James M. Deem, "The Prisoners of Breendonk: Personal Histories from a World War II Concentration Camp" (Mariner Books, 2020)
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Fort Breendonk was built in the early 1900s to protect Antwerp, Belgium, from possible German invasion. Damaged at the start of World War I, it fell into disrepair . . . until the Nazis took it over after their invasion of Belgium in 1940. Never designated an official concentration camp by the SS and instead labeled a "reception" camp where prisoners were held until they were either released or transported, Breendonk was no less brutal. About 3,600 prisoners were held there--just over half of them survived. As one prisoner put it, "I would prefer to spend nineteen months at Buchenwald than nineteen days at Breendonk."
In The Prisoners of Breendonk: Personal Histories from a World War II Concentration Camp (Mariner Books, 2020), , James M. Deem pieces together the story of the camp by telling the stories of its victims--Jews, communists, resistance fighters, and common criminals--for the first time in an English-language publication. Leon Nolis's haunting photography of the camp today accompanies the wide range of archival images.
The story of Breendonk is one you will never forget.
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