1944, the liberation of Brussels

This page has been automatically translated from French into English by a translation software. Automatic translations are not as accurate as translations made by professional human translators. Nevertheless these pages can help you understand information published by the City of Brussels.

Liberation of Brussels

On 6 June 1944, allied troops land on the beaches of Normandy. It is the beginning of the liberation of Europe, occupied by the Nazis. Around 29 August, the Germans withdraw massively eastwards of the Seine, abandoning their heavy equipment. Then, the liberation of the North of France and Belgium is the next pursuit.

Boulevard Lambermont, September 1944 On 1 September 1944, allied troops cross the Belgian border at diverse places. The 2nd British army of general Sir Miles Dempsey frees Tournai (2.9), Brussels (3.9) and Antwerp (4.9). On 8 September, the 2nd army crosses the Albert Canal at Geel. The first US army frees Mons (2.9), Liège (6.9), Verviers and Arlon (7.9). It crosses the Albert Canal near Hasselt (7.9) and in the region of Maastricht (8.9). Then, it crosses the Dutch border in Maastricht (9.9), frees Luxemburg (10.9) and crosses the German border in the region of Aachen (11.9).

The Piron brigade

Brigade Piron General Brian Horrocks, commander of the 30th British armed forces, gives the order to the 2nd armoured division of Guards of general Adair to dash on the axis Arras - Brussels. The 'Belgian group' (the brigade which will enter the history books carrying the name of its leader colonel Jean Piron) is a part of this armed force.

On Saturday 2 September, the resistance makes a successful sabotage of a convoy of 1.500 political prisoners leaving the Midi station. All are freed.

Fire at the Law court

Palais de Justice, septembre 1944 On Sunday 3 September, in the afternoon, the 2nd armoured division enters Brussels by the Avenue de Tervuren. In the morning, the last Germans had already left. But before their departure, they set fire to the Law court to destroy the documents that were still there. Citizens try to put out the fire but can not prevent the collapse of the impressive brass dome. In the cellars, enormous quantities of foods and luxury items of the Germans are found.

The Marolliens bury Hitler

Boulevard de Lambermont, septembre 1944 The next day, on 4 September, the Piron brigade arrives at Brussels. The Liberation Front immediately starts to search houses for collaborators, who will be punished severely. Meanwhile, Allied soldiers clean out the last centres of resistance. On Sunday 10 September, the inhabitants of the Marolles district (called 'Marolliens') organize an enactment of a funeral of Hitler. A commemorative plate, inaugurated at the Rue de la Prévoyance, still reminds this event.

Montgomery and Brussels

Grand Place, September 1944 On 7 September, general Montgomery is officially welcomed in the City Hall of Brussels by the mayor Vande Meulebroeck. The mayor congratulates the troops of the Piron brigade on the campaign in Normandy. The next day, the Belgian government of Pierlot comes back from London. On 11 September, the Piron brigade leaves the capital to continue the fight in Limbourg. The same day, it frees 900 political prisoners held in the military camp of Leopoldsburg. On 22 September, Piron crosses the Dutch border.

The Place Montgomery [plan] in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre and the statue of the marshal on the roundabout still remind the work of the Britisch commander. This traffic roundabout is situated on the intersection of the Avenue de Tervuren (where the liberators entered the city), the Boulevard Brand Whitlock, the Boulevard Saint-Michel and the Avenue de Broqueville.

Next video shows the liberation of Brussels in 1944 (without comment nor text):

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