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Tenth edition of the Portrait Ceremony


This year, Kazerne Dossin will present the tenth edition of its Portrait Ceremony. 210 new portraits will be added to the portrait gallery on 24 November, an evening when victims of the Holocaust deported from Mechelen will be commemorated. The central theme will focus on the importance of music for the deported and the need to continue to search for photographs, year upon year. Often this involves real detective work, such as the narrative of Aron Luksenberg, full of unexpected twists and turns.

10th anniversary of the Portrait Ceremony
When Kazerne Dossin was inaugurated in 2012 the portrait gallery displayed 19,116 photographs. For more than one in four of the victims all that was available was a silhouette indicating whether it represented a baby, toddler, child, teenager, adult or elderly man or woman. Since 2013 new photographs have been added every year via the campaign entitled ‘Give them a Face’.

This year 210 new photographs will be added to the portrait gallery to ensure that 20,904 photographs and 4,939 silhouettes keep the memory alive of the worst crime against humanity ever committed in Belgium. The search continues to be fruitful: the number of silhouettes in the gallery numbers fewer than 5,000 people this year.

Kazerne Dossin continues its efforts to find photographs of as many people as possible. This is achieved thanks to the commitment of the research team, partner institutions, numerous family members, friends, former classmates and neighbors of victims, individual researchers, archivists and volunteers.

Aron Luksenberg’s story
Jo Peeters, the curator of the ‘Huis van het Belgisch-Franse Verzet’ (Belgian-French Resistance Association) and a committed researcher, discovered the true-life story of the young Aron Luksenberg. Contrary to what the authorities made public, the boy did not die at the end of April 1943 in Auschwitz.

Jo Peeters’ extensive research – using diaries, testimonies and publications issued by historical societies in Flanders and Wallonia – showed that the boy managed to escape from Transport XX and was subsequently taken in by the Abbey at Bierbeek. He was then smuggled to Waver, went into hiding and was adopted after the war. He was the only one of his family to survive the war. The search unearthed a photograph of Aron and, thanks to Jo Peeters, Aron Luksenberg has been given a face again.

Interviews are possible by appointment with:

  • Deputy Director, Coordinator of Collections & Research Veerle Vanden Daelen
  • Jo Peeters, curator of the House of the Belgian-French Resistance
Contact Barbara Porteman Download photos