Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Kortrijk, Belgium: Surprise Photos of an Occupied City

One hundred and one years ago Kortrijk was still an occupied city. The Germans exploited the inhabitants. Allied bombs sowed fear and destruction. Thousands of Kortrijk locals lived in terror. All those who could tell us about it have now passed away. Kortrijk was the first major city behind the front line, and this made it extremely important to the Germans. It is no wonder that there are a great many places in our city that conjure up memories of the First World War. For example, the station was used to transport prisoners of war to Germany, to serve as forced labor. 

City Hall Was the Headquarters of the German Occupying Force.  In the Chaire Is Oberstleutnant Günther, Etappenkommandant of the Etappenkommandantur Kortrijk

A visit by the Kaiser (in the limousine) in 1915

Pigeon Prison:  Kortrjik's  pigeons were kept under strict military guard because the Germans feared they would be used for espionage. The owners had to contribute financially to the pigeons’ upkeep.

Eleven military hospitals were located in the area.  The former cloth hall, which was a museum and theatre before the war, was taken over and used as a hospital.

A German troop formation on Handboogstraat, a street with a popular brothel

When the Germans were forced to retreat from Kortrijk on 16 October 1918, they set off no less than 750 kg of explosives under the Broelbrug. The Broel Towers were left badly damaged as a result.

Manfred von Richthofen was wounded when stationed nearby 

British and Scottish prisoners of war passing through

An air raid shelter under construction

Liberation ceremony at the Grote Markt, 28 October 1918

Source: Memories of the Great War in Kortrijk

No comments:

Post a Comment