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Born Sept. 6, 1884, in Seraing; died Aug. 18, 1950. Leader of the Belgian and international labor movements.
Lahaut was the son of a worker. He began working at metallurgical plants at the age of 14. Elected a member of the Central Committee of the metalworkers trade union of the city of Liege in 1905, Lahaut later became secretary of the trade union, which was a collective member of the Belgian Labor Party (BLP). In 1921, after the reformist leadership expelled him from the trade union and from the BLP, he organized a revolutionary metal-workers trade union. A member of the Belgian Communist Party from 1923 and elected to the party’s Central Committee and to the Politburo of the Central Committee in 1924, he was repeatedly persecuted. Lahaut was elected a deputy to parliament in 1933. After Belgium was occupied by the fascist German troops in 1940, Lahaut joined the leadership of the clandestine Belgian CP and helped organize the Resistance Movement. On May 10, 1941, Lahaut led a strike of 100,000 workers in Liege. He was a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps from 1941 to 1945. Lahaut was elected chairman of the Belgian Communist Party and a deputy to parliament in August 1945. He was assassinated by Belgian fascists.