Portrait of Lahaut
6 September 1884|
|Died||18 August 1950
Julien Lahaut (6 September 1884 – 18 August 1950) was a Belgian politician and leader of the Communist Party. He was assassinated by royalists during the "Royal Question", allegedly for expressing republican sentiments.
During the First World War, Lahaut served in the Belgian Expeditionary Corps in Russia. He later became a Communist deputy and chairman of the Communist Party of Belgium, and was particularly vocal for his republican sympathies.
World War II
During the German occupation of Belgium and as the head of the Communist Party, Lahaut led the Strike of the 100,000 in 1941. After failing to escape from captivity in the Citadel of Huy, he was deported to Mauthausen concentration camp. Although suffering considerable health effects, he was still alive when the camp was liberated by the Allies in 1945.
On 11 August 1950 Prince Royal Baudouin took a constitutional oath as future King, before the United Chambers of the Belgium Parliament. One of the Communist deputies present shouted "Vive la République!" ("Long Live the Republic!") in protest. Lahaut was reported to have been the deputy responsible, though in the confusion of the moment this remains unconfirmed. A week later, on 18 August 1950, Lahaut was assassinated by two gunmen outside his home in Seraing.
François Goossens, a Belgian royalist, was later identified as one of the murderers, although it is uncertain if he fired the actual shots.
Coming as it did immediately after a time of constitutional crisis (the "Royal Question"), Lahaut's death caused widespread outrage, especially in left-wing circles. Strikes were organized all over the country, while 300,000 people attended his funeral. The Communist newspaper Le Drapeau Rouge carried the headline "A monstrous crime! Our dear comrade Julian Lahout, leader of the Communist party, was assassinated last night by the Leo-Rexists".[note 1]
On 19 July 2012, the Belgian Senate accepted to consider a legal proposal to extend funding for a historical study on the assassination. On 17 August 2012, minister Paul Magnette announced a federal contribution of €320,000 to the study.
- "Leo-Rexists" is a hybrid of "Leopoldist" (supporter of Leopold III) and "Rexist" (members of a pro-Nazi collaborationist party in Belgium during the Second World War)
- "Nieuwe bekentenis in moored op Julien Lahaut" (in Dutch). Knack. 2007-12-04. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
- Stéphany, Pierre; Haquin, René (2005). Les grands dossiers criminels en Belgique (vol 1). Brussels: Racine. p. 87.
- "Acts" (in Dutch). Belgian Senate. 2012-07-19. pp. 43 and 68. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- "Wetgevingsstuk nr. 5-1706/1" (in Dutch). Belgian Senate. 2012-07-19. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- "Assassinat de Julien Lahaut: 500.000 € pour relancer l'enquête" (in French). La Meuse. 2012-08-17. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- "Magnette maakt 320.000 euro vrij voor vervolg onderzoek moord op Lahaut" (in Dutch). Knack. 2012-08-17. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- Rudy Van Doorslaer & Etienne Verhoeyen, L'assassinat de Julien Lahaut, EPO, Bruxelles, 1987.
- Biography on the website of the Jules Destrée Institute (French)
- Call for a Parliamentary Commission on Julien Lahaut's assassination, 2000 (French)
- Nollet débloque 150.000 euros pour investiguer sur l'assassinat de Julien Lahaut at Le Vif