Commotion in Charlottesville spreads to... Lanaken: street name altered?

The violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, which led to the death of one protester, were triggered by plans to remove a statue for Robert E. Lee, a general in the American Civil War who is now seen by many as a symbol of racism and America's slaveholding history. The controversy did not pass unnoticed in the municipality of Lanaken (Limburg), which has now announced its intention to scrap a street name of an equally controversial Flemish writer.
Cyriel Verschaeve.

The debate in Lanaken centres on Cyriel Verschaeve. Mayor Marino Keulen (Flemish liberal) wants to change the name of the local Cyriel Verschaevestraat in his honour.

Verschaeve was a Flemish priest and writer who was part of the SS during the Second World War. "He was completely on the wrong side during WW II. Lanaken does not wish to be associated with him", Marino Keulen says.

The street name was created in the 70ies and the street is situated in the so-called writer's district, next to streets named after Stijn Streuvels and Ernest Claes, among others.

"I suspect they took into account his merits in the First World War. He stuck up for the soldiers then, but in the Second World War he chose the side of Heinrich Himmler and the Nazis", adds Keulen. Because it's an honour to have a street named after you, Cyriel Verschaeve has to go, Keulen argues.

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