Fort Breendonk Panorama, Belgium

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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Panoramas of the 200 most prominent Belgium Points of Interest