I love this post office, and I am grateful that its image was captured in this postcard sent from Belgium to England in 1920. Kortrijk — known as Courtrai to the French and English — was shelled in World War I, but most of its buildings were lost in World War II.
Kortrijk was a key hub for rail traffic and was targeted by the Allies before the D-Day landing at Normandy. By destroying the rail yards, the Allies hoped to slow the German response to the invasion. On March 26, 1944, in a trial run, 109 Allied bombers passed over Kortrijk and dropped 2,100 bombs. In 20 minutes, 252 civilians were killed, 260 houses were destroyed, and historic buildings, archives and art collections were lost. The rail yards were hit, but the Germans forced 1,650 civilians to repair them and three days later transport to France went on as before. In all, German-occupied Kortrijk was bombed 12 times by the Allies. To add insult to injury, liberated Kortrijk was hit by a German V1 rocket in 1945.
Most of the buildings that stand in Kortrijk today were built after the end of the war.