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François de Coster

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De Coster (Wespelaar April 28 1920 - May 20 2011) was a Belgian survivor of the concentration camp Buchenwald.

At the outbreak of the war the family fled to France, but they quickly returned home.

The anti-German feelings of the family were a consequence of the First World War. The brother of father Jos, Frans De Coster was captured during the battle of Wespelaar, after which he (and a number of civilians who had hid with him in a cellar) were transported to the cemetery of Wakkerzeel where they had their own grave had to dig before being fought.

In 1942 the Coster's father Josephus founded the still existing company Dynamotor De Coster in which François and later also younger brothers Willem (Willy) and Roger were employed. He also gave work to refusal of work and supported the Belgian resistance in World War II resistance financially. François' brother Willy was a member of the National Royal Movement and transported weapons for the resistance in Leuven. François helped occasionally. Willy also helped the illegal press, but was confiscated and arrested with about fifteen other young people. The others were released after a wake-up, Willy himself remained in custody for a week longer.

Presumably they were betrayed by Mrs. Caudron, the wife of a SS officer who led a cannery in Boortmeerbeek. Their villa was shot in the period before the boys' arrest with a machine gun. While the youth were stuck in the prison of Saint-Gilles, however, the villa of the couple was shot again with a machine-gun, which showed the innocence of the youngsters.

In the night of 2 to 3 March 1944, De Coster, his father and two brothers were arrested by the SS and the Gestapo, together with a few other members of the resistance from Wespelaar. They were transported by bus to the Fortress of Breendonk, with a stopover in the court of Leuven. On the bus there were also André Simonart and mayor Jules Persoons. In Breendonk De Costers were handled and forced labor. The eardrum of De Coster torn after he got a hit from collaborator Richard De Bodt.

In May 1944 the men the Coster was transferred to the Concentration Camp Buchenwald.

Willy De Coster died on 9 February 1945 by a bombing of the Allies. Father Jos died of the hardships.

François and his brother Roger, after the eviction of the camp, were obliged to participate in the death marches. François was liberated in Mittelbau-Dora, his brother Roger in Bergen-Belsen.

After the war he became chairman of the National Confederation of Political Prisoners and Rightsholders.

The surviving brothers De Coster wrote down their story in the book Van Breendonk to Ellrich-Dora. The book also contains a passage written by Louis de Becker.[1]

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