The faces look strained on the platforms of Gare du Nord on December 1918. People were anxiously waiting for the first train of refugees to come back to Belgium. After four years of separation, it was at last time to reunite.
The return of Belgian communities that had been exiled to France, England and the Netherlands turned out to be very complicated. The war had destroyed almost all railway tracks. The situation of half a million refugees was worsened by the fact that the receiving countries faced unprecedented financial crisis. The first to be dismissed from the war industries were foreigners. In a few weeks’ time, tens of thousands of Belgian workers were jobless again. In the spring of 1919, the homecomings finally took a steady rhythm, and in the following months, hundreds of thousands of refugees came back.