Jean Gol[2] (8 February 1942 – 18 September 1995) was a Belgian politician for the liberal Walloon party Parti Réformateur Libéral (PRL). He was a minister, on several occasions, in the Belgian government, including service as Deputy Prime Minister.

Jean Gol
Born(1942-02-08)8 February 1942
Hammersmith, United Kingdom[1]
Died18 September 1995(1995-09-18) (aged 53)

Early lifeEdit

His Jewish parents, Stanislas Gol (1908-1976), born in Warsaw, and Léa Karny (1911-2001), born in Liège from parents born in present-day Lithuania (then Russian Empire), were both medical doctors with diplomas from the University of Liège. After the Nazi invasion of Belgium in 1940, the Karny family and their stepsons took refuge in England, via France, Algeria, Morocco and Portugal. Stanislas Gol enlisted in the Belgian Army in the United Kingdom, and Léa gave birth to Jean in exile. The family returned to Belgium in 1945, but Léa's parents, Coussel Karny (1883-1944) and Yocheved Chamech (1886-1944), had gone back to Liège in December 1940 and had been deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in July 1944 and didn't survive deportation.[3]

After the Second World War, Gol grew up in Belgium and studied law. He obtained a doctorate in law at the University of Liège.

Political careerEdit

Then a self-identified Marxist, he cofounded in 1965 with François Perin the Parti wallon des travailleurs (PWT), which was linked to the Belgian section of the Fourth International. Then, in 1968, they both split to form the Parti wallon, and Gol was elected on a larger regionalist ticket, the Rassemblement Wallon (Walloon Rally), a few weeks later for the 1968 Belgian general election on 31 March 1968.

Public officesEdit

In 1974, he was Secrétaire d'État à l'Economie régionale wallonne in the government Tindemans II. In 1976, he was one of the co-founders of the Parti des Réformes et des Libertés de Wallonie (PRLW), a merger of the liberal Walloon PLP, and some dissidents of the Rassemblement Wallon. During the governments Martens V-VII, of 17 December 1981 up to 9 May 1988, he was: vice-premier, minister of justice and institutional reform. From 6 January 1985 up to 28 November 1985, Jean Gol replaced Willy De Clercq on the department of foreign trade.

In June 1994, he was elected a member of the European Parliament, and in addition was elected as a member of the Belgian Senate in 1995.

Leadership within Francophone circlesEdit

Over a long period he was noted for his ability to empathize with local Walloon and Liégeois leaders from diverse political backgrounds, including with veteran Walloon Socialist André Cools; out of these efforts emerged what became known as the 'Colonster' group, which partly proved to be the catalyst for a strengthening of collective Francophone responses by way of counterweight to the increasing influence of Flemish-based parties in Belgium.[4]

In May 1992, he became president of the PRL, and in 1993 he was one of the architects of the PRL-FDF Federation, in collaboration with Antoinette Spaak.

Contribution to political theoryEdit

He re-defined the doctrine of social liberalism, which he had already worked on in 1976.

Jean Gol has voiced his support for Rattachism.[5]


He died of a sudden illness in 1995. He was succeeded[6] as leader of the PRL by his longstanding party colleague Louis Michel.


He received the following honorific distinctions[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Jean Gol", European Parliament database
  2. ^ "Jean Gol". Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  3. ^ "Karny-Chamech family. Collection", Kazerne Dossin Documentation Centre
  4. ^ Jean-François Furnemont, 'Jean Gol: le pirate devenu amiral', Bruxelles: Editions Luc Pire, 1997, pp. 123–131
  5. ^ minuten, Frederik Dekeyser-Leestijd 3 (10 May 2012). "Lonken naar het zuiden". (in Dutch). Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  6. ^ Jean-François Furnemont, 'Jean Gol: le pirate devenu amiral', Bruxelles: Editions Luc Pire, 1997, pp. 210-213
  7. ^ (French)