State Archives in Antwerp where his main occupation it the authoring of inventories for the archives about the Second World War.

He is the co-author of the book 'Papy était-il un nazi ? Sur les traces d'un passé de guerre' published in 2017.

The book of Frank Seberechts will be on sale at CegeSoma at the day of the conference and can be autographed by the author.
The conference will take place at the conference room of CegeSoma (Square de l'Aviation 29 – 1070 Brussels) and will be followed by a debate. 
Please register by mail to isabelle.ponteville@arch.be or by phone 02.556.92.11 and indicate if you would like to have a snack* and if yes, which one (5 Euros to be wired before the event to CegeSoma: IBAN: BE12 6792 0045 0092 - BIC: PCHQBEBB + communication: name and surname).

* Snack choice 1: organic baguette, raisins, nuts, Brie cheese (+ still water, sparkling water or orange juice);
* Snack choice 2: organic brioche bread, ham, egg, salad (+ still water, sparkling water or orange juice).
Feel free to bring someone along !