Press clippings, a discrete and somewhat forgotten source of information.

The “press clippings” section (hundreds of boxes) exists since the creation of our institution but has gotten somewhat forgotten nowadays, which is rather unfortunate, as they have been repackaged and made fit for today’s world and can prove useful to researchers and historians. They were initially subdivided into a series of topics which formed the sub-sections: Généralités (general course of the conflict), the specific productions of the Centre and what the press said about them (positive of negative), the bibliography “Seconde Guerre mondiale” published in the journals and the weeklies, and the series “Personalia” (containing the names of more or less illustrious people in alphabetical order). It goes without saying that some sections have aged less well. Indeed, the section about the global history was initially the most abundant and reflected, even among the main titles, the average views of journalists in of the generation 1970-2000, which were often avid of military history and, to a lesser extent, political history. With regard to local newspapers, anecdotes were often predominant or at best an accumulation of well-known facts of History with a capital H. It occurred that one or the other reflection stuck out of the common lot of this prose, but this was a rare if not extremely rare feat. In addition, the journalistic papers collated at the time for a potential historiography of the institution seem quite of no avail today, as this history has already been written indeed.

However, the section about the bibliographies of modern people involved in the conflict (over one hundred boxes) might turn out to be quite useful. When it comes to well-known people of this period of time, the selection of press clippings, which was collected in a systematic manner and on the basis of a broad sample via the company “Auxipress”, still offers a rather complete view of the opinion (or the journal’s opinion) about any given person. For “illustrious strangers” (people of importance at lower level, local resistance fighters or collaborators, locally famous people), the collection is also of interest for amateur historians or learned persons active in countless local historical and archaeological associations. Indeed, for those researchers, what matter is what happened at Hoût-Si-Ploû and Erembodegem from 1940 to 1944, and rather less so what happened in Stalingrad and El-Alamein… And those people will surely find one or the other bibliographical reference, be it merely in the form of an obituary, that they will not find elsewhere.

This is why a thorough and reasoned selection was carried out and the Press Clippings sections (“Coupures de presse”) shall again be open for research to the public via our VUBIS catalogue, in an adapted format in the course of the coming year.

Surely, one will find a gem or two for research.