The liberation of the Belgian coast took place some 70 years ago. The German occupation ended after almost five years of war. Residents of the coastal region had spent this entire period in the so-called Sperrgebiet. As the coast was actually the frontline region, numerous restrictions applied in the Sperrgebiet. The war therefore had a considerable impact on the daily life of the inhabitants of the coast. Over time people were no longer allowed on the beach, fishing was strictly controlled, freedom of movement was limited to a few kilometres around the place of residence, there were mandatory evacuations, local residents were forced to participate in the construction of the Atlantic Wall, ...
The group of people who experienced this period and can tell about it is gradually becoming smaller. This is why the Province of West Flanders ordered the historical research agency 'Geheugen Collectief' to work out an oral history project on the Second World War at the Belgian coast; During 2012-2013 period, 'Geheugen Collectief' historians interviewed 39 coastal residents on their experiences during the Second World War. The results of these interviews are bundled in the book 'Bezette Kust. Leven in de schaduw van de Atlantikwall', which is available in bookshops from june 2012.
However, such a project is never completely over. Interesting witnesses still pop up from time to time. Raversyde has always been interested in witnesses who experienced the Second World War at the Belgian coast. If you are such a person yourself or if you know somebody who can talk at lenth about this, please don't hesitate to contact us.