Remembrance

Remembrance

Even during the war, as in most of the belligerent countries, the Belgians were aware of the significance of the events taking place.

The need to commemorate civilian and military martyrs, heroes and key events of the war was very quickly felt through speeches glorifying the homeland and focusing on hatred of the 'Bosch'. Major emblematic figures such as King Albert, who had acquired status as a 'knight-king', Burgomaster Adolphe Max and Gabrielle Petit were celebrated with ardour. The nation's mourning was particularly expressed by the Unknown Soldier's burial at the foot of the Colonne du Congrès in Brussels in 1922. Many monuments in memory of the Belgian and Allied dead were erected throughout the city, outside and inside public places such as schools, stations and churches. While the suffering of the civilian population was somewhat forgotten in those commemorations, legislation recognised, with an exceptional right to vote, the widows and mothers of the soldiers and political prisoners who had lost their lives.

The Archives of the city of Brussels, particularly throughout the inter-war period, sought to safeguard as many vestiges of daily life under the occupation by gathering documents and patriotic objects such as the Eugène Keym Collection.