The Shadow of the Franc-tireurs
On 18 August 1914, the mayor of Ixelles ordered his citizens to turn over their firearms. They were to be handed in at the nearest police station. This collation work would be interrupted by the arrival of the German troops the following days. Dreading a misinterpretation of what this heap of guns and rifles meant, the municipal employees threw the weapons into the Ixelles ponds. A few weeks later, they were fished out again by the Hussars of the Reich, who pose here with their booty.
In Ixelles, as in the other Brussels municipalities, authorities intended to avoid at all costs that the resistance of a few civilians would be an excuse to use violence against the population. This was what had happened and would still happen in the course of the following weeks in different parts of the country. Wrongly convinced to be facing civilian resistance through guerrillas, the German army took it out on the population. Visé, Tamines or Leuven became “Martyr-cities”, but Brussels was to escape this dreadful fate.