Five ‘o clock in the afternoon at the Rue de l’Amigo, right behind the Grand-Place. The two women on the left pick up the pace, trying to avoid the child’s look. It was the hour at which beggars used to stand on the sidewalks, asking for hospitality for the night. The picture was taken in 1917, when the crisis in the capital had reached dramatic proportions, visible also at the heart of the city.
The second part of the occupation period was particularly harsh for the population. Life conditions worsened day by day. Not even the wealthier classes were spared. The upper-class ladies visiting each other did not bring pralines like they used to, but small bags of potatoes. In middle class houses, only one room was heated, and meat was served only once a week. Of course this was much worse in working-class families, often reduced to eat only potato peelings.