Holocaust-Era Assets

Civilian Agency Records

State Department and Foreign Affairs Records

Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State (RG 84)

Belgium

German forces invaded Belgium on May 10, 1940.  By the end of the month King Leopold had negotiated a surrender of his Army.  He would remain in Belgium until June 1944, when he was deported to Germany.  Many Belgians fled to the United Kingdom in 1940 and formed a government-in-exile in London.  

Once occupied by the Germans in late May 1940, the cantons of Eupen, Malmedy, and St. Vith, which had been transferred from Germany to Belgium in 1919 were incorporated into the Reich. The remainder of Belgium, together with the French Departments of the Nord and Pas-de-Calais, were governed by a German military administration headed by General von Falkenhaussen and the president of the military administration Eggert Reeder.  In July 1944 the military administration was turned over to a civil administration headed by Reich Commissioner Grohe.

During the occupation German manipulation of clearings, depreciation of Belgian currency, and use of occupation costs were the most important weapons of German economic penetration of the Belgian economy.  In the wake of occupation, several of the big Berlin banks, such as the Dresdner Bank and the Deutsche Bank, established representatives' offices in Brussels, some of which were incorporated later as subsidiaries.  These banks, which were exempted from Belgian banking supervision, specialized in financing trade between Belgium and Germany.  As Continental Europe came under Axis control, a shift in ownership took place-the German banks acquiring from the Societe Generale de Belgique and the Banque de Bruxelles interests in Czechoslovak, Yugoslav, Rumanian, and Luxemburg banks.  In addition, by the end of 1941, 35 German insurance firms as well as all the large reinsurance undertakings had established branches in Belgium, taking over the business of the British firms.

The Germans also purchased interests in strategic industries, and acquired further holdings in the vast international combines formerly owned by the Belgians.  There were also significant increases in the capital of German firms, such as Henkel and Siemens, in Belgium.   In October 1940, the German began imposing anti-Jewish measures and on May 31, 1941 imposed economic measures, that resulted in the "Aryanization" of Jewish property.  In the spring of 1942, decrees were enacted that compelled Jews into force-labor for Organization Todt.  In all, some 175,000 Belgians (including nearly 40,000 Belgian POWs) were forced into labor service for the Reich.  Early in 1942 Jews began being deported, mostly to Auschwitz, where some 25,000 were sent by mid-1944.  During German occupation it is estimated that 40,000 of the estimated pre-Final Solution 65,000 Jewish population were exterminated.

Most of Belgium's territory was liberated by the Allies in early September 1944. (Note 61)

Records of the Brussels Embassy

General Records 1936-1940, 1944-1952, 1954 (Entry 2108)
Boxes 1-167

1940

Box # File # File Title or Subject
43711.3Works of Art (Italy)-Enemy Property

1944

Box # File # File Title or Subject
50711.3Statutory Lists/Proclaimed Lists
51840.1Jews in Belgiu

1945

Box # File # File Title or Subject
56300Displaced Persons
 400 Elisabeth Ardriesse
58711 War Crimes
 711.2Art Treasures
 711.3Looted Assets
68850.6Insurance

1946

Box # File # File Title or Subject
82711War Crimes
 711.2Safehaven
 711.3Proclaimed List
90840.3Art

1947

Box # File # File Title or Subject
113711.6Looted Property/Diamonds/Works of Art (2 files)
 711.6War Crimes

1948

Box # File # File Title or Subject
132711.3Enemy Assets
 711.6Looted Property/Gold
 711.6Looted Property/Works of Art
 711.6Looted Property
134840.3Art/Looted Property

1949

Box # File # File Title or Subject
143321.3Enemy Assets

1950-1952

Box # File # File Title or Subject
155321.3Enemy Assets

Classified General Records 1940, 1944-1952 (Entry 2109A)
Boxes 1-55

1944

Box # File # File Title or Subject
2851French Gold

1945

Box # File # File Title or Subject
4400Belgian Art Treasures
5711.2Paintings
 711.2Belgian Property (Art Treasures)
 711.3Looted Assets
 711.3Enemy Assets

1946

Box # File # File Title or Subject
12-19711.2Safehaven Reports
19711.3Enemy Assets
 711.3Proclaimed List
 711.6Looted Assets Program

1947

Box # File # File Title or Subject
24711.3Enemy Assets
 711.3Safehaven
25711.9War Crimes
 711.9Displaced Persons
31851French Gold

1948

Box # File # File Title or Subject
38711.3Enemy Property
 711.6Looted Property

1949

Box # File # File Title or Subject
51 321.3 Enemy Property/Swiss-United States Conflicting Claims concerning German Assets

Top Secret General Records 1945-1952, 1954 (Entry 2110)
Boxes 1-7

Box # File # File Title or Subject
1noneMiscellaneous cables of the Inter Allied Reparation Agency 1945-1949

London-American Mission to the Belgian Government in Exile

General Records 1941-1944 (Entry 2113)
Boxes 1-10

1944

Box # File # File Title or Subject
10851Looted Gold

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