This page lists the various web sites and e-mail addresses originally mentioned in my lecture at the IAJGS International Jewish Genealogy Conference in Washington, DC on Monday August 15, 2011, and later written up in an article in the Fall 2011 issue of AVOTAYNU: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy. I have tried over the years to update this page with new links and resources. A lot has changed over the years, although what is available is still mostly the same, if somewhat easier to access now.
To outline the lecture and article briefly, they both discussed three physical archives, the Felix Archives (the municipal archive of Antwerp), the National Archives in Brussels, and the Kazerne Dossin archive and museum in Mechelen. The first two archives have files from the Police des Étrangers (Alien’s Police), while Kazerne Dossin contains several sets of records that largely cover the Jews under the German oocupation that started in 1940. This includes multiple registrations and the deportation lists to Auschwitz.
The Felix Archives (the city archive of Antwerp, Belgium) web site is only available in Flemish (largely the same as Dutch), and thus if you don’t speak Flemish or Dutch, you’ll need to use Google Translate or similar to navigate it. You can now find many documents on the archive web site, and can search from the main page or from the Advanced Search page. Many of the Police des Étrangers files can now be viewed online directly, or requested for download (you might need to request some files so they know you’re family before giving you access). I don’t know for sure that the files microfilmed are identical to those available in this search, but at the minimum I suspect there are files in this search that never made it onto microfilm. These files are also scanned in color, so you may get a better version of the same files.
To see the microfilmed version, there are two ways to find the correct file number.
The FamilySearch.org search page for the Antwerp Police des Étrangers index for 1840-1930:
The B&F browser interface for the same index of the Antwerp Police des Étrangers:
You can use the browser interface above to look through individual pages (over 10,000) of the Antwerp index.
In the old days you would take the number and have to go to the Felix Archives, as or someone in their online forums to go for you. The forum no longer exists, and the file that let you map the file number to the correct microfilm isn’t on their web site anymore (or at least not in the same place). Luckily, the microfilms are all (all that started before the end of 1930) now on the FamilySearch web site.
FamilySearch has scanned all of the images from this collection (over a million) and put them online. The only problem is that they are not yet indexed and searchable. The good news is that they are divided up into many collections that are organized by the file number you would have found above. Thus you can skip to the section that has your file and navigate through the images to find the one you need based on the file number. It’s not perfect, but it works and rather than having to sort through millions of images, you only need to navigate through a few hundred at a time. The link to these images on FamilySearch is:
Just go to that link and click on ‘Browse through 1,339,442 images’ and then select the link to the collection that includes the file number you’re looking to find.
National Archives in Brussels
The National Archives web site is available in English, but is not particularly useful for this research.
To request a search of the Police des Étrangers files at the National Archives, send an e-mail to:
with the subject: Police des Etrangers files
and be sure to include as much information about each individual as you can, including their name, any alternate names (nicknames, etc.), the names of their spouse(s), parents, children, where they were born, where else they lived, etc. With spouse’s names be sure to include their maiden name. Request them to check the connected files listed on the folder cover for each record and send you the list of relatives mentioned. They will respond with a list of files that match your search, and directions for contacting Reproduction Services in order to get an invoice with the final price. Last time I ordered records, they were 30 euro cents per page for scans.
The Kazerne Dossin Memorial, Museum and Documentation Centre on Holocaust and Human Rights has records on people who were rounded up by the Germans during the occupation of Belgium that started in May 1940. If your family left Belgium before May 1940, it’s unlikely that there are records in Kazerne Dossin.
Some of the files at Kazerne Dossin can be searched online, including photographs of people (collected largely from the Police des Étrangers files) and deportation lists of the Jews that were sent to Auschwitz in 1942 from the station in Mechelen (where the museum now sits). Other files like the multiple registrations of Jews done, are not searchable online (probably because they are not owned by the museum), but you can request copies of those files by sending a request to the museum and sending details about your family members that lived in Belgium at the time.
For a search request at Kazerne Dossin, contact Archivist Dorien Styven at:
Be sure to include as much information as you know, including names, birth dates, birth locations, maiden names, etc.
If something on this page is incorrect, or a link no longer works, etc. please contact me via e-mail to let me know. Thank you.
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