Ixelles and Uccle call to rename street honouring antisemitic historical figure to resistance member who saved Jews

The communes of Uccle and Ixelles have joined forces to request that Rue Edmond Picard – which straddles both municipalities – should be renamed Rue Andrée Geulen.

Not all residents agree however, drawing up a petition protesting the proposal first debated in June 2022 by the communes’ mayors and aldermen. A decision will be made after the 13 October municipal elections.

Picard – who was born in 1836 in Brussels and died in 1924 in Dave, near Namur – was a lawyer, renowned jurist, writer, teacher and art critic.

But Picard was also known for his racist and antisemitic remarks. He notably compared the Congolese people to monkeys and condemned Jews as pests and parasites. He even questioned that Jesus Christ was a Jew.

This prompted the communes’ desire for a new name for the quiet residential street containing some beautiful houses and a few villas, mainly from the late 19th century.

Their choice is for Andrée Geulen (1921-2022), a former teacher at Woluwe-Saint-Pierre’s Athénée Royal Gatti de Gamond.

Also a writer, she was the moral opposite of Picard. A member of the Resistance in the second world war, in the early 1940s, seeing the threat to her Jewish pupils, she managed to save about 300 boys and girls from death at the hands of the Nazis.

Later in life, married to Jewish concentration camp survivor Charles Herscovici and with two children, she continued to fight for humanitarian, anti-racist and pacifist causes.


Subscribe to the EJC newsletter

Get the EJC newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

browse by community