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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 7


TESTIMONY OF EYEWITNESSES.         7
inhabitants of Namur perished during the fire and the
fuslladeu Some aged people were left in the burning houses:
others were killed in the streets, or shot in their own dwellings. In
all, seventy-five civilians perished in one of these ways or another
on the 23rd-24th-25th August
We may mention, without detailing, the arrest of hostages, and
the brutal treatment to which the most distinguished inhabitants
of the town were exposed during the early days of German occupa-
tion.
Namur and the seventeen neighbouring communes were sub-
jected to a war contribution of fifty million francs (£2,000,000),
which was afterwards reduced to thirty-two millions, on condition
that the fiat million should be paid within twenty-four hours. The
deposits at a private bank (the Banque Generale Belge) were con-
fiscated. On the petition of its directors the concession was made
that the sum seized should count towards the war contribution.
The immediate neighborhood of the town was the scene of many
similar acts of violence. In this part of the province many mansions
and villas were systematically pillaged. One citizen of Namur saw
his own furniture from his country house going to the rear on a
German cart. The plunder was all sent off to Germany.
At Vedrin a boy was shot because he was found to have in his
possession an empty German cartridge case. Twenty-six priests
and members of religious orders were shot in the diocese of Namur.
(IH.) MASSACRE AT TAMINES.
Tamines was a rich and populous village situated on the Sambre
between Charleroi and Namur. It was occupied by detachments
of French troops on the 17th, 18th and 19th of August last. On
Thursday, the 20th August, a German patrol appeared in front of
the suburb of Vilaines. It was greeted by shots fired by French
soldiers, and by a party of the Civic Guards of Charleroi. Several
Uhlans were killed and wounded, and the rest fled. The people of
the village came out of their houses and cried: "Vive la Belgique !"
"Vive la France!" In all probability it was this incident which
caused the subsequent massacre of Tamines.
Some time afterwards the Germans arrived in force at the
hamlet of Alloux. They there burnt two houses and made all the
inhabitants prisoners. An artillery combat broke out between the
German guns posted at Vilaines and at Alloux and the French
guns placed in a battery at Arsimont and at Hame-sur-Heure.
7


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