On 18 November 2019, the president of Latvia, Egils Levits, and the Chapter of Orders presented the Cross of Recognition to Pol Denys for outstanding work performed for the benefit of Latvia. Pol Denys is a historian from Zedelgem, Belgium, who initiated the cooperation of the city of Zedelgem and the Occupation Museum of Latvia to create “The Monument to Freedom” in Zedelgem. The monument was created by sculptor Kristaps Gulbis to commemorate Latvian legionnaires. It was opened on 23 September 2018 in a new square of Zedelgem called Brivibaplein. For the distinguished award the Occupation Museum of Latvia had nominated Pol Denys on account of his extensive research of Latvia’s history and his efforts to commemorate the fate of Latvian soldiers in the Second World War.
Pol Denys and his wife, Francine Helderweirt, came to Rīga on November 18 to participate in the festive award ceremony in Rīga’s castle. The next day, November 19, they both visited the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia where they were welcomed by the staff who expressed their thanks for the excellent cooperation and assured that commemoration of the legionnaires will be continued.
Presently Pol Denys is engaged in converting the former POW camp and Belgian Army base in Vloethemveld as a nature preserve open to the public. The opening of a museum about the POW camp is planned for next year. Latvian soldiers will receive special attention in the museum because they kept alive their conviction that they had fought for the freedom of Latvia in spite of the fact that they fought in a foreign army.