Victor Malbecq has been the driving force for remembrance in Schandelah for 24 years. Every year since 1983 he, surviving former prisoners und relations of their families have come to Neuengamme to take part in memorial services at locations of former external concentration camps. He was, for many years, accompanied by Eugène Marion until his death. On such occasion the local participant experienced the families’ remembrance of close relatives lost through deportation or murder. Those who were killed and those who survived were until then unknown or anonymous victims. This tradition will continue for future generations.
Victor Malbecq, who was born in Brussels on 22. June 1925 was involved in the Belgian resistance until he was arrested in Brussels on 13. August 1944. He was imprisoned in a Belgian prison until his deportation on 31. August. From 2. September 1944 he became a concentration camp prisoner in Neuengamme. Approximately a week later he was transferred to Schandelah. His parents did not know if he was still alive or where he was kept prisoner. From 7. September he had to endure the awful conditions in the concentration camp on Schandelah’s doorstep. At a quarter to twelve on the night of 14. Mai 1945 he was able to return to his family.
Victor Malbecq has been president of “Amicale belge de Neuengamme” for several years. In his memorial speech on 20. May 2007 he drew attention to the erection of the memorial in Schandelah-Wohld in May 1985 and referred to the survivors who were present at the ceremony:
“I am the only person here today who attended the first memorial service in May 1985. By the way there are only six of us still alive. If we look at the few figures available we find that 173 Belgians were kept in prison here. 87 of them died during their imprisonment. Almost all the prisoners from Schandelah were people who loved freedom and democracy more than anything and who fought with all the means at their disposal against Nazi oppression and the occupation of their countries by the German army.”