Belgium / Landmark
The Camp of Beverlo and Leopoldsburg retained an important military function just after liberation, remaining a gathering place for military units and equipment. It also received prisoners of war and wounded soldiers of various nationalities.
Construction of a military hospital for the Beverlo Camp began in 1839 and the buildings that are still there today date from the 1850s. The style of architecture used, with corridors and wards built with stone arch vaults, was modern for the time as it took into account aspects that benefited health, such as ventilation and natural light.
In 1913, it was expanded to include a new pharmacy, administration buildings and eight wards. A year later, during WWI, the occupying German army moved into the buildings. Soldiers who were wounded during exercises were cared for there, and the same happened during World War II. Remarkably, German doctors continued to work in the hospital until 1948, so even after liberation, German doctors remained at work caring for German wounded.
The presence of German prisoners of war in Leopoldsburg was not really surprising. In 1945 250,000 German prisoners of war were interned throughout Belgium. Tens of thousands of POWs were to be used in the damaged Belgian economy as labour especially in mining and forestry. Others were employed in the clearance work of districts destroyed by war. Although forbidden by the Geneva Convention, German POWs were also used to clear landmines, especially on the Belgian coast.
Hechtelsesteenweg 9, 3970 Leopoldsburg