Deutsch-Vlämische Arbeitsgemeinschaft ("German-Flemish Working Group"), better known as DeVlag, was a pro-Nazi
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 organization active in Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

 during the German occupation of Belgium. It was founded in 1936 by academicians Jef Van de Wiele
Jef van de Wiele
Fredegardus Jacobus Josephus van de Wiele was a Belgian Flemish Nazi politician.-Nazism:...

 and Rolf Wilkening as a cultural association, with the purpose of strengthening the exchange of students and professors between the universities of Leuven and Cologne
University of Cologne
The University of Cologne is one of the oldest universities in Europe and, with over 44,000 students, one of the largest universities in Germany. The university is part of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, an association of Germany's leading research universities...

. Its membership reached hundreds by the late 1930s. In May 1941, after the German invasion
Battle of Belgium
The Battle of Belgium or Belgian Campaign formed part of the greater Battle of France, an offensive campaign by Germany during the Second World War...

, DeVlag started receiving financial backing from the SS
The Germanic SS was the collective name given to SS groups which arose in Occupied Europe between 1939 and 1945.The units were modeled on the Allgemeine-SS in Nazi Germany...

, and was reorganized into a National Socialist organization. This was first done in secrecy. German SS-Obergruppenführer
Obergruppenführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was first created in 1932 as a rank of the SA and until 1942 it was the highest SS rank inferior only to Reichsführer-SS...

 Gottlob Berger
Gottlob Berger
Gottlob Berger was a German Nazi who held the rank of Obergruppenführer during World War II and was later convicted of war crimes.In 1939, he was Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler's main recruiting officer...

 was later appointed as DeVlag's president, and the bond between the two organizations was thus made official.

DeVlag's orientation towards the SS brought it into a dispute with the Flemish National Union
Flemish National Union
The Flemish National Union was a Nationalist Flemish political party in Belgium, founded by Staf de Clercq on October 8, 1933. De Clercq became known as den Leider .-Creation:...

 (VNV), the main collaborative
Collaboration during World War II
Within nations occupied by the Axis Powers, some citizens, driven by nationalism, ethnic hatred, anti-communism, anti-Semitism or opportunism, knowingly engaged in collaboration with the Axis Powers during World War II...

 organization in occupied Flanders, which originally had supported the "cultural" activities of DeVlag.The VNV was a Flemish nationalist
Flemish movement
The Flemish Movement is a popular term used to describe the political movement for emancipation and greater autonomy of the Belgian region of Flanders, for protection of the Dutch language, and for the over-all protection of Flemish culture and history....

 movement, which envisioned an independent Flanders, or perhaps Dietsland
Greater Netherlands is the political movement to unite all Dutch-speaking people into a single state. Also known as Dietsland , which uses the word "Diets," an archaic term for Dutch...

, in a German-dominated Europe, while Van de Wiele considered Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 merely a German dialect and the Flemish people
Flemish people
The Flemings or Flemish are the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Belgium, where they are mostly found in the northern region of Flanders. They are one of two principal cultural-linguistic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons...

 a part of the German race. DeVlag saw Dutch or Flemish nationalism as provincialism, and supported the outright annexation of Flanders into the Greater German Reich. The VNV also had partly clerical
Clerical fascism
Clerical fascism is an ideological construct that combines the political and economic doctrines of fascism with theology or religious tradition...

 roots, while the SS ideology endorsed by DeVlag held anti-Christian notions. While DeVlag was supported by the SS, the VNV received support from the Wehrmacht military occupation
Military Administration in Belgium and North France
The Belgium and Northern France was an Axis-occupied territory that included present-day Belgium and the French departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais...

 (Militärverwaltung) and from the head of the military government, Alexander von Falkenhausen
Alexander von Falkenhausen
Alexander Ernst Alfred Hermann Freiherr von Falkenhausen was a German general. He was the head of the military government of Belgium from 1940–44 during its occupation by Germany in World War II....


Both groups competed to recruit members to the Waffen-SS. In 1943, when the VNV started its youth wing
Youth wing
A youth wing is a subsidiary, autonomous or independently-allied front of a larger organization that is formed in order to rally support and allegiance for that organization's campaigns from members and potential members of a younger age...

 De Nationaal-Socialistische Jeugd in Vlaanderen ("Nationa-Socialist Youth in Flanders"), DeVlag responded by setting up the Flemish wing of the Hitler Youth
Hitler Youth
The Hitler Youth was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party. It existed from 1922 to 1945. The HJ was the second oldest paramilitary Nazi group, founded one year after its adult counterpart, the Sturmabteilung...


DeVlag reached the peak of 50.000 members in 1943. In late 1944, the Nazi leadership answered the demands of DeVlag by annexing Flanders
Reichsgau Flandern
The Reichsgau Flanders was a short-lived Reichsgau of Nazi Germany established in 1944. It encompassed the present-day Flemish Region in its old provincial borders, so including Comines-Warneton but excluding Voeren...

 and Wallonia
Reichsgau Wallonien
The Reichsgau Wallonia was a short-lived Reichsgau of Nazi Germany established in 1944. It encompassed present-day Wallonia in its old provincial borders, so excluding Comines-Warneton but including Voeren...

 into the German Reich, but this was more theoretical than actual, as Belgium was soon liberated by the advancing Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 forces. Van de Wiele was, however, given the title "National Leader
Führer , alternatively spelled Fuehrer in both English and German when the umlaut is not available, is a German title meaning leader or guide now most associated with Adolf Hitler, who modelled it on Benito Mussolini's title il Duce, as well as with Georg von Schönerer, whose followers also...

 of the Flemish people" (Landsleider van het Vlaamsche volk) and DeVlag was deemed by the Germans as the sole party
Single-party state
A single-party state, one-party system or single-party system is a type of party system government in which a single political party forms the government and no other parties are permitted to run candidates for election...

representing the national socialist unity in Flanders.
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