A family's daily life in Belgium during World War II
Family home movies documenting the de Brouwer family at their home in St Denis-Westrem, near Ghent, Belgium. A man in a suit poses while sitting on the ground near a gathering of trees. A woman rides her bike and looks at the camera. The man and woman ride together in the countryside.
00:00:34 Denise and Carl de Brouwer and their 5 children ride bikes to Ghent to view the bomb-damaged Bellem church in September 1940. CUs of church spire and niche statues. A crowd gathers. 00:00:59 The de Brouwers' Jersey cows graze in the yard. Carl bought the cows to independently produce milk and surplus butter for the family. 00:01:16 Denise and the 5 de Brouwer children (Monique, Birgitte, Colette, Jacques, and Jean-Marie) take a walk. Monique rides a bicycle, while Jean-Marie rides in the stroller. 00:01:50 The de Brouwers' neighbor, Joseph Hemptinne, picks up Jacques and puts him in the donkey-drawn carriage with the other children before driving them around the yard. The children wave at the camera, likely operated by Carl de Brouwer. Monique and her paternal grandmother (visiting from Ghent) tour the yard. 00:02:41 Jean-Marie learns to walk, Denise watches. 00:03:11 Carl, wearing a bee mask, attends their private apiary, where they produce honey for the family. 00:03:23 Various scenes of the de Brouwer children. Jean-Marie takes a bath; Birgitte and Colette read together by candlelight; Jean-Marie plays; Monique and Jacques paint; Monique bicycles and runs outside on Easter 1941. 00:07:00 CUs of the de Brouwers' pet birds on a balcony, likely in Ghent, the city is visible in the BG. The de Brouwer children play war games outdoors with their cousins (their father had just been killed in a German prisoner of war camp; Carl de Brouwer had been quickly released from captivity since he belonged to a Flemish regiment in the Belgian Army). Denise and Jean-Marie walk in the backyard. 00:09:45 The de Brouwer children and their cousins play and pull one another in a cart brought back from Switzerland before the war. Denise, Jean-Marie, and likely Carl's sister walk on the grounds at St. Denis-Westrem. 00:10:16 CUs of a young cousin and paternal grandmother talking indoors. Carl de Brouwer arrives home on his electric-powered bicycle provided for the commute to his job as manager at the bank in the late spring or early summer of 1941. Carl poses for the camera on his bicycle. Denise tries out the new bicycle. Carl charges the bicycle.
00:12:44 Denise's father, General van Meldeghem, and other family members talking in the garden. Carl's sister and her husband join the group for a tour around the garden. Carl points out flowers and plants. The de Brouwers visit an unmarried cousin in nearby Wippelgem. Their elderly cousin eats on her porch. The de Brouwers tour a large garden before exploring Kasteel Wippelgem. Children in costumes crowd outside the castle and line up near stairs. Children pose for camera. 00:15:07 Adults admire a garden that made the family self-sufficient during the war. Children play and pose for the camera. 00:16:11 Children work with the de Brouwers' workers to gather potatoes.
Record last modified: 2020-02-04 10:39:10
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Also in de Brouwer Family Collection
Carl de Brouwer, a Belgian bank manager, and his wife Denise offered refuge to two Jewish children during the Nazi occupation of Belgium. Between late 1942 and September 1944, the de Brouwers sheltered 6-year-old Adrien Sapcaru and 12-year-old Monique Mogoulsky in their home in St Denis-Westrem, near Ghent. Monique was the daughter of Carl's former co-worker at the bank in Ghent and Adrien was the son of an architecture professor at Ghent University. The images in these home movies – typical scenes of children at play in various innocent settings – contrast sharply with the constant threat under which the family lived.
The de Brouwers and their neighbors Joseph and Yvonne de Hemptinne, take a self-guided tour through Germany in July 1936. The film begins with an introduction of each traveler on the "Voyage au Pays Rhenan, taken in July 1936 by bicycle, boat, train, and car." Yvonne de Hemptinne (acting director for the film), Denise de Brouwer (acting treasurer), Joseph de Hemptinne (acting mechanic), and Carl de Brouwer (acting cameraman) smile at the camera while on a boat. 00:01:15 On a map of Western Europe, a pointer indicates the route of the families' journey from Cologne down the Rhein River and back north. 00:01:39 A sketch of Cologne Cathedral introduces their first destination. The group unloads bicycles from a train. 00:02:00 View of Cologne from a nearby bridge. Boats, church spires, and the cathedral. Posters for tour groups. 00:02:16 Yvonne, Denise, and Joseph walk on a street in Cologne before boarding a bus. Scenes from inside the crowded bus. The cathedral. 00:02:50 Two young men in uniform (HJ?) carrying backpacks enter the cathedral as Yvonne, Denise, and Joseph exit. Street scenes of Cologne. 00:03:11 The group rides bicycles on the Hohenzollern Bridge. 00:03:27 On a map of Germany, a pointer draws a line from Cologne to Bruhl to Bonn. Sketch of the Augustusburg Palace in Bruhl. 00:03:55 Yvonne, Denise, and Joseph walk down stairs and pose for the camera at Augustusburg Palace. Various shots of the gardens and large estate. The group tours the countryside by bicycle. CU of a sign for Bonn 10 km away. Yvonne, Denise, and Joseph smile at the camera while resting near a large bridge. View of the Rhine river and a kayak. 00:05:03 The group takes tea on a balcony. Carl sits by Denise. 00:05:21 Title for the next step of the journey in the Seibengebirge Mountains: "7 Mountains Drachenfels [Dragon's Rock]." Countryside from a moving vehicle. Ruined castle. Yvonne helps Denise climb stairs. Joseph scans countryside from an observatory. CU of Yvonne sitting and Denise laughing. Views of the Rhine. 00:06:24 Yvonne and Joseph follow Denise with bikes. Carl rides a bike. The group scales a hill on bicycles. 00:07:16 Sketch of four bikers and the title "A Travers l'Eifel" followed by a map of the region. 00:07:29 Joseph and Yvonne work on a bicycle wheel, while Denise waves to the camera behind them. CU of Carl and the German countryside. Yvonne, Denise, and Joseph continue the difficult trail on bicycles. Joseph pulls Denise with a rope. Carl walks his bicycle. 00:08:19 Sketch of a mountain range and the title "742 m. High 8." The group parks their bicycles in the countryside. Denise waves to the camera. CU of a photograph of the four travelers. 00:08:45 Map of the region. Sketch of a coat of arms introducing the groups' tour of Maria Laach Abbey, 40 km south of Bonn. 00:09:06 Camera pans across the grazing livestock and a lake (Laacher See) from an upper-story window. Joseph and Yvonne pose near the Laacher See. 00:09:49 Locals drive carriages through the village. Joseph and Yvonne paddle their canoe in the Laacher See. CU of Carl and Denise in canoe. Two local girls. Groups of young boys and girls in uniform, likely HJ, march as civilians watch. Men in an expensive parked car. Joseph rides his bicycle near them. Denise looks out over Laacher See. 00:10:42 Sketch of a sign of Koblenz and Maria Laach intersecting and a map of the region. Denise and Yvonne bike in the countryside. Ehrenbreitstein Fortress and a statue of Emperor Wilhelm I. Civilians and tourists at the fortress. 00:11:35 The group kicks up their feet and relaxes by the Rhine river. 00:11:50 Map with a pointer drawing a line from Koblenz to St. Goar followed by the title "A Celebration Day at St. Goar" and a sketch of the Rhunfels Castle. Street scenes of St. Goar decorated with Nazi flags. Civilians and police walk through the streets. The Rhine. 00:12:27 Sketch of armed soldiers marching and the title "L'Armee du Travail." Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD) soldiers led by a battalion leader march in the countryside. 00:12:46 Sketch of a mountain pass and a title introducing the next section of their journey through the mountains. Large steamboat and the banks of the Rhine river. The group bikes on a road overlooking the river. 00:13:20 Sketch of a toasting hand and the title "Ein Prosit." CUs of the group toasting, drinking, and posing for the camera.
The de Brouwers and their neighbors Joseph and Yvonne de Hemptinne, continue on a self-guided tour through Germany in July 1936. Map of Germany and a sketch of the Neiderwald statue in Rudesheim with the title "Visite a le Germania." Landscape and towns by the banks of the Rhine taken from a boat. 00:14:39 Yvonne, Denise, and Joseph pose and walk towards the camera. 00:14:50 CUs of the Neiderwald monument. Tourists at the monument overlooking the Rhine. 00:15:01 Sketch of two beer steins and the title "Ein Zweite Prosit." Joseph and Carl drink in a restaurant. Men play a guitar and an accordion in a café. Joseph drinks and poses for the camera. 00:15:33 Sketch of the Rudesheim wreath. Various shots of the landscape and houses. 00:15:49 Map of Germany and a pointer focused on Frankfurt followed by a sketch and the title "Pluie a Wiesbaden." Denise and Yvonne window shop. 00:16:07 Sketch of German sausages followed by footage of a sausage stand and city scenes possibly in Romerberg. Yvonne and Joseph posing for the camera. Various city scenes. 00:16:51 Sketch of an airplane and the title "Aerodrome de Frankfurt." Yvonne and Denise write and eat in a café in Frankfurt. An airplane lands at the nearby airport while other civilians and officers of newly formed Luftwaffe in Nazi uniforms watch. 00:20:19 Sketch of a mountain range and the title "La Foret Noire." Yvonne and Denise outside a post office. Joseph inflates a bike tire before the group begins their tour of the Black Forest. Countryside from a moving car. 00:20:58 Joseph and Carl pose and walk towards the camera. A local woman washes clothes outside. Denise dances and poses for the camera. 00:21:16 Landscape and homes. The group waves to the camera. Scenes from inside a crowded bus. Passengers watch the mountain landscape from the windows. Large group of school girls and a man in a Nazi uniform patrols. More scenes from inside the moving bus. 00:22:06 Sketch of a violin and a cup of coffee with the title "Baden-Baden." An outdoor café and live music. Various city scenes. 00:22:34 Sketch introducing the group's tour to Heidelberg. Joseph overlooks the city and the Heiliggeist Kirche. A cameraman takes portraits for tourists. A large crowd enters the Heidelberg Castle awaiting arrival of Hitler. CU of façade, the castle interior, and the city from afar. Young men in traditional lederhosen walk through Heidelberg. More street scenes. 00:24:06 Sign on railway platform, "Juden sind hier unerwünscht" [Jews are not wanted here]. 00:24:12 Sketch of a steam ship and the title "Embarquement a Mayence." The group loads their bicycles onto a boat. Passengers wave to another boat before disembarking. 00:25:08 Sketch of a castle and the title "Les Chateaux Vus de Rhin." The landscape and castles overlooking the Rhine, including Ehrenfels Castle and Pfalzgradenstein Castle. 00:27:44 Sketch of an equestrian monument of Frederic Guillaume I with the title "Coblence." Bridge and the monument to William I seen from a boat on the river. 00:28:28 Fin.
In COLOR, various scenes of the de Brouwers at St. Denis-Westrem. CUs of Denise in a fur coat relaxing in the family garden; Carl poses near the apiary; Denise gathers flowers and smokes at a table decorated with flowers and tea; Madeleine, the cook's daughter, and Colette watch the Jersey cows; CUs of a local worker; CUs of Carl and Denise playing with Jean-Marie. 00:19:34 Jacques and Birgitte recite a poem.
Family home movies of the de Brouwer family at their home in St Denis-Westrem, near Ghent, Belgium. The de Brouwer children take a walk in the woods and explore town with Denise. 00:22:15 Christmas 1941 at General van Maldeghem's house at 26 Boulevard General Jacques in Brussels. CUs of the children's maternal grandmother and grandfather. Denise and her mother solve a puzzle. 00:23:38 Annick (present with her children at the Christmas celebration) watches the street from a window.00:23:50 CUs of the butler Eugene in white. Various scenes from the van Maldeghems' home in Brussels; a trolley passes in the snow. 00:24:46 CUs of Jean-Marie smiling at the camera and playing. 00:25:44 Back at home in June 1942, Carl de Brouwer rides a bicycle to retrieve a relative from the train station. 00:26:00 Various scenes from St. Denis-Westrem. Adults sunbathe and talk in garden. Denise waves to the camera; Carl returns on the bike with the relative; adults walk in garden and sit outdoors to talk; a male relative climbs the children's swing set and then jokingly celebrates for the camera. The de Brouwer's barn and a Jersey cow. 00:28:36 Various scenes of the children-including Jewish refugees Adrien Sapcaru and Monique Mogoulsky-at St. Denis-Westrem in the Spring of 1943. The children play outdoors with a cart; pose hand-in-hand for the camera (Adrien is third from the right in the lederhosen; Monique is on the far left) before holding sticks and marching for the camera. 00:29:40 CUs of Jean-Marie playing with a ball. Jacques and Adrien playing catch. 00:30:25 Adrien emerges from a bush with the ball. Various scenes of the children playing; the girls read together (CUs of Monique Mogoulsky reading at 00:31:08); Jean-Marie crying in the garden; the children take tea outdoors; Madame Leger, the family tutor, helps the children on the swing set; children play in an empty grain silo. 00:33:45 In Summer 1943, Madeleine and Elvire, the de Brouwers' hired workers, weed in the garden. Mileke, the gardener's assistant, pushes a wheelbarrow. Fons Verzele, the de Brouwer's neighbor, sharpens a scythe before cutting tall grass. CUs of bees near the de Brouwers' apiary. Carl and a worker in the garden. One of the children does somersaults in the hay. 00:37:33 Various scenes of the de Brouwers and their employees working on St. Denis-Westrem. Denise returns from the station on a bicycle, while Fons continues to work with the scythe; the children carry a bucket of milk. Adrien with Jacques. Colette tries to wear in new wooden clogs (a wartime requirement). CUs of plants and bees. 00:39:00 Denise is greeted by all the children as she rides her bicycle. Elvire churns milk, and other workers pose before drying dishes and dusting a chair. Views of St. Denis-Westrem. Carl stuffs hay into the barn loft. The de Brouwers' workers pause during harvesting and picnic outdoors. CU of the local butcher's assistant.
Family home movies of the de Brouwer family at their home in St Denis-Westrem, near Ghent, Belgium. Summer 1943, the children push a cart loaded with hay. Jean-Marie holds a cow's tail while it is milked before returning to the house. The neighboring de Hemptinne house. Yvonne Hemptinne and her mother-in-law walk down the stairs before posing with Joseph for the camera. The children rush to greet Aunt Edith as she arrives from the train station. Carl and his mother arrive in the de Hemptinne's donkey-drawn carriage. 00:43:17 Jacques with a swollen eye caused by a bee sting. Denise, Jean-Marie, and Jacques return from the station. 00:44:20 The de Brouwers take a Sunday outing in the carriage and ride bicycles in town. Jewish refugee Monique Mogoulsky is visible on the bicycle directly behind the carriage; Jewish refugee Adrien Sapcaru is in the donkey cart. The group stops to pray by the road before having a picnic. 00:45:43 The children play with and feed a young Jersey cow at Fons' farm in October 1943. The children, including Jews Monique M. and Adrien, pose with Fons and his wife before playing with his sheep. 00:47:01 Joseph de Hemptinne drives his daughter in the donkey-drawn carriage. The de Brouwer children greet them before playing with a cow. Birgitte is knocked down. CUs of the children talking to the camera and eating. Children, including Monique M. and Adrien, walk in a line in the countryside near Ghent. The boys carry walking sticks. Local farms and churches. The children board a small row boat. 00:50:30 Large pig roams the yard, as the children kick and hit it. The de Brouwers' employees work in the garden gathering turnips. 00:51:31 The de Brouwers travel to Alost for Easter 1944. The family rides in the back of a large transport truck owned by an uncle who runs a factory. The family boards and disembarks from the truck. 00:52:22 CUs of Birgitte with her first permanent wave and a young boy talking to the camera. 00:53:30 Monique de Brouwer's first communion in Ghent on June 25, 1944. Views of the church and nuns emerging from the Beguinac (where Carl's mother moved after her house in the center of Ghent was requisitioned by the Nazis). 00:55:05 In Alost, the de Brouwers exit a building and pose together before reembarking on a truck. Monique M. in wooden clogs emerges from the home with a dog as Carl carries his 8mm movie camera case. 00:56:26 Back at St. Denis-Westrem, Monique, Adrien, and the de Brouwer children in the donkey-drawn cart. Various scenes of the children playing outdoors.The de Brouwer children celebrate Monique de Brouwer's communion. Denise and Carl join the celebration. Monique poses for the camera in her white communion outfit. The family walks from the church. 01:02:00 Jean-Marie's swollen eye after a bee sting. The de Brouwer children pose outside, including Monique M. and Adrien. The group gets into the miniature cart. Denise and Carl kiss all five children.
A tank moves out after the Allied liberation of East Flanders. German surrender. Two young men drink beer and celebrate with civilians. The tank drives through town, and Belgian civilians watch and join the procession. A crowd gathers as German prisoners of war march through town. 01:06:32 Jean-Marie wears a captured German helmet and shakes someone's hand. The children play outdoors near a road sign for "de Pinte -2 Km." More footage of German POWs. Canadian troops enter liberated Ghent and are celebrated by civilians. Steeple of St. Baron Cathedral and more crowds celebrating. 01:09:50 VE Day parade in May 1945. Troops marching; bands playing; US, British, Canadian units, the Royal Navy, Air Force, and Allied Women Services followed by civilians march through Ghent, as airplanes fly overhead. CU of a "Victory" poster depicting a triumphant Stalin, Roosevelt, de Gaulle and Churchill. Various peacetime scenes of the de Brouwers at St. Denis-Westrem after the liberation of Belgium. The children swim by the river; women sew outdoors; Denise smokes, and other adults walk through the garden; Denise descends a sand dune near the Belgian coast during a seaside stay in En Famille pension. Jean-Marie poses by the pension, as other children play in the sand.