Wadstein, Elis / Joseph Bédier's "crimes allemands"
The German testimonials about German atrocities, pp. 3-10 ff. PDF (4.8 MB)
THE GERMAN TESTIMONIALS ABOUT GEIRMAN ATROCITIES J. Bedier's book, Les Crimes Allemands d'apres des Temoignages Alle- mands, is considered by many the most reliable support for the opinion that in the war now going on the Germans have been guilty of atrocities and acts of violence to a much greater extent proportionally than is usual during the hard times of war. At first glance its proofs seem to be the most authentic: documents coming from the Germans. themselves. Its author is a prominent scholar. The work also purports to be the product of the most exact scholarly method. About the manner in which he has treated his sources, the author says: "j'ai pris le soin d'en faire la critique avec autant de minutie et de scrupule que naguere, lorsque, dans les travaux de la paix, je discutais 1'autorite d'une vieille chronique ou I'authenticite d'une charte." The evidence presented in the book should accordingly be particularly examined from the philological point of view. The documents used, not quite forty in number, consist for the greater part of diaries which have been kept by German soldiers later captured by the French. From eleven such books the author has selected in all fifteen pages, which he publishes in facsimile in their entirety or in part; besides, he gives four facsimiles from articles from two German papers. These facsimiles, eighteen in all, accordingly constitute his evidence proper, and it is chiefly this evidence which is here to be made the subject of an examination. The defects which I shall call attention to are to be explained, no doubt, to a not inconsiderable extent, by the circumstance that the author's scientific specialty is not the German language. If we first examine the author's transcription of the soldiers' notes, which are usually written in German script, we find that this has not always been done with due care and exactness. A few inaccuracies the author has no doubt allowed himself for the purpose of making the text more intelli- gible to the general public. I shall only point out here the errors in tran- scription which consist in the insertion of other words than those of the original or of the omission of words and punctuation important for the meaning or of the wrong arrangement of the different sections. I shall confine myself here to passages quite legibly written. These errors are: In place of the period befor "Hatte", page 8, line 8 from below, the fac- simile, figure 1, line 1 from below, has a colon; instead of "verschossen", page 18, line 2 from below, figure 7, line 7, has "erschossen"; page 24, line 5 from below, "seit" is omitted, figure 10, line 3; instead of "gesto-rt", page 24, line 2 from below, figure 10, line 12, has "zerstirt"; page 26, line 1 from below, the dash of figure 12, line 4 from below, is mising; instead of "schone Kuh nebst 1 Kalb eingeschossen", page 31, figure 13, lines 12, 13, has "scheue Kuh nebst Kalb angeschossen"; page 38, there is lacking between lines 4 and 3 from below the large space between lines 7 and 6 from below of figure 17. Some of these errors are, to be sure, not of particular importance for the interpretation, but they show that the author has not proceeded witJ 3- ; ;0 t
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