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Ordinary anti-Semitism. Investigating police practices in Cureghem.

CegeSoma Public History Meeting (2023-7)

Conference-debate (in French) with guest Yasmina Zian

Interview by Bruno Benvindo

Before the 1930s, Belgium's political and intellectual elite did not advocate anti-Semitic ideas. But was anti-Semitism nonetheless harmless in Belgium?

Through an original investigation, Yasmina Zian reveals the mechanics of criminalization of Jews by the Belgian Aliens Police between 1880 and 1930. This criminalization is seen as a form of institutional racism generated by widespread Judeophobic stereotypes, and questions the practices and representations of the Aliens Police.
Her investigation is based more specifically on the surveillance of Jewish foreigners in Cureghem. Highly stigmatized, the Cureghem district is labelled as Jewish, poor and foreign by the police. As a result, Cureghem's Jews were more likely to be the target of surveillance based on the criminalization they were subject to, which varied according to prevailing stereotypes as well as their class affiliation, nationality, gender, "race" and place of residence.
This book, illustrated with the life stories of foreigners, highlights the three criminal figures of the foreign Jew who preoccupy the Aliens Police: the " Jewish peddler ", the "Boche Jew" and the " Judeo-Bolshevik ".

On Wednesday 22 November 2023, CegeSoma and the non-profit organization 'Les Amis du CegeSoma' are pleased to invite you to discover in greater depth the results of Yasmina Zian's research as part of their Public History Meetings.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Yasmina Zian is a Doctor of History. 'Un antisémitisme ordinaire. Représentations judéophobes et pratiques policières (1880-1930)' is the fruit of her PhD research. After completing post-doctoral research at the Royal Academy of Belgium on the restitution of cultural heritage in a colonial context, she was awarded a Swiss Confederation Excellence Scholarship, which enabled her to carry out research at the Swiss Forum for Migration of Neuchâtel University. She then trained in provenance research at the Musée d'ethnographie de Neuchâtel. Since June 2023, she has been working at the C²DH (University of Luxembourg) on the spoliation of Jewish property during World War II in Luxembourg.


Bruno Benvindo is a historian. He worked as a researcher at the Université libre de Bruxelles, then at CegeSoma, where he notably published 'Henri Storck, le cinéma belge et l'Occupation' (2010) and 'Décombres de la guerre. Mémoires belges en conflit, 1945-2010' (2012, with Evert Peeters).

He is currently Director of Exhibitions at the Jewish Museum of Belgium, where he is setting up a program of exhibitions questioning the intersections between art and history in the 20th century.