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Order of Leopold II Knight class medal, ribbon and silver palm citation awarded to a Belgian resistance fighter

Object | Accession Number: 2005.25.10

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    Order of Leopold II Knight class medal, ribbon and silver palm citation awarded to a Belgian resistance fighter

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Order of Leopold II Chevalier medal, ribbon, and silver palm citation awarded to Roger Francois by the Belgian government for his service to his country during World War II. During the German occupation of Belgium, 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 wartime service.
    Date
    commemoration:  1940-1945
    issue:  1950 July 19
    Geography
    issue: Belgium
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Guy Francois
    Markings
    medal, front center, embossed : L UNION FAIT LA FORCE [UNITY MAKES STRENGTH]
    Contributor
    Subject: Roger L. François
    Biography
    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

    Language
    French
    Classification
    Military Insignia
    Category
    Medals
    Physical Description
    Silver colored metal Maltese cross with ball tipped finials overlaid on a cutout laurel leaf wreath. The attached navy blue ribbon has a wide central vertical black stripe. A silver palm citation is pinned to the ribbon. The medal front has an embossed rampant lion of Belgium on a black enamel field, surrounded by a blue enamel ring with silver French text. A crown shaped suspension ring attached at the top with a jump ring to attach the ribbon. The reverse has a center cavity with red adhesive paste where a section of the medallion is missing.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 5.250 inches (13.335 cm) | Width: 1.375 inches (3.493 cm)
    Materials
    overall : metal, ribbon, enamel, adhesive

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The 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:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn516409

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