On Sunday, February 10, a parade in the Belgian city of Aalst is expected to feature a railway wagon with participants dressed as Nazi SS officers holding canisters of Zyklon B gas, led by an actor dressed as Adolph Hitler.
According to the Flemish VTM network and the Facebook page of a group called FTP, the parade represents Flemish nationalists deporting French speakers from Flanders.
One of the organizers, Jacques Jacquemin, reportedly stated that, “this is our deportation wagon and we are going to deport anything French”-- apparently intended as a satirical attack on the leaders of the Flemish nationalist N-VA Party."
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre wrote a letter to Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo urging him "to investigate the circumstances and stop this abomination," suggesting that "the very idea be presented to Belgian youth - both French and Flemish speaking - as a case study of genocide banalization."
"Such an abomination would be a subliminal step towards recurrence," wrote Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Centre's Director for International Relations.
Samuels recalled that "on 8 May 2012, when Belgium held the Presidency of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, Di Rupo led 1,000 young people on a memorial train journey from the Schaerbeek station - from which the Jews were deported - to their final destination at Auschwitz-Birkenau."
"If these reports are correct, your ‘train of 1,000' - a magnificent educational initiative - on Sunday will be blown asunder by an act of Holocaust revisionist terrorism”, asserted Samuels.
From August 1942 to July 1944, some 25,000 Jews were deported from Belgium, most of whom were transported to Auschwitz, although some were sent to the Lodz ghetto, the Theresienstadt ghetto-camp, the Bergen-Belsen camp, and elsewhere.