Julie Podevyn and Sebastiaan Vandenbogaerde “Ce n’est pas la loi qu’il faut changer, c’est la mentalité” Ypres Tribunal for War Damages (1918 -1935): intermediary for a city in reconstruction
In January 1919, Sir Winston Churchill (1874–1965) chaired a session of the Imperial War Graves Commission in London during which he declared that the destroyed city of Ypres was a symbol for the suffering of the British Empire. He intended to keep the centre of Ypres in permanent ruins, as holy ground and a “zone of silence”. Initially, Belgium’s government supported the idea, which was firmly disapproved by the local Ypres population. Moreover, since 1916, state officials had drafted plans to reconstruct the country through several institutions.