Records of HIAS-HICEM Main Office in Europe.
ca. 15 l.m.
This fonds contains many files concerning the situation of Jewish refugees in Belgium before the Second World War, and the work of BELHICEM/BEL-HIAS in particular. First of all, the records of a general nature in Series I (“France I, Pre-Occupation Records, 1933-1940”) may hold valuable information on Belgium – see the many general files, minutes of meetings, activity reports, statistical material and correspondence, often arranged by country. For instance, we can find information on the establishment of HICEM offices in Belgium (1939) in the minutes of monthly meetings of the HICEM Paris office (file France I-1). Topics such as the situation of refugees in Belgium, the offices and work of BELHICEM in Brussels, cooperation with BELHICEM, … are explicitly mentioned in the following files: France I-69 (“Correspondence with the Magyar Izraelita Partfogo Irodaja”, 1940), France I-116 (“Correspondence with HICEM Latvia”, 1940), France I-134 (“Correspondence with Odborza Pomoc (Society for Assistance) and the German-Jewish Assistance Committee”, 1940), France I-177 (“Correspondence with Charles Barlas, of the Jewish Agency for Palestine (Geneva)”, 1940), France I-343 (“Correspondence with Helsinki, the UK and Palestine”, 1940), France I-350 (“Correspondence of the Marseilles office and various aid organisations in Italy, Poland, Belgium, Portugal and France”, 1938-1940) and France I-424 (“Receipts and correspondence [regarding refugee expenses] among HICEM (Paris) and affiliates in Belgium, Switzerland and Latvia”, 1940). The aforementioned Series I contains a Subseries 2 (“BELHICEM and other organisations in Belgium”, 1938-1940), consisting exclusively of material (40 folders in total) with regards to the Belgian HICEM section and various Belgian refugee committees. Firstly, we note a series of general reports of BELHICEM (ca. 1939-1940) – see France I-431, France I-432, France I-433, France I-434 and France I-457. They often contain annexes, such as statistical material, lists of refugees, budgets, etc. Summary financial reports for the year 1940 can be found in France I-460; for weekly financial reports (of 1940), see France I-459. The following files consist of circulars and correspondence (1939-1940) with BELHICEM (on general and financial matters, administrative correspondence, refugee legislation, transportation, …): France I-435, France I-436, France I-437, France I-438, France I-439, France I-440, France I-442, France I-443, France I-444 and France I-458. The files France I-445, France I-446, France I-447, France I-448, France I-449, France I-450 and France I-451 contain correspondence between BELHICEM and other HICEM offices in Europe, concerning arrangements for refugees; this correspondence is arranged alphabetically by name. Lastly, we find miscellaneous documents (operating budget, statements) from BELHICEM in file France I-441. The series also contains material on other Belgian refugee organisations. For correspondence between the Comité d’Assistance aux Réfugiés juifs (CARJ) in Brussels and various aid organisations (1939-1940), see France I-452. Correspondence between the CARJ and HICEM Paris (on administrative matters and regarding arrangements for refugees) can be found in France I-462, France I-463, France I-464 and France I-465. France I-456 contains a list of refugees wishing to go to Argentina, addressed to the same organisation. Monthly and annual reports (1939-1940) of the CARJ including lists of refugees can be found in France I-461. In France I-468, France I-469 and France I-470 we find correspondence concerning arrangements for refugees between Esra (in Antwerp) and HICEM Paris (1939-1940). France I-466 and France I-467 contain resp. monthly (1940) and annual (1939) activity reports of Esra. Finally, we note the following miscellaneous files: administrative correspondence, mainly with the Association belge pour l’Émigration des Réfugiés from Brussels (France I-453; 1940); “correspondence among various aid organisations on behalf of named refugees” (France I-454; 1939-1940) and administrative correspondence with Esra Luxembourg (France I-455; 1939-1940). Series IV (“France IV, Post-war records of HICEM/HIAS, 1939-1953”) also holds relevant files regarding the work of the Belgian branch of HICEM/HIAS, or concerning refugees and survivors in Belgium. In its Subseries 2 (“French provincial offices, 1944-1952”) we note the file France IV-104, which includes a list of refugee children coming from Brussels and currently in transit in France (1945). Subseries 3 (“Documentation files of other European affiliates, 1944-1953”) contains a few files on Belgium. We firstly note several files with correspondence with HICEM in Brussels – see France IV-251 (1945-1948), France IV-252 (1945-1946), France IV-253 (1947-1948) and France IV-254 (1947-1951). Lists of refugees assisted by BEL-HIAS office can be found in France IV-255 (1946) and France IV-257 (1949). France IV-256 contains activity reports from BEL-HIAS (1950). Lists of refugees, i.a. from Belgium, who left the care of HIAS and departed for various destinations can be found in France IV-218 (1950). File France IV-459 in Subseries 7 (“Survivor emigration, 1939-1953”) contains correspondence with BELHICEM/BEL-HIAS in Brussels (1946-1947), including a list of survivors in transit or returning to Belgium. Finally, we point out that due to his activities as one of the leaders of HICEM, the fonds contains several files with correspondence (ca. 1940-1942, 1945) by and addressed to Max Gottschalk. See, among others, the files France I-44, France II-171, France II-172 and France IV-63.
An EAD-inventory can be consulted via the CJH-database, accessible from the reading room.
The EHRI project, in cooperation with the National Archives of Belgium, selected Holocaust-relevant archival descriptions from the finding aid G. DESMET & P. FALEK-ALHADEFF, P.-A. TALLIER (dir.), Bronnen voor de geschiedenis van de Joden en het Jodendom in België (19de-20ste eeuw) - Sources pour l'histoire des populations juives et du judaïsme en Belgique (19e-20e siècles), Brussel, Algemeen Rijksarchief, 2015. Please note that this guide focuses on Belgium-related archival materials in the respective descriptions.
This archival description was created in the framework of the cooperation between EHRI and the Yerusha project.