Discovery of underground ‘nazi field hospital’ stirs a town’s curiosity
Thursday, 18 July 2019
The town hall of the Flemish town of Wevelgem, near the French border. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
An underground complex found beneath the Flemish town of Wevelgem last week and thought to be a former field hospital of the Nazis has sparked debate among local historians, with some saying the abandoned facilities were not built by the Germans.
On July 12, an anonymous tip from a municipal employee led one reporter to locate the underground complex beneath a municipal well, whose existence was long-rumoured by inhabitants of Wevelgem.
Underground, the journalist found several concrete cages and offices in the derelict and often flooded complex.
But some local historians have made it their mission to uncover the truth behind the hidden facilities, with two saying that although the journalist’s discovery is “fascinating,” the story being reported in media was not in line with reality, in an account published on the municipality’s website.
After paying a visit to the complex in company of the town mayor, and after delving into the municipal archives, the historians said that the complex was probably a shelter and that it was not built by the Germans, but by the local authorities.
Both historians, residents and town officials have made it their mission to debunk the story behind the abandoned facilities and to find if there are more in town, as archives show that as many as 34 more could lay beneath the ground.
“Because not everything is known,” town residents or other history fans are invited to share their memories of “missing bunkers” in town or take part in Wevelgem’s dive into its own past.