Pieter Serrien (°1985) is a Belgian historian, specialized in the social history of both world wars. In 2007 he graduated at the University of Leuven with his thesis on living under the bombs in Belgium during WWII.
His debut Tranen over Mortsel (Tears over Mortsel, Manteau, 2008) tells the story of the American bombing of the small city south of Antwerp on April 5th 1943. Pieter led a youth research project where more than 200 seventeen-eighteen years old interviewed the last witnesses of the bombing. Their interviews were used for the book, which tells the story of the victims of the heaviest bombing in Belgium and the Netherlands during WWII. 936 of which more than 250 children died. It was a greater loss than in the bombings of Coventry, Rotterdam or Guernica. Click here for more info.
Prof. Richard Overy on Tranen over Mortsel: “It is a pioneering study of the cost paid by local communities in the occupied countries, caught in the crossfire. This is a painful story, but one that ought to be told.”
For his second book Oorlogsdagen (Days of War, Manteau, 2013) Pieter looked into the social history of the occupation during WWI in Belgium. He used 32 diaries to reconstruct the daily life from 1914 till 1918. Since then Pieter travels trough Belgium and the Netherlands to lecture about his book.
Since 2010 Pieters youth project Zo was onze oorlog gives young students the opportunity to interview witnesses of WWII. Five years later almost 1500 students participated. This gigantic archive of more than 1000 witness stories was the inspiration for Pieters thirds book Zo was onze oorlog (That was our war, Manteau, 2014) about the daily life under occupation from 1939-1945.
In 2015 Van onze jongens geen nieuws (No news of our boys, Manteau) was publicized. This book tells his historical journey together with his colleagues Karel Strobbe and Hans Boers. The three historians researched the forgotten story of 300.000 Belgian young recrutes, who were send to the south of France to form a reserve army.
His fifth book Elke dag angst (Every day fear, Horizon) is published in september 2016. It tells the suprising history of the V1- and V2-weapons in Belgium and the KZ Dora. More information you can find by clicking on this link.
Pieter works as a writer and teacher in Kontich near Antwerp.