|Born||12 Jun 1902|
|Died||2 Feb 1973|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseHendrik Josef Elias was born in Machelen, Flemish Brabant, Belgium. He studied law and philosophy from Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, University of Paris in France, and University of Bonn in Germany. In 1930, he turned to politics when he began voicing his nationalist views, aligning himself with those who advocated the formation of Greater Netherlands (Dutch: Groot-Nederland or Dietsland), a new state consisted of the Netherlands and northern Belgium that united Dutch speaking peoples. In 1932, he was elected to the Parliament as a member of the Chamber of Representatives. In 1933, he joined the newly formed political party Flemish National Union (Dutch: Vlaams Nationale Verbond). During the German occupation of Belgium in WW2, he collaborated with the Germans, and was awarded the position of Mayor of Ghent in 1941. In 1942, he became the head of VNV, succeeding Staf De Clercq. Although he resisted German efforts to recruit Belgians into Hitler Youth and Waffen-SS organizations, he actively recruited for the German Luftwaffe and sent laborers to Germany. When his political rival Jef van de Wiele began to be favored by the Germans (partly for Wiele's support for Flanders falling under a German sphere of influence), Elias privately voiced his concerns that Nazism and Flemish Catholicism were growing incompatible with each other, he continued to recruit for the German war effort, citing that a German victory was needed for Belgian prosperity. In Sep 1944, as Allied troops entered Belgium, he fled to Germany and played no further role in the war. He was arrested in Germany by the French after the war. He was found guilty of treason by a Belgian court and was sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He was released in 1959 for health reasons. In 1971, he published the autobiographical Vijfentwintig Jaar Vlaamse Beweging (Twenty-five Years of Flemish Movement. He passed away in 1973.
Last Major Revision: Jul 2017
Hendrik Elias Timeline
|12 Jun 1902Â||Hendrik Elias was born in Machelen, Flemish Brabant, Belgium.|
|24 Dec 1959Â||In Belgium, Hendrik Elias was released from imprisonment for health reasons.|
|2 Feb 1973Â||Hendrik Elias passed away in Ukkel, Brussels, Belgium.|
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