University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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 6


THE MARTYRDOM OF BELGIUM.
du Pont, the Rue des Brasseurs, and the Rue Bailly, with the ex-
ception of the Hotel des Quatre Fils Aymon.
No serious attempt was made to prevent the fire from spreading.
At its commencement some of the townspeople came out at the ap-
peal of the Fire-Bell, but they were forbidden to stir from their
houses. The Chief of the Fire Brigade, though the balls were whist-
ling round him, got as far as the site of the disaster; but an officer
arrested him in the Place d'Armes, and then, acting under the or-
ders of his superior, sent him away under an escort.
The Germans, with the object of justifying their proceedings,
alleged that shots had been fired againb. tneir troops on the Mon-
day evening. Every circumstance demonstrates the absurdity of
this statement. The juxtaposition of observed facts and the se-
quence of concordant evidence lead to the conclusion that the in-
cidents at Namur were deliberately prepared, and merely formed
part of the general system of terrorism which was habitually
practised by the German Army in Belgium.
Fifteen days back the people of Namur had given over to the
Belgian Authorities all the firearms that they possessed. They had
been informed by Official Notices as to the tenor of the Laws of War,
and had been invited by the Civil and Military Authorities, by the
Clergy and the Press, to take no part with the belligerents. The
Belgian troops had evacuated the town 36 hours before the con-
flagration. The people, even if they had possessed weapons, would
not have been so insane as to rise and assail the masses of German
troops who crowded the town and occupied all its approaches. And
how can anyone account for the strange fact that, at all the five
points at which the alleged rising was supposed to have broken
out, the Germans were found in possession of the incendiary sub-
stances which were required for the prompt burning of the place?
The disorder which followed helped the pillage in which the
German Army habitually engages. In the Place d'Armes houses
were thoroughly sacked before they were set on fire. In the quar-
ter by the Gate of St. Nicolas the inhabitants, when they returned
to their homes, found that everything had been plundered; in one
case a safe had been broken up and 17,000 francs worth of securi-
ties had disappeared.
On the subsequent days, though things were comparatively
quiet, pillage continued. In several houses where German officers
were quartered, the furniture was broken up, and wine and under-
clothing (even female underclothing) was stolen.
Our witnesses have detailed to us several outrages on women.
In one case we have evidence concerning the rape of a girl by four
soldiers. A Belgian quartermaster of Gendarmes saw the daughter
of the proprietor of the hotel in which he was staying outraged by
two German soldiers, without being able to intervene for her pro-
tection, at four o'clock in the morning.


Go up to Top of Page