In 1914, German soldiers burned down the university library of Louvain, as a punishment for a shooting in the city destroying over 300.000 books, 800 incunables and 1000 manuscripts
The Germans leveled almost the entire city of Leuven (Louvain in French) just to punish the Belgians for their resistance….
Three German soldiers demonstrate operating a 2cm Becker-Flugzeugkanone, an anti-aircraft gun, Western Front, circa 1918.
Even though this photo was taken almost a century ago, it somehow strikes me as something post-apocalyptic from the future.
A Feltmadras (girl who was sleeping with a German soldier during the WW2 occupation) has her hair cut off in Aarhus, Denmark after the liberation. (1945)
I’ve come to believe that the people most driven to abuse and humiliate these women were deflecting from the guilt of their own collaboration, as individuals or institutionally.
Yes, there were women who slept with German soldiers for purely opportunistic reasons, but there were also women who did what they needed to do to so they wouldn’t starve, and there were also women who had genuinely fallen in love with members of the enemy.
(A little old lady from Denmark told me once (and I paraphrase): “The occupying Germans weren’t all that bad- they were quite nice! Until the SS in the black uniforms showed up. They were nasty.”)