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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 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
Andeine 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.


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