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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 11


TESTIMONY OF EYE-WTNESSES
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 anst the houses, and later a canon
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 i
the Town, was combig 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 lat 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 wheelchairs, 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 armswere 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
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