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Brussels marks 75th anniversary of liberation from German occupation

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By Joanna Gill  & Stefan Grobe, Molly Jackson
Brussels marks 75th anniversary of liberation from German occupation

The city of Brussels is marking the 75th anniversary of its liberation from German occupation.

On display - historic military vehicles traveling through Belgium along the same route used in 1944.

Allied tanks arrived in Brussels on the evening of September the third 1944 after having crossed the French-Belgian border just 24 hours before.

The city had no strategic importance, but was on the main route to Antwerp, a mayor military prize.

Yet freeing Brussels was symbolic.

"The Belgian government had trained a Belgian infantry brigade in England which participated in the liberation of Brussels. The day after arriving in Brussels, they had a big victory parade, and it was really import ant for the Belgian civilians to see that their own countrymen contributed to the allied war effort and even in liberating their own country," remarks Wannes Devos, War Heritage Institute, Brussels.

The liberation of Brussels took only a few hours and saw only a little combat, the German troops were already on the run.

"After the Second World War, I think it was really important to see that live goes on, life had to be renewed, so relations were again made with the German people. At the beginning, they were still seen as enemies, but after a severe de-nazification (in Germany), I think, most of the Belgian people were quite satisfied with the result," explains Devos.

Brussels had survived four years of Nazi occupation. For many children, charred tanks became their playground. But the war wasn't over a harsh winter and the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes lay ahead.