Belgium / Monument

Cuesmes, "collateral damage" of the Liberation




A part of the municipality of Mons since 1971, the large village of Cuesmes, half rural and half industrial, saw tragedy unfold on its soil during the Liberation, similar to that experienced in several neighbouring localities, from Jemappes to Sars-la-Bruyère via Ghlin.

In each of these episodes, the scenario was identical. At the end of the occupation, the forces of the resistance believed that the Germans were beaten and wouldn’t oppose even slightest acts of resistance. However, they often underestimated the size of German garrisons. Their analysis of the situation proved to be erroneous. What they had thought would be an easy victory turned into a bloody clash. If the allies were close, they could intervene and assist the resistants. But, this was rarely possible.. So went the incident at Cuesmes, not far from the woods of Malogne.

On 3 September, based on the account of an isolated German prisoner claiming that his hidden comrades would readily surrender if treated well, a group of some thirty "Armed Partisans" and members of the “Front de l’Indépendance” set out to clear the woods and the town of any enemy presence, and at little cost. Unfortunately, the information was incorrect. The German soldiers put up a hard fight. The local resistance payed a heavy toll: a dozen resistants lost their lives, as well as two civilians who were “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” A small monument made of local stone, inaugurated in 1970 and bearing a sober inscription ("Liberty/Fatherland - Nothing, no one has been forgotten..." Liberté/Patrie – Rien, personne n’a été oublié…) recalls the difficulty of realities of war and the brutal combat of the liberation.

Content developped with the help of Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles and in partnership with CEGE-SOMA.