Temporary homes in devastated Lens, long occupied by the Germans, France


Temporary homes in devastated Lens, long occupied by the Germans, France

Alternative Title

Temporary homes in devastated Lens


Who has not heard of Lens, "the heart of the great coal region in northern France ?" Who has not read of the desperate battles there in 1915 and 1917, of the final evacuation by the Germans in October, 1918, when their whole line, from Germany to the sea, was splitting to pieces under continuous attack ? They swept over Lens in August, 1914, held it for four years, worked its mines, turned them finally into a vast subterranean fortification, and when they retired left it a ruin—mines flooded, machinery destroyed, not a house, nay scarcely a wall left standing in the town. Such were the conditions to which refugees returned as soon as the invader had been driven out. The French are attached to their home towns to a degree we can hardly conceive. For generations families live in the same house. If driven away, as so many thousands were in this war, they feel lost, wanderers on the face of the earth. So they return, to find—not a house, not even a roof , scarce a piece of wall. They return, and pick about among the ruins, hoping to find, here and there, something the savage foe may have left as useless. They clear away part of the debris and live in cellars. They have no window glass, no new material with which to build even huts. The government has put up a few huts, but lucky are the refugees before us who have found homes in deserted British barracks. These have roofs of corrugated iron which neither wind nor rain can penetrate. Here they live, many families in one barrack, without comforts, without conveniences, but at least warm and dry, while with infinite pains and under every discouragement they painfully rebuild their homes.

Spatial Coverage



1 stereograph : b&w
1 gelatine silver print stereograph (8 x 15 cm) mounted on card (9 x 18 cm)


Copyright. The Keystone View Company
No known restrictions on publication


World War through the stereoscope

Download File(s)



Keystone View Company, “Temporary homes in devastated Lens, long occupied by the Germans, France,” Monash Collections Online, accessed May 20, 2024, https://repository.monash.edu/items/show/25587.

Item Relations

This item has no relations.