Belgium / Monument

The statue of Pogge




The municipality of Houffalize houses a statue of Pogge, a friendly character from the Schaerbeek folklore. There is also a Schaerbeek street in the same small city. In both cases, the Battle of the Bulge is not unknown.

In February 1945, several Brussels municipalities decided to adopt a municipality that had been affected by the Battle of the Bulge. The aim was to help those who had lost everything. For example, the City of Brussels adopted Stavelot and Saint-Vith, Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, Saint-Hubert, Watermael-Boitsfort, Trois-Ponts and even Woluwe-Saint-Lambert which was aiding Nassogne. Aid was provided in the form of in-kind donations or fundraising. Sometimes children of the disaster-struck areas were taken in by families in the adopting municipalities. The Province of West Flanders, itself largely assisted after the First World War, in turn adopted the Province of Luxembourg. Some of these adoptions have continued over time. One of the best known is undoubtedly the one that links Schaerbeek to Houffalize. The little town suffered particularly during the Battle of the Bugle. Reoccupied by the German troops on 19 December, it was bombed three times by the Allies. Of the 346 buildings in the area, 258 were completely destroyed and 78 partially damaged. 189 civilians lost their lives. The small town, or rather what was left of it, was liberated on 19 January 1945.

The municipality of Schaerbeek turned out to be particularly active. In early March, the mayor and aldermen went to the site, bringing clothes, blankets, household utensils, medicines and soap. In March, the municipal staff organised a big party. More than 400,000 Belgian francs were collected, a particularly welcome gesture.

The story didn't end there. In 1952, the two municipalities decided to twin up. On this occasion, the rue du Haut-Pont became the rue de Schaerbeek. Ten years later, a Houffalize square was inaugurated in Schaerbeek. Pogge, a slightly awkward but extremely likeable peasant, now has a statue in Houffalize. Every year, the little Ardennes town also sends Schaerbeek the Christmas tree adorning the Schaerbeek town square.