Organized by the non-profit organisation Friends of Fort Breendonk
We tell the story of 39 Brussels postmen arrested by the occupying forces on 1 September 1942.
On 1 September 1942, 39 Brussels postmen were arrested. They ended up in room 7. A room supervised by René Hermans, room principal, snitch and executioner. In the following months, nine other postmen were locked up in Breendonk as well.
“Not a single little postman will leave alive”. That is how Fernand Wyss addressed the postmen.
Ordinary people ... in extraordinary times! They did not commit spectacularly heroic acts of resistance, but did what they could in the daily practice of their jobs. They refused to cooperate in German censorship, intercepted letters by snitches, checked German correspondence and participated in the distribution of pamphlets.
One of them, Paul-Eugène Hermans, was executed. Due to ill-treatment inflicted by Wyss and his SS comrade De Bodt five other postmen did not leave Breendonk alive either: Henri Tissen, aged 39; Jacques Bonnevalle, aged 42; Pierre Crockaert, 30; Albert De Pondt, 57 and Sebastien Degreef, 52: severely tortured, he begged his torturers to kill him. Wyss and De Bodt considered a 1 franc 85 bullet “far too expensive for that kind of person”. All of them died of deprivation and ill-treatment in less than a month. Eight were deported to Germany. The rest were released. The last one was released in June 1943.
Friday 2 September 2022 | 20:00