par Caestecker, Franck;Morelli, Anne
Référence Revue Belge d'histoire contemporaine, 40, 3, page (383-413)
Publication Publié, 2010
Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : After the first World War the democratized Belgian state had to accommodate more interests. This resulted in a protectionist alien policy that received its definitive shape in the beginning of the 1930s. Immigration was only tolerated when Belgian private interests were not harmed and foreigners were relegated to a second rate position. Yet, the straightjacket into which refugees, like other foreigners, were forced, burst open quickly and they obtained some timid concessions. While in the 1920s those who were forced to flee their country could still enter as regular immigrants, this was no longer possible during the economic downturn of the 1930s. The refugees from Nazi-Germany had to claim asylum, but the already admitted Russian and Armenian refugees, also demanded a more generous hospitality to prevent the stricter policy from marginalizing their social position in Belgium. For the refugees already in Belgium migrant policy was softened, because the policymakers, under pressure of the international refugee lobby, realized that these refugees were there to stay. The newcomers, mainly refugees from Nazi-Germany, had to be scrutinized in an individual eligibility procedure. Political and Jewish refugees were evaluated in a different manner. The Jewish refugees were considered as second rate refugees with only temporary protection, a policy that reflected their milder persecution until 1938. However, when the brutality of the persecution of Jews increased after 1938, they nevertheless remained excluded from permanent refugee status. Mainly because of an assertive pro refugee lobby and Jewish aid organizations the large number of Jewish refugees who arrived from Germany at the very end of the 1930s could still rely on temporary protection. From September 1939 onwards the proponents of an "energetic" immigration policy that made no humanitarian concessions became more influential, which finally led to the decision in March 1940 to consider Jewish refugees as unwanted immigrants.