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Panel 15 Mortsel Bombing 5 April 1943

Text on panel 15
April 5th, 1943
Bombing of Mortsel

Municipal shed
What happened here?
936 people were killed in the bombing. There was no name for hundreds. The first unknown victims were laid in this town shed so that family members could identify them. Other bodies lay in the classrooms of the Guido Gazelleschool, in the buildings of Gevaert or in the "Harmonie hall" in Antwerp. Because the bodies were sometimes very mutilated. Identification was very difficult.

Witnesses Share Difficulty Identifying
"Our assignment was to guide the people who came to see the dead children. Saying goodbye to those children was terrible. They wanted to see them again and take them, but that was not possible. From the moment they were in the coffin, it was possible. you can't open it anymore.

"I went with my aunt to the Harmonie. There was a traffic jam, but no one could stop me. The first coffin they brought in was our mommy. Her eyes and her mouth were crooked, probably from the air pressure. I can still picture her. me."

"Hundreds of crates were lined up on long trestles, partly with identified and partly with unknown bodies. The pictures with 'boy unknown' and 'unknown man' were still numerous. "Identification piece a worn-out worker's shoe. Objects were displayed on a table in the side room, found on the dead. An elderly woman recognized her daughter. A young man, married for eight days, came to recognize the remains of his bride."

This walk was realized by the city of Mortsel in collaboration with Pieter Serrien.

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