The “pilgrimage” ceremony

What happened in Breendonk may never be forgotten.  That is why the memorial, in cooperation with the National Confederation of Political Prisoners and Entitled Persons of Belgium, organises the annual commemoration of the end of the horror of the Nazi occupation at the Fortress Breendonk. The first ceremony, which was called a pilgrimage, took place on 24 September 1944. It brought together former prisoners and personalities, who paid tribute to all political and racial prisoners of the Second World War.

Since 2020, this ceremony has been organized every three years by the WHI, in other years paying tribute to the executed in Brussels and to the monument of the resistance in Liège. The next “pilgrimage” ceremony will thus take place on September 20, 2023.

Today, this torch is still kept alight in the presence of the Minister of Defence, who is also the custodian of the Memorial, accompanied by representatives of various governments and military authorities.In 2019, H.M. the King attended the ceremony. After the viewing of the troops of the Royal Military Academy, the flame of remembrance was lit and musical tributes were paid by the youth and young people’s choir of La Monnaie and the Royal Guides’ Band.  With an impressive floral tribute by the authorities, the camp friends, the patriotic associations and 301 young people who symbolise the prisoners who died of deprivation, execution or hanging, we emphasise that we cannot close our eyes to the barbarity and inhuman suffering that was rife at Breendonk, and that we must at all costs try to prevent war crimes and human rights violations from still being a reality today…

This ceremony also takes place in Covid times 2020. 10 VIPs were present, while everyone could follow the ceremony via livestream. We never forget!

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