Four German soldiers make ready to pose in front of the Anspach monument, which used to stand in the centre of Place De Brouckère. Situated at the back but still close to the front, Brussels stood as a touristic city for the Reich troops. Back from the combat lines, they sought rest and distraction in Brussels. For soldiers coming from rural areas, it was sometimes the first city they visited, with all the temptations that this involved. One of these contingent tourists was Adolf Hitler.
Contrary to what Nazi propaganda would claim later, during the First World War Hitler was only a courier, carrying out minor missions. In 1916, right after the battle of Argonne, the then aspiring painter received a week off. He bought a city guide and visited Brussels. On 6 July 1916 he wrote to one of his comrades that it had been: “the most marvellous trip I have ever made, despite the unceasing rain”.