Warning to the Population
At the foot of the steps of the Bourse, two women hawk newspapers. In times of uncertainty, the population snapped up the numerous special editions. A piece of news could nevertheless be denied from one day to another. The Bourse was also a place where people could read official announcements, sometimes to their surprise.
One of these proclamations stands out, addressed on 19 August by the mayor of Brussels to his fellow citizens. The possibility that the capital would fall in the hands of the enemy was clearly admitted. Adolphe Max made an appeal for calm: if the city was invaded, the civilians would have to avoid all forms of hostility, so as to keep away from reprisals. A patriotic distance would nevertheless have to be maintained in relation to the occupier. “Let none of you accept to serve as a guide to the enemy”, this official warning pleaded; it concluded: “Long live free and independent Belgium! Long live Brussels”. Hanged throughout the city, this proclamation turned Adolphe Max into a symbol of resistance. A patriotic icon was born.