September 1944, Belgium is almost completely liberated from German troops. Now is the time for reconstruction, but also for repression. Thousands of collaborators, men and women, are judged and condemned for collusion with the Nazi enemy.
But in the eastern townships, the situation is unique. Attached to the 3rd Reich by Hitler in 1940, the population was considered German. Men were called up to fight in the Wehrmacht, children were drafted into the Hitler Youth.
At the Liberation, Belgium de facto regained its rights over these annexed territories. The citizens are once again Belgians, and therefore will be considered a lot as collaborators. A newspaper of the time estimated that 70 to 80% of the population was then degraded and irretrievably Nazi…
Justice will intern thousands of people, Belgian subjects, “especially those whose relations with the enemy produce suspects“, without any penalties being pronounced against them. This will be the case for many German-speakers. Through the history of the internment center for uncivic people in Verviers, let us return to that of the repression of collaborations in the cantons of Is who marked the construction of the German-speaking identity in Belgium.
We talk about it with the historian Margaux Roberti-Lintermansauthor of the articleThe Verviers internment center for incivics (September 1944-November 1945” published in the Revue belge d’histoire contemporaine.