Comité de Défense des Juifs

Committee for the Defence of Jews (CDJ)
Comité de Défense des Juifs
Joods Verdedigingscomiteit
Participant in the Belgian Resistance (World War II)
Active September 1942~
Leaders Hertz Jospa Yvonne Jospa
Area of operations Across Belgium
Opponents German Occupying Forces

The Comité de Défense des Juifs or CDJ (Dutch: Joods Verdedigingscomiteit, JVD, English: Committee for the Protection of Jews) was an organization of the Belgian Resistance, affiliated to the Front de l'Indépendance, founded by the Jewish Communist Hertz Jospa and his wife Have Groisman (Yvonne Jospa) of Solidarité juive in September 1942.[1] It was founded in the house of Fela Perelman.[2]

The CDJ had thirty-odd members in its children's section alone. These members formed an effective committee and came from all political and religious horizons, overcoming their divergent views to unite for the sake of saving Jewish children. The CDJ succeeded in saving about 3,000[3] of the 5,000 children who became enfants cachés ("hidden children", hidden among non-Jewish Belgian families, convents, etc.). The CDJ was also involved in other aspects of the resistance, producing the clandestine publications such as Unser Worth ("Our Word"[4]).

The CDJ also functioned as a national organisation in the field of social services. The section Kinderen (Children) became responsible for hiding and supporting those who had gone underground. The co-operation and assistance from the non-Jewish sector was remarkable. Thanks to 'unarmed resistance fighters' more than 3,000 Jews were rescued from deportation. The price paid for this campaign, however, was high. Many members of the CDJ together with their collaborators were arrested by the authorities.[5]

See also


  1. Van Minnebruggen, Hugo (16 July 2004). "Het Joods Verdedigingscomiteit (JVC/CDJ)" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  2. "Marriage".
  3. Moore, edited by Bob (2000). Resistance in Western Europe (1. publ. ed.). Oxford: Berg. p. 51. ISBN 1859732798.
  4. "Help for the Jews: a ray of hope". Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance. Retrieved 2009-10-24.

Additional bibliography and filmography

  • French: Lucien Steinberg, Le Comité de défense des juifs en Belgique, 1942-1944, Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles, Brussels, 1973
  • French: Maxime Steinberg, "L'enfant caché, le défi à la Shoah" in Isabelle Emery (ed.), Histoire et mémoire des Juifs d'Anderlecht Années 20-40, Anderlecht, 2009
  • French: Didier Roten (from a book by Bernard Krouck), La mission de Victor Martin, Les Films de la Mémoire, video, 55 minutes (summary, in French)
  • French: Myriam Abramowicz et Esther Hoffenberg, Comme si c’était hier, Ping-Pong Production (Distribution: National Center for Jewish Film, Brandeis University), 1980, 86 minutes, documentary
  • French: "Un simple maillon", documentary film by Frédéric Dumont and Bernard Balteau in which Andrée Geulen tells how 12 women of the Comité de Défense des Juifs organised themselves in occupied Belgium to save thousands of children. Production: Les Films de la Mémoire, RTBF, WIP
  • French: Bernard Balteau, Les enfants sans ombre, 2009, Production: Dérives & RTBF, Brussels, The history of Shaul Harel, formerly Charlie Hillsberg, young boy hidden in Belgian families to escape Nazi deportation during World War II
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