The martyrdom of Belgium: official report of massacres of peaceable citizens, women and children by the German army
Official Belgian commission of inquiry, pp. -19 PDF (6.7 MB)
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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