1918 : Leaving the war
Leaving and Arriving
The outskirts of Brussels on 15 November 1918. German troops halt their horses and carioles on the side of the road to let the Belgian prisoners pass on their way back from Germany. The latter are on foot, but their faces betray their joy: they were going home.
From the end of the year 1916 until the end of the war, a total number of 120,000 Belgians had been forced to work in Germany. More than 2,500 among them died in deportation. The others returned in a miserable state. They had faced particularly harsh working conditions, but also hunger and cold. As the war ended, it was difficult to create a sense of recognition for this suffering, as compared to the heroism of those who had fought in battles or had been shot.
© Imperial War Museum