Leuven University Library after the Fire in 1914 - Pierre Alphonse et Pierre Emile Arnou




Visitor tour


ca. 1914
On 19 August 1914, Leuven fell into German hands. After supposedly being attacked by Belgian snipers, the occupier exacted severe reprisals. The town was shelled and destroyed. Citizens were rounded up and shot or shipped to labour camps in Germany. The University Library suffered particularly during this German offensive. An estimated 300,000 books, 1000 manuscripts and 800 incunabula were lost.

The Arnou brothers, two photographers from Leuven, took photos immediately after the fire. This unique record is a striking example of professional wartime photography.