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City of Ghent Commemorative Medal 1940-1945 medal with ribbon awarded to a Belgian resistance fighter

Object | Accession Number: 2005.25.5

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    City of Ghent Commemorative Medal 1940-1945 medal with ribbon awarded to a Belgian resistance fighter


    Brief Narrative
    City of Ghent Commemorative Medal 1940-1945 medal with ribbon awarded to Roger Francois by the city of Ghent, Belgium, to honor his service in the Belgian resistance during the German occupation, May 1940-September 1944. The German military governed alongside the Belgian civil service. The Germans sought to deport all Jews to concentration camps; the Belgian civil service did not cooperate. By 1942, there was a significant resistance movement. Francois actively assisted Jews in avoiding these round-ups and in finding places to live in hiding. He was captured and interned at Buchenwald and Flossenbürg concentration camps in Germany, and was not liberated until April 1945. Francois was honored with multiple awards for his war time service.
    commemoration:  1940-1945
    issue:  approximately 1945
    issue: Ghent (Belgium)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Guy Francois
    medal, front top, embossed : 1940 1945
    medal, reverse center, embossed : GANDAVUM / CIVES MAGNÆ / VIRTUTIS COLIT [Great Citizens of Ghent Cultivate Virtue]
    Subject: Roger L. François
    Roger Leon Francois was born on July 23, 1914, in Ledeberg, Belgium. He served in the Belgian Army throughout the 1930s. He was given leave from the Congo to marry Johanna F. on March 12, 1936. In May 1940, Germany invaded and occupied Belgium. Roger became a member of OMBR [Organisation Militaire Belge de Résistance], the Belgian Military Resistance Organization. He participated in sabotage actions and actively assisted Jews to go into hiding to avoid deportation by the German authorities. He was arrested in Brussels by the Germans in 1942, and deported to Flossenbürg, than Buchenwald concentration camp. His prisoner number was 60481. He may have been released on June 17, 1944, due to ill health pursuant to a prisoner release agreement negotiated by the Dutch. Buchenwald was liberated by American troops in April 1945, not long before the war ended in May. Roger was honored with multiple awards and medals for his wartime service by the Belgian government. Roger resumed his service in the Belgian Army. He worked as a photographer for the Belgian embassy, as a cryptographer for NATO, and was stationed in the Belgian Embassy in Washington DC for three years. In 1960, he retired from the military after twenty years. He, his wife, and their four children, two boys and two girls, remained in the US. Roger was a dedicated employee of the Piedmont School of the Wilson Boulevard Christian Church. Roger, age 79, died in 1993.

    Physical Details

    Military Insignia
    Physical Description
    Bronze colored, circular medal with an attached ribbon that is divided vertically with white on the right and black on the left, the colors of Ghent. The front has an embossed design of 2 men in profile: on the left is a crowned king with a broken chain in his right hand; with his left arm, he embraces a man whose forehead he is kissing. Above are the numerical years 1940 1945 and below is a shield with the lion of Ghent, and an upright laurel branch. The reverse has 2 laurel branches and Latin text. A suspension ring is attached at the top to a jump ring through which the ribbon is threaded.
    overall: Height: 4.000 inches (10.16 cm) | Width: 1.375 inches (3.493 cm)
    overall : metal, ribbon, adhesive

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The City of Ghent medal was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Guy Francois, the son of Roger Francois.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-31 14:45:38
    This page:

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