Left Behind: Little Known Histories on the Persecution of Antwerp’s Jewish Population
Between June 13 and September 12, 1942, over 2,250 Jewish men were deported from Belgium to Northern France as forced labourers for Organisation Todt (OT). This German company was responsible for large construction projects such as the Atlantic Wall: the Nazi defence line along the European coast.
At least 1,625 of the Jewish men taken from Belgium came from Antwerp. The Left Behind project brings to the fore their story, as well as the story of the families they left behind in Antwerp. Read more.
3 interactive maps invite you to explore their histories via personal accounts, images, documents and films.
- Map 1 The first map introduces different general locations which play a role in this history. These places are mainly situated in Belgium and Northern France. Auschwitz-Birkenau, the destination of the majority of the deportation trains eventually taking the workers and their families to their deaths, is also included.
- Map 2 A second map illustrates the fate of the families left behind in Antwerp. Based on a research sample of 628 of the 1,625 Jewish Organisation Todt workers from Antwerp, it visualizes the impact of racial persecution on 1,501 relatives who lived under the same roof.
- Map 3 A third set of maps invites you to discover the itineraries of five families of Jewish Organisation Todt labourers from Antwerp. Each story is different, but all illustrate the horrendous impact of forced labour on these families.
The Jewish men from Antwerp were deported to at least 14 different Organisation Todt labour camps in Northern France, a region which during the war fell under the leadership of the Militärbefehlshaber Belgien und Nordfrankreich.
This map includes general points of interest related to the men’s own and their family’s history. Each location provides general information about what happened there. Most points of interest are situated in Belgium and Northern France.
The destination of the majority of the deportation trains eventually leading the men and their families to their deaths, Auschwitz-Birkenau, is also included. While most of these places tell a story of deportation and death, the map also offers little sparks of hope and survival with the Wezembeek-Oppem children’s home and the “ghost train” in Diksmuide.
The Left Behind project so far identified 1,625 Jewish men from Antwerp sent to the Organisation Todt slave labour camps in Northern France in the summer of 1942.
This map introduces 1,501 family members of 628 of these 1,625 identified men: a large and representative research sample for the entire group of workers. A complete list of the 1,625 identified Jewish Organisation Todt workers from Antwerp can be consulted here.
The map moves in time from June 13, 1942 – the date of departure of the first convoy with workers from Antwerp to Northern France – over the five large raids in the city (August 15-16 and 28-29, and September 11-12 and 22-24, 1942, and September 3-4, 1943) to the liberation of Antwerp on September 4, 1944.
In this map you can choose one of the stories to learn more about the fate of the families of Jewish Organisation Todt labourers from Antwerp.
Each story is different, but all illustrate the horrendous impact of forced labour on these families. Between June 13 and September 12, 1942 Organisation Todt deports over 1625 Antwerp Jewish men to Northern France.
These husbands, fathers, brothers and sons were put to work on construction sites near the Atlantic coast or in the French Ardennes, where they were forced to build bunkers, roads and other facilities in preparation of the Atlantic Wall. Their families stayed behind in Antwerp and, like the OT-men themselves, are hit hard by persecution and deportation.
This video depicts the story of the Peretz family.