"Anderlecht, community of the colourful people" Anderlecht by irisbe
Anderlecht Travel Guide: 7 reviews and 22 photos
Incredible, that is what I was thinking meeting up this remarkable man on a visit to Anderlecht on November 14th 2004. His name is Max and he is born on 8th January 1914.
That is right! He is almost 91 years old!
We intended to meet him at the Museum of Resistance at 10 minutes walk from the Midi Station. There Max would explain his role in the resistance. However, the person who needed to open up the door for us didn’t show up.
No other option left then to look up a pub nearby. Not so easy in the allochtone area of Anderlecht. Near the Midi Market we luckily found the Portuguese pub opened where we had a drink earlier after visiting the market.
Here Max started to tell his stories. Who wanted the 2nd World War initially to happen? And how it turned towards the ones who thought that Germany would clean up Russia for them.
We learned why a communist country as Russia made this agreement with Germany not to attack, knowing that soon they would anyway. That is the reason Stalin invested in heavy industry and prepared an eventually attack of the Germans later on.
We learned how this pact turned the war towards the West and how those who closed their eyes for Hitler’s march towards the East, now had a piece of their own cake.
Max, as a young guy, read a lot of subversive literature, banned literature and started to put one and one together. When the WWII started, he, as 17-year old was the one in Limburg who took initiative to start to get together a group of people to resist the Germans in any way.
He was well literate. Later he became journalist and translator/commentator in war/news flash movies, shown before the main movie.
He was an atheist and communist and that would break up after the war when he was in 1952 put on trial for his cooperation of the killing of 5 collaborators the day before the liberation.
It should not come as a surprise that these kind of trials started so many years later, after the Catholics came in charge again. However the testimonies of the witnesses where so much contradictory and Max did had a nice archive of papers and pictures, it soon became clear that this was more a revenge trial on those who risked their lives by the same persons who used to howl with the occupier. So the 19 years sentence of forced labour they demanded as punishment for Max was turned into setting him free. The trial took 5 months.
He told about the hide away of a crashed English pilot, how they could save his foot and get him to the start of the escape route back home. The pilot flew back to the battlefield on a new mission. How they were risking their lives to find financial support of sympathisers: 1 wrong word to the wrong person and you risked your life and many others.
Max has still not told everything. Unfortunately we needed to go back home as our train was waiting. After discovering all his papers (many originals) in the first bag he carried, we had to excuse ourselves for not having the time to explore the 2nd bag. I hope we still can do another time and wish Max a long life to tell his story!
On the pictures: Max today and then; Max and the detailed dead list of collaborators (who needed to be exterminated, when it happened and who did the action); Max with his smallest bag and finally Max with one of the false identity cards (this is of his 1st wife) they needed to use during the war.
To some people we were terrorists, to others we were freedom fighters.
How you will be called now and in the future, it all depends on who rules the media and who writes history.
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