Press invitation: VUB takes part in 8 May national celebration of freedom and resistance

Press invitation: VUB takes part in 8 May national celebration of freedom and resistance

On 8 May, Vrije Universiteit Brussel commemorates staff and students who died in the resistance during World War II

Thursday 4 May 2023 – In World War II, 15,000 members of the Belgian resistance were killed. Executed, beheaded, shot in the street and tortured to death. They were ordinary citizens carrying out extraordinary acts against the occupier. Among them were students and staff of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). We remember them on 8 May during a ceremony on the VUB campus, as part of the national 8 May campaign. The organisers of this campaign want to make Victory in Europe Day a holiday in Belgium, as a moment of social cohesion and a shared desire for peace and solidarity.

“We reflect on the importance of the liberation in 1945, the lessons to be learned from that dark period today, and the importance of the university in this,” a statement reads. With this commemorative moment, the VUB community, in the presence of rector Jan Danckaert, will highlight the importance of the 1945 liberation and the fragility and significance of peace and democracy.

“Yesterday’s brutality must be known about in order to defend today’s democracy,” VUB honorary doctor and Holocaust survivor Simon Gronowski wrote in his memoirs. “Democracy is an everyday struggle. Forgetting is dangerous for humanity.”

“In times of increasing intolerance, remembering the excesses that intolerance can lead to constitutes an act of democratic and humanist citizenship,” says Dimo Kavadias, professor of sociology and political science at VUB.

“We must keep the horrors of fascism alive, including for students,” adds history student Brent Huygh. “That’s why a commemorative event like this is essential.”

The programme of the commemoration was drawn up by VUB professors, students, researchers and staff. It includes a testimonial from Simon Gronowski, speeches and poetry by students and staff and musical accompaniment from the VUB choir Café Latte and Lucy Grauman. Students have written an open letter headed “For a free university, against fascism”.

The event is part of VUB’s commitment as an urban engaged university to connect academia with society and enable social engagement to flourish. Alongside VUB, a number of organisations, museums, schools, businesses and public places are organising events on 7 and 8 May.

Would you like to attend?

The commemoration takes place on 8 May, from 12.30 to 13.30 in the green Atrium in front of Building D (Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Elsene). If you wish to attend, please contact

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Nathalie Vlaemynck
Nathalie Vlaemynck TIJDELIJK AFWEZIG - Woordvoerder en algemeen perscontact



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Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society.

The World Needs You

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel assumes its scientific and social responsibility with love and decisiveness. That’s why VUB launched the platform De Wereld Heeft Je Nodig – The World Needs You, which brings together ideas, actions and projects based on six Ps. The first P stands for People, because that’s what it’s all about: giving people equal opportunities, prosperity, welfare, respect. Peace is about fighting injustice, big and small, in the world. Prosperity combats poverty and inequality. Planet stands for actions on biodiversity, climate, air quality, animal rights... With Partnership, VUB is looking for joint actions to make the world a better place. The sixth and last P is for Poincaré, the French philosopher Henri Poincaré, from whom VUB derives its motto that thinking should submit to nothing except the facts themselves. VUB is an ‘urban engaged university’, strongly anchored in Brussels and Europe and working according to the principles of free research.


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