Fort Breendonk, Willebroek

Fort Breendonk (Dutch: Fort van Breendonk, French: Fort de Breendonk) is a military fortification situated at Breendonk, near Mechelen, in Belgium which is best known for its role as a Nazi prison camp (Auffanglager) during the German occupation of Belgium during World War II.

Fort Breendonk was originally built for the Belgian army between 1906-13 as part of the second ring of defenses of the National Redoubt protecting the important port-city of Antwerp. It was covered by a five-metre thick layer of soil for defense against bombings, a water-filled moat and measured 656 by 984 feet (200 by 300 m).
During World War II, the fort was requisitioned by the Germans as a prison camp for detaining Belgian political dissidents, captured resistance members and Jews. Although technically a prison rather than a concentration camp, the Fort was infamous for its prisoners' poor living conditions and for the use of torture. Most prisoners who were detained at the camp were later transferred to larger concentration camps in Eastern Europe. Of the 3,590 prisoners known to have been imprisoned at Breendonk, 303 died or were executed within the fort itself but as many as 1,741 died subsequently in other camps before the end of the war.
Today, the site is a national memorial and museum which is open to the public.
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Fort Breendonk Reviews

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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
357 reviews
  • Didn't expect the museum to be so well set-up, because the website looks rather bad. The audio tour is very thorough and it takes a good 2.5 hours to see the whole site, but it's definitely worth it.....  more »
  • Very well preserved. Guided audiotour a good extra. A lot of information available on and around the site.  more »
  • The staff were very helpful and even offered to let us keep our motorcycle helmets behind their desks so we did have to carry them, which was very kind. They also give you a audio handset to listen to on the way round. Which I highly recommend using, It adds to the story of place and you find out things you would never have known otherwise. Brilliant museum but a very sobering place to visit.
  • Must see for everyone. Puts you right back down on your feet. Well set up, built around stories of victims of this site.

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