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René Lagrou

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René Lagrou

René Lagrou
Born René Lagrou
1904
West Flanders
Died 1969
Nationality Belgian
Other names Reinaldo van Groede
Ethnicity Flemish
Occupation Lawyer, immigration officer
Employer División de Informaciones
Known for Politician, founder of the Algemeene-SS Vlaanderen
Political party Flemish National Union
René Lagrou (1904–1969) was a Flemish-Belgian politician and collaborator with Nazi Germany. Originating in West Flanders, Lagrou worked as a lawyer in Antwerp.[1]

Lagrou had first came to prominence as a member of the Flemish National Union.[2] He published his own journal Roeland, which became increasingly anti-Semitic following Adolf Hitler's rise to power.[3] Following the German occupation of Belgium in World War II Lagrou, along with Ward Hermans, was the founder of the Algemeene-SS Vlaanderen (from 1942 the Germaansche SS in Vlaanderen), the Flemish SS.[2]

Lagrou saw action with the Waffen SS on the Eastern Front and some initial reports erroneously suggested that he had died in battle.[2] However Lagrou had survived and he was captured by the Allies in France but managed to escape to Spain.[4]

In May 1946 his was one of three names on a 'black list' sent by the government of Belgium to Spain where he was in hiding, along with Léon Degrelle and Pierre Daye.[5] Soon after he was condemned to death in absentia by the war crimes tribunal in Antwerp.[4]

With the possibility of extradition from Spain looming Lagrou arrived in Argentina in July 1947 and adopted the false name Reinaldo van Groede.[4] Here he became a leading figure in the ratlines sponsored by Juan Perón to rescue Nazis from prosecution in Europe.[6] Given wide powers within the Immigration service in Argentina, Lagrou drew up ambitious plans to move as many as 2 million people from Belgium, all either Nazi collaborators or their families.[6] He was also a member of the Rodolfo Freude-led División de Informaciones and in this capacity initiated the cases for resettlement for a number of Nazis.[7]

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