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TRANSMEMO is a collaboration between the State Archives (Cegesoma), UGent and UCL. It is an interdisciplinary project of historians and social psychologists. Nico Wouters, operational director of CegeSoma, is the project manager for the State Archives.


project transmemo


TRANSMEMO is a two-year research project on intergenerational transmission of memories, specifically how memories of resistance and collaboration during World War II are passed from parents to their children and grandchildren.


The method used is oral history. Through interviews with three generations (survivors-children-great-grandchildren), we examine how certain perceptions about the collaboration and resistance were formed in family circles. In this way we want to better understand how collective memories can become so persistent in a society, which in this case is relevant for example with regard to the different perceptions about WW II in French-speaking Belgium and Flanders.

The project also uses CegeSoma’s extensive collection of oral sources, and aims to open up this historical collection for the first time for the study of collective memory. The interviews made during the project will be deposited at CegeSoma.


The project also has a social component: it aims to allow children and grandchildren of collaborators and members of the resistance to confront and dialogue with each other about how their (grand)parents’ past has shaped their own lives and views. It should lead to a better understanding about the processing of WWII in Belgium, but more globally also about the role that unresolved collective traumas from the past play in creating lasting social tensions.


The series will be broadcast on Belgian radio and will also be available as podcast on the CegeSoma website Belgium WWII.


Author : Koen Aerts
ISBN : 9789463101868
Publisher: Pelckmans

This book is the result of years of research by Koen Aerts (University of Ghent/CegeSoma-State archives) and has already been  published in Dutch in 2018 by Polis (Kinderen van de repressie. Hoe Vlaanderen worstelt met de bestraffing van de collaboratie.). Based on dozens of interviews with children of Flemish collaborators, it tries to define how collaboration and post-war repression in Flanders still echo across generations.


The author combines his research with a broader political and socio-cultural history of the postwar image of collaboration and repression, so that his book becomes a larger reference work on “the past not overcome” of World War II in Flanders and Belgium.

Koen Aerts further conducted part of the follow-up research within the TRANSMEMO project (BRAIN-Belspo), in which CegeSoma (State Archives) was a partner.