“To our nephew, who died for his country”
Flowered tombs at the Molenbeek graveyard in July 1916. After two years of German occupation, the tombs of the Belgian soldiers that had died during the invasion remained the objects of particular attention. A tricolored band on one of these reads: “To our nephew, who died for his country”. The fact is surprising, since the enemy had prohibited the display of national colours. But this urban regulation did not apply in the cemetery. Only there could the patriotic message be expressed freely.
For other families in Brussels who had a parent fighting at the Yser, anxious expectancy was the rule: is he even still alive? Throughout the war, citizens besieged the Red-Cross office to try to receive news from their fathers or brothers at the front, most of the time without success. In 1921, three years after the end of the war, 9% of soldiers from Brussels were still labelled “disappeared”, without more information for the families.