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The martyrdom of Belgium: official report of massacres of peaceable citizens, women and children by the German army

Official Belgian commission of inquiry,   pp. [5]-19 PDF (6.7 MB)


Page 9


TESTIMONY OF EYE-WiTNESES.
do with us. He said that he did not. By the time that the trenches
were f-nished it was about noon. They then gave us some planks,
on which we placed the corpses and so carried them to the ten
I recognized many of the persons whose bodies we were burying.
Actually fathers buried the bodies of their sons and sons the bodies
of teir 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 cas
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-b 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 bad
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 1 We all thought that we
were goi    to be sot 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 l'Allemagne." The Germans burnt, after sacking them,
264 houses in Tamines. Many persons, including women and chi-
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


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