Epilogue

What happened to the imprisoned residents of Bassines afterwards?

Mr. Cougnet was sentenced to two years’ internment in Bergen-Belsen. As he spoke German as well he was transferred to the nursing department of the concentration camp of Gross Rosen. In the beginning of 1945 the Russians approached. It was decided to clear the camp with trucks. A two-hours’ drive to the west and that meant liberation by the Americans. Before departure the German doctor came to Mr. Cougnet and asked him to stay as an interpreter, so that he could continue talking to patients. The Russians would soon liberate the camp and then he was saved and moreover he could put up a word for the German doctor to the Russians. Mr. Cougnet agrees to it and is staying. But then SS-soldiers, who are with withdrawing for the approaching Russian army, are coming there.. They decide to clear the camp to cover up all their tracks and to make the captives walk to Bergen-Belsen. The march of death is beginning. Those, who cannot persevere, are shot dead mercilessly. Mr. Cougnet will never arrive in Bergen-Belsen.

All the children under 16 years are transferred to a home in Lindebeek and will survive the war. Robert Arouete escapes with Margot’s help. They go into hiding at brave Walloons in the neighbourhood. Mr. Cougnet’s sons are going to a prison and will be released after some months of ordeal. The eldest son, Pierre, weighed 30 kilos then. The complete Frenel (Frenkel) family is deported to Auschwitz, only the two sisters returned. The same fate hits Philippe II (Wijckmans). Nothing happens to the gentile students, they return home.

A different story is Kurt Pick, the baker/economist. He remains in bed and pretends to be seriously ill. They believe him. Some days later he leaves Bassines and tells the German watch post that he is required to go to hospital urgently. He is allowed to leave. He even wrote a book about his experiences.

And to the traitors?

In Méan there was only one mail box and it was being watched by the underground. It was seen that a pro German person put two letters in this mail box. At night the mail box was cracked and the contents was looked at. The two letters concerned were taken out. One was addressed to the Kommandantur in Huy, the other to the Kommandantur in Marche. The names of some men who went into hiding in Bassines were mentioned. The letters are taken along with them. This all took place before the razzia in Bassines. The underground decides to eliminate the traitors. They go to their home to find only their two children. They are waiting for their parents who are coming soon. A brief lawsuit follows, the sentence is death penalty. Both parents are shot, but also the two children. The elder is a 13-year-old girl. It was taken ill of the underground seriously.