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D 626 
.G3 B55 
1915a 
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THE MARTYRDOM OF BELGIUM 

OFFICIAL REPORT OF 

Massacres of Peaceable Citizens, Women and Children 

BY THE 

German Army 



TESTIMONY OF EYE-WITNESSES 



"It is by a deep study of the history of wars 
that one may protect oneself against exag- 
gerated humanitarian ideas." 

— " KRIEGSGEBRAUCH IM LANDKRIEGE'* 
Published by the German General Staff, 1902. 
Pages 6 amd 7. 



THB W. STEWART BROWN COMPANY, INC. 

PRINTERS 

BALTIMORE, MB. 



BjrTranHf«r 

APR 30 1917 



THE MARTYRDOM OF BELGIUM 

OFFICIAL REPORT OF 

Massacres of Peaceable Citizens, Women and Children 

BY THE 

German Army 



iu. ;x-3. 



TESTIMONY OF EYE-WITNESSES 



"It is by a deep study of the history of wars 
that one may protect oneself against exag- 
gerated humanitarian ideas." 

— "KRIEGSGEBRAUCH IM LANDKRIEGE" 
Published by the German General Staff, 1902. 
Pages 6 and 7. 



THB W. STEWART BROWN COMPANY. INC. 

PRINTERS 

BALTIMORE. MD. 






i 



PREFACE. 

The Official Belgian Commission of Inquiry, which has been charged with 
the task of examining into the violation of the rules of International Law 
and of the Customs of War, is composed of Statesmen and Jurists of the 
highest standing. The Reports of the Commission have been published from 
time to time. Report XI will be found in the following pages. 

These reports are given out by the Commission only after careful exam- 
ination of the evidence. Consequently the findings of the Commission com- 
mand the same respect as the findings of the highest Law Court. 

Names of witnesses have, in certain cases, been withheld' from publication. 
All the depositions are, however, in the possession of the Commission and 
the names of the witnesses will be given out at the proper time. The publica- 
tion of these names at the present moment would, inevitably, cause the German 
troops to take revenge upon witnesses, or upon the relatives of witnesses, 
remaining within the German lines. 

The authenticity of the depositions is guaranteed by the eminent States- 
men and Jurists who compose the Commission and who have signed the 
Reports. 

No commentary can add anything to the tragic eloquence of these simple 
and well-authenticated depositions. Who can read the recital of these horrors 
without feeling his heart throb with righteous indignation, and without feeling 
an infinite sorrow at the thought that these abominations have been committed, 
after two thousand years of Christian civilization, by a nation which, only 
yesterday, claimed to be the foremost in modern Progress. 

It should be remembered that Belgium had done nothing to bring on the 
war nor to involve her in it. She was a neutralized country. Every shot fired 
by a German soldier in Belgium is a violation of the solemn treaty whereby 
Germany pledged her faith to uphold the neutrality of Belgium. 

At the end of this pamphlet (page 20) will be found extracts from the 
"Laws of War on Land," published by the German General Staff in 1902, and 
other documents, showing that the massacres, arson and pillage committed 
by the German army in Belgium are attributable, not to the innate brutality 
of the German soldier, but rather to an organized system of terrorism laid 
down and ordered by the superior German Military authorities. 

The authenticity of the following text of the Report of the Commission of 
Inquiry is certified by the Belgian Legation, Washington, D. C. 



OFFICIAL BELGIAN COMMISSION OF INQUIRY 

on the violation of the Rnlea of International Law, and of the Laws and Customs of War. 

ELEVENTH REPORT SUBMITTED TO HIS EXCELLENCY, MR. CARTON DE WIART, 

Belgrian Minister of Justice. 



(1.) INCIDENTS AT NAMUR. 

On August 21st, 1914, the Germans bombarded the town of 
Namur, without any previous notice given. The bombardment be- 
gan about 1 p. m. and continued for twenty minutes. The be- 
sieger was in possession of long-range guns, which enabled him. 
to fire upon the town bef' re the forts had been taken. Shells fell 
upon the prison, the hospital, the Burgomaster's house and the rail- 
way station, causing conflagrations and killing several persons. 

On August 23rd, the German Army pierced the exterior line of 
defence, and the Belgian 4th Division retreated by the angle be- 
tween the rivers Sambre and Meuse, while the greater number of 
the forts were still uninjured and continuing to resist. The Ger- 
man troops penetrated into the town of Namur on the same day 
about 4 p. m. 

On this day order was preserved: officers and soldiers requisi- 
tioned food and drink, paying for them sometimes with coined mon- 
ey, more often with requisition-certificates. Most of the latter 
were bogus documents, but the townspeople were trustful and 
ignorant of the German language, and so accepted them without 
making difficulties. 

Matters went on in the same way on August 24th till 9 o'clock 
in the evening. At that hour shooting suddenly began in several 
Quarters of the town, and German infantry were seen advancing 
in skirmishing order down the principal streets. Almost at the 
same moment an immense column of smoke and fire was seen rising 
from the central quarter of the place : the Germans had fired houses 
in the Place d'Armes and four other spots, the Place Leopold, Rue 
Rogier, Rue St. Nicolas and the Avenue de la Plante. 

All was now panic among the peaceable and defenseless towns- 
folk : the Germans began breaking open front doors with the butts 
of their rifles, and throwing incendiary matter into the vestibules. 
Six dwellers in the Rue Rogier, who were flying from their burning 
houses, were shot on their own doorsteps. The rest of the in- 
habitants of this street were forced to avoid a similar fate by es- 
caping through their back gardens. Many of them were in their 
night clothes, for they had not the time to dress or to pick up their 
money. 

In the Rue St. Nicolas several workmen's dwellings were set 
on fire, and a larger number, together with some wood-yards, were 
burned in the Avenue de la Plante. 

The conflagration in the Place d'Armes continued till Thursday. 
It destroyed the Town Hall, with its archives and pictures, the ad- 
jacent group of houses, and the whole quarter bounded by the Rue 



6 THE MARTYRDOM OF BELGIUM. 

du Pont, the Rue des Brasseurs, and the Rue Bailly, with the ex- 
ception of the Hotel des Quatre Fils Aymon. 

No serious attempt was made to prevent the fire from spreading. 
At its commencement some of the townspeople came out at the ap- 
peal of the Fire-Bell, but they were forbidden to stir from their 
houses. The Chief of the Fire Brigade, though the balls were whist- 
ling round him, got as far as the site of the disaster ; but an officer 
arrested him in the Place d'Armes, and then, acting under the or- 
ders of his superior, sent him away under an escort. 

The Germans, with the object of justifying their proceedings, 
alleged that shots had been fired againc>>, tneir troops on the Mon- 
day evening. Every circumstance demonstrates the absurdity of 
this statement. The juxtaposition of observed facts and the se- 
quence of concordant evidence lead to the conclusion that the in- 
cidents at Namur were deliberately prepared, and merely formed 
part of the general system of terrorism which was habitually 
practised by the German Army in Belgium. 

Fifteen days back the people of Namur had given over to the 
Belgian Authorities all the firearms that they possessed. They had 
been informed by Official Notices as to the tenor of the Laws of War, 
and had been invited by the Civil and Military Authorities, by the 
Clergy and the Press, to take no part with the belligerents. The 
Belgian troops had evacuated the town 36 hours before the con- 
flagration. The people, even if they had possessed weapons, would 
not have been so insane as to rise and assail the masses of German 
troops who crowded the town and occupied all its approaches. And 
how can anyone account for the strange fact that, at all the five 
points at which the alleged rising was supposed to have broken 
out, the Germans were found in possession of the incendiary sub- 
stances which were required for the prompt burning of the place ? 

The disorder which followed helped the pillage in which the 
German Army habitually engages. In the Place d'Armes houses 
were thoroughly sacked before they were set on fire. In the quar- 
ter by the Gate of St. Nicolas the inhabitants, when they returned 
to their homes, found that ever3d;hing had been plundered ; in one 
case a safe had been broken up and 17,000 francs worth of securi- 
ties had disappeared. 

On the subsequent days, though things were comparatively 
quiet, pillage continued. In several houses where German officers 
were quartered, the furniture was broken up, and wine and under- 
clothing (even female underclothing) was stolen. 

Our witnesses have detailed to us several outrages on women. 
In one case we have evidence concerning the rape of a girl by four 
soldiers. A Belgian quartermaster of Gendarmes saw the daughter 
of the proprietor of the hotel in which he was staying outraged by 
two German soldiers, without being able to intervene for her pro- 
tection, at four o'clock in the morning. 



TESTIMONY OF EYE-WITNESSES. 7 

Many inhabitants of Namur perished during the fire and the 
fusillade. Some aged people were left in the burning houses: 
others were killed in the streets, or shot in their own dwellings. In 
all, seventy-five civilians perished in one of these ways or another 
on the 23rd-24th-25th August. 

We may mention, without detailing, the arrest of hostages, and 
the brutal treatment to which the most distinguished inhabitants 
of the town were exposed during the early days of German occupa- 
tion. 

Namur and the seventeen neighbouring communes were sub- 
jected to a war contribution of fifty million francs (£2,000,000), 
which was afterwards reduced to thirty-two millions, on condition 
that the first million should be paid within twenty-four hours. The 
deposits at a private bank (the Banque Generale Beige) were con- 
fiscated. On the petition of its directors the concession was made 
that the sum seized should count towards the war contribution. 

The immediate neighborhood of the town was the scene of many 
similar acts of violence. In this part of the province many mansions 
and villas were systematically pillaged. One citizen of Namur saw 
his own furniture from his country house going to the rear on a 
German cart. The plunder was all sent off to Germany. 

At Vedrin a boy was shot because he was found to have in his 
possession an empty German cartridge case. Twenty-six priests 
and members of religious orders were shot in the diocese of Namur. 



(II.) MASSACRE AT TAMINES. 



Tamines was a rich and populous village situated on the Sambre 
between Charleroi and Namur. It was occupied by detachments 
of French troops on the 17th, 18th and 19th of August last. On 
Thursday, the 20th August, a German patrol appeared in front of 
the suburb of Vilaines. It was greeted by shots fired by French 
soldiers, and by a party of the Civic Guards of Charleroi. Several 
Uhlans were killed and wounded, and the rest fled. The people of 
the village came out of their houses and cried : "Vive la Belgique !" 
"Vive la France!" In all probability it was this incident which 
caused the subsequent massacre of Tamines. 

Some time afterwards the Germans arrived in force at the 
hamlet of Alloux. They there burnt two houses and made all the 
inhabitants prisoners. An artillery combat broke out between the 
German guns posted at Vilaines and at Alloux and the French 
guns placed in a battery at Arsimont and at Hame-sur-Heure. 



?8 THE MARTYRDOM OF BELGIUM. 

About 5 o'clock on 21st August, the Germans carried the bridge 
of Tamines, crossed the River Sambre, and began defiling in mass 
through the streets of the village. About 8 o'clock the movement 
of troops stopped, and the soldiers penetrated into the houses, 
drove out the inhabitants, set themselves to sack the place, and then 
burnt it. The unfortunate peasants who stopped in the village 
were shot; the rest fled from their houses. The greater part of 
them were arrested either on the night of the 21st of August or on 
the following morning. Pillage and burning continued all next day 
(22nd). 

On the evening of the 22nd (Saturday) a group of between 400 
and 450 men was collected in front of the Church, not far from the 
bank of the Sambre. A German detachment opened fire on them, 
but as the shooting was a slow business the officers ordered up a 
machine gun, which soon swept off all the unhappy peasants still 
left standing. Many of them were only wounded and, hoping to 
save their lives, got with difficulty on their feet again. They were 
immediately shot down. Many wounded still lay among the corpses. 
Groans of pain and cries for help were heard in the bleeding heap. 
On several occasions soldiers walked up to such unhappy individuals 
and stopped their groans with a bayonet thrust. At night some 
who still survived succeeded in crawling away. Others put an end 
to their own pain by rolling themselves into the neighboring river. 

All these facts have been established by depositions made by 
wounded men who succeeded in escaping. About 100 bodies were 
found in the river. 

Next day, Sunday, the 23rd, about 6 o'clock in the morning, an- 
other party consisting of prisoners made in the village and the 
neighborhood were brought into the Square. One of them makes 
the following deposition: — 

"On reaching the Square the first thing that we saw was a mass 
of bodies of civilians extending over at least 40 yards in length by 
6 yards in depth. They had evidently been drawn up in rank to 
be shot. We were placed before this range of corpses, and were 
convinced that we too were to be shot. 

"An officer then came forward and asked for volunteers to dig 
trenches to bury these corpses. I and my brother-in-law and cer- 
tain others offered ourselves. We were conducted to a neighbour- 
ing field at the side of the Square, where they made us dig a trench 
15 yards long by 10 broad and 2 deep. Each received a spade. 
While we were digging the trenches soldiers with fixed bayonets 
gave us our orders. As I was much fatigued through not being ac- 
customed to digging, and being faint from hunger, a soldier then 
brought me a lighter spade, and afterwards filled a bucket of water 
for us to drink. I asked him if he knew what they were going to 



TESTIMONY OF EYE-WITNESSES. 9 

do with us. He said that he did not. By the time that the trenches 
were finished it was about noon. They then gave us some planks, 
on which we placed the corpses and so carried them to the trench. 
I recognized many of the persons whose bodies we were burying. 
Actually fathers buried the bodies of their sons and sons the bodies 
of their fathers. The women of the village had been marched out 
into the Square, and saw us at our work. All around were the 
burnt houses. 

"There were in the Square both soldiers and officers. They 
were drinking champagne. The more the afternoon drew on the 
more they drank, and the more we were disposed to think that we 
were probably to be shot too. We buried from 350 to 400 bodies. 
A list of the names of the victims has been drawn up and will have 
been given to you (the Commissioner) . 

"While some of us were carrying the corpses along I saw a case 
where they had stopped and called to a German doctor. They had 
noticed that the man whom they were conveying was still alive. 
The doctor examined the wounded man and made a sign that he 
was to be buried with the rest. The plank on which he was lying 
was borne on again, and I saw the wounded man raise his arm el- 
bow-high. They called to the doctor again, but he made a gesture 
that he was to go into the trench with the others. 

"I saw M. X carrying off the body of his own son-in-law. 

He was able to take away his watch, but was not allowed to remove 
some papers which were on him. 

"When a soldier, seized with an impulse of pity, came near us, 
an officer immediately scolded him away. When all the bodies had 
been interred, certain wounded were brought to the Church. Of- 
ficers consulted about them for some time. Four mounted officers 
came into the Square, and, after a long conversation, we with our 
wives and children were made to fall into marching order. We 
were taken through Tamines, amid the debris which obstructed the 
streets, and led to Vilaines between two ranks of soldiers. Think 
of our mental sufferings during this march ! We all thought that we 
were going to be shot in the presence of our wives and children. I 
saw German soldiers who could not refrain from bursting into 
tears, on seeing the despair of the women. One of our party was 
seized with an apoplectic fit from mere terror, and I saw many 
who fainted." 

When the cortege arrived at Vilaines, an officer told the un- 
happy people that they were free, but that anyone returning to 
Tamines would be shot. He obliged the women and children to 
cry : "Vive I'Allemagne." The Germans burnt, after sacking them, 
264 houses in Tamines. Many persons, including women and chil- 
dren, were burnt or stifled in their own homes. Many others were 
shot in the fields. The total number of victims was over 650. The 



10 THE MARTYRDOM OF BELGIUM. 

Commission of Enquiry devoted special attention to ascertaining 
whether the inhabitants of the village had fired on the German 
troops. Every surviving witness unanimously declared the con- 
trary. They explained the massacre of their fellow-villagers by the 
fact that the Germans attributed to the inhabitants the shots which 
had been fired by the French skirmishers, or perhaps to the anger 
produced among the Germans by the success of an attack which had 
been made on them that night by the French troops. 



(III.) PILLAGE AND MASSACRE AT ANDENNE. 

The town of Andenne is situated on the right bank of the Meuse 
between Namur and Huy. It is connected by a bridge with the 
village of Seilles, which is built along the river on the opposite, or 
left, bank. The German troops who were wishing to invade the 
territory on the left bank of the Meuse arrived at Andenne on 
Thursday, August 19th, in the morning. Their advance guard of 
Uhlans found that the bridge was not available. A regiment of 
Belgian Infantry had blown it up at 8 o'clock on the same morning. 
The Uhlans retired after having seized the Communal cash box at 
Andenne and brutally maltreated the Burgomaster, Dr. Camus, an 
old man of more than 70 years. The Burgomaster had several days 
before taken the most minute precautions to prevent the population 
from engaging in hostilities. He had posted up everywhere placards 
ordering non-resistance. All firearms had been collected in the 
Hotel de Ville, and the local authorities had personally visited cer- 
tain of the inhabitants to explain their duty to them. 

The main body of the German Troops arrived at Andenne in 
the afternoon. The Regiment halted in the Town and outside it, 
waiting for the completion of a pontoon bridge, which was not fin- 
ished till the following morning. The first contact between the 
troops and the people was quite pacific. The Germans ordered re- 
quisitions, which were satisfied. The soldiers at first paid for their 
purchases and for the drink which they served to them in the Cafes. 
Towards the evening the situation began to grow more strained. 
Whether it was that discipline was getting relaxed, or that alcohol 
commenced to produce its effect, the soldiers ceased paying for 
what they were taking. The inhabitants were too scared to resist. 
No friction took place and the night was calm. 

On Thursday, the 20th August, the bridge was finished and the 
troops defiled through the town in great numbers in the direction of 
the left bank. The inhabitants watched them passing from their 
houses. Suddenly, at 6 o'clock in the evening, a single rifle shot was 
heard in the street, followed immediately by a startling explosion. 



TESTIMONY OF EYE-WITNESSES. 11 

The troops halted, their ranks fell into disorder, and nervous men 
fired haphazard. Presently a machine gun was set up at a corner 
and commenced to fire against the houses, and later a cannon 
dropped three shells into the town at three different points. 

At the first rifle shot the inhabitants of the streets through 
which the troops were defiling, guessing what might happen, took 
refuge in their cellars or, climbing out over the walls of their 
gardens, sought refuge in the open country or in distant cellars. 
A certain number of people who would not or could not make their 
escape were killed in their houses by shots fired from the street, or 
in some cases by soldiers who burst into their dwellings. 

Immediately afterwards commenced the pillage of the houses 
in the principal streets of the Town. Every window shutter and 
door was broken in. Furniture was smashed and thrown out. The 
soldiers ran down into the cellars, got drunk there, breaking the 
bottles of wine that they could not carry away. Finally, a certain 
number of houses were set on fire. During the night rifle shooting 
broke out several times. The terrified population lay low in their 
cellars. 

Next day, Friday, the 21st August, at 4 o'clock in the morning, 
the soldiers spread themselves through the Town, driving all the 
population into the streets and forcing men, women and children to 
march before them with their hands in the air. Those who did not 
obey with sufficient promptitude, or did not understand the order 
given them in German, were promptly knocked down. Those who 
tried to run away were shot. It was at this moment that Dr. Camus, 
against whom the Germans seemed to have some special spite, was 
wounded by a rifle shot, and then finished off by a blow from an axe. 
His body was dragged along by the feet for some distance. A 
watchmaker, a Fleming by birth, who had lived for some time in 
the Town, was coming out of his house on the order of the soldiers, 
supporting on his arm his father-in-law, an old man of 80. 
Naturally, therefore, he could not hold up both his hands. A soldier 
stepped up to him and struck him with an axe on the neck. He fell 
mortally wounded before his own door. His wife tried to bring him 
assistance, was pushed back into the house, and had to assist help- 
lessly at the last agony of her husband. A soldier threatened to 
shoot her with his revolver if she crossed the door-sill. 

Meanwhile the whole population was being driven towards the 
Place des Tilleuls. Old men, the sick and the paralysed were all 
brought there. Some were drawn on wheel-chairs, others pushed 
on hand carts, others, again, borne up by their relations. The men 
were separated from the women and children, then all were search- 
ed, but no arms were found on them. One man had in his pocket 
some empty cartridge cases both German and Belgian. He was im- 
mediately apprehended and set aside. So was a cobbler who had a 



12 THE MARTYRDOM OF BELGIUM. 

v/ounded hand ; the wound was a month old. An engineer was also 
put apart because he had in his pocket a spanner, which was con- 
sidered as a weapon. Another man seems to have been arrested 
because his face showed his contempt and rage at what was going 
on. These people were shot in presence of the crowd and all died 
bravely. 

Subsequently the soldiers, on the order of their officers, picked 
out of the mass some 40 or 50 men who were led off and all shot, 
some along the bank of the Meuse, and others in front of the Police 
Station. 

The rest of the men were kept for a long time in the Place. 
Among them lay two persons, one of whom had received a ball in 
the chest, and the other a bayonet wound. They lay face to the 
ground with blood from their wounds trickling into the dust, oc- 
casionally calling for water. The officers forbade their neighbours 
to give them any help. One soldier was reproved for having wished 
to give one of them his water-bottle. Both died in the course of the 
day. 

While this scene was going on in the Place des Tilleuls, other 
soldiers spread themselves through the Town, continuing their work 
of sack, pillage and arson. Eight men belonging to the same house- 
hold were led out into a meadow some 50 yards from their dwelling, 
some of them were shot, the rest cut down with blows of an axe. 
One tall red-haired soldier with a scar on his face distinguished him- 
self by the ferocity with which he used an axe. A young boy and 
a woman were shot. 

About 10 in the morning the officers told the women to withdraw, 
giving them the order to gather together the dead bodies and to 
wash away the stains of blood which defiled the street and the 
houses. About midday the surviving men to the number of 800 
were shut up as hostages in three little houses near the bridge, but 
they were not allowed to go out of them on any pretext, and so 
crammed together that they could not even sit down on the floor. 
Soon these crowded buildings reached a highly insanitary condition. 
The women later in the day were allowed to bring food to their 
husbands. Many of them, fearing outrage, had fled from the Place. 
These hostages were not finally released till the Tuesday following. 

The statistics of the losses at Andenne give the following total : 

Three hundred were massacred in Andenne and Seilles, and about 
300 houses were burnt in the two localities. A great number of 
inhabitants have fled. Almost every house has been sacked ; indeed, 
the pillage did not end for eight days. Other places have suffered 
more than Andenne, but no other Belgian Town was the theatre of 
of so many scenes of ferocity and cruelty. The numerous inhabi- 
tants whom we have cross-examined are unanimous in asserting 
that the German troops were not fired upon. They told us that no 



TESTIMONY OF EYE-WITNESSES. 13 

German soldier was killed either at Andenne or in its neighbour- 
hood. They are incapable of understanding the causes of the 
catastrophe which has ruined their town, and to explain it they 
give various hypotheses. Some think that Andenne was sacrificed 
merely to establish a reign of terror, and quote words uttered by 
officers which seemed to them to show that the destruction of the 
place was premeditated. Others think that the destruction of the 
bridge, the ruining of a neighbouring tunnel, and the resistance of 
the Belgian troops were the causes of the massacre. All protest 
that nothing happened in the place to excuse the conduct of the 
Germans. 



(IV.) SACK OF DINANT. 



The town of Dinant was sacked and destroyed by the German 
Army, and its population was decimated on the 22nd, 23rd, 24th 
and 25th August. 

On August 15th a lively engagement took place at Dinant be- 
tween the French troops on the left bank of the Meuse and the 
German troops coming up from the East. The German troops 
were routed by the French, who passed over to the right bank of 
the river following them. The town had little to suffer on that 
day. Some houses were destroyed by German shells, aimed no 
doubt at French regiments on the left bank, and a citizen of Dinant 
belonging to the Red Cross was killed by a German ball as he was 
picking up a wounded man. 

The days which followed were calm. The French occupied the 
neighborhood of the town. No engagement took place between 
the hostile armies, and nothing happened which could be interpreted 
as an act of hostility by the population. No German troops were 
anywhere near Dinant. On Friday, the 21st, about 9 o'clock in 
the evening, German troops coming down the road from Ciney 
entered the town by the Rue St. Jacques. On entering they began 
firing into the windows of the houses, and killed a workman who 
was returning to his own house, wounded another inhabitant, and 
forced him to cry "Long live the Kaiser." They bayoneted a third 
person in the stomach. They entered the cafes, seized the liquor, 
got drunk, and retired after having set fire to several houses and 
broken the doors and windows of others. The population was 
terrorised and stupefied, and shut itself up in its dwellings. 

Saturday, August 22nd, was a day of relative calm. All life, 
however, was at an end in the streets. Part of the inhabitants, 
guided by the instincts of self-preservation, fled into the neigh- 
bouring country side. The rest, more attached to their homes, and 
rendered confident by the conviction that nothing had happened 
which could be interpreted as an act of hostility on their part, 
remained hidden in their houses. 



14 THE MARTYRDOM OF BELGIUM. 

On Sunday morning next, the 23rd, at 6.30 in the morning, 
soldiers of the 108th Regiment of Infantry invaded the Church of 
the Premonastrensian Fathers, drove out the congregation, sepa- 
rated the women from the men, and shot 50 of the latter. Between 
7 and 9 the same morning the soldiers gave themselves up to pillage 
and arson, going from house to house and driving the inhabitants 
into the street. Those who tried to escape were shot. About 9 in 
the morning the soldiery, driving before them by blows from the 
butt ends of rifles men, women, and children, pushed them all into 
the Parade Square, where they were kept prisoners till 6 o'clock 
in the evening. The guard took pleasure in repeating to them that 
they would soon be shot. About 6 o'clock a Captain separated the 
men from the women and children. The women were placed in 
front of a rank of infantry soldiers, the men were ranged along a 
wall. The front rank of them were then told to kneel, the others 
standing behind them. A platoon of soldiers drew up in face of 
these unhappy men. It was in vain that the women cried out 
for mercy for their husbands, sons, and brothers. The officer 
ordered his men to fire. There had been no inquiry nor any 
pretense of a trial. About 20 of the inhabitants were only wounded, 
but fell among the dead. The soldiers, to make sure, fired a new vol- 
ley into the heap of them. Several citizens escaped this double 
discharge. They shammed dead for more than two hours, re- 
maining motionless among the corpses, and when night fell suc- 
ceeded in saving themselves in the hills. Eighty-four corpses were 
left on the Square, and buried in a neighbouring garden. 

The day of August 23rd was made bloody by several more mas- 
sacres. Soldiers discovered some inhabitants of the Faubourg St. 
Pierre in the cellars of a brewery there and shot them. 

Since the previous evening a crowd of workmen belonging to 
the factory of M. Himmer had hidden themselves, along with their 
wives and children, in the cellars of the building. They had been 
joined there by many neighbours and several members of the family 
of their employer. About 6 o'clock in the evening these unhappy 
people made up their minds to come out of their refuge, and defiled 
all trembling from the cellars with the white flag in front. They 
were immediately seized and violently attacked by the soldiers. 
Every man was shot on the spot. Almost all the men of the Fau- 
bourg de Leffe were executed en masse. In another part of the 
town 12 civilians were killed in a cellar. In the Rue en He a 
paralytic was shot in his armchair. In the Rue Enfer the soldiers 
killed a young boy of 14. 

In the Faubourg de Leffe the viaduct of the railway was the 
scene of a bloody massacre. An old woman and all her children 
were killed in their cellar. A man of 65 years, his wife, his son 
and his daughter were shot against a wall. Other inhabitants of 
Leffe were taken in a barge as far as the rock of Bayard and shot 
there, among them a woman of 83 and her husband. 



TESTIMONY OF EYE-WITNESSES. 15 

A certain number of men and women had been locked up in 
the Court of the Prison. At six in the evening a German machine 
gun, placed on the hill above, opened fire on them, and an old 
woman and three other persons were brought down. 

While a certain number of soldiers were perpetrating this mas- 
sacre, others pillaged and sacked the houses of the town, and broke 
open all safes, sometimes blasting them with dynamite. Their 
work of destruction and theft accomplished, the soldiers set fire 
to the houses, and the town was soon no more than an immense 
furnace. 

The women and children had been all shut up in a Convent, 
where they were kept prisoners for four days. These unhappy 
women remained in ignorance of the lot of their male relations. 
They were expecting themselves to be shot also. All around the 
town continued to blaze. The first day the monks of. the Convent 
had given them a certain supply of food. For the remaining days 
they had nothing to eat but raw carrots and green fruit. 

To sum up, the town of Dinant is destroyed. It counted 1,400 
houses; only 200 remain. The manufactories where the artisan 
population worked have been systematically destroyed. Rather 
more than 700 of the inhabitants have been killed ; others have been 
taken off to Germany, and are still retained there as prisoners. 
The majority are refugees scattered all through Belgium. A few 
who remained in the town are dying of hunger. It has been proved 
by our Enquiry that German soldiers, while exposed to the fire of the 
French entrenched on the opposite bank of the Meuse, in certain 
cases sheltered themselves behind a line of civilians, women and 
children. 



(V) MASSACRES AT HASTIERE AND SURICE 

On August 23rd, the Germans entered the village of Hastiere- 

par-dela. (1.) They arrested Dr. Halloy, a Surgeon of the Red 

Cross, and shot him. Crossing the street, they went to the house 

of Alphonse Aigret, a butcher, drove out him, his wife and his 

children, and shot him and his elder son. Next they went to the 

farm of Jules Rifon, took him out of his cellar, where he had hidden 

with his daughters, and shot him. They also killed the farmer 

Bodson and his two sons, with ten other inhabitants of the village. 

The place was then sacked, and the greater part of the houses 

burned. The number of persons killed or wounded was very large. 

(1) Testimony of the Right Reverend Monsignor X annexed to the 

proceedings of the Session of Dec. 18, 1914. 



16 THE MARTYRDOM OF BELGIUM. 

The ancient church of Hastiere suffered odious profanation. 
Horses were stabled in it. The priestly vestments were torn and 
befouled. The lamps, statues, and holy-water stoups were broken. 
The reliquary was smashed, and the relics scattered about. Among 
them were some relics of the Eleven Thousand Virgins of Cologne, 
which had escaped the fury of the Huguenots of 1590 and the Rev- 
olution of 1790. The tabernacle resisted an attempt at burglary, 
but two of the four altars were profaned; the sepulchres at the 
altars were broken open and the remains in them thrown out and 
trampled under foot. 

The parish priest of Hastiere, Abbe Emile Schogel, had taken 
refuge in the crj^Dt, with his brother-in-law, M. Ponthiere, a pro- 
fessor of the University of Louvain, the wife and two daughters 
of the professor, two servants, the schoolmaster of the village with 
his wife and family, and other inhabitants. The Germans fired 
at them through the windows of the crypt, and then forced them to 
come up to the road, where they were brought before several officers, 
of whom some were intoxicated. Some questions were put to the 
Abbe, but he was given no time to answer. The women were then 
dragged apart from the men, and the priest, M. Pointhiere, the 
schoolmaster, and the other men were shot; their bodies were left 
lying on the road. All this happened on August 24th, 1914, at 
about 5.30 in the afternoon. 

On this same day the village of Surice was occupied by the 
German troops. At about 11 p. m. they set fire to some of the 
houses. Next morning, about 6 o'clock, the soldiers broke open 
doors and windows with the butts of their rifles, and forced all the 
inhabitants to come out. They were led off in the direction of the 
church. On the way several most inoffensive people were fired 
upon. For example, the old choirman, Charles Colot, aged 88, was 
shot as he came out of his door; the soldiers rolled his body in a 
blanket, and set fire to it. 

A man named Elie Pierrot was seized by the Germans as he was 
coming out of his burning house, carrying his aged and impotent 
step-mother (she was over 80 years of age), and was shot at short 
range. The clerk, Leopold Burniaux, his son Armand, who had 
been recently ordained priest, and another of his sons were shot 
before the eyes of Madame Burniaux. She, with her last surviving 
son, a professor at the College of Malonne, were marched off with 
the surviving inhabitants on the road to Romedenne. In a garden 
below the road there was a dead woman lying, with two small 
children crying over her. 

On arriving at Fosses the party were led to a piece of fallow 
ground — they numbered between 50 and 60 persons of both sexes. 
"It was about 7.15 a. m. when the men and the women were sep- 



TESTIMONY OF EYE-WITNESSES. 17 

arated. An officer came up who said to us in French with a strong 
German accent, 'You all deserve to be shot: a young girl of 15 has 
just fired on one of our Commanders. But the Court-martial has 
decided that only the men shall be executed : the women will be kept 
prisoners." 

"The scene that followed passes all description: there were 
eighteen men standing in a row: besides the parish priests of 
Anthee and Onhaye, and the Abbe Gaspiard, there was our own 
priest, Mons. Poskin, and his brother-in-law, Mons. Schmidt, then 
Doctor Jacques and his son Henri, aged just 16, then Gaston Bur- 
niaux, the clerk's son, and Leonard Soumoy: next them two men 
named Balbeur and Billy, with the 17-year-old son of the latter : last 
two men from Onhaye and Dinant who had taken refuge in Surice, 
and two people more whom I did not know. Mons. Schmidt's little 
boy of 14 was nearly put into the line — the soldiers hesitated, but 
finally shoved him away in a brutal fashion. At this moment I saw 
a young German soldier — this I vouch for — who was so horror- 
struck that great tears were dropping onto his tunic: he did not 
wipe his eyes for fear of being seen by his officer, but kept his head 
turned away. 

"Some minutes passed: then under our eyes and amid the 
shrieks of women who were crying 'Shoot me too ; shoot me with my 
husband!' and the wailing of the children, the men were lined up 
on the edge of the hollow way which runs from the high road to 
the bottom of the village. They waved last greetings to us, some 
with their hands, others with their hats or caps. The young Henri 
Jacques was leaning on the shoulder of one of the priests, as if to 
seek help and courage from him : he was sobbing, *I am too young ; 
I can't face death bravely.' Unable to bear the sight any longer, 
I turned my back to the road and covered my eyes with my hands. 
The soldiers fired their volley, and the men fell in a heap. Some- 
one said to me, 'Look, they are all down!' But they were not all 
shot dead ; several were finished off by having their skulls beaten 
in with rifle-butts. Among these was the priest of Surice, whose 
head (as I was afterwards told) was dreadfully opened out. 

"When the massacre was over the Germans plundered the 
corpses. They took from them watches, rings, purses, and pocket- 
books. Madame Schmidt told me that her husband had on him 
about 3,000 francs, which was stolen. Dr. Jacques had also a 
good sum on him, though his wife could not say exactly how much. 

"After this some more German soldiers brought up a man 
named Victor Cavillot, and shot him before he reached the spot 
where the others were lying; they fired on him, and I saw him 
double up and fall into the hollow way." (1) 

(1) From the testimony of Mademoiselle Aline Diericz, of Tenham, an- 
nexed to the Report of the Session of Dec. 18, 1914. 



18 THE MARTYRDOM OF BELGIUM. 

The village of Surice was thoroughly sacked. The pillage began 
on Tuesday night, and continued all day on Wednesday. The safe 
of Madame Laurent-Mineur, a widow, was blown open with dyna- 
mite. Of the 131 houses of the village only eight escaped the con- 
flagration. 

This Report gives no more than an incomplete picture of the 
German ravages and crimes in the Province of Namur. We lack 
detailed knowledge of what went on in three of the six cantons 
which form the district of Namur. The total of 800 persons killed 
and 1,160 houses burned in that district may have to be largely 
increased. In the district of Dinant, that town itself and 21 vil- 
lages have been destroyed. In the district of Philippeville 20 
villages have been sacked, plundered, and more or less burned down. 
In the whole province, which has 364,000 inhabitants, nearly 2,000 
unoffending people — men, women, and children — ^have been mas- 
sacred. 



The Commission makes it a rule to limit its publications to a 
mere statement of facts, thinking that no commentary could add 
anything to their tragic eloquence. It thinks, however, that the 
evidence given above leads to certain conclusions. 

It has been said that when Belgium makes up the account of 
her losses, it may appear that war has levied more victims from the 
civil population than from the men who were called out to serve 
their country on the battlefield. This prophecy, which seemed con- 
trary to reason, is now confirmed as regards the Province of 
Namur. In certain parts of it half the male adult population has 
disappeared: the horrors of the conflagrations at Louvain and 
Termonde, of the massacres at Aerschot and in Luxembourg and 
Brabant, are all surpassed by those of the slaughter at Dinant, at 
Andenne, at Tamines, and at Namur. 

In this twentieth century the people of Namur have had to live 
through all the frightful details of a mediaeval war, with its tradi- 
tional episodes of massacres en masse, druken orgies, sack of whole 
towns, and general conflagration. The "exploits" of the mercenary 
bands of the XVIIth Century have been surpassed by those of the 
national army of a State which claims the first place among civil- 
ized nations! 

The German Government cannot deny the truth of these facts — 
they are attested by the ruins and the graves which cover our 
native soil. But already it has set to work to excuse its troops, 
affirming that they only repressed, in consonance with the Laws of 
War, the hostile acts of the Belgian civil population. 



TESTIMONY OF EYE-WITNESSES. 19 

From the day of its First Session our Commission has been 
trying to discover what foundation there might be for this charge — 
a charge which seemed very unconvincing to anyone who knew the 
character of the Belgian people. After having examined hundreds 
of witnesses — foreigners and natives — and after having exhausted 
every possible means of investigation, we affirm once more that the 
Belgian people took no part in the hostilities. The supposed 
"France-Tireur" War, which is said to have been waged against 
the German Army, is a mere invention. It was invented in order 
to lessen in the eyes of the civilized world the impression caused 
by the barbarous treatment inflicted by the German Army on our 
people, and also to appease the scruples of the German nation, 
which will shudder with fear on the day when it learns what a 
tribute of innocent blood was levied by its troops on our children, 
our wives, and our defenseless fellow-citizens. 

Moreover, the chiefs of the German Army have made a singular 
error when they try to influence the verdict of the civilized world 
by this particular argument. They seem unaware of the fact that 
the repression by general measures of individual faults — a system 
condemned by the International Conventions at which they scoff — 
has long been condemned by the conscience of the nations of to-day. 
Among those nations Germany appears for the future as a mon- 
strous and disconcerting moral phenomenon. 

(Signed) COOREMAN, 

Minister of State, President. 

COMTE GOBLET DE AVIELLA, Vice-President, 
Minister of State and Vice-President of the 
Belgian Senate. 

CHEVALIER ERNEST DE BUNSWYCK, 

Chief Secretary to the Minister of Justice. 

ORTS, 

Councillor of Legation to H.M. the King of the 
Belgians. 



THE GERMAN MILITARY CODE 

In 1902 the Historic Section of the German General Staff pub- 
lished a collection of works for the instruction and guidance of the 
officers of the German Army. Among these works is a Manual 
upon "The Laws of War on Land." ("Kriegsgebrauch im Land- 
kriege.") The following extracts from this manual show that the 
ideas of the German General Staff on the conduct of warfare are 
diametrically opposed to the views generally adopted by civilized 
countries. It is the systematic carrying-out of these ideas which 
has caused the devastation and desolation of Belgium. 

It is by making a deep study of the history of wars 
that, "one may protect oneself against exaggerated 
humanitarian ideas." 

(Laws of War on Land, pp. 6 and 7) 

The claims of professors of International Law (in 
regard to a certain point under discussion) "should 
be deliberately rejected in principle as being opposed 
to the rules of war." 

(Ibid page 46) 

The claims of certain professors of International 
Law in this respect are absolutely contrary to the 
necessities of warfare, "and should be rejected by 
military men." 

(Ibid pages 44 and 45) 

An energetically conducted war cannot be carried on 
solely against the combatant enemy and his defenses, 
but extends and should extend to the destruction of 
his material and moral resources. Humanitarian con- 
siderations, such as respect for persons and property, 
can be taken into consideration only provided that 
the nature and object of the war adapt themselves to 
that course. 

(Ibid page 3) 

The above extracts indicate clearly the spirit of the German 
military class, namely, 

To protect themselves against humanitarian ideas, 
as against a dangerous infection. 

To cast aside international law if found incompat- 
ible with convenience. 

To strike not only at the enemy's armed forces, but 
to terrorise him by striking at his "material and 
moral resources," i. e. his home and property, his 
wife and children. 



THE GERMAN MILITARY CODE. 21 

These injunctions of the German Code of 1902 have been fully 
carried out in Belgium, and have converted the German army into 
"a horde of barbarians and a band of incendiaries." 

The "ethics" of the German Military Code have also been sup- 
ported by German jurists inoculated with the germ of the same 
"Kultur." 

Meurer, in his book on the Hague Peace Conference, says that 
there is no violation of international law "when an act of war is 
necessary to support the troops or to defend them against a danger 
which cannot be avoided by any other means, or when the act is 
necessary in order to realize or assure the success of a military 
operation which is not in itself prohibited." 

("Die Haager Friedenskonferenz, II Band, page 14) 

In other words "Necessity Knows No Law." It is the same 
doctrine proclaimed by the Imperial German Chancellor, Dr. von 
Bethmann-Hollweg, and upheld by other German jurists such as 
Dr. Karl Strupp, who says : 

"A body of troops may be obliged to let their pris- 
oners starve, if the commander thinks this is the only 
means of carrying out an order which he has received, 
for example, an order to reach, at a certain time, a 
place indispensable for the proper conduct of the op- 
erations. 

"The stipulations of the Laws of War may be dis- 
regarded whenever the violation of them seems to be 
the only means of carrying out a military operation 
or of assuring its success, or, indeed, of supporting 
the armed forces, even though it be only one soldier." 
("Das Internationale Landkriegsrecht," 1914, 
pages 7 and 8) 

In short, according to the German idea, the recognized Laws of 
War, as understood by civilized nations, are to be practised by 
Germany only when found convenient. The alleged killing of one 
German soldier in Aerschot led to the destruction of the whole town 
and the massacre of many innocent citizens. It was contrary to 
Law, but it was in accordance with the spirit of the German Mili- 
tary Code of 1902. 

The German Army invaded Belgium with the full intention, in 
case of resistance, of carrying on a war of terror by means of mas- 
sacre, robbery and destruction — a war to "destroy the material and 
moral resources of the enemy." Moreover, the German officers 
were provided with forms drawn up in the French language 
to facilitate them, especially in their work of robbery and arson. 



22 THE GERMAN MILITARY CODE. 

They do not seem to have needed anything to facilitate them 
in their work of massacre. 

These forms are found in a book published at Berlin by Bath, 
in 1906, entitled "The Military Interpreter," destined for the use 
of German officers "in the enemy's country," which seems to be a 
French speaking country such as Belgium or France, as the forms 
are drawn up in French. The book contains, to quote its introduc- 
tion, "the French text of the majority of the documents, letters, 
proclamations and other forms which may be needed in time of 
war." 

Among these interesting documents we find the following form 
to be used by officers when wishing to rob a whole city at once. It 
will be observed that the pretended excuse for the robbery is sup- 
plied. The document is as follows : 

"A fine of 600,000 marks, on account of the at- 
tempted assassination of a German soldier by a 

, has been imposed upon the City of 

O by order of 

"Fruitless eftorts have been made to secure the re- 
mittance or reduction of this fine. 

"The limit of time fixed for the payment of the fine 
expires tomorrow, Saturday, December 17th, at noon. 

"Bank Notes, Coin, or Silverware will be accepted." 

The general outline of this useful form was followed by Gen- 
eral Baron von Leutwitz when on November 1st, 1914, he imposed 
upon the City of Brussels "an additional fine of Five Million Francs" 
on account of an alleged altercation between a Belgian policeman, 
named De Ryckere, and a German soldier. 

Here is another form, intended to give an air of justification to 
an act of robbery : 

"The German authorities, having demanded a war 
contribution of two million francs from the city of 

M , because its inhabitants fired upon 

the German troops when entering the city, and the 
municipality having declared that it has not the nec- 
essary funds and that it cannot find such funds among 
the citizens, the German authorities demand a settle- 
ment by bills of exchange." 

If the above demand failed to produce the desired results, the 
German Commanders were provided with another form to be used 



THE GERMAN MILITARY CODE. 23 

as a "follow-up" letter. This is a form of letter to be written by the 
Commanding General to his subordinate, and the substance is to 
be communicated to the recalcitrant citizens. 

"I acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 7th of 
this month telling me of the great difficulties you 
think you will meet in collecting the contributions. 

"I can only regret the explanations that you think 
proper to make on this subject. The order in ques- 
tion (which comes from my Government) is so clear 
and precise, the orders which I have received (on this 
subject) are so explicit, that, if the amount due by the 

City of B is not paid the city will be 

burned without mercy." 

The foregoing form seems to have been substantially followed 
by Lieutenant General von Niebur in his letter to the Burgomaster 
of Wavre on August 27th, 1914. A fine of three million francs 
was imposed upon the little town of Wavre for an alleged attack on 
the German troops, and in his letter of the above date Lieutenant 
General von Niebur declares that "the City of Wavre will be burned 
and destroyed if the levy is not paid in due time, without regard 
for anyone; the innocent will suffer with the guilty." 

Here is another form for extorting money from a community : 

"On account of the destruction of the bridge at 
F I command, as follows: 

"The district shall pay an additional contribution of 
ten million francs, as a fine. This information is 
brought to the knowledge of the public with the fol- 
lowing notice, namely, that the manner of distributing 
the assessment will be indicated later, and that the 
payment of the said amount will be exacted with the 

greatest severity. The village of F ... 

has been at once burned with the exception of certain 
houses reserved for the use of the troops." 

The foregoing form recalls the Proclamation of General 
von Buelow to the Municipal Authorities of Liege, on 
August 22nd, 1914, in which he said : 

"It is with my consent that the Commander-in- 
Chief has ordered the whole toivn (of Andenne) to be 
burned and that about one hundred people have been 
shot:' 

The scenes of horror and barbarism depicted in the Reports of 
the Official Belgian Commission of Inquiry have not been brought 
about by accident. They are the direct result of the orders given 
and the doctrines inculcated by the German General Staff. 



LibKHKY Uh LUNUKtbi 



021 803 385 4