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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 18


THE MARTYRDOM OF BELGIUM.
Tme 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 medieval 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.


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