Camille Huysmans

Camille Huysmans ( born May 26, 1871 in Blizen / Limburg, † February 25, 1968 in Antwerp ) was a Belgian socialist politician and Prime Minister.

Origin, study and professional activities

Huysmans was born as Camiel Hansen and graduated in German Philology at the University of Liege. From 1893 to 1897 he worked as a teacher before he returned to the University of Liege in order to graduate as a doctor of philosophy.

Already as a student he made ​​contact with the party of the working people ( BWP), emerged from the later of the Socialist Party ( PSB). He worked as a journalist for several news magazines socialist and took in 1904 for a career in the Confederation of Trade Unions.

Political career

Secretary of the Socialist International

Huysmans was 1905-1922 Second Secretary of the Socialist International. In this capacity, he came in contact with, among others, Sun Yat-sen and other leading socialist thinkers such as Keir Hardie, Jean Jaures, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxembourg. In addition, he led 1905-1914 an extensive correspondence with Lenin, whose personal friend he was. One of the main tasks of Huysmans to 1914 was primarily a holding together the different currents of opinion. To this end, the Socialist International held several conferences such as 1907 in Stuttgart, 1910 in Copenhagen, 1912 in Basel, and in 1917 in Stockholm. During his term, he strove for an active peace policy of the International and pleaded at the International Conference of Stockholm in 1917 against a continuation of the First World War. From 1939 to 1944 he was again Secretary and President of the Socialist International.

Local politicians in Brussels and Antwerp

His political career began Huysmans as a member of the municipal council of Brussels from 1908 until 1921.

Between 1921 and 1933 he was a school head of department of the city of Antwerp. He was then to 1940 Mayor of Antwerp. After the invasion of the Wehrmacht in Belgium in 1940, he went into exile in London. During the period of exile, he was Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee. After the liberation of Belgium by the Allied Forces in 1944, he also went back to Belgium and took up again in 1946 from his position as mayor of Antwerp. From 1946 until his death he remained a member of the municipal council of Antwerp.

Member of Parliament and President

Huysmans 1910 was first elected member of the House of Representatives and represented there until 1965, the GNP. He was one of the few MPs who could look back on a more than 50 -year-old parliamentary activity. His 50-year anniversary of Parliament in 1960 was celebrated with a ceremony. However, the BSP failed him in 1965 the inclusion in its list of candidates for the general election. Huysmans then founded with De Socialist own choice list, but was not re-elected in spite of his personal high proportion of votes 14,937 votes because of the poor performance of the list in the Chamber of Deputies.

Huysmans was from 1936 to 1939 and again from 1954 to 1958 President of the Chamber of Deputies.

Ministers and Prime Minister

In the governments of Prosper Poullet and Henri Jaspar Huysmans was from 1925 to 1927 Minister of Fine Arts and teaching. In this function, as well as in his position as head of the department School of Antwerp, he was a champion of the Flemish movement and campaigned for a " Dutchification " the University of Ghent.

Him the royal honorary title was awarded a " minister of state " on September 3, 1945.

On August 3, 1946, he was elected as an 75 -year-old prime minister and formed a government with representatives of socialists, communists and liberals. This government possessed only by a majority of one vote, so that Huysmans was forced to resign early as March 20, 1947 after a little over seven months in office.

In the cabinet of his successor, Paul -Henri Spaak he was until August 11, 1949, in turn, Minister of Public Instruction.

Huysmans was extremely popular throughout life among the population. On his 75th birthday a special stamp was issued by the Belgian Post. The public honor on his 80th birthday evolved into a major event with over 100,000 participants. In a survey he was voted at number 69 of the list of the 111 greatest Belgians.

In 1908 he was inducted into the Masonic lodge Les Zélés Philanthropes in Brussels in Freemasonry. From 1914 to 1918 he was a member of the London Lodge Albert de Belgique.

Huysmans is buried in the cemetery Schoonselhof in Antwerp.

Biographical sources

  • Short biography on the website of the Belgium Prime Minister
  • Biography on the website of the Mayor of Antwerp
  • Biography in
  • January Hunin: Camille Huysmans. Het enfant terrible. 1871-1968, 1999, ISBN 90-6303-808-9 Synopsis
  • Rob Roemans, Hilda van Assche: Camille Huysmans. Burgemeester van Antwerpen, 1961 Synopsis

Publications and background literature

  • V. I. Lenin, C. Huysmans, G. Haupt (1963). Correspondance entre Lénine et Camille Huysmans, 1905-1914. Matériaux pour l' Histoire du Socialisme International, 1st ser:. Text et documents, 1st Paris: Mouton.
  • Vladimir Lenin: Letters to Camille Huysmans in Collected Works, Letters No. 119, 138, 141, 142, 145, 148-150, 152-156, 158-161, 169-172, 175, 178, 180, 197 - 198, 207-208, 228, 231-234,247-249, 254, 266, 286, 303, 322-323, 330, 333
  • Camille Huysmans: Quatre types. le renard et Ulenspiegel. le le diable et démon. ( Reliure inconnue ), 1937
  • Policy statement of August 6, 1946
  • List of ministers of the Cabinet 1946-1947