Belgian War Press

The clandestine and censored press of the two world wars (War Press)

  • Access and consultation : The newspapers can be found on The Belgian War Press online for the clandestine and censored press from the First World War and for the clandestine press from the Second World War. The censored press from the Second World War can only be found in the reading room. You can access by two ways on War Press : with keys words and a full text research directly in the newspapers, of by choosing the newspapers title and a precise date in the calendar.
  • Reproduction :  The contents of the collection may be freely reproduced in the reading room. For any request for reproduction by CegeSoma teams, practical information is available here.

Collection description :

The Belgian War Press website provides a catalogue of more than a hundred newspapers written, printed and distributed during the First and Second World Wars. This platform was created at the initiative of CEGESOMA and thanks to the participation of many of its partners such as the “Bibliothèque royale de Belgique” (Royal Library of Belgium, KBR), the “Archives générale du Royaume” (State Archives of Belgium, AGR) as well as several other Flemish and Francophone institutions with collections on the subject. It is part of the project "Digitization of the Belgian press, 1830-1950" financed by the DIGIT01 program of the “Politique scientifique fédérale” (Belgian Science Policy, Belspo). These newspapers were written, printed and distributed in greatest secrecy by communists, Catholics, intellectuals, workers, etc. Their objective was to oppose the German occupiers since they controlled the local and national press. Some of these newspaper were only disseminated for a few months, while other continued to be published right up until the liberation of Belgium.

Thanks to this website, the collections of clandestine newspapers of various partner institutions are totally or partially accessible to citizens and researchers. In addition to access to digitized collections, the website contextualizes the censored and clandestine press during these two periods of conflict through several documented articles to ensure that the contents are understood by non-specialists in the field.

The digitization of documents allows users to search by periodical title or in full text thanks to the application of Optical Character Recognition software.

Copyright legislation does not allow access to documents on the censored press of the Second World War directly on the website. It can therefore only be consulted in the CegeSoma reading room.

!! Access to this site is now made easier thanks to the online catalog Abraham of the Vlaamse Erfgoedbibliotheken. This tool lists in a freely searchable database the Belgian newspapers published between 1800 and 2020 and held in more than one hundred libraries and documentation centers in Flanders and Brussels. The database contains more than 11,000 newspaper titles. And 849 of these titles are now linked to The Belgian War Press. For more information, click here.