Expulsion Orders from WWII at the FelixArchief – Part 1: An Introduction

Note: Mr. Dratwa (conservator of the Jewish Museum in Belgium) noted that I should’ve translated ‘Uitwijzingsbevel’ to ‘Expulsion Order’ and not ‘Deportation Order’ (which usually is used when someone was deported to concentration camps). I corrected the wording based on his advice.

The FelixArchief (Antwerp City Archives) published on their website on June 25, 2012 information about a collection of the ‘Expulsion Orders’ which were issued during WWII between December 1940 and February 1941by the immigration police on behalf of the German occupying authorities . More than 3,000 Jewish immigrants   were  transferred  at the order of the German army from Antwerp to a rural area in the Belgian province of Limburg. Copies of these expulsion orders are available on microfilm at the Antwerp Archives.

In November 1940 the Germans ordered to compile lists of foreigners who were older than 15, were staying in the Antwerp District and had the following nationalities: Englishmen, Norwegians, Poles, French, Dutch and stateless citizens since 1 January 1937. Likewise they wanted to have on these lists the stateless who had settled since 1 January 1933 and all Czechs who had immigrated to Belgium from Czechoslovakia. Former members of the Foreign Legion (Vreemdelingenlegioen), Gypsies and Jews had to be registered separately.

By mid-December the Feldkommandantur decided to expel the majority of foreigners of the Antwerp district who had been registered in November. That decision was supposedly based on the regulation of 12 November which indicated that Kommandanturen of the provinces of East Flanders and West Flanders as well as of the Antwerp district were empowered to impose on “certain persons” a “residence restriction”. The Antwerp police received a list of 7,328 people. In reality the list concerned mainly, if not only, Jews. Governor Jan Grauls had the “expulsion orders” delivered to the councils of the district of Antwerp and the orders were signed by the mayors and the local city seal was attached.

Copy of regulation of 12 November which indicated that Kommandanturen of the provinces of East Flanders and West Flanders as well as of the Antwerp district were empowered to impose on “certain persons” a “residence restriction” (Source: http://pallas.cegesoma.be/pls/opac/plsp.getplsdoc?rn=153781&cn=217344&sn=0&lan=F&htdoc=general/viewdocs.htm)

On December 18, 1940 the Antwerp police distributed the first 608 expulsion orders: it was stated that the persons concerned, under threat of criminal sanctions, had to report on a certain day and hour (usually at eight o’clock in the morning) at the Antwerp-South Station which was located at the Simon-Bolivarplaats. The expulsed people had, besides the required papers ,to take food for three days with them. The luggage was limited to a maximum of 25 kg per adult. According to the orders, other belongings could be left with acquaintances in the current place of residence to be forwarded at a later time, in compliance with operating procedures of the public traffic. The orders also stated that it was “permitted” to take the children under the age of 15 years to the new place of residence , if they were part of the household.

Between 21 December 1940 and 12 February 1941 3,401 Jews were expelled with 14 trains from Antwerp on the orders of the Germans to 43 municipalities in the province of Limburg (note: Other numbers of  expelled  Jews which are mentioned in Brachfeld’s study are 3,284  Jews who were expelled between  12 November 1940 until 27 March 1941 or according to another source, also  mentioned  in Brachfeld’s study,  3,273 Jews were expelled).

Since many people had left their homes without informing the authorities only part of the    initial list with 7,328 people were expelled  to Limburg.  Additionally, regulations stated that sick people who had a certificate from a doctor could only be exempted from expulsion if the  certificate  clearly stated that these people were not “transportable”.

Several dozen of these expelled Jews were employed in a labor camp in the municipality of Overpelt. The Germans forced them to cultivate the moorland of ‘het Holven’ as forced laborers. In the summer of 1941 the Jews left the camp after which the work was continued by (non-Jewish) workers from the area.

196 other Jews were expelled to Beverlo and arrived there on 1 February 1941. A few weeks later another family of 3 persons joined the group. Everyone was housed by the municipal government in unoccupied homes of the miners in the Louis-Sauvestrelaan and the Leysestraat. These two streets were part of the site around the coal mine of Beringen. The mayor and aldermen were responsible for these people. The Jews received from them advice on household goods, unemployed support and food (ration coupons). The Jews themselves had one duty to be accounted for: they had to present themselves daily in the town hall (presence control), for the rest they were allowed free movement in Beverlo as long as the territory of the municipality was not trespassed. The latter was only possible with written consent of the occupier.

Starting from March 1941, the Jews who were expelled to Limburg were forced to  to settle in Brussels, Liège or Charleroi. Only the women were allowed to settle in Antwerp. These Jews later met the same fate as the other Jews in their places of residence of whom a lot were later deported via Mechelen/Malines to the East.

The copies of the expulsion orders at the Antwerp Archives:
The FelixArchief has recently released the collection with expulsion orders to the public in a digitzed format which was done with the assistance of the “Yad Vashem – The Holocaust martyra’s and heroes remembrance authority”. You can check these ‘Expulsion Orders’  with the microfilm readers at the FelixArchief. There is also an inventory of the ‘Expulsion Orders’  on the website of the FelixArchief  (see: http://zoeken.felixarchief.be/zHome/Home.aspx?id_isad=317258) or you can get the inventory here on my website, see:  Expulsion Orders from WWII at the FelixArchief – Part 2: Researching The Inventory (caution: it can take sometime to load due to the considerable size of the inventory list). If you want to get the list via the website of the FelixArchief, you will need to be signed-in (see for instructions my other article: “How to subscribe to the online services of the Antwerp Archives).
It is my intention in this article to explain how to use the inventory list and how to get copies of the ‘Expulsion Order’s of your relatives.

Getting copies of the ‘Expulsion Orders’:
First you obviously need to get the table with the inventory from the website of the Antwerp Archives or from my website which you can get both get via the links I mentioned in the introduction. Then when you have the table with the inventory you’ll need to find the name of the person you were looking for. Then when and if you have the name, you need first to check the ‘Inventarisnummer’ (translation: Inventory number) which is the number in the first column. For my great-grandfather (Gerschon Lehrer)’s entry that would be MA#23413 as can be seen in the next screenshot:

(In red is my great-grandfather, his Inventory number is MA#23413, note that the names in the blue boxes, which are from my grandfather and his brother, do have the same inventory number, the filenumbers (in column F) are indeed close to each other. You can also find the alien file number in the 7th column (column G), this is indeed a way to find an alien file number. Read my other articles for more on the Antwerp immigrants files).

Now open in your webbrowser the following page: http://zoeken.felixarchief.be  and click on the tab ‘Mijn mandje’ (translation: My basket):

This will bring us to the next screen with a logon prompt if we did not sign in yet   (see my other article: “How to subscribe to the online services of the Antwerp Archives“):

In the next screen we need to fill in the inventory number in the boxes near ‘Inventarisnummer’. In the first box you need to enter what precedes the hash-sign (#) (in our case MA) and the second box what comes after the hash-sign (in our case 23413), then click on the button ‘Toevoegen’ (Translation: Add):

In the next screen we will be able to see in which filing cabinet we can find the record we are looking  for:

In our case MA#23413 seems to be spread over two boxes (usually you’ll find out that the inventory number is spread out over just one box, our case seems to be one of the exceptions):


(translation: Microfilm=Microfilm, Kast= filing cabinet, Lade=drawer, Doos=box).

Any ‘Expulsion Order’ you are looking for is in filing cabinet number 1. You can find that filing cabinet on your left side when you enter the computer room after leaving the bigger reading room (there is only one filing cabinet on that side of computer room).

MA#23413 has some  331 ‘Expulsion Orders’ with different ‘Dossiernummer’‘s   (translation: file number). You find the file number in    the 6th column. In our case, the file number for my great-grandfather is 6819.  The ‘Expulsion Order’s are sorted in a  chronological  order by these file numbers. Therefore we can, with the microfilm reader, scroll through the rolls to find the relevant file we are looking for.

I started with box 46 but the file was not there. The last file number of box 46 was a lower number then 6819, therefore   I needed to get box 47 in which I found it and I scanned it with the microfilm reader to the PC (check with the personnel for instruction how to work with the PC and the microfilm readers).

Box 46:

Here you can see screenshots of pages I found in the ‘Expulsion Order’ with number 6819 of my great-grandfather Gerschon Lehrer. He was not deported but was hidden from 1942 until the end of the war in the Belgian Ardennes:

Here again is the link to the inventory table on my website:  Expulsion Orders from WWII at the FelixArchief – Part 2: Researching The Inventory (caution: it can possibly slow down your web browser while the page loads due to the considerable size of the inventory table).

Sources used:

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