Author Topic: Belgium under Nazi Occupation  (Read 4747 times)

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Offline <k>

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Re: Belgium under Nazi Occupation
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2017, 11:38:40 AM »
To celebrate the annexation of Eupen-Malmedy, Nazi Germany issued two stamps: "Eupen-Malmedy German again".
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Re: Belgium under Nazi Occupation
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2017, 12:22:33 PM »
By June 1940, Nazi Germany also controlled France, the Channel Islands, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway and Denmark, as well as much of central Europe. It must have seemed as if the Nazis would dominate Europe forever, and the citizens of the occupied territories had to decide how to live their lives under the New Order.

Some Nazis, such as Heinrich Himmler, dreamed of an "Aryan Commonwealth", in which Germans, Scandinavians and the Low Countries would all be equal. Hitler, however, was a German nationalist first and foremost, and a very petty, cruel and vindictive one. Non-German territories would either be annexed to Germany or occupied and exploited.

The small Belgian authoritarian or semi-fascist parties reacted in different ways. The leader of Verdinaso proscribed the production of any pro-Nazi literature by his members, but he himself was killed by French troops who had identified him as an extremist. Verdinaso now fell apart, with some becoming collaborators and others joining the resistance. De Clercq, the leader of the rival VNV, immediately went over to the Nazis. Hitler was reluctant to give too much power to any Belgians, but he enjoyed playing divide and rule with the two linguistic groups. It became clear that the Nazis favoured Flemings, however, and this caused resentment among the Walloons. Below you can see the geographical extent of Flanders and Wallonia.
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Offline <k>

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Re: Belgium under Nazi Occupation
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2017, 12:47:46 PM »
King Leopold was keen to find an accommodation with Germany in 1940, hoping that Belgium would remain as a unified and semi-autonomous state within a German-dominated Europe. In November 1940, Leopold visited Hitler to ask for Belgian prisoners of war to be freed. An agreement was not reached and Leopold returned to Belgium.This fueled the belief that Leopold, who had expressed anti-Semitic views before the war, was collaborating with the Nazis rather than defending his country's interests. During the war, Leopold was held under house-arrest in the Palace of Laeken.

Attempts by the government-in-exile to pursue Leopold to defect to the Allied side were unsuccessful. He consistently refused to publicly support the Allies or to denounce German actions such as the deportation of Belgian workers.  In 1941, while still incarcerated, he married Mary Lilian Baels, undermining his popularity with the Belgian public who disliked Baels and considered the marriage to discredit his claim to martyr status. Despite his position, Leopold remained prominent in the occupied territory, and coins and stamps continued to carry his portrait or monogramme. In January 1944, Leopold was moved to Germany where he remained for the rest of the war.
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Offline <k>

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Re: Belgium under Nazi Occupation
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2017, 05:27:52 PM »
The German administration had competing objectives of maintaining order while extracting material from the territory for the war effort. The German government levied the costs of the military occupation on the Belgians through taxes, while also demanding "external occupation costs" (or "Anti-Bolshevik charge") to support operations elsewhere. In total, Belgium was forced to pay nearly two-thirds of its national income for these charges.

As in all occupied countries in Europe, food, fuel and clothing were strictly rationed by the German authorities. Even with the stringent rationing, the food and materials which civilians should officially have been entitled to were not always available. A significant black market also existed in the country, supplying food illegally at very high prices to those that could afford it. Information and the press were strictly controlled by the German government and news was greatly restricted.
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Re: Belgium under Nazi Occupation
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2017, 05:37:00 PM »
From 1941, occupation issue coins began to circulate. They were made of zinc, even though it quickly corroded, so that the more important metals could be used for the war effort. With one or two exceptions, the coin designs were the same as before the war. In countries where the monarch had fled, such as Norway and the Netherlands, a new design series was introduced, but in Denmark and Belgium, where the monarchs had stayed with their people, the Nazis allowed the royal emblems to exist as before.

Below you see both versions of the zinc 5 centimes.
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Re: Belgium under Nazi Occupation
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2017, 05:45:25 PM »
Here is a 10 centimes coin of 1942, with the Dutch legend appearing first. These are not pretty coins.
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Re: Belgium under Nazi Occupation
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2017, 05:55:27 PM »
Here is a 25 centimes coin of 1942, with the French legend appearing first.
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Re: Belgium under Nazi Occupation
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2017, 05:57:30 PM »
Here is a 25 centimes coin of 1942, with the Dutch legend appearing first. Notice the corrosion.
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Re: Belgium under Nazi Occupation
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2017, 06:09:02 PM »
Here we have a 1943 franc, Dutch language first. It now has a very different design on both obverse and reverse. I like the lion, but the "L" for Leopold is filled with an over-elaborate and rather ugly motif.
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Re: Belgium under Nazi Occupation
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2017, 06:12:10 PM »
Here is a 1942 version showing the French language first. I do like that acorn at the top of the design.
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Re: Belgium under Nazi Occupation
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2017, 06:33:49 PM »
Another new design now for the 5 francs, which is also in zinc. The King now faces to the right. I do not like the motif that fills the numeral 5 on the reverse. It is once more over-elaborate and ugly.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 09:16:29 PM by <k> »
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Re: Belgium under Nazi Occupation
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2017, 06:36:29 PM »
Here we see a rather poor example of the obverse of the 5 francs, this time with the Dutch for "King of the Belgians".

In the exergue you see the surname of the designer, Marcel Rau.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 09:16:17 PM by <k> »
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Re: Belgium under Nazi Occupation
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2017, 06:37:28 PM »


Here is a reminder of the King's portrait on the obverse of the pre-war 50 francs.
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Re: Belgium under Nazi Occupation
« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2017, 07:04:00 PM »
After Belgium was invaded, the Rexist Party was split over the matter of resistance. Its leader, Degrelle, proclaimed reconstructed Rexism to be in close union with Nazism. Degrelle started contributing to a Nazi news source, Le Pays Réel. In August 1941 Degrelle joined the Walloon legion of the Wehrmacht, which was raised to fight against the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front.

Here you see Degrelle in Nazi uniform.
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Re: Belgium under Nazi Occupation
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2017, 07:06:03 PM »
In December 1941 the Wallonian Legion issued a set of four military field stamps. The man on the 100 francs stamp resembles Degrelle.
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