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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 14


THRE 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 Ile 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.


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