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A family's daily life in Belgium during World War II

Film | Accession Number: 2013.131.1 | RG Number: RG-60.1455 | Film ID: 2992

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.

Event:  1940-1941
Ghent, Belgium
Saint Denis-Westrem, Belgium
Accessed at US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Imperial War Museums
Record last modified: 2020-02-04 10:39:10
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