Le Bruxellois was an official newspaper, edited in Belgium. On 30 November 1914 it published a list of prisoners of war in Germany: page four of the newspaper contains a list of names.
During the war, three types of newspapers appeared in Belgium:
Censored newspapers. These were official newspapers, which could not escape censorship by the German authorities. These publications were better resourced, and could therefore deliver a better quality of print than smaller ones.
Clandestine. These were unofficial newspapers, such as La Libre Belgique.
Free newspapers. These were edited abroad, in neutral and allied countries (for example Ons Vaderland appeared in Calais, France). These publications were not censored by German authorities. Nevertheless, parts of the text are blank. This was done to avoid diplomatic conflicts.
Daily news - Complaints
We are forced to create a new recurring section with the abovementioned title. Judging by the many letters we receive in the morning and evening, it won’t take much effort to fill this section.
For not a day goes by when our letterbox does not overflow with messages imploring us to end abuses or to spread the news about a catastrophe or scandal.
Naturally, we cannot deal with every letter we receive, since not all of them are truthful or earnest. Even our entire newspaper would not suffice. However, we occasionally do find an interesting letter in that great pile and we will publish these in our new section once we have established the writer is bona fide.
Today we bring you the story of a complaint we deem valid and which we hope will be brought to a good end, insofar that can be achieved without too many difficulties.
It concerns the following:
The city of Brussels owes hundreds of thousands of francs in payment to experts of whom the court has approved the invoices (which constitutes a verdict). The City cannot meet these payments, which have been outstanding for many months, because—according to its officials—it has spent too much on the unemployed. Moreover, the city argues that it is not fulfilling the payments because those experts did not work for the city, but for a third party, i.e. the State.
Why can the City not do what its debtors ask: give them bonds that become redeemable when the war is over, or any other type of certificate, as cities like Liège, Ghent, Forest and others have done? Those certificates are accepted by businesses in the villages concerned, the debts are paid and everybody is happy.
We know of experts who are waiting to be paid many thousands of francs by the city of Brussels (which refuses to pay in bonds) and who are now in dire straits.
What do you think of this?
… What we think?
We feel that the City could very easily deal with these complaints, since it would not have to spend a penny. Only there are, most likely, those institutions which disapprove of such a break with the customary formalities.
But what about it …