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Ministry of Justice and Ministry of 

Foreign Affairs. 

WAR OF 1914-1916. 


To the German White Book of the 
10th May, 1915, 

"Die volkerrechtswidrige Fiihrung 
■ des belgischen Volkskriegs." 


To be purchcised through any Bookseller or directly from 

H.M. STATIONERY OFFICE at the foUowing addresses : 

Imperial House, Kingsway, London, W.C. 2, and 28, Abingdon Street, London, S.W. 1 ; 

37, Peter Street, Manchester ;' Ij St. Andrew's Crescent, Cardiff/';^ 

23, Forth Street, Edinburgh ; 

or from E. PONSONBY, Ltd., 116, Grafton Street, Dublin. 


Price 5i Net. 




Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



Ministry of Justice and Ministry of 

Foreign Affairs. 

WAR OF 1914-1916. 


To the German White Book of the 
10th May, 1915, 

"Die volkerrechtswidrige Ftihrung 
des belgischen Volkskriegs." 


To be purchased through any Bookseller or directly from 

H.M. STATIONERY OFFICE at the foUowing addresses : 

Imperial House, Kingsway, London, W.C. 2, and 28, Abingdon Street, London, S.W. 1 : 

37, Peter Street, Manchester ; 1, St. Andrew's Crescent, Cardiff ; 

23, FoRTri Street, Edinburgh ; 

or from E. PONSONBY, Ltd., 116, Grafton Street, Dublin. 


Price 5s. Net. 

I- L . 

A. 3^0/^ 



On June 14th, 1915, a German " White Book " deahng with the so-called Belgian 
civilian war, and entitled Die volkerrechtswidrige Filhrung des belgischen Volkskriegs* 
came into the possession of the Belgian Government. The Note (Denkschrift), dated 
May 10th, 1915, prefixed to this work, is imsigned, but it emanates from the Imperial 
Foreign Office {Auswdrtiges Ami), under the auspices of which the " White Book " 
is pubhshed. With the exception of this introductory note, the " White Book " 
is the work of the Military Bureau of Inquiry into Violations of the Laws of War,t 
which has been set up at the Ministry of War in Berhn. It contains four general 
reports {zusammenfassender Bericht) or summaries, signed on behalf of the MiMtary 
Bureau by Kammergerichtsrat (Councillor of the Supreme Court), Dr. Wagner, and 
Major Bauer, and deaUng with the events that took place in the towns of Aerschot, 
Andenne, Dinant and Louvain ; further, various appendices {Anlagen), consisting 
of extracts from war-diaries (Kriegstagebuch) or mihtary reports {Gefechtsbericht, 
Meldung), and the depositions of officers, doctors and soldiers ; these appendices 
relate to acts committed in the four towns mentioned above, and also in a certain 
number of other places. 

The Belgian Government protests indignantly against this arraignment, which 
reiterates and generalises accusations disseminated at the beginning of the war 
by the German press, accusations, many of which have been disproved by that 
press itself, as well as by official German enquiries, undertaken notably on the 
initiative of the ecclesiastical association. Pax. This applies more especially to 
the accusation brought against the Belgian population of having put out the eyes 
of the German wounded. 

The aim of the Imperial Government in their official publication is to counteract 
the general reprobation aroused in the world by the deeds of violence committed 
by the German invaders of Belgium, and to ahenate the universal sympathy evoked 
by Belgium's attitude and her sufferings. This defence is designed more 
especially to impress countries which stand aloof from the conffict, and have 
not as yet formed any definite opinion as to the belligerent methods of Germany. 
The diflfusion in Belgium itself of the calumnies and insults heaped upon its population 
by the " White Book " seems to have resulted in a revolt of pubHc opinion by no 
means favourable to the usurpers. Hence, according to information received from 
several sources by the Belgian Government, the newspapers pubhshed in Belgium 
under German censorship have refrained from comment on, and even from allusion 
to, the " White Book," though a few copies of this have been on sale in Belgium, 
together with copies of a French translation of the work, containing only the 
Prefatory Note drawn up by the Imperial Foreign Office, and the four reports of 
the Military Btu:eau of Inquiry ; with the exception of two maps, none of the 212 
appendices of the German edition appear in the translation. J 

* Approximate translation : " The civilian warfare waged in Belgium in defiance of international 

t Mililar-Uniersuchungstdle fiir Verleizungen des Kriegsrechts. 

X The translations of passages of the " White Book," reproduced in the present volume, are very 
close renderings of the original text. They occasionally differ slightly, at least in form, from the German 
official translation into French. The official translation bears the following title : La ConduUe contraire 
au Droit des Gens de la population beige dans sa lutte contre les troupes allemandes (The infringements of 
International Law committed by the Belgian population in its warfare against the German troops). 

(B773) Wt. 16720-646. 5000. 2/18. Sir J. C. & S. Gp. 32. ^2 


The policy of the German Government is to refrain from advertising the 
accusations brought against the civil population in Belgium itself. The newspapers 
which appear in Brussels and in the provinces avoid discussion of this question , 
taking into account their Belgian readers, their writers could hardly accuse the 
population of having mutilated the wounded. As to the pamphlets scattered broad- 
cast throughout Germany, the essence, as also apparently the chief attractions of 
which are flamboyant tales of the misdeeds ascribed to the Belgian population,* 
very often they can only be obtained in Belgium if specially ordered ; a certam 
number of them have, it is true, appeared in the bookshop windows, but they remain 
unknown to the mass of the population, who do not understand German.f 

Towards the beginning of 1915 the German press and German literature, as if 

in obedience to instructions, began to lay stress upon the quahties of industry, 

honesty and inteUigence characteristic of the Belgian population, not only in the 

Flemish, but also in the Walloon provinces. It was, we may suppose, a desire 

not to obstruct this campaign or wantonly wound pubhc feeling in Belgium that 

inspired the German Government to suppress the passage concerning the cruelties 

and acts of hostility imputed to the population in the German note replying to Sir 

Edward Grey's speech of March 22nd, when it caused this note to be reproduced in 

its semi-official organ at Brussels, LaBelgique, on March 28th, 1915. J The discrepancy 

between the accusation and the facts would have been too flagrant to stand the test 

of pubhc opinion acquainted with the truth. Yet at the very time when the German 

Government was showing this interested tenderness for popular feeling in Belgium, 

the voluminous dossier reproduced in the " White Book " was being prepared for 

the consumption of foreign countries, where little was known of the conditions 

under which the passage of the Imperial troops through Belgium was effected. 

* * 


This book is the arbitrary report§ of a one-sided inquiry, in which the authors 

of the alleged misdeeds assume the functions of judges. A counter-inquiry on the 

* The following are the titles of some of these pamphlets : — 

Die belgischen Greueliaten gegen die Deutschen, der Franktireurkrieg und die Verwendung von Dum-Dum 
Geschossen im Kriege 1914. Amtliche und glaubwtlrdige Berichte (60 Pfg. Verlag von Otto Gustav Zehrfeld 
in Leipzig, 48 pp.) 

Das Schwarzhuch der Schandtaten unserer Feinde (1915, WilhelmBorngraber Verlag, Berlin, W., 198 pp.) 

U. V. JuCHEN. — Der Weltkrieg 1914. Belgische Kriegsgreuel. Verirrungen menschlicher ScheusaU 
{Dresden A. 16, Max Fischer's Verlagsbuchhandlung, 20 Pfg., 64 pp.) 

Robert Heymann. — Der Weltkrieg 1914. Sturmnacht in Lowen [Dresden A. 16, Max Fischer's 
Verlagsbuchhandlung, 20 Pfg., 64 pp.) 

Der deufsche Krieg inFeldpostbriefen, Liittich, Natnur, Antwerpen (Miinchen^ GeorgMUller, 1915, 265pp.) 

Krieg und Sieg 1914, naoh Berichten der Zeitgenossen, Liittich [Hermann Hillger Verlag, Berlin W. 
9, und Leipzig, 20 Pfg., 48 pp.) 

Major Viktor v. Strantz. — Die Eroberung Belgiens 1914. Selbsterlehtes [Wilhelm Kohler Minden 
in Westfalen, 1, 20 M., 160 pp.) 

t Within the last few months, however, a French edition of the book by Abbe Rosenberg, Professor 
of ReUgion at Paderborn, has been circulated in Belgium. This book, entitled La Guerre allemande 
et le Catholicisme, Reponse allemande aux attaques franfaises (C. L. van Langenhuysen, Amsterdam- 
Rotterdam, 1915), contains complete or partial translations of fifteen of the appendices to the " ^^'hlte 
Book," and also of four other depositions which do not figure in this book. See on the assertions con- 
cerning Belgium contained in the Abbe Rosenberg's work, pp. 362-367 of the present volume. 

J The following is the tenour of the suppressed passage : " Belgium owes her fate to the English 
Government, which subsequently failed to give her effectual military support, and further, to the attitude 
of her population, which opposed the German troops by force of arms, and was guilty of fearful acts 
of atrocity to the German wounded. England and not Germany must be held responsible some day 
by those who have suffered." [NorddeutscheAUgemeineZeiiungoiMa.Tch26th, second edition, containin<' 
the text of the German Note in reply to Sir Edward Grey's speech on the reasons which decided England 
to take part in the war.) 

§ The prefatory Note of the " White Book " remarks (p. 1) that the documents published are a 

selection, and that others may be produced in time. It is obvious, however, that preference will have 

I been given to the documents which were considered most, convincing, and that no subsequent publications 

k will bejable to modify the impression produced bv the almost total lack of Belgian or neutral evidpnro 

Fin the "White Book." • ^ ^"^^ 

spot was impossible, as the German authorities have consistently refused the 
requests made to them on several occasions, to give facilities for a bilateral or 
international inquiry. 

Deprived of all means of official communication with the part of the popiila- 
tion still in Belgium, the King's Government has found it impossible to verify the 
assertions of the " White Book " on a certain number of points. On the other 
hand, it has been obliged to refrain from pubhcation of several depositions of the 
highest importance, lest it should expose witnesses to the reprisals of the enemy ; 
among other statements which it has been possible to pubhsh, there are some whose 
authors' names it has been necessary to suppress for the same reason. 

It is essential to hear these facts perpetually in mind, in order to appraise the value 
of the German accusations, and also to understand the character of the present publication. 

When the hberation of Belgian territory has been accomphshed it will be possible 
to publish a number of documents which wiU throw further light upon the application 
to Belgium of the Kriegshrauch im Landkriege, that Code of War on land published 
in 1902 by the Historical Section of the great General StafE of the German Army,* 
which not only puts the officer on his guard against the humanitarian conceptions 
of the Hague Conventions, but itself diverges on essential points from the stipulations 
of these international agreements. 

The " White Book " accuses : 

The Belgian civil population of having fought against the German troops undet 
conditions contrary to the rules of international law, and of perpetrating cruelties 
upon the German wounded ; 

The Belgian Government, not only of having failed to prevent " civihan warfare," 
but of having aided and abetted in its organisation ; 

The Belgian Commission of Inquiry into the violation of international law, 
and of the laws and usages of war, of having disseminated calumnies concerning 
the German army. 

These three classes of accusations wiU first be dealt with in a general manner. 
In the second part, the chapters devoted in the " White Book " to events at Aerschot, 
Andenne, Dinant, and Louvain, as also to occurrences in certain other locahties 
in the country, will be subjected to special scrutiny. Reproductions of the depositions 
made before the Belgian and English Commissions of Inquiry, and of the statements 
of German miUtary prisoners, will faciUtate the task of those who seek to know the 

The compilation of the present volume was completed, when the Belgian Govern- 
ment first saw the text of the protest addressed on November 6th, 1915, by Monseigneur 
Heylen and Monseigneur Rutten to the Governor-General of occupied Belgium, 
Baron von Bissing, against the allegations in the "White Book." This double 
protest was based on an inquiry held on the spot ; the inquiry of the Bishops of 

* Title : Kriegsgeschichtliche Einzelschriften, Herausgegeben vom Grossen Generalstabe, Kriegsgeschicht- 
hche AUeilung I, Heft 31, Kriegshrauch im Landkriege, Berlin, 1902, Ernst Siegfried Mittler und Sohn. 
EngUsh translation by J. H. Morgan, M.A., under the title The German War Book, London, John 
Murray. 1915. 

Namur and Liege, undertaken without the knowledge of the Belgian Government, 
establishes in the most striking and irrefutable manner the irreproachable conduct 
of the civilian population, at any rate in these two dioceses.* 

At about the same time the Belgian Government received the text of a collective 
letter, dated November 24th, 1915, in which the Belgian Episcopate proposed to the 
Austro-German Episcopate the constitution of a joint commission, presided over 
by a neutral as supreme arbiter, to inquire into recent events. Referring to the 
supposed acts of cruelty to the German wounded imputed to the Belgian population, 
the letter makes this emphatic declaration: "We know that these impudent 
accusations made by the Imperial Government are calumnies from beginning to 
end. We know it and we swear it." 

The texts of these protests and of this letter, together with various other docu- 
ments, have been inserted in the third part of this volume. 

* The diocese of Liege comprises the provinces of Liege and Limburg, and that of Namur, Namur 
and Luxemburg. 


Accusations against the Belgian Government. 

The Prefatory Note of the " White Book " declares that the German army 
encountered the armed resistance of the civiUan population immediately upon its 
entry into Belgium ; not only isolated individuals, but large masses of the people 
are said to have thrown themselves into the fray, which the " White Book " accordingly 
designates " the people's war." 

Making a distinction between " organised people's war " (Volkskrieg) and " un- 
organised people's war," the Prefatory Note argues that the Belgian francs-tireurs* 
seeing that they were not under the command of responsible leaders and wore no 
distinctive badges recognisable from a distance, could not invoke the authority 
of Article I. of the Hague Regulations touching the laws and usages of war,t which 
treats of an organised people's war, and lays down the conditions to be observed 
by militia and volunteer corps if the rights, laws and usages of war are to be 
applicable to them.J As it had not been organised as prescribed in Article I., the 
Belgian people's war was, according to the " White Book," merely a non-organised 
resistance on the part of the civil population. This resistance was illegal. The 
unorganised population could not, in fact, claim the apphcation of Article II. of 
the Regulations concerning an unorganised people's war,§ on the one hand, because 
it did not bear arms openly and did not observe the laws and usages of war, and, 
on the other hand, because unorganised people's war is only permissible in territory 
not yet occupied by the enemy, and in cases where there has been no time to organise 
as prescribed in Article I. The unorganised armed resistance of the Belgian 
population was contrary to international law, argues the Prefatory Note, not only 
in all the places already in the hands of the German troops (notably at Aerschot, 
Andenne and Louvain), where it was unlawful on every ground, but also in the 
districts not yet occupied by them (as, above all, at Dinant and in its neighbourhood), 
" seeing that the Belgian Government had had sufficient time to organise people's 
warfare in accordance with international law." 

Making all due reserves as to the theory here set forth, it is important to remember 
that the Prefatory Note to the " White Book," officially interpreting the opinion 
of the German Government, recognises the following fact : in conformity with 
Article II. of the Regulations appended to the Fourth Hague Convention, the 
population should, in certain cases, be considered belligerent when it bears arms 
openly and observes the laws and usages of war, even should it lack responsible 
leaders and distinctive badges recognisable at a distance. 

The Manual pubhshed in 1902 by the Historical Section of the Great General 
StafE of the German army, Kriegshrauch im Landkriege,\\ proclaims, on the contrary, 
the necessity of insisting on the wearing of distinctive badges under any conditions, 
even in the case of the levee en masse. The passage of the Manual which deals with 
this question is as follows :— 

* As a fact, the so-called Belgian francs-tireurs were non-existent ; avoiding any alterations in the 
text of the German thesis, we have refrained from introducing the word " so-caUed " above, just as 
in the first pages of this chapter we have, for convenience sake, taken for granted the theory — utterly 
opposed to the facts — of an armed resistance on the part of the Belgian civil population to the German 

f These Regulations form an Appendix to the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907 (Convention touching 
the laws and usages of war on land). Article I. of these Regulations runs as follows : " The rights, laws 
and duties of war are apphcable not only to the Army, but to Mihtia and Volunteer Corps, which fulfil 
the following conditions : 1. Subjection to a responsible leader ; 2. The adoption of a distinctive badge 
recognisable at a distance ; 3. The bearing of weapons openly ; 4. The observance of the laws and usages 
of war in military operations. In countries where Militia or Volunteer Corps compose the army or 
form part of it, they are included in the term ' Army.' " 

X The Prefatory Note adds that the fact of Belgian soldiers and members of the Civic Guard having, 
apparently, taken part in the enterprises of i\ie francs-tireurs has no bearing on the case, " for these persons 
also wore no military badges, and mingled in ci\'iUan dress with the combatant population." 

§ These are the terms of the Article : " The population of an unoccupied territory which, on the 
approach of the enemy spontaneously takes up arms to resist the invading troops, having had no time 
to organise as prescribed in Article I., shall be considered belligerent if it bears arms openly, and observes 
the laws and usages of war." 

II See note *, p. 5. 

" People's War or National War. — These conditions* must also be maiD- 
tained if it becomes a question of the levee en masse, the arming of the whole population 
of the country, province, or district ; in other words, the so-called people's war or 
national war. Starting from the principle that one can never deny to the population 
of a country the natural right of defence of one's fatherland, and that the smaller 
and consequently less powerful States can only find protection in such levees en rnasse, 
the majority of authorities on International Law have, in their proposals for 
codification, sought to attain the recognition on principle of the combatant status 
of all these kinds of people's champions, and such recognition is also enjomed in 
the Declaration of Brussels and the Hague Regulations. As against this, one may 
nevertheless remark that the condition requiring a mihtary organisation and a clearly 
recognisable mark of being attached to the enemy's troops is not synonymous with 
a denial of the natural right to defend one's country. It is therefore not a question 
of restraining the population from seizing arms, but only of compelling it to do this 
in an organised manner. ' Subjection to a responsible leader, a military organisation, 
and recognisable signs of belhgerency cannot be left out of account unless the whole 
recognised foundation for the admission cf irregulars be given up altogether, and 
a conflict of one individual against another be introduced again with all its attendant 
horrors, of which, for example, the proceedings in Bazeilles in the last Franco-German 
War afford an instance. If it has really been impossible to establish the necessary 
organisation — a case which is by no means likely to occur often — then individuals 
must refrain from hostilities, and those who commit them must be refused the rights 
of an active military status. The disadvantages and severities inherent in such 
a rule are more insignificant and less cruel than those which would result from 
greater indulgence.' "f (p. 7, Engl. ed. p. 62-63). 

Since 1902 no revised edition of the work of the German General Staff and 
no new military Manual has been pubhshed in Germany ; the Kriegshrauch im Land- 
kriege accordingly continues to express the official doctrine of the German High 
Command, and to inform the spirit of German officers. Indeed, the work appeared 
in a collection of studies specially recommended to their consideration by the Great 
General Staff. 

However this may be, the logical result of the theory advanced in the " White 
Book " is that civilians suspected of having committed acts of hostility against 
enemy troops should have been differently treated in regions already occupied by 
the German army and in regions not as yet occupied. As a matter of fact, this 
was not the case. None of the depositions recorded in the " White Book," none of 
the evidence given before the English and Belgian Commissioners suggest any 
difference of treatment. Everywhere civihans suspected of having committed hostile 
acts were treated, not as beUigerents, but as criminals ; in occupied as in unoccupied 
territory, the German officers applied the same system, utterly regardless of the 
distinction estabhshed by international law, and expressly accepted by the " White 
Book." Everywhere and always they acted in conformity with the doctrines of 
the Kriegshrauch im Landkriege, and there is every reason to suppose that no idea 
of dissenting therefrom ever entered their heads for a moment. 

The adhesion of the " White Book " to the principle laid down in the Hague 
Regulations, but criticised, and imphcitly, if not categorically, repudiated by the 
Manual of the Great General Staff of the German army, J was not therefore translated 
into action. There can be no reasonable doubt that it was an after-thought, designed 
to enable the German military authorities to display an apparent reverence for 
the Hague Regulations, their violations of which have been a perpetual cause of 
complaint since the beginning of the war. 

Besides, as we have shown above, the " White Book," immediately after having 
made a concession to universal feehng by recognising the distinction in question, 
hastens to retract, declaring that even in districts not so far occupied by the German 
troops — more especially at Dinant and in its environs — an unorganised people's 

* i.e., the adoption of a distinctive badge fixed and recognisable at a distance ; the open bearing ol 
weapons ; the observance of the laws and usages of war. 

t The passage beginning with the words : " Subjection to a responsible leader " down to the end 
of the extract from the German Manual is a quotation from the work of Professor Dr. C. Luder, Das 
Landkriegsrechf, Hamburg, 1888. 

I The criticisms of the German Manual are, it is true, only strictly applicable to Article II. of the 
Hague Regulations as formulated by the first Peace Conference of 1899 ; but it is well known that the 
second Conference in 1907 merely added the words " if they bear arms openly " to the text adopted in 1899. 


war was not lawful, seeing that the Belgian Government had had time enough to 
organise this war in accordance with international law. 

This interpretation of Article II. of the Hague Regulations is entirely erroneous. 
These are the terms of the Article : " The population of an unoccupied territory 
which, on the approach of the enemy, spontaneously takes up arms to resist the 
invading troops, having had no time to organise as prescribed in Article I., shall 
be considered belUgerent if it bears arms openly and observes the laws and usages 
of war." 

The object of this Article was to protect populations arming themselves 
spontaneously — i.e., on their own initiative — on the approach of the enemy, having 
had no time to organise. It excludes the idea of Government intervention ; the 
fact that a Government has not " organised " popular resistance cannot deprive 
a population of a right expressly recognised by international Convention. 

Hence the introduction of the Belgian Government by the " White Book " is 
utterly irrelevant. The object of this manoeuvre was to make the Belgian Government 
responsible for the bloodshed at Dinant and in so many other districts : as, owing 
to that Government, popular resistance was not in conformity with international 
law, were not the German soldiers justified in treating the inhabitants, not as 
belligerents but as criminals ? The " White Book," as we know (p. 3), apphes this 
argument to aU districts not as yet occupied by the German army, although it only 
instances the town and environs of Dinant, which were not approached by any 
large bodies of German troops until about August 15th, 1914. The armed resistance 
of the inhabitants of districts adjoining the Belgo-Prussian frontier before these 
districts were occupied by the enemy, would also — ^had it taken place — ^have been 
contrary to international law, on the hypothesis that the Belgian Government, 
though it had the time, had not organised such resistance in accordance with the 
prescriptions of Article I. of these Regulations. It is hardly necessary to note the 
absurdity of such a proposition. Not only is it impossible to base any charge against 
the Belgian Government on this ground, but it is stUl more impossible to argue 
that two or three days' interval would have enabled the people to organise them- 
selves as required by Article I. To maintain a contrary opinion is to deny any possible 
apphcation of Article II., practically to consider it non-existent, and to admit that 
it is neghgible. 

Thus the tardy homage rendered by the Prefatory Note of the " White Book " 
to the principle enshrined in this Article is strictly confined to the domain of theory. 

The attempt of the German Government to make the Belgian Government 
responsible for the alleged contravention of international law by the civil popvdation 
is not even tenable in respect of the events which took place in regions not as yet 
occupied by the German troops. The accusation is general and does not except any 
part of the country. " For," says the Prefatory Note of the " White Book," " apart 
from the fact that a Government is in aU cases responsible for such acts, which are a 
general expression of the popular will, the Belgian Government is at least open to the 
grave charge of having made no effort to discourage this francs-tireurs war, though 
it had the means of so doing."* (p. 5). In the body of the " White Book " the 
charge of instigation and comphcity is clearly formulated, notably on pages 122 
and 236. The attempt to incriminate the Belgian Government is evidenced even 
by the heading of the reports of the BerUn Mihtary Bureau of Inquiry concerning 
the Belgian civihan " battle " of Dinant and the Belgian popular outbreaks at 
Aerschot, Andenne, and Louvaia. The insertion of the word " Belgian " in the 
title of each report was obviously designed to prepare the ground for the imputation 
against the Government of having itself organised, or at least condoned, the armed 
resistance of the population. This accusation does not stand the test of an inqxiiry 
into the facts. By giving a national and general character to the alleged armed 
resistance of the Belgian population, it strives to demonstrate the necessity of the 
horrible bloodshed, for which we cannot doubt, history will never cease to arraign 
the Imperial armies. 

* To support this charge the Prefatory Note cites Anlagen (appendices) 33, 51, 52, 53 and D. 42, 43 
and 48. We shall deal with the majority of these Anlagen later on. 


For the German " White Book " to accuse the Belgian Government of not 
having organised the people's war in accordance with legal prescriptions is not in 
itseli sufficient to establish the essential fact on which all discussion as to the 
reaponsibiUty of this Government must be based, namely, the actual perpetration 
of acts of hostility against the German troops by the Belgian population. In the 
foregoing pages we have, for convenience' sake, taken this fact for granted. In 
the sequel we shall show how insufficient are the proofs adduced by the Imperial 
Government, and how little the actual facts, as revealed by the inquiries^ of the 
English and Belgian Commissions, agree with the thesis put forward in the " White 

It is certainly very doubtful whether the Belgian Government, unless it had 
prepared for such an eventuaUty before the war, would have had time, in the midst 
of the more urgent responsibilities laid upon it by the German aggression, to organise 
a people's war in conformity with Article I. of the Regulations concerning the laws 
and usages of war on land. Several weeks would no doubt have been required 
to establish such an organisation under the conditions which had arisen in the country.* 

But did the Belgian Government entertain the idea of such an enterprise for 
a moment ? Did they even approve or condone a spontaneous outbreak of francs- 
tireurs hostilities ? 

The Prefatory Note of the "White Book" maintains that "the Belgian 
Government, utterly ignoring their duties, gave free rein to the insensate passions 
of the population " (p. 6), and expresses the opinion that " it would certainly have 
been easy for them to have given their agents, such as burgomasters, soldiers, and 
members of the Civic Guard, the necessary instructions, which would have had 
the effect of curbing the passionate and artificially provoked excitement of the 
population " (p. 5). 

In their desire to instruct the inhabitants as to their duties, and in their efforts 
to dissuade them from committing acts of hostility against the German troops, 
the Belgian Government went very far beyond what the " White Book " lays down 
as necessary to such ends. 

As early as August 4th, 1914, the Minister of the Interior, M. Berryer, addressed 
a circular to the administrators of the communes throughout the country, recalling, 
in such a manner that none should remain in ignorance on the subject, the principles 
laid down by the Hague Convention concerning the laws and customs of war on 
land, and confirmed by the Regulations appended thereto. The text of this circular 
is reproduced in extenso on p. 289 et seq. of the present volume. 

Further, from the very beginning of hostilities the Minister of the Interior, 
appeahng directly to the population, caused the following notice to be inserted 
every day in the newspapers of all parties throughout the country, in large type and 
in a conspicuous position. 

To Civilians. 

" The Minister of the Interior recommends civiUans, in case the enemy should . 
show himself in their district : — 

" Not to fight. 

" To give expression to no insulting or threatening words. 

"To remain within their houses and close the windows, so that it will be impossible 
to allege that there was any provocation. 

" To evacuate any houses or isolated hamlet which the soldiers may occupy 
in order to defend themselves, so that it cannot be alleged that civilians have fired. 

" An act of violence committed by a single civilian would be actually a crime, 
for which the law provides arrest and punishment. It is all the more reprehensible 
in that it might serve as a pretext for measures of repression resulting in bloodshed 
or pillage, and the massacre of the innocent population with the women and 

- * We may form some idea of the complexity of such an enterprise if we consider the difficulties 
encountered by the Belgian Government in providing weapons and distinctive badges for the Reservists 
of the Civic Guard, called up on August 5th, 1914 (see p. 13). And yet, on the one hand, the numbers 
in this case were comparatively small, forming a total of about 100,000 men, the strength of the units 
being restricted in principle to 20 men for every 1,000 inhabitants ; and, on the other hand, the Govern- 
ment was not under the necessity of appointing leaders for the units, since each of these is permanently 
provided with a regular cadre. 


Shortly before the fall of Antwerp, on September 30th, 1914, the Minister of 
the Interior again addressed a circular containing the same injunctions in French, 
Flemish and German, to all the communes of districts not as yet occupied. More- 
over, in their efforts to dissuade the population from acts inspired by the violent 
irritation aroused by the invader, the violator of pHghted faith and national territory, 
the Government was most efficiently seconded by the communal administrators 
of the whole country. Bringing their authority and their influence to bear upon 
the minds of the pubhc, they enjoined the populations, generally by proclamation 
or some such method, to abstain from all acts of hostility, or, better still, they 
advised or ordered the owners of weapons to deposit them in the town halls or poUce 

The German authorities are well aware of all these facts. The notices posted 
up at the instance of the communal administrators must have met the eyes of the 
German officers on every side. But evidence itself has no effect upon the pre-conceived 
opinions of members of the Berlin Mihtary Bureau of Inquiry. At Louvain they 
declare " the direction of the treacherous revolt must have been in the hands of 
a superior administration." , They do not hesitate to write that " the Belgian 
Government has never dared to allude to the participation of bodies of regular 
troops in this action " (p. 236). At Aerschot, " the burgomaster's family 
took part in the hostihties ; " this participation, they add, proved how methodically 
the Belgian authorities associated themselves with the treacherous enterprises which 
were alas ! so frequent ! (p. 92). At Andenne, writes Baron von Langermann, 
whose evidence is reproduced in the " White Book " without comment or reservation, 
" as we were subsequently informed (sic), a document was found in the Burgomaster's 
house which showed that the attack made by the population had been arranged 
beforehand even in the minutest details " (p. 109). As to the civiUan battle 
at Dinant, it must have been organised with the help of the Belgian Oovernment itself 
(p. 122). This conclusion is drawn more especially from the fact that some machine- 
guns are said to have been found at Dinant. Did it never occur to the inquirers 
at Berlin that even if this were the case the guns might have been installed by the 
French troops, who occupied the town for several days, and put it into a state of 
defence ? 

The German authorities who entered the city of Liege must certainly have read 
the notices posted on the walls as early as August 5th by the Burgomaster, reproducing 
word for word the circular issued by the Minister of the Interior on August 4th. This 
circular contained the following passage : — 

" Acts forbidden to soldiers are of course still more inadmissible to civilians — 
such as the use of poison or poisoned weapons, the IdUing or wounding by treachery 
of persons, mihtary or civil, belonging to the hostile nation, the killing or wounding 
of enemies who have laid down their arms, who can no longer defend themselves, 
and have surrendered at discretion." 

A notice by M. Max, Burgomaster of Brussels, ran as follows : — 


"As the laws of war forbid the civil population to take part in hostihties, and as 
all iixfringements of this rule may bring about reprisals, many of my fellow citizens 
have expressed a wish to get rid of the firearms in their possession. 

" These weapons may be deposited at the police stations, where receipts will 
be given for them. 

"They will be placed under safe keeping in the central arsenal of Antwerp, 
and restored to their owners after the conclusion of hostilities. 

" Brussels, August 12, 1914." 
Moreover, one of the first measures taken by the German commanders was 
to repeat this injunction, accompanying it with threats of death. 

Nevertheless, this extremely prudent measure has been officially exploited 
against the Belgian Government. 

True, the " White Book " refrains from reproducing in the Prefatory Note 
drawn up in the Imperial Foreign Office, and in the four reports of the Military 
Bureau of Inquiry, the accusation launched against the Belgian Government in 
August, 1914, in the form of official communiques, and charging it with having 
organised depots of arms, where each gun bore the name of the citizen for whom it 
was destined. This piece of perfidy really passed all bounds, but it seems that its 
authors have not even yet entirely abandoned it. "In the town hall of Acoz," 
says the " White Book " (Appendix 44), " several cases of dynamite were found, also 


some hundreds of guns and packets of cartridges ; each packet bore the name of 
the citizen for whom the cartridges were destined." This statement was made by 
non-commissioned officers and soldiers, and is inserted in the report of the cavalry 
captain, Ludke. The compilers of the " White Book " do not think it their duty 
to point out, by note or comment, that the soldiers and their officer were perhaps 
honestly, but very obviously, mistaken. Would it be unjust to conclude that they 

accept responsibility for this calumny ? 

By a royal decree of August 5th, 1914, the Reservists of the Civic Guard in all 
the communes of the kingdom were called up. Unhke the Councillor of the War 
Tribunal, Dr. GrasshofE, author of the work Belgiens Schuld {Belgium's Guilt),* 
himself apparently a member (App. D 38 and 46) of the Mihtary Bureau of Inquu'y 
at Berhnf (of which the ".White Book " is the work, save for the six introductory 
pages drawn up in the Foreign' Office), the German ' Government (not daring to 
protest against an incontestably legal act) does not make this measure a grievance 
against the Belgian Government. J 

But the " White Book," which, moreover, never makes any distinction between 
the active Civic Guard and the Reserve of that body, frequently denounces the 
intervention of what it loosely designates " the Civic Guard " in the organisation 
of the resistance of the civil population, and in the actual fighting. It is on this 
action of the Civic Guard that the German Government would seem mainly to base 
the accusation it brings against the Belgian Government, of having incited the 
population (or allowed it to be incited), against the German troops. Thus even in 
the Prefatory Note of the " White Book," drawn up in the Imperial Foreign Office, 
we read that " members of the Civic Guard, without uniform or badges, apparently 
took part in the operations of the francs-tireurs " (p. 3). An inhabitant of Chiny 
is said to have declared that on August 9th, the " Civil Guards " (sic) had come to 
the place, and had given the inhabitants detailed instructions as to the use of fire- 
arms and the manner in which to defend the village " (App. 52). In the report 
which opens the chapter relating to the burning of Louvain, the German Military 
Bureau of Inquiry suggests that the direction of the revolt must have been 
in the hands of a superior authority {eine hohere 8telle) : that everything 
indicates the existence of an official {behordliche) organisation and incrimi- 
nates " the commander — whose official residence is at Louvain— -of the so-called 
Civic Guard," as the person who directed the organisation of the " rising," 
in which only men in civilian dress are said to have taken part (among 
others a number of young men without badges, strangers in the town, and 
soldiers disguised as civilians). It adds that " the misdeeds of the Civic Guard are 
revealed to the whole civilised world by the typical case of Louvain " (p. 236). 
General von Boehn, who commanded the German troops in Louvain on August 25th 
and the following days, declares for his part that " the nucleus of all these bands 
of francs-tireurs was furnished by the Civic Guard, obviously under the direction 
of the Commandant at Louvain, whose luggage was seized at the Hotel Metropole " 
(App. D 1).§ 

* Georg Reimer, Publisher, Berlin. A French translation of this work has also been pubhshed 
under the title : La Belgigue coupable. Une Reponse d M. le Professeur Wazweiler. Berlin, Georg Reimer, 
and Berne, Max Drechsel, 1915. 

t The evidence of witnesses who appeared before the Mihtary Bureau at Berhn, instituted by the 
Imperial War Office, was taken by Dr. Grasshoff, an official of the said War Office, acting on behalf of 
the Bureau, and assisted only by a clerk. 

J It is well to call attention to the attitude adopted by Dr. Grasshoff (see p. 44 of the German edition 
and p. 42 of the French edition of his book), as compared with the reticence of the compilers of the 
" White Book " in this connection. 

§ What are the grounds on which the members of the Military Bureau and General von Boehn base 
their conviction that the Civic Guard played the principal part in the organisation of the " revolt " of 
Louvain ? According to the report of the Mihtary Bureau, the Commander of " the so-called Civic 
Guard " was at Louvain immediately before the outbreak ; the movement was afterwards begim by 
sending to Louvain a mm:i,ber of undiscipUned young men, without distinctive badges. These, together 
with soldiers disguised as civiUans, concealed themselves in the houses in order to fire unseen at a favourable 
moment on the German troops, who were apparently retiring (p. 236). The widow of a doctor, whose 
name is not revealed, is said to have given it as her opinion that those who fired were members of the 

Footnote continued on page 13. 


In view of the confusion of ideas which obtains among the German authorities 
as to the Belgian Civic Guard, it seems necessary to give some information concerning 
the organisation of this institution. We shall thus be enabled at the same time 
to dispose of the criticisms levelled at the calling up of the Civic Guard Reserves 
in the German press and German literature. 

The Civic Guard, established by the Constitution of 1830, and charged by 
various subsequent laws with the double mission of the maintenance of law and 
order, and the preservation of national independence and territorial integrity, is 
on active service, unless specially exempted by the Government, in places containing 
over 10,000 inhabitants, as well as in aU those which are fortified, or dominated by 
a fortress ; in other locahties, it is in reserve, and only becomes active when called 
up by the King. 

It would have been inconceivable that the Government, with this element of 
national strength at its disposal, should have failed to make use of it at a time when 
the country was about to enter upon the most momentous crisis of its existence. 

The Civic Guard on active service was accordingly convoked, and the Reserves 
of the force were called up. These measiures were essential, if only to maintain 
order and security, and among other objects, to ensure the protection of the person 
and property of German nationals, in all eventuahties. In countries in a state 
of war, where no such institution exists, it is usual for citizens to Jorm themselves 
spontaneously into bodies to carry out these poUce duties. It may be pointed 
out that the caUing up of the Reserves of the Civic Guard had neither the character 
nor the proportions of a levee en masse of the population. The effectives of these 
Guards represent, in principle, only 2 per cent, at most of the population, and amount 

Civic Guard (App. D 30). A bank employ6, also anonymous, is said to have been of the same opinion, 
and added that on August 25th, about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Civic Guards forced their way into the 
houses, threatening those who opposed them with death ; that the citizens of Louvain objected to 
treacherous firing on the German troops, but that the leaders of the Civic Guard compelled them to 
tolerate it (App. D 45). Lieutenant Brandt seized a document of the Belgian Government in the house 
of the Burgomaster of Winghe-Saint-Georges ordering the " mobilisation " of the Civic Guard, and also 
Usts of the members of this Guard. He could not, however, proceed to arrest any of these members, 
not because nearly all the villagers had fled, as the Burgomaster asserted, but because, as he supposed, 
the male inhabitants had been summoned to Louvain, where there was to be a concentration of these 
" troops " (App. D 48). Finally, General von Boehn maintains that, according to statements made 
by inhabitants of Louvain, a certain number of yoimg men, never before seen in the town, appeared in 
Louvain dressed as workmen, though they were obviously not members of the working classes ; these 
young men, the General concludes, joined the Civic Guard. Another argument designed to incriminate 
the Civic Guard, and no less speculative in character, is advanced in the remark that a corps habitually 
dressed in civilian costmne would readily retain or revert to this costume whenever this seemed con- 
venient. General von Boehn himself makes this remark, following it immediately by the words : 
" Louvain was clearly the centre of this organisation, which was better carried out here than elsewhere 
because the Commandant was on the spot " (App. D 1, p. 242, para. 9). 

In vain do we ask ourselves what can have induced the German authorities to believe that the 
Commander-in-Chief of " the so-called Civic Guard " was stationed at Louvain. There is no " Com- 
mander-in-Chief " of the Civic Guard in Belgium ; there are, however, four superior chiefs of the 
Civic Guard in the country. The chief of the Civic Guard of the provinces of Brabant and Antwerp. 
Lieutenant-General de Coune, has an official residence at Brussels ; he has never been at Louvain at 
all since the beginning of the war. The Civic Guard of Louvain was disbanded and disarmed on August 1 9th, 
at 7 a.m. Its arms and equipment were sent to Antwerp the same day. How is it possible to suppose 
that, under these circiunstances, a " rising " could have been organised in Louvain by a " superior 
authority," entirely unnoticed by the German mihtary commanders, who had been installed there since 
the 19th ? Further, it is very remarkable that the name of this Commander, who is said to have played 
so important a part, is not given. The assertions of the doctor's widow and the bank employe, who 
were not called upon to give evidence before the German Board of Inquiry and whose names are not 
revealed, may be looked upon as completely neghgible. The document found at Winghe-Saint-Georges 
related to the caUing up of the Civic Guard Reservists ; Lieutenant Brandt displays his ignorance and 
shews that he was governed by a preconceived idea when he puts forward the hypothesis that the male 
inhabitants of the village had been summoned to Louvain. The organisation of the reserves of the Civic 
Guard is essentially communal ; the units formed in each commune are not grouped into territorial 
units. No inhabitant of Louvain came forward to give personal evidence as to strangers in the town 
who joined the Civic Guard ; or, at any rate, there is no deposition to this effect in the " White Book." 
We cannot doubt that^the compilers of this publication would not have failed to produce such testimony 
had they been able to do so. General von Boehn formed an opinion on this point on the evidence of irre- 
sponsible gossip. One of these stories is repeated in Captain Josephson's deposition (App. D 34). 
(See also p. 70 el seq. of the present volume.) 


to a total of about 100,000 men for the whole of Belgium.* Recruiting for the Reserve 
is ensured by a register of qualified men kept by the communal authorities and 
revised annually. The organisation is purely communal. The communal units, 
varying from 20 to 150 men (officers excluded), do not form district units. They 
are permanently provided with regular cadres. As by its very constitution, the 
function of the Civic Guard is not only to maintain pubUc order, but also to keep 
watch and ward over national independence and territorial integrity, and as by Adrtue 
of these functions it constitutes a militia, the Government, regardless of considera- 
tions as to whether the miUtary authorities would make use in actual warfare of 
the Civic Guards— and especially of those recently called up— was in duty bound 
to see that the members of the Guard compHed with the prescriptions of the Regu- 
lations appended to the Fourth Hague Convention. n-n 

No special measure was taken to this end with regard to the active Civic Guard, 
the members of which wear complete uniforms and receive mihtary instruction.-f 
As the Reservists were not in the same case, a royal decree deaUng with them was 
issued on August 5th, 1914, as stated above. 

Pubhshed in the Moniteur Beige of August 6th, the text of this decree was as 
follows : — 

" In virtue of Articles 4 and 82 of the law of September 9th, 1897. 
" Referring to our decrees determining the towns or communes of the 
country where the Civic Guard is on active service. 

"And further, the decrees determining the different uniforms of the 
Civic Guard ; 

" And seeing that in the interests of national defence, as also in those 
of pubUc order, there is occasion to call up all the Reserves of the Civic Guard ; 
" At the proposal of our Minister of the Interior, 
" We have decreed and do decree : 

"Art. 1. — The Reserves of the Civic Guard in all the communes of the 
Kingdom are called up. 

" Art. 2. — The men of the Civic Guard called up by the present decree 
are to wear conspicuously, as distinctive signs : 

"1. On the left arm an armlet of the national colours. 
"2. In caps or hats a cockade of the same colours. 
" AnT. 3. — Our Minister of the Interior is charged with the execution 
of the present decree. 

" Given at Brussels, August 5th, 1914. 

" Albert." 

On the same day (August 5th) the Minister of the Interior, to whom the Civic 
Guard was still amenable at the time, sent a circular in the following terms to all 
the provincial Governors : — 

" I have the honour to inform you that in the interests of national defence and 
of pubhc order and safety, a royal decree of August 5th, 1914, calls up all the Reserves 
of the Civic Guard throughout the Kingdom. 

" The citizen mihtia in question wiU have to provide their own armament 
for the time being. 

" On the other hand, the men called up who are not provided with uniforms 
are to wear preferably the blue blouse, and as distinctive badges : — 

" 1. On the left arm an armlet of the national colours. 

"2. In caps or hats a cockade of the same colours. 

" The wearing of these badges is absolutely obhgatory to enable those concerned 
to benefit, in case of need, by the laws and rights of war. 

" In order to enjoy the said advantages, members of the corps in question must 
further have at their head a person responsible for his subordinates ; they must 
bear arms openly, and observe the laws and usages of war in their operations. 

" The badges prescribed above will be forwarded to you at once by my Depart- 
ment, to be distributed in the various communes of your province. 

" It must be borne in mind that according to the laws of war, acts of hostility, 
that is to say, armed resistance and attack upon isolated enemy soldiers, and direct 

* In what purports to be a scientific study (see below, p. 41 n.) Dr. Clemen, Professor of Bonn 
University, nevertheless writes, on p. 36 of his work, at the beginning of 1916 — that is to say, a year 
and a half after Belgium had passed under German administration — that all males of from 20 io 40 years 
old form part of the reserves of the Civic Guard. 

t The total effective of the active Civic Guard is about 44,000 men. 


intervention in battles or encounters, are never permitted to those who neither 
form part of the army, nor of the Civic Guard, nor of a Volunteer Corps observing 
military laws, obeying a leader, and wearing a distinctive badge. 

" Neglect of these important rules wiU not only expose individuals or small 
groups who commit such acts of hostihty without possessing the status of belhgerents 
to summary repression, but may furnish a pretext for reprisals inflicted on the entire 

" I have, in fact, already recalled these various prescriptions in a circular sent 
yesterday to the communal authorities, and it is essential that the attention of 
the population should be specially drawn to them." 

The circular of August 4th, aUuded to in the last paragraph, has already been 
mentioned above ; the complete text is reproduced on p. 289 et seq. 

The twofold mention of the interests of national defence and of pubhc order 
in the preambles of the royal decree and of the ministerial circular recalled the 
two legal functions of the Qvic Guard, and exactly expressed the intention of the 
Government, which, when it called up this pubhc force, proposed to ensure the 
maintenance of order by organising patrols, and to enable the miUtary authorities 
eventually to allot garrison duty and certain duties in the rear to the Reservists of 
the Civic Guard, thus relieving the regular army to some extent, and causing the 
Civic Guard to participate in national defence within these restricted limits. 

The intentions of the Government are still more clearly manifested by the fact 
that on August 4th, 1914, they did not propose the mobihsation of the Civic Guard 
to the Legislative Chambers, as the Constitution empowered them to do, for the 
very reason that when unmobilised it remained at the disposal of the civil authorities 
for the maintenance of pubhc order, at any rate until the contingent proclamation 
of a state of siege. 

The royal decree of August 8th made the wearing of the blue blouse obhgatory, 
and insisted anew upon the necessity of bearing arms in a conspicuous manner. 
Here is the text : — 

" By virtue of Article 72 of the law of September 9th, 1897 ; 

" And referring to o^^r decree of August 5th, 1914, calhng up the Reserves of 
the Civic Guard of all the communes in the Kingdom, and determining the dis- 
tinctive badges to be worn in a conspicuous manner by the men belonging to these 
units ; 

" On the proposal of our Minister of the Interior, 

" We have decreed and do decree : 

" Art. 1.^ — The wearing of the blue blouse is obhgatory for Reservists of the 
Civic Guard called up by royal decree on August 5th, 1914. 

" Art. 2. — The weapons borne by members of the above-named units must 
be carried openly. 

" Art. 3. — Our Minister of the Interior is charged with the execution of the 
present decree. 

" Given at our General Headquarters, August 8th, 1914. 

" Albert." 

The circular despatched by the Minister of the Interior on August 8th informs 
provincial Governors of this decree, and prescribes its execution in the following 
terms : — 

" I have the honour to inform you that a royal decree of August 8th, 1914, makes 
the wearing of the blue blouse obligatory for Reservists of the Civic Guard recently 
called up by the royal decree of August 5th last. 

" I beg further to call your attention to Article 2 of the decree in question, 
directing that the weapons borne by members of the above-mentioned units should 
be worn openly, i.e., in such a manner as to be visible to the enemy. Hidden 
weapons, such as daggers, revolvers, &c., must not therefore be carried as the 
principal arms. 

" Have the goodness, Monsieur le Gouverneur, to communicate these Regulations 
to the communes in your province without delay. 

" The Minister," 

" Paul Berryer." 

By determining the distinctive badges to be worn by the Reservists of the 
Civic Guard called up for service, and by insisting on the strictly obhgatory character 
of the wearing of these tokens ; by recalhng — notably in the circular of August 5th 
reproduced above — the other conditions (namely, the open bearing of arms, obedience 


to a responsible leader, and the observance of the laws and usages of war) imposed 
by the Fourth Hague Convention on militia and volunteer corps desirous of benentmg 
by the laws and rights of war, the Government expressly interdicted all mmtary 
action on the part of the Gvic Guard until these various conditions had been 
strictly fulfilled. 

As we have already stated above, the ministerial circular of August 5th was 
indeed in this connection an exact transcription of a passage in the circular of 
August 4th, addressed by the Minister of the Interior to all the communal authorities 
in the country. . 

It is incontestable that, these various conditions having been complied with, 
it would have been perfectly lawful for the members of these Civic Guards to take 
part in mihtary operations. It may be added that the precise wording of the several 
royal decrees and ministerial circulars excludes any possibility of mistake as to their 
meaning. The decrees and circulars of August 4th and 5th reached the hands of the 
authorities in nearly the whole of the Belgian communes. The two documents of 
August 8th, which, save in so far as they made the wearing of the blue blouse obligatory, 
merely confirmed previous instructions, were also received in an immense majority 
of the communes. 

The determination of the distinctive badges to be worn by the members of 
these Guards became necessary from the moment when the Reserves were called 
up, even if the services to be demanded of them should be confined to pohce duties. 
By virtue of its legal status the Civic Guard was, in fact, capable of being employed 
in the defence of the territory ; there was reason to suppose that the enemy was 
aware of this, and it was essential to act accordingly. It was therefore of the utmost 
importance that the German troops should not come into contact with patrols of 
the Civic Guard unprovided with distinctive badges. 

Thus the royal decrees and the ministerial circulars which specify these badges 
no more indicate that the Belgian Government purposed to make the Civic Guard 
take part in the hostilities than the decision they came to at the same time to arm 
the officials and superintendents of the Woods and Waters, and of the Excise and 
Customs manifested an intention of diverting these persons from their proper 

As a fact, the military authorities never employed the Civic Guards recently 
called up in war operations, nor even in the auxiliary services of the army. Before 
employing them in any service whatever the authorities made it perfectly clear that 
they intended to confine their activities to the maintenance of public order and 

Indeed, immediately after the decrees of August 5th and 8th, the Belgian 
Government, while preparing to furnish all the Civic Guards recently called up with 
the distinctive badges, without which they were forbidden to arm themselves, was careful 
to notify the German Government, through the intermediary of the Spanish 
Minister at Brussels, and the Spanish Ambassador in Berlin, who had charge of 
Belgian interests in Germany, of their decisions touching the calling up of the 
Reserve of the Civic Guard throughout the Kingdom, and also touching the arming 
of the officials of the Woods and Waters, and the Excise and Customs. 

The military authorities who, in virtue of the state of siege obtaining, had 
replaced the civil authorities in all matters pertaining to the maintenance of order 
and the policing of the country, and who had consequently taken over the command 
of the Civic Guard, were informed of this diplomatic notification by the Minister of 
the Interior on August 8th ; it was agreed that they should be advised by telegram 
exactly when practical effect might be given to the notification. 

On August 12th the Minister of the Interior, having been advised that the decisions 
of the Belgian Government had been communicated to the Imperial Government, 
transmitted this information to the mihtary authorities. The letter at once notified 
their intention of employing the Reservists of the Civic Guard solely in their normal 
police duties, and in the maintenance of public sccuritj'^ and order. 

On August 13th the Minister of the Interior sent the telegram reproduced below 
to the provincial Governors, to be transmitted to the communal authorities, who, 
even under the regime of a state of siege^' retained the functions delegated to them 


by the military Governors in all matters relating to the poUce and the maintenance 
of order. 

"It is essential at once to notify the communal authorities that, in pursuance 
of a communication from the Minister for War, the mihtary authorities do not 
propose at present to employ the Reservists of the Civic Guard recently called up 
in any combatant capacity, and that consequently the latter must confine themselves 
to the performance of their police duties, and to the maintenance of public order 
and safety." 

From the above it will be seen that the Belgian Government, thanks to the 
precautionary measures adopted, Avas absolutely irreproachable in all matters 
connected with the calling up of the Reserves of the Civic Guard, both from the 
standpoint of international law and that of its responsibility to its nationals. 

However, to avoid even the possibiUty of contact between the hostile troops 
and the Civic Guard just called up, the Minister of the Interior further sent the 
following circular to the provincial Governors by telegram, on August 18th : — 

" By my telegram of August 13th, I informed you that, in pursuance of a com- 
munication from the ^Minister for War, the military authorities do not propose at 
present to employ the Reservists of the Civic Guard recently called up in any 
combatant capacity, and that consequently the latter must confine themselves to 
the performance of their police duties, and to the maintenance of public order and 

" It follows from these instructions that the blouse and the badges prescribed 
in my circulars of August 5th and 8tli, 1914, are only to be worn in the exercise of 
these pohce functions, and in those districts not as yet occupied, and not directly 
threatened, by the enemy. 

" It also follows that all bearing of arms, whether visible or invisible, must 
be avoided in those parts of the country -ohere there might be reason to fear armed 
conflict with the enemy. 

" Infringements of these regulations might have the most disastrous results 
both for the Reservists themselves and for the civil population generally." 

This precaution was salutary, for at the time the Belgian Government had 
already but too many proofs of their adversary's contempt for the prescriptions 
of the Hague Convention. They were accordingly beginning to fear that the German 
commanders might refuse, as they did during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71,* 
to recognise the blue blouse and the armlet as sufficiently distinctive signs within 
the meaning of Article I. of the Regulations concerning the laws and usages of war 
on land. Such a refusal would indeed have been whoUy unjustifiable, for the blue 
blouse is not the ordinary costume of the Belgian peasants, but the historic uniform 
of the patriots of the Brabant Revolution and the Revolution of 1830. 

The instructions issued by the Government were most scrupulously carried out. 
None of the Civic Guard called up on August 5 participated, in sltij way or at any 
point of the territory whatever, in military action. The Prefatory Note of the 
" White Book " itself formally admits this (p. 3). But far from connecting the 
fact that the German troops never cajme into contact with any Civic Guards wearing 
the blue blouse and the tricoloured armlet and cockade, with the measures taken 
by the Belgian Government to avoid such contact, the authors of the Note affirm 
that members of the Civic Guard took part in civilian dress in the operations of the 
francs-tire^irs (p. 3).t By a truly bewildering process of reasoning they persuade 
themselves that the extreme prudence shown by the Belgian Government was in 
itself an evidence of duplicity. " If," says the Note drawn up in the Imperial 
Foreign Office and expressing the ^iews of the German Government, " the Belgian 
Government claimed, in a communication transmitted to the German Government 

* See the Manual of the German Great General Staff, Kriegsbrauch im Landkriege, p. 7, note, Englist 
edition, p. 61, note. 

t The Report of the German Military Bureau concerning events at Louvain even goes so far, as 
we have shown above (p. 12), as to accuse the Civic Guard of having organised the" "^fisifig" in this 
town. General von Boehn, the Commandant of the German forces at Louvain, actually declares that 
the Civic Guard formed the nucleus of the bands of francs-tireurs (p. 242). B 


through the medium of a neutral Power, that they had taken all the measures PJ-^If ^ 
to the occasion,* this only proves that they were in a position to comply wit 
prescribed conditions ; but in any case, no such measures were carried out 
districts traversed by the German troops " (p. 3). , 

The " White Book " therefore suggests that if the Belgian Government ma 
not carry out the said measures, when they were perfectly well able to ^^ ^O' ^^ 
was probably because they would not, hoping, no doubt, to profit ^^5«^,"^°^^^^^^7^^^ 
insidious attacks of the civil population, inasmuch as they had allayed the suspicions 
of the enemy by their communication to the German Government. This muerpreia- 
tion of the Imperial Government's views is confirmed by the other assertion m the 
" White Book '' already quoted, and also figuring m the Foreign Office Note, namely 
that the Belgian Government did not prevent the francs-Ureurs operations, although 
they might have done so, " for it would certainly have been easy for them to have 
given their agents, such as burgomasters, soldiers and members of the Civic Guard, 
the necessary instructions, which would have had the effect of curbing the passionate 
and artificially provoked excitement of the population ' (p. 5). 

We shall refute these insinuations sufficiently if we point out that all the 
instructions given by the Belgian Government concerning the part to be played 
and the attitude to be maintained by the Civic Guards were dominated by the 
fundamental rule, incessantly reiterated since the beginning in the month of August, 
which forbade them to take part in hostihties unless they were provided with badges 
and carried arms openly (see more especially the ministerial circulars of August 4th, 
5th and 8th, 1914). . 

Moreover, if the Belgian Government, when they called up the Reservists of the 
Civic Guard, had been guilty of the double-dealing apparently imputed to them, it 
is obvious that they would have favoured by every means in their power the re- 
inforcement of the effectives of this body, the calling up of which would, to some 
extent, have served to mask a levee en masse of the population. 

Now, far from having acted on these lines, the Government, in a circular of 
August 11th, signed by the Minister of the Interior and addressed to the provincial 
Governors, gave instructions discouraging the admission of volunteers into the 
ranks of the Civic Guard. The following is the text of this circular : — 

" It appears from numerous requests which have reached me that in a great 
many communes citizens are anxious to be enrolled as volunteers in the Reserves 
of the Civic Guard recently called up by the Royal Decree of August 5th, 1914. 

" It is not at present possible to submit the engagements into which these parties 
desire to enter to the tribunals. 

" Nevertheless, to the end that the patriotic services offered by the said parties 
may be turned to account, it would be well to advise the communal authorities 
to create auxiliary bodies of pofice, of a non-combatant character, into which all 
men of good-will who desire to form part of them may be incorporated. 

" These bodies of auxiliaries might collaborate with the Civic Guard in the 
performance of the various police duties that might be assigned to it. 

" The Minister, 

" Paul Bebryer." 

Is it possible to suppose that the Belgian Government would have been 
checked by a scruple as to legafity if they had intended to foment a "people's war " 
in defiance of the prescriptions of international law ? Is it conceivable that they 
would have diverted the eager volunteers who offered themselves to an auxiliary 
police force of a non-combatant character ? 

On the other hand, it is easy to understand why they hesitated to permit 
enrolments, not strictly regular according to law, in the Civic Guard, which might 
eventually be called upon by the mihtary authorities for auxiliary war services. It 
is no less obvious why, when the military authorities had formally declared that 
they had no intention of employing the Reservists of the Civic Guard recently 
called up on combatant service, but proposed to confine them strictly and 
exclusively to their police duties, and the maintenance of pubhc law and order,! 
the Belgian Government, relaxing the severity of the principle laid down in the 
circular of August 11th, permitted such engagements thereafter. This decision, we 
may note in passing, further shows that the legal impossibility of accepting such 

* Distribution of badges and appointment of responsible leaders. 

t See, on p. 16, the telegram on this subject addressed by the Minister of the Interior to the 
Governors of provinces. 


engagements was not absolute ; the Government would not, certainly, have been 
held up by this difficulty had they contemplated the organisation of a,francs-tireurs' war. 

And yet the Belgian Government, which never even contemplated the con- 
stitution of volunteer corps conforming to the conditions laid down in Article I. of 
the Hague Regulations, which restricted itself to calling up a militia of such 
limited effectives as the Civic Guard,* even refraining, until the decision of the 
military authorities mentioned above had taken place, from stiffening these effectives 
by the addition of a certain number of volunteers — this Government, according 
to the German " White Book," tolerated, and even favoured, the illegal creation 
of irregular bands oi francs-tireurs, of which Civic Guards without uniforms or badges 
formed the nucleus (pp. 3, 5, 236 and 242) ! An organisation of this kind worked 
Diore efficiently at Louvain than elsewhere, they assert, because this town was the 
official quarters of the Commandant of the Civic Guard (pp. 236 and 242). The 
Report of the Military Bureau of Inquiry concludes, as we know, that " the misdeeds 
of the Civic Guard are revealed to the whole civilised world by the typical case of 

To that civiUsed world invoked by the "White Book " the Belgian Government 
denounces the methods of argument adopted by the German Government. 

The " White Book " maintains, as we have already stated, that Belgian soldiers 
in civilian dress took part in the " people's war." In the Prefatory Note drawn 
up in the Imperial Foreign Office, the accusation is made in terms by no means 
categoric, and almost in dubious form ; the Note merely says, in fact, that 
" apparently (anscheinend) Belgian soldiers in civilian dress, who wore no miUtary 
badges, took part in the operations of the francs-tireurs.'" The Report of the 
Military Bureau of Enquiry concerning events at Louvain is, on the other hand, 
perfectly explicit, and declares that " Belgian soldiers disguised as civilians hid in 
the houses, in order to fire on the German troops, which were apparently retreating, 
at a favourable moment, while remaining themselves unseen." It does not even 
hesitate to assert that " the Belgian Government has never ventured to speak of 
the participation of corps of Belgian regulars in this action " (p. 236). J The 
Infantry General, von Boehn, Commandant of the IXth Reserve Army Corps, 
who was at Louvain at the time of the " popular rising," declares repeatedly in 
his deposition (App. D 1) that among the francs-tireurs there A\'eie many soldiers 
in civilian dress, as was proved by the identification discs and the portions of mihtary 
uniforms worn under civil costumes (pp. 240, 241 and 242). In order to give greater 
plausibihty to this allegation, the General asserts that during the fighting a uniform 
was frequently found beside the empty haversack of a Belgian soldier, without a 
corresponding corpse ; " there can be no doubt that the owner had made off in 
civilian dress." He further says that civilian costumes, and notably clerical garments, 
were found in the haversacks of dead Belgian soldiers. Pursuing this line of 
thought, he tells how a dozen priests are said to have fired on a German patrol ; 
when these men were arrested they were found to be wearing military identification 
discs, Hnen and boots§ (see also App. D 8, 19 and 38). Captain Karge, Com- 

* The reference here is, of course, to that portion of the Civic Guard which forms the Reserve in 
time of peace. As we know, the authors of the " White Book " make no distinction between the active 
and non-active sections in their consideration of the part played by the Belgian Civic Guard. Certain 
corps of the former, the members of which wear a complete uniform, took part in the fighting. 

t It is important to bear in mind that these extravagant assertions are not extracts from the 
depositions of this or that subaltern officer ; they figure either in the Prefatory Note of the " White 
Book," drawn up in the Imperial Foreign Office, in the General Report of the Military Bureau of Inquiry 
relating to Louvain, or in the final portion (which purports to be the fuUy substantiated expert conclusion 
{Gutachten), of the deposition of General von Boehn, Commandant of the IXth Reserve Army Corps 
(App. D 1, pp. 241 and 242). Special importance must be given to this deposition, which, in virtue 
of its author's rank, figures at the head of the fifty appendices of the chapter in the "White Book" dealing 
with events at Louvain. 

X The authorised French translation of the German " White Book " gives the passage as follows : 
" Jamais le Gouvernement beige lui-meme n'a ose dire un seul mot de cette participation d'un corps 
de troupes reguUeres de I'armee beige " (p. 10). 

§ This ridiculous story, related by Sergeant-Major Predohl, and incorporated without reservation 
by General von Boehn in the final portion of his deposition, which is described as Gutachten (expert 
opinion), refutes itself. Tried by Court-Martial, these twelve disguised soldiers are said to have been 
acquitted, because it was impossible to prove which of them had fired ! (p. 242). 



mandant of the Constabulary detachment of the Ilnd Army Corps, declares 
he had heard that Belgian soldiers had been sent back to their homes to fight 
against the Germans in civil costume (App. A 3, p. 98). A professor of the Normal 
School {Seminarlehrer) of Aerschot is said to have told Karge that the citizens of 
the town had received fugitive Belgian soldiers into the houses and dressed them 
as civihans ; that these soldiers had undoubtedly joined the Civic Guard, and that 
together they had made the subsequent attack (p 100). 

In reply to the audacious assertion of the Military Bureau of Inquiry at Berlin 
concerning the participation of "a corps of Belgian Regulars" in the pretended 
" insurrection " of the Louvain population, a participation as to which the Belgian 
Government never dared to say a single word, the King's Government declares 
most exphcitly that at no period during the campaign, and more especially during 
the operations round Antwerp, was there any attempt at concerted action between 
the Belgian army and detachments of soldiers disguised as civilians, who, aided 
by citizens, are supposed to have fought in districts occupied by the German army. 

As to the allegations of the " White Book " concerning the presence of Belgian 
soldiers behind the German hues, they invite the following remarks : (a) The presence 
of isolated Belgian soldiers behind the enemy lines is not at all surprising ;_ all 
retreating armies leave stragglers behind them, who in friendly countries don civilian 
clothes to avoid surrender ; (b) the discovery after fighting of abandoned haversacks 
and uniforms may be explained in the same manner. 

The presence of civiUan garments in the haversacks of dead soldiers was due 
to the fact that many Reservists wore civilian under-garments, such as waistcoats 
and jackets, under their uniforms as a precaution against bad weather. 

CiviUan garments, sometimes even feminine ones, have frequently been found 
on German prisoners. Such incidents have never been looked upon as anything 
but the result of pillage in Belgium. 

The foregoing considerations are of a general order. As to the particular 
events of which Louvain was the scene, witnesses are unanimous in affirming that 
no acts of hostiUty against the German troops took place in this town to their 
knowledge. The individual stragglers who may have been behind the 
German Unes in Louvain, cannot therefore be incriminated any more than the 
inhabitants. One clearly estabhshed fact gives an irrefutable character to this 
affirmation : the list of persons massacred by the Germans at Louvain, whose 
bodies it has been possible to identify (this was the case with nearly all of them), 
does not contain the name of any soldier (see Document 31, Section III., of Chapter V. 
of Part II. of the present volume). Moreover, the German authorities have never 
revealed the inscriptions (names and regimental numbers) of any of the identification 
discs said to have been found on the supposed soldiers in civiUan dress who are 
accused of having fired on the German troops at Louvain or elsewhere. 

In order to show that the francs-tireurs were supported by the Belgian Govern- 
ment the " White Book," as we know, suggests that they had machine guns at 
their disposal. 

True, the Prefatory Note drawn up in the Imperial Foreign Office is careful 
not to commit itself to this audacious statement. The thesis is, however, upheld 
in the Reports of the Military Bureau of Inquiry at Berlin upon occurrences at 
Andenne (p. 107), Dinant (p. 122), and Louvain (p. 234), as well as in a certain 
number of appendices (see more especially App. 25 [Tintigny], App. A 5 [Aerschot], 
App. B 3 [Andenne], App. C 2 [Dinant], App. D 2, 29, 37, 38, 40, 42, 46, 49 

The so-called ascertained facts, save that dealt with in App. C 2 (where it is 
asserted that at Dinant machine guns were installed in a corner house),* are 
nothing but suppositions and deductions. The Report of the MiUtary Bureau of 
Berlin on occurrences at Louvain, itself, only ventures to suggest that " the firing 
in certain quarters sounded as if machine guns were being used " (p. 234). And yet 
Major von Klewitz declares that on the morning of August 26th a row of bullets was 

♦See p. 11. 


observed on the gate of the railway station at Louvain,* whence he concluded that 
civiUans had used machine guns against the German troops (App. D 2). Neither 
at Louvain, Aerschot or Andenne did the other witnesses see machine guns in the 
hands of the francs-tireurs ; they merely heard, or thought they heard, the character- 
istic crackle. Such was the case, among others, of Captain von Esmarch (App. D 
46), who distinctly heard the tack-tack of machine guns ; bullets were flying round 
him in considerable numbers. Captain Schaefer tells how it was commonly reported 
in Louvain that a machine gun was installed in the belfry of the church : t although 
the fire of this machine gun continued for several hours intermittently, Schaefer 
omits to say whether the rumour was confirmed in the sequel, and the tribunal of 
the XVIIIth Reserve Division, before which he made his deposition, seems to have 
been equally indifferent on this point (App. T> 49). The principal depositions 
concerning Louvain, those of General von Boehn, Commandant of the IXth Reserve 
Army Corps (App. I) 1), and Major von Manteuffel,J commanding the 15th Reserve 
Depot (App. D 3), make no mention of machine guns, although these depositions 
contain special sections in which the two officers give evidence as experts (gutachtUch). 
Only one witness, Sub-Lieutenant Lindeiner (von Wildau) thinks he noticed at 
Tintigny (near Arlon) a civihan working a machine gun at the first floor window 
of a house, some 20 paces from him (App. 25). He even thinks so with certainty (sic), 
but the very terms he uses show that the officer was not reaUy sure that he saw this.§ 

The system is very clearly revealed ; the deponents dare not make direct 
assertions, but the authorities hope to benefit by the doubts raised by means of 
vague statements and insinuations. 

It is scarcely necessary to say that all these allegations are utterly baseless. 
At the beginning of the war the Belgian army had a very Hmited supply of machine 
guns ; none of these were entrusted to the so-called francs-tireurs. 

Moreover, the Germans were unable to discover any machine guns in the course 
of their perquisitions in houses, nor did they find any among the ruins of the 
buildings that were set on fire (see, for instance, p. 246 of the " White Book "). 
In certain places they themselves made use of machine guns against the population, 
and they tell the truth — ^though not the whole truth — when they declare they heard 
the sound of such guns, notably at Louvain and at Andenne. It may further be 
noted that the manipulation of machine guns requires an apprenticeship. 

The use of grenades and hand-bombs by Belgian civihans is also denounced 
in various passages of the " White Book." Essentially absurd, this accusation 
is annihilated by the fact that even the Belgian army in the field possessed no explosives 
of the kind in 1914. 

Whatever the Belgian Government do, they find their intentions misrepresented 
and distorted. In spite of the measures they took, or caused to be taken, none of 
which were unknown to the German authorities, the Imperial Foreign Office, as 
the exponent of the views of the German Government, thinks itseK justified ia 
pronouncing judgment against them as follows, in the Prefatory Note of the " White 
Book " : " The Belgian Government must therefore be held entirely responsible 
for the awful blood-guiltiness that weighs upon Belgium " (p. 5). 

It wiU not be out of place here to recall the principle laid down by the Declaration 
of Saint Petersburg in 1868 : that the sole legitimate aim of warfare is to weaken 
the mihtary forces of the enemy. Von Moltke, moved to revolt against this doctrine 
in his correspondence with Professor Bluntschh, maintains, on the contrary, that 
all the resom-ces of the enemy country — finances, railways, means of subsistence — 
and even the prestige of the enemy'' s Government, should be attacked. || It is evidently 
this plan of action which has inspired the German Government ; we must not forget 
this in judging the campaign of calumny they have undertaken against the Belgian 

* This statement is absolutely untrue. 
t He gives no further details. 
+ See p. 235 of the present volume. 

§ See above references to other appendices dealing with machine guns. 

II Recalling this discussion, the Manual of the Great General Staff of the German army adopts Field- 
Marshal von Moltke's opinion. Kriegsbrauch itn Landkriege, p. 2, note. English edition, p. 52 and note. 


There is, however, no point on which the latter might have legitimately thought 
themselves less open to remonstrance from the German Government than that of 
having omitted certain precautions in preparing the defence of the country. The 
" White Book " expresses itself as follows in this connection : — 

" The Belgian Government has for many years past reckoned with the 
eventuality of being implicated in hostilities, should war break out between France 
and Germany ; it is an established fact that they began to prepare for mobilisation 
at least a week before the German army entered Belgium. Hence the Government 
was perfectly well able to provide the civil population with military badges and 
appoint responsible leaders for it, in as far as they intended to make use of it in 
military operations " (p. 3). 

The Imperial German Government was one of the guarantors of the neutrality 
of Belgium, and only a year before the war it had given the Budget Committee of 
the Reichstag formal assurances of its intention of respecting its engagements.* 
A section of Belgian opinion was even opposed to the development of the military 
organisation of Belgium, on the ground of the faith due to treaties. And it is this 
same Government which in the Prefatory Note of the " White Book " gives the 
Belgian Government to understand that they have only themselves to blame for 
having relied too confidently upon Germany's pledge ! 

Session of April 29th, 1913. 



Accusations against the Belgian Civil Population. 


Hostile Acts. 

According to an article, published in a German review, by Privy Councillor Bode, Director- 
General of the Royal Museums of Berlin, 26,000 houses have been destroyed or damaged in 
Belgium. It may be taken for granted that this estimate does not exceed the actual number 
of buildings which have suffered from the German invasion. Dr. Bode makes no distinction 
between houses destroyed in the course of fighting and bombardment, or, generally speaking, 
for military reasons, and those set on fire by way of " reprisals." But, on the one hand, the 
bombardment of the towns of Antwerp, liege, and Namur lasted but a short time and caused 
comparatively little damage, and the destruction -wTOught by the Belgian Engineer Corps was 
inconsiderable save in the immediate neighbourhood of Antwerp. On the other, 2,117 houses 
were burnt without any justification on the ground of miUtary necessity in the town of Lou vain, 
and the adjacent communes of Kessel-Loo, Corbeek-Loo, Herent and Heverl6.* From these 
two statements it may be deduced that the 26,000 damaged houses were, for the most part, 
destroyed under the pretext of punishment inflicted for the supposed " francs-tireurs war " so 
unjustly imputed to the Belgian civil population. 

His Majesty's Government has received precise information, from Belgian sources, as to 
the number of houses destroyed only in respect of four out of the nine provinces of the country. 
From the returns in their possession it appears that 5,833 houses were destroyed in Brabant, 
5,243 in the province of Namur, 3,553 in the province of Antwerp, and 3,444 in the province 
of Liege, making a total of 18,073 houses in these four provinces. For ob\dous reasons, the 
Belgian Government is not in a position to guarantee the absohite accuracy of these returns, 
which, moreover, it has been impossible to make on a uniform plan throughout the various 
provinces. A large number of houses, in addition to these, were destroyed by way of " reprisals," 
notably in the province of Luxemburg, as weU as in Hainault and East Flanders. Limburg 
suffered comparatively Uttle. The destruction in West Flanders seems to have been due almost 
exclusively to bombardments and to considerations of a military nature. 

Nearly 5,000 non-combatant Belgians, including several hundreds of women, old men, and 
children, were put to death by the German troops, in nearly aU cases without inquiry or sentence. 

The slaughter of 5,000 civiUans, and the destruction by fire of 20,000 houses, stand to the 
account of the most formidable army in the world in their deahngs with the inoffensive population 
of Belgium. 

Further, thousands of Belgians have been sent to Germany as civiHan prisoners. Violence 
and robbery of every kind have been committed in aU parts of the country under the indulgent 
eyes, if not %vith the actual connivance or by the orders, of German officers. Mock executions 
have taken place in great numbers. 

In justification of these crimes, the German Government accuses the civil population of 
armed resistance in defiance of international law. In the " White Book " it insists, notably, 
on the truly extraordinary occurrence of an attack made by the inhabitants of Dinant (Volks- 
kampf) on the German troops massed to the east of the town (p. 117), and tries to gain credence 
for the story of popular risings (Volksauf stand) in Aerschot (p. 91), Andenne (p. 107), and Louvain 
(p. 233), against the troops occupying these towns. 

The documents on which the Military Bureau at Berlin rehes are statements by officers 
commanding the units which have gained such sinister notoriety in Belgium, and also by various 
non-commissioned officers and private soldiers. These declarations were, for the most part, 
called forth after the event by a desire to allay the indignation caused throughout the whole 
world by events at Vise, Battice, Herve, Dinant, Andenne, Namur, Louvain, Aerschot, Termonde, 
and many other small towns and villages. 

This may be clearly established by examination of the dates on which the appendices 
[Aiilagen), which figure in the " White Book," were drawn up, or appear to have been drawn up, 
for some of them are undated. If we ehminate App. 1 C 74 and D 50, containing maps and an 
undated deposition of an uncertain period, the 209 remaining documents may be divided into 

* The respective figures for each commune mentioned above are : — 1,120, 461, 129, 312, and 95 
houses destroyed by fire. 


two categories. The first, compiising sixty documents, includes extracts irom war diaries and 
military reports, bearing dates of the months of August and September, 10 U, or undated, and 
further, some twenty dated depositions of the month of September, fifteen of which deal with the 
burning of Louvain. It may be admitted that the majority of these documents were written 
immediately after the events described, or shortly afterwards, and as soon as circumstances 
allowed. Their composition may be taken as due to the initiative of the German authorities 
themselves, though this is far from induljirable in the case of a certain number of them. To 
adopt this point of view is to make a very generous concession as to the spontaneity of German 
action ; notably, it gives a negative reply to the question as to whether the inquiry into events 
at Louvain ordered in September by the Governor-General of occupied Belgium, Baron von der 
Goltz, should be attributed to considerations of foreign policy or not. It is, however, incontestable 
that a contrary opinion might be upheld by very weighty arguments.* Moreover, a very 
large number of documents in the first category had necessarily to be drawn up under any 
circumstances. The documents of the second category, 149 in number, the majority of them 
the depositions of officers and private soldiers, bear dates subsequent to September, 1914. It is 
justifiable to suppose that they were evoked by the necessity laid upon Germany to counteract 
the universal indignation aroused by her methods of war. The distinction made above is based 
upon the fact that it was more particularly during the month of August that " reprisals " were 
carried out upon the civil population, M'hereas the measures taken by the German authorities 
from the month of September onwards may, in a general way, be referred to motives more 
essentially military.f Although this classification is not absolutely precise, it corresponds 
unquestionably to actual facts in general. 

Among the documents appended to the Report of the Mihtary Bureau of BerHn concerning 
events at Aerschot, four are dated November, 1914, and one is dated January, 1915. The 
four depositions annexed to the report on the Andenne massacres bear date November, 
December, and January. As to events at Dinant, the inquiry, which took the form of the 
interrogation of witnesses, really began only in December ; it is embodied in seventy-one 
documents — one only is dated November, 1914, ten are dated December, 1914, nine are dated 
January, twenty -two February, and twenty -nine March, 1915. The sixteen remaining 
documents, exclusive of the general report, which compose the dossier relating to massacre 
and arson at Dinant, consist, with the exception of one undated deposition, solely of extracts 
from war diaries and military reports, apparently drawn up immediately after the events. 
The inquiry into occurrences at Louvain, ordered by the Governor-General, Baron von der 
Goltz, took place from September 17th to September 27th, 1914. After an interval of a month 
and a haK, the interrogatories were suddenly resumed in the middle of November, unquestionably 
under the pressure of universal public opinion. The depositions received in the course of the 
September inquiry already, indeed, constituted an elaborate statement as to the conduct of the 
German troops at Louvain, conduct which Major von Klewitz declared had been exemplary 
(App. D 2). The second inquiry was prolonged until March, 1915 ; it occupies thirty-two 
documents out of the fifty appended to the Report of the Military Bureau concerning the 
burning of the town. 

From the fact that nearly three-quarters of the documents contained in the " White Book " 
bear dates more than a month subsequent to the events with which they deal, and that over 
a tliird of them — seventy-four exactly — were not drawn up tiU 1915, we may conclude that 
the methods of war adopted by the German army in Belgium caused no sort of emotion in 
Germany. Public opinion there, educated in the idea that in war time anything is legitimate 
which tends to ensure the triumph of the German cause, saw nothing revolting in their ruthless 
character. Not until an echo of the indignation aroused in foreign countries reached the Empire 
did the German authorities, taken unawares, make an attempt to justify their deeds. There 
can be no possible doubt on this point, save perhaps as regards events at Louvain. 

Thus, about three-quarters of the documents pubhshed in the " White Book " were called 
into being by Germany's recognition of the fact that some defence was necessary. Several of 
the depositions, dated September, 1914, concerning the burning of Louvain— the horror of which 
seems to have made some impression, even in Germany— betray a very obvious anxiety on the 
part of the German authorities not only to estabUsh' facts but also to exculpate themselves. 
Hence, in the majority of the documents which figure in the " White Book " we can recognise 
only such value as is attached to the declarations of the defence in penal proceedings ; the 
greater part of them are not impartial reports, but special pleadings. 

These documents often bear the manifest impress of invention and improbability. In spite 
of their obviously suggestive character, the Military Bureau at BerKn seems to have accepted 

* The MUitary Bureau of Inquiry expresseslhe opinion that, if the punishment inflicted on Louvain 
has been so hotly discussed, it is mainly because the enemies of the German nation, more especiaUy the 
Belgian Government, have spread abroad throughout the world news calculated to prejudice public opinion 
against Germany by means of their press, their diplomatic representatives, and emissaries sent in all 
directions (p. 233). 

t Certain "reprisals," however, took place in September, and even in October in some places, notably 
atXermonde ; but, whereas no document in the " White Book " deals with the sack and burning of 
this town, a very limited number of documents bear upon other events which occurred during these 
two months (they are given in App. 49, 60 and 66). 


them without objective examination, and with a firm determination to ratifj^ each and all of 
the deeds committed in Belgium by the German troops. 

How, for instance, can we admit the existence in Aerschot of a plot against the life of the 
German officer in command, when the town had been occupied since the morning bj' immense 
bodies of troops, when the inhabitants had given up all weapons several days before, and when 
it would have been impossible for them to meet and act in concert ? It may be pointed out 
that the version given by the Mihtary. Bureau of Berhn differs widely from the first German 
version. The son of the Bm'gomaster who, at the time of the sack of the town, was accused 
of having murdered the German commandant, is no longer the sole criminal. The German 
authorities have no doubt recognised the inadequacy of this accusation (which has, moreover, 
been most categorically denied) as an excuse for the devastation and systematic pillage of the 
town of Aerschot, and the massacre of 150 of its inhabitants, the Burgomaster, his son, and his 
brother among them. To justify the execution of these hapless creatures, a certain number 
of whom were chosen by lot, they now formulate a general accusation against the inhabitants. 
" The complicity of the whole of the Burgomaster's family," says the " White Book " (p. 92), 
" shows how methodically {planmdssig) the Belgian authorities collaborated (mitwirkten) in 
treacherous enterprises of this nature — alas ! only too frequent ! — against the German troops." 

At Louvain, again, " the direction of the treacherous outbreak must have been in the hands 
of a superior authority. Everything indicates that such authorities took part in its organisation. 
Louvain was the official residence of the Commander of the so-called Civic Guard. Immediately 
before the revolt, this commander was still in the town, and the movement was initiated by 
the despatch to Louvain of a number of undisciplined young men v.ithout distinctive badges, 
who hid in the houses with soldiers disguised as civilians in order, themselves unseen, to fire 
at a favourable moment on the German troops who were apparently retiring. The Belgian 
Government itself has never dared to speak of the participation of corps of Belgian Eegulars 
in this action. It is a case of the treacherous action of the francs-tireurs, who were enthusiastically 
received and sheltered by the population. The misdeeds of the Civic Guard are, by the typical 
case of Louvain, revealed to the whole civihsed world " (p. 236). 

It is useless to insist upon the truly extraordinary conception of the Civic Guard retained 
by the Grerman authorities after eight months of study and investigation on the spot ; the 
passage reproduced above is not an extract from any deposition, but figures in the report on events 
at Louvain drawn up by the Mihtary Btureau of Inquiry itseH.* 

Be this as it may, it was the population of Louvain that suffered : according to information 
received by the permanent Deputation of the Provincial CouncU of Brabant, 2,117 buildings 
were burnt down at Louvain and in the suburban communes of Kessel-Loo, Corbeek-Loo, 
Herent, and Heverle, and over 200 civilians were killed. 

The " White Book " makes it a reproach to the Belgian Commission of Inquiry that, on 
August 31st, 1914, it quoted (throughout with inverted commas) the testimony of a witness 
according to which the entire town had been destroyed ; but, ten days later (September 10th), 
in its third report, the Commission, speaking in its own name, stated that only part of the town 
had been burnt. It may be pointed out that the Emperor WiUiam, in his telegram of September 
4th, 1914, to the President of the United States, himseK deplored the destruction of the town, 
with the exception of the beautiful Town Hall ! | 

The " White Book " refrains from giving any exact total indication on the subject of 
the damage done by the Germans at Louvain, J but it declares that if a " comparatively 
small " portion of the town suffered from the fire, it was thanks to the self-sacrificing spirit 
shown by the German troops, whose devoted efforts circumscribed the flames, which necessity — 
that knows no law — ^no doubt compelled them to kindle at various points in the town, as seema 
well established. 

With regard to the massacres which bathed the town of Andenne in blood, it is very essential 
to quote the letter sent by the military authorities of Namur over the signature of Lieutenant- 
Colonel von Eulwege to the Pax-Informationen. It ran as follows (see Frankfurter Zeitung 
of January 6th, 1915, and Father Duhr's pamphlet Der Lwgengeist im Volkerkrieg, p. 62) : — 
" The very careful personal inquiries I have made among a great variety of persons have yielded 
no confirmation to the story of the Cure of Andenne having incited the population to street 
fighting. Everybody at Andenne gives a different account of the events which took place on 
August 20th, 1914, and this is not surprising, for the majority of the inhabitants saw very little 
of the fighting properly so-called, having in their terror taken refuge in the cellars." 

The " White Book " makes no allusion to this statement, dated December 8th, 1914, but 
on the other hand, it quotes the deposition made on November 21st by Major von Polentz : — 
" The fact that 100 — a hundred — of my own men were injured exclusively by boihng water 
thrown over them shows that the attack was carefully arranged beforehand, and was one in 
which nearly the entire population (fast die game Bevolkerung) of the town of Andenne and its 

* See p. 13. 

t In its fifth report, dated September 25th, 1914, the Belgian Commission estimated the number 
of buildings burnt on the territory of the town of Louvain alone as 894, without including the Univer- 
sity buildings and the Law Courts ; the actual number, as we know, is 1,120. In view of German 
accusations, we may be allowed to point out the moderation shown by the Commission of Enquiry in 
this estimate. 

X See also on this subject p. 239, paragraph 6. 


suburbs took part " (p. 110). According to Eulwege, the majority of the inhabitants saw very 
little of the fighting because they were hiding in their cellars, whereas von Polentz accuses 
nearly the whole of these inhabitants of having taken part in the popular rising ! 

Such discrepancies are frequent in reports from German sources on events of which Belgium 
was the blood-stained scene. But the article published in the evening edition of the Frankfurter 
Zeitung of January 6th, 1915, under the title, "The Night of Andenne," the special object of 
which was the exculpation of the Cure of Andenne, is truly typical in this respect. In this 
article the newspaper gives the he to a narrative inserted in its own issue of September 8th, 1914, 
and communicated by " a well-known Frankfort jurist " ; this correspondent, writing " in 
perfect good faith," as the newspaper asserts, had said that, according to accounts he had 
received, the Cure of Andenne had run about the streets of the town with a beU to give the 
signal for battle ! Here, then, we have a well-known man of law, accustomed, we may suppose, 
to weighing evidence, who accepts this improbable story without any attempt to verify it, and does 
not hesitate to affirm the truth of it in writing, and to some extent publicly! What must we 
think of the credulity of the German common soldier when we see the fixed idea of the francs- 
tireurs annihilating the critical sense of a jurist to such a degree ? How many other legends 
win vanish in the light of truth when, after the conclusion of peace, everyone will be able to 
speak out freely and fearlessly ! 

According to the " White Book," the population of the town of Dinant successfully held 
in check forces equal in strength to an entire army corps belonging to the best organised army 
in the world, and this with such stubborn determination that the bombardment of a certain 
number of houses was necessary to overcome it (p. 121).* If this were true, it would indeed 
be a stupendous fact, for Dinant had but 7,700 inhabitants, a certain number of whom fled at 
the time of the bloody encounter between the French and German troops on August 15th, 1914. 
What actually happened at Dinant ? The town, which Mes on either bank of the Mouse, was 
first occupied by the French forces, which put it into a state of defence. A first engagement 
took place there on August 15th ; after gaining a footing on the right bank, the German troops 
were driven back again. The report of the Military Bureau of Inquiry, estabhshed at the 
Prussian War Ministry, states that on August 17th the enemy's troops had retired to the left 
bank of the Meuse, and that, from this moment, Dinant and its suburbs, Leffe and Les Rivages, 
were clear of hostile troops of the Regular Army (p. 117). This error is of capital importance 
for a just appreciation of the value of the German report as evidence, for it forms the basis of 
the arguments which make it possible to incriminate the civil population. Now the German 
report itself points out a few fines further on that a German patrol, which penetrated into the 
heart of Dinant on August 21st, found the bridge there held by the enemy's forces (p. 117). 
Information derived from French mifitary sources, and pubfished in Note 128 of the Bureau 
Documentaire Belge,^ makes it evident that between the 16th and the 23rd August it was the 
French patrols and outposts acting on the right bank of the river which held up the German 
reconnoitring parties that penetrated into the town and suburbs of Dinant on several occasions. 
It is, therefore, a falsification of facts to lay these legitimate acts of regular warfare to the charge 
of the civil population. By imputing these to the inhabitants and avenging them by terrible 
collective reprisals, the revelation of which filled the whole world with consternation, the 
commanders of the German troops were guilty of an abominable crime ; the horror of this 
crime will not be attenuated by the depositions inserted in the " White Book." The list of the 
identified victims of the massacre at Dinant comprises 606 names ; in other words, about 8 
per cent, of the total population. { It must be noted that an indeterminate number of persons 
wounded more or less sKghtly managed to escape death. Among the dead were 71 females, 
39 children of both sexes under the age of sixteen, and 34 persons over seventy years old. These 
figures do not appear on any one of the 116 pages of the " White Book " devoted to the massacre, 
sack, and burning of Dinant. Is not this tantamount to an avowal that their enormity 
startled even the Germans themselves, who have defiberately suppressed them at the risk of once 
more imperilling that character of impartiahty, the semblance of which the authors of the 
" White Book " have striven so hard to maintain ? 

The report of M. Tschoffen, the Public Prosecutor of Dinant, who was carried off to Germany 
as a civil prisoner and kept in prison at Cassel for three months, contains the following passage : 

" The Germans admit that there were no francs-tireurs at Dinant. 

" At Cassel, the Governor of the prison said to me : ' The military authorities at Berlin 
are now convinced that no one fired on the troops at Dinant.' I do not, of course, know what 
induced him to make this statement. 

" Another admission :— General von Longchamp, Mifitary Governor of the Province of 
Namur, talking to me of the occurrences at Dinant, said these very words to me : 'I found, from 
an inquiry I held on the subject, that no civifian fired on the troops at Dinant. But there were, 

* The systematic burning of the town followed. 

t The Bureau Documentaire Beige, established at Havre, 52, Rue des Gobelins, publishes a 
systematic collection of documents [Cahiers Documentaires) bearing on the European War. The 
military information referred to appears on pp. 166 et seq. of the present volume. 

I The proportion of dead seems at a first glance rather higher, but it must be remembered that 
a certain number of the inhabitants of neighbouring villages were killed at Dinant. 


perhaps, some French soldiers, disguised as civihans, who fired. And then, in the excitement 
of battle, there will be occasional excesses.' 

" I may add that I found no one at Dinant who gave me the shghtest reason to suppose 
that there was any truth in this hypothesis of the French soldiers." 

These admissions are a dead letter for the authors of the '"' White Book," who uphold their 

thesis imperturbably. Their statements concerning other Belgian towns and villages, the 

scenes of German " reprisals," are no more to be unreservedly' accepted than those which the 

German Governor of Namur, who has been living in the country for several months, and whose 

position makes him much more capable than the tribunal at Berhn of pronouncing a reasoned 

judgment on the events of August, 1914, has felt himseK constrained to condemn as radically 

false, in view of obvious facts. The " White Book " makes no allusion to the differences of 

opinion among the German authorities as to the attitude of the people of Dinant : thus the 

dossier it submits to the judgment of the world stifles the voice not only of the Belgian witnesses, 

numbers of whom were interrogated, but even of those Germans whose honesty has not succumbed 

to reasons of State. 

* * 

The truth, on which we cannot insist too often, is that neither in the four towns more 
especially dealt with in the " White Book," nor in any other places in the country did the 
population indulge in acts of hostility. Everywhere they obeyed the instructions of the 
Government and of the administrative and religious authorities. It is hardly necessary to 
point out once more how improbable it is that the inhabitants, who had given up their arms 
and were fuUy conscious of their weakness, should have been moved by a veritable access of 
madness to hurl themselves against the invading armies, when the atrocities committed by the 
German troops directly they entered Belgian territory on August 4th, 1914, were known through- 
out the land, and had struck terror into every heart ? Is it conceivable that the inhabitants 
of Aerschot, Andenne, Dinant and Louvain, even had they not been instructed as to their duties, 
as they were from the very first days of the war by the Belgian Government and the communal 
authorities, should have dreamt of entering upon a struggle with the German forces on the 
19th, 20th, 21st and 25th of August ? At this period part of the Belgian population had already 
fled terror-stricken, setting an example to hundreds of thousands of their fellow-countrymen, 
who subsequently sought asylum in France, Holland and England. 

If isolated acts of hostility were committed, how, even taking them as proven, could they 
justify collective " executions," often accompanied by refinements of cruelty ? How could they 
excuse the massacre so far attested of nearly 5,000 inoffensive citizens of both sexes, of every 
age and condition ; attacks upon family honour, brutahties of which women, children, and the 
ministers of religion were the victims ; the burning of 20,000 houses, the devastation and pillage 
of entire districts ? 

His Eminence Cardinal Mercier, Archbishop of Mechlin, Monseigneur Heylen, Bishop of 
Namur, and Monseigneur Rutten, Bishop of Liege, have been able to verify the extent of the 
disasters and to determine their causes. (See Part III, documents V, VI, IX, pp. 300, 308, 
and 322). 

Monseigneur Heylen, in an energetic protest of April 10th against the Memorandum of 
the Prussian War (Office of January 22nd, 1915,* gave an answer to the " White Book " in 
advance ; the strong pro-German sympathies of this prelate before the war lend special weight 
to his declaration, certain passages of which we append : — 

" We declare, in concert with all the inhabitants of our villages without exception, and 
with the whole Belgian people, that the story of Belgian francs-tireurs is a myth, an invention, 
and a calumny. 

" It is obvious that the German army set foot on Belgian soil and invaded the country with 
a preconceived notion that they would meet groups of such combatants — a reminiscence of 
1870. But German imagination cannot create what has never existed. 

" Not a single corps of francs-tireurs has ever existed in Belgium. 

" This is so certain that we do not hesitate most solemnly to defy the German Government 
to prove the existence of a single group of francs-tireurs either before or after the invasion of 
the territory. 

" We have no knowledge even of an isolated case of civihans having fired on the troops, 
although there would be nothing to cause surprise in an individual misdeed of this kind. In 
several of our villages the population was exterminated because, said the German commanders, 
a major had been kiUed, or a young girl had attempted to kiU an officer, &c. ... In no single 
case was the supposed culprit discovered and named. 

" According to the Memorandum, all statements concerning the martyrdoms, outrages and 
degrading treatment inflicted by the Germans are Hes. 

" The author of the Memorandum puts himself into a very difficult position by such whole- 
sale denial. Historical truth has its rights. Far be it from us to exaggerate anything. We 
do not assert that all the troops who passed through our two provinces committed crimes ; on 
several occasions the people have given to certain commanders and bodies of troops the praises 
due to their moderation and good behaviour ; but, on the other hand, it is notorious and 

* See below, p. 308. 


indubitable that the German troops committed the various crimes denied by the Memorandum 
in Namur and Luxemburg. • i f ri 

"No less indubitable is it that they were committed, not here and there, by isolated 
individuals, but generaUy and systematicaUy. For how can deeds perpetrated ahnost at every 
point on a front of nearly a hundred miles on the same days be considered isolated acts 

" Acts of legitimate self-defence, repression of francs-tireurs, says the German Blimster. 

" We have answered this allegation above. 

" Let us, however, accept for one moment, not by way of admission but of supposition, 
this hypothesis of a legitimate repression of francs-tireurs. We assert that an inqmry into 
every individual case of the destruction of a village and the extermination of cmhans would 
show the punishment inflicted to be so greatly in excess of the alleged crime that it could not 
be justified by any kind of argument. This appKes to the scenes of tragedy that took place 
at Andenne, Tamines, Dinant, Leffe, Neffe, Spontin, Surice, Ethe, Tintigny, Houdemont and 
many other places, scenes so atrocious that they wiU one day rouse the conscience of the whole 
world, and wiU be execrated by German justice itself when it has a true knowledge of them 
and has recovered its calm." 


But had the German troops ever any idea of meting out reprisals in proportion to the gravity 
of offences ? The following declaration, by Herr Walther Bloem, who was attached for several 
months, and is perhaps still attached, to the Staff of the German Governor-General at Brussels, 
and even accompanied Baron von Bissing on a tour of inspection as adjutant, justifies us in 
answering this question in the negative. 

" This principle " (that the community should suffer for the fault of an individual) writes 
Bloem in the Kolnische Zeitung of February 10th, 1915 (No. 146), " is fuUy justified by the theory 
of intimidation. The innocent must suffer with the guilty, or if the latter cannot be discovered 
the innocent must pay the penalty for the guilty, not because a crime has been committed, but 
to prevent the commission of crimes. The burning of a village, the execution of hostages, the 
decimation of the inhabitants of a commune which has taken up arms against the advancing 
troops are less acts of vengeance than signs of warning to districts not as yet occupied. 

" And it is beyond doubt that the destruction by fire of Battice, Herve, Louvain and Dinant 
has acted as a warning.* The inevitable (erzwungene) devastation by fire, and bloodshed of the 
first days of the war in Belgium saved the large Belgian towns from the temptation to attack 
the weak garrisons which we had to leave behind us." 

This is the apology of preventive repression when condemned by the modern conscience. 
Hence, if the Military Bureau of Inquiry at BerKn took so much trouble to determine the various 
points in the town of Louvain whence shots were fired, it was purely for effect ; the real object 
of the mihtary authorities was not to inflict well-deserved punishment commensurate with their 
offences on the supposed francs-tireurs of Louvain, but to terrorise Brussels. 

In many of the depositions inserted in the " White Book " we find a phrase which seems 
to constitute a rule of conduct laid down for the soldiers : marksmen seized with firearms in their 
hands are to be executed on the spot, and houses from which shots are fired are to be burnt. 
Now in the town of Louvain and the four communes adjoining it, 2,117 buildings suffered from 
the flames, whereas rather more than 200 inhabitants were put to death. How are we to explain 
the extraordinary disproportion between these two totals otherwise than by the preconceived 
intention of the German commanders, not to repress crime, but to strike terror throughout the 
country ? How, again, is it to be explained why in fighting which lasted, according to the 
Grerman mihtary authorities, from three to four days, the number of victims was not greater 1 

The idea that there was no question at Louvain of a just chastisement for offences committed 
by the inhabitants of the town haunted German minds immediately after the events. This 
is very evident in the fines quoted below, which figure at the head of the first page of a pamphlet 
entitled : Der Weltkrieg, 1914. — Achtes Bandchen. — Sturmnacht in L6wen.'\ (The World War 
in 1914. — Eighth Number.— -A Stormy Night at Louvain), pubhshed in the autumn of 1914, and 
written by Herr Robert Heymann : " The formidable drama that developed in the international 
struggle of the great war-year 1914 impresses us after the manner of an ancient rhapsody, an 
Ifiad of modem days. Never were crime and punishment more closely related than here. This 
crime, however, did not reaUy begin with the awful night of terror, nor, when we go more deeply 
into things, must it be laid solely to the charge of Louvain. All Belgium was guilty of a monstrous 
ignominy, an offence against all humanity, and so just chastisement fell upon the whole Belgian 
nation, represented by the inhabitants of Louvain." 

Such declarations coming from German sources are in themselves full of significance ; they 
have a special importance, inasmuch as they corroborate in a very singular manner the statements 
of various Belgian witnesses, according to whom there is no doubt that certain Belgian towns 

* This opinion seems to be shared by Baron F. W. von Bissing, son of the Governor-General of 
occupied Belgium, who, in a study on Belgium under German administration, records, without com- 
ment, the following words, which he claims to have heard repeated on several occasions in Brussels : — 
" The burning of Louvain saved us from a similar disaster, which would have caused even more terrible 
misery." (P. 75 of the April number [1915] of the Suddeutsche Monatshefte, Munich and Leipzig). 

t Max Fischer's Verlagsbuchhandlung, Dresden, A. 16. 


were marked out for destruction in advance, that is to say independently of any act of hostility 

committed by their inhabitants.* 

* * 


The " White Book," so proKx in its accusations against the Belgian population, and so 
unconAoncing in its attempts to give an air of probabihty to its accounts of the extraordinary 
events it records, offers no indication, even of an approximate kind, of the total number of the 
German victims of Belgian francs-tireurs, nor, indeed, of the number of Belgians massacred or 
deported to Germany as civihan prisoners. Even in the four Reports of the Mihtary Bureau of 
Inquiry concerning the occurrences at Aerschot, Dinant, Louvain and Andenne, there are no 
totals given as to the supposed German victims ; the Report relating to this last town admits, 
on the other hand, that about 200 citizens of Andenne lost their hves " in the course of the 
fighting " (p. 107), and that relating to Aerschot notes that 88 adult males were shot as francs- 
tireurs (p. 91). These figures are, in fact, lower than the actual ones, especially with regard to 
the massacres at Aerschot. The Report deahng with the " rising " at Louvain declares that 
the First Echelon of the Staff of the General-Kommando alone lost in killed, wounded, and 
missing on the evening of Tuesday, August 25th, 5 officers, 2 employes, 23 men and 95 horses ; 
the number of dead is not specified (p. 234 and App.D 1). Meschede, a non-commissioned officer 
in the medical service (App. D 23), reports that at Louvain, in the evening of August 25th, he 
had to treat from 40 to 50 German wounded ; he declared upon oath that two of these wounded 
had small-shot wounds in the head ; as to the rest, Meschede does not say whether they 
received their wounds in the course of street fighting in the town, or in the battle that took 
place that day with the Belgian troops to the north of Louvain.f Staff-Surgeon Dr. Lange 
declares in the last sentence of his deposition (App. G 71) that when he handed over the 
ambulance installed in the villa of the barrister Adam at Diaant to the 2nd Company of the 
Army Medical Corps, the number of wounded German soldiers amounted to about 80. 
Although the first eleven lines of the deposition, which consists of eighteen, deal only with 
the supposed attacks made by the inhabitants, Dr. Lange does not say whether these 
soldiers had been wounded by the bullets of civihans or of the enemy's forces ; nor does 
he say if the wounds were caused by small shot. A perfectly unbiassed study of the deposition 
does not allow us to conclude that the doctor omitted more precise details because the context 
left no room for doubt ; in the last sentence but one, indeed, the wounded are again mentioned 
only in general terms. There is an ambiguity here which is increased by the odd fact that in this 
sworn statement the date of the incidents reported is not given ; there is reason to beheve, however, 
that they took place on August 23rd, 1914, the day on which there was a sharp encounter between 
the French troops established in force on the opposite bank of the Meuse and the German troops. 
Did the "White Book"' deliberately create this ambiguity to the prejudice of the supposed 
francs-tireurs ? With every wish to be impartial, it is impossible to reject this hypothesis 
altogether. At Andenne 100 men are said to have been injured by boUing water thrown upon 
them — a statement utterly devoid of truth (see pp. 107 and 110). Elsewhere throughout the 
" White Book " there are scarcely any but the vaguest data as to the number of the francs-tireurs' 

The dearth of information on this point is indeed one of the most striking of the impressions 
left on the mind after reading the " White Book," as is also this other, which is the direct result 
of the first : the disproportion between the offences, supposing these to have been committed, 
and their repression. Accurate figures in this connection would, however, have been calculated 
to impress those who are doubtful as to the legitimacy of the German reprisals. 

Private Schmidt reports (App. D 47) that at a given moment on August 25th at Louvain, 
the fusillade had all the intensity of controlled fire ; although he was exposed to five successive 
fusillades in the streets he was not hit himself, nor does he mention that any of his comrades 
were. In his excursions through the towTi, Schmidt put his foot on the grating of a cellar, which 
gave way under his weight ; he broke his wrist as he feU into the cellar, from the back of which 
someone fired at him. For the sixth time he escaped from the bullets. He was pulled out of the 
cellar, but two other soldiers who fell in at the same time did not succeed in getting out. Schmidt 
heard next morning that they were seriously wounded, but in his deposition he does not state 
if their wounds were due to their faU or to the bullets of the francs-tireurs. As he was leaving 
Louvain on August 26th, this soldier was once more exposed to fire directed against a Red 
Cross train, which, however, was ineffectual. 

Mention is made in the " White Book " of violent controlled fire (App. D 3, 9 and 47), 
of frantic firing (App. A 5), of disorderly firing (ivOste Schiesserei, App. D 41), of terrible 
fire (App. D 9), of furious fire (App. B 1 and p. 234), of murderous fire (App. D 9), of 
colossal fire (App. D 3); "from every height," we are told, "lightnings flashed" (p. 117); 

* See more especially in connection with Louvain Part II, Chapter V, Section III, Documents 24, 
25, 26, 27 and 29 ; in connection with Dinant the report of M. Tschoffen, Public Prosecutor, Part II, 
Chapter IV, Section I, and the Note of Monseigneur Heylen, Bishop of Namur, Part III. (Appendi.x), 
Document IX ; in connedtion with Andenne, the Note of Monseigneur Heylen, ibid. 

j See again " White Book," App. D 6, and also p. 237 of the present volume. 


passing through one of the streets of I;Ouvain with ten men, Colonel Schweder was under ' a 
continuous hail of bullets " for about 500 yards (App. D 7) ; " the conduct of the inhabitants 
of Andenne degenerated into unparalleled devilry " (Teufdei), says the Report of the Mihtary 
Bureau on this town (p. 107).* Yet the German soldiers always come out unscathed, or very 
nearly so, from their perilous situation. In this connection. Major Schlick's description of a 
furious encounter with francs-tireurs is typical (App. C 44). In spite of the emphatic terms 
used to give vigour to the story, it does not appear that any soldiers were injured by the fire 
of the inhabitants ; at any rate, the officer mentions no casualties among his men (see p. 221). 
Several witnesses seem to have felt it necessary to explain the very limited number of German 
victims ; some say that the inhabitants fired much too high (App. D 8 and 10) ; another. 
Baron von Langermann und Erlencamp, states : " By a miracle our losses were very small ; 
the francs-tireurs were very bad shots " (App. B 1). Yet another declares that fortunately 
the pitch thrown down upon the German soldiers from the houses was not hot enough to inflict 
serious burns (App. D 29). They might have added that the francs-tireurs were really very 
artless to hope for more briUiant results from the use of shot-guns. But it is difficult to see 
how machine guns (pp. 107, 122, 234 ; App. 25 ; App. B 3, C 2, D 2, 29, 37, 38, 
40, 42, 46, 49), bombs and hand-grenades (pp. 107, 111 ; App. D 36, 37, p. 300, and 49) 
can have been so harmless. The civiUans so scrupulously respected by the German troops while 
they were preparing their insidious attacks, were at leisure to choose the most propitious moment 
for their aggression. The only real explanation is that such material was never in the possession 
of the inhabitants, as may be inferred from certain reticences in the " White Book " itself ; 
in this there is no mention of the discovery of machine guns anywhere but in a corner house at 
Dinant,| in the course of perquisitions made there. On the other hand, the Germans them- 
selves brought machine guns into action in the streets of Louvain and Andenne, hence no doubt 
the mistake made by the soldiers. The Belgian civihans never possessed any ; as to the bombs 
and hand-grenades, the Belgian field army itself had none at its disposal in 1914. How, then, 
could the civil population have had any in August of that year. 

Be this aa it may, the futihty of the means of resistance employed by the francs-tireurs does 
not seem to have mitigated the fury of the soldiers : they entered the houses, striking down or 
driving out the inhabitants, and the terrible francs-tireurs allowed themselves to be led like sheep 
to the slaughter ! Although they knew they were doomed in any case, none of them seem to 
have thought of selling their lives as dearly as possible when they were arrested. Sergeant 
Stiebing (App. C 31), who with some of his comrades stormed from eight to ten houses at 
Dinant from which it was alleged shots had been tired, himself admits this : " As soon as we 
entered the room," he declares, " the men threw down their weapons and held up their hands." We 
search the " White Book" almost in vain for accounts of hand-to-hand encounters with the/rawcs- 
tireurs or struggles in the houses. There are, however, a few such, as, for instance, in App. D 2, 
29 and 39, and G 26 The narrative on p. 159 (App. C 26) appears, moreover, to be highly 
imaginative. According to Captain Wilke, who records it, a sergeant and a soldier, entering 
a house at Dinant, found themselves face to face with seven civihans, armed with a pistol and 
six shot-guns. The seven were all shot or stunned with blows in the twinkling of an eye ; one 
of these doughty champions threatened the two Germans with his pistol on the ground-floor ; 
the other six, who were on the first floor, seem to have offered no resistance whatever. And 
thus the soldiers got off quite uninjured.:]: Just as they were about to leave the house five other 
men, armed with guns, coming no one knows whence, and not, it would seem, at aU intimidated 
by the firing that had just taken place, stood before them ; the Germans overcame these also, 
but this time only with the help of comrades from outside. The improbabiUty of this story 
suggests grave doubts as to its truth. There is no doubt that the two soldiers sought to increase 
their own importance by boasting of their amazing exploits. In any case, it would have been 
wiser to .interrogate the soldier himseK (the sergeant was Idlled in France) than to trust to the 
recollections of an officer, whose report was drawn up six months after the occurrence. 

The fact is that in no part of Belgium, whether occupied or not as yet by the German troops, 
were there any bands oi francs-tireurs or any attempts at armed resistance on the part of the civilian 
population. No one will deny that there may have been isolated acts of hostility; 
there have been such in every war and in every country. But it cannot be too strongly insisted 
upon that up to the present not a single instance of armed resistance on the part of the civil 
population has been established before the Belgian Commission of Inquiry. The Commission 

* These passages are noted merely as examples ; there are a great many similar ones in the " White 

f This town had been put into a state of defence by the French troops, and it would seem to have 
been they who installed the machine-guns found acdording to the " White Book," in the comer house 
(App. G 2). 

J Or so we may infer from the silence of the " White Book." 


has, however, paid special attention to this point, as to which most of the witnesses were closely 
questioned. The invariable answer was : " No one belonging to us fired ; all weapons had 
been deposited in the To^ti HaU." IMany of the -nitnesses added : " We were far too much 
frightened." One \ntness only stated he had heard from a tliird person that a revolver had been 
fired from the house of an inhabitant of Aerschot. This witness was not able to say whether 
the shot had been fu'ed by a civilian, and the truth of the incident has not been estabhshed.* 

It might have been supposed that some of the inhabitants, exasperated by the deeds of 
violence — murder, arson and piUage — committed before their eyes, and wounded perhaps in 
their affections, would have taken vengeance here and there by firing upon the invaders ; 
but not a single witness has made any sort of allusion to such an act. 

It is alleged in the Prefatory Note of the " White Book " (p. 2), in the Report of the Mihtary 
Bureau of Inquiry into occurrences at Dinant (p. 122) and also in numerous appendices, that 
German soldiers were wounded by small shot (Schroten). The conclusion drawn from this is that 
those who fired were civilians. There is every reason to suppose, without fear of error, that 
many Germans, misled by their own prepossessions, attributed certain wounds to shot-guns, 
perhaps honestly, but without serious, and above aU, expert examination, when the injuries 
in question were of a very different origin. With many of them we know the idea that they 
were being attacked by francs-tireurs whenever they could not see their assailants amounted 
to an obsession. It is a fact that certain German doctors declare they attended men who had 
been wounded by shot ; these surgeons were Dr. Berghausen (App. I) 9), Dr. Keuten (App. D 
21), Dr. Sorge (App. C55), and Dr. Haupt (indirect evidence reported by a patient) (App. C72). 
As to Dr. Kockeritz (App. C 67), he merely says that he saw inhabitants of Dinant firing with 
shot-guns. It is extraordinary and indeed inconceivable that these doctors should not have 
made a formal statement as to the results of their investigations, that they should never have 
associated foreign or Belgian coUeagues| with themselves when extracting suspicious projectiles, 
or that at least they should not have invited a single one of these to note the facts. And this 
though the confirmation of a witness whose evidence could not have been suspected of partiahty 
would have been of inestimable value ! In the absence of any sworn statement the tardy and 
summary declaration of a few doctors who merely allege that they attended or saw a very 
Umited number of men with small-shot wounds:}; is really a very insufficient basis for the general 
accusation brought against the Belgian civil population ; stiU less can it be made the justification, 
more or less, of the atrocious massacres which took place in Belgium. At Dinant, according to 
Monseigneur Heylen, Bishop of Namur, certain civilians were riddled with small shot, as the 
German doctors themselves noted ; this shot had been fired by German soldiers. There is 
nothing surprising in this when we remember that the Germans as soon as they entered the 
town took possession of the sporting weapons handed over by private persons to the communal 
authorities, and divided the more costly of these between them (see p. 338). The same thing 
happened in many other places. It is important to remark further that Dr. Lange, who attended 
a large number of wounded at Dinant, makes no mention of any wounds caused by small shot 
(App. C 71). The same may be said of Doctors Rehm (App. 4), Kaiser (App. 32), Esche 
(App. 33), Beyer (App. 62), Petrenz (App. C 51), Holey (App. C 74), and Marx (App. C 87) 

The representatives of the forty-four Powers who met at the Hague in 1907, recognising 
the imperfection of their work in advance, thought it well to declare in the preamble of the 
Fourth Convention (concerning the laws and usages of war on land) that " in cases not covered 
by the Regulations adopted by the Powers, populations and belligerents are to remain under 
the safeguard and governance of the principles of international law as evinced in the usages 
established between civilised nations, the laws of humanity, and the requirements of the pubhc 
conscience." They added that Articles 1 and 2 of these Regulations more especially are to be inter- 
preted in this sense. This is equivalent to saying that failure strictly to observe the rules laid 
down notably in Articles 1 and 2 ought not to be made the pretext for merciless repression ; 
it is a plea to the commanders of an army to have pity on those whose patriotism may have led 
them astray. 1 1 This recommendation should have appealed with special force to Germany, 
one of the guarantors of Belgian neutraUty, whose brutal aggression was from this very fact 
calculated to provoke extreme indignation among the inhabitants of the invaded country. 

* See p. 114. 

t The deposition of Dr. Lemaire, one of the only two Belgians whose evidence figures in the " White 
Book," does not deal with the subject in question here (App. D 31). 

J Dr. Berghausen saw or attended four. Dr. Keuten two. Dr. Sorge several. Dr. Haupt one. The 
non-commissioned certificated medical officer, Meschede (App. D 23), for his part, declares upon oath 
that he had two soldiers suffering from small -shot wounds under his care at the railway station of Louvain 
on August 25th. It is, indeed, by no means impossible that the wounded referred to by Drs. Berghausen 
and Keuten, and the non-commissioned officer Meschede, may be partly identical ; this seems to be 
the case notably as to two of those spoken of by Berghausen and soldiers treated by Keuten. 

II The insertion in thejpreamble to the Fourth Convention of the declarations cited above was 
even made a condition of their adhesion to the Convention by several Powers, as they held that the 
appended regulations did not afford adequate protection to the civil population. 


But far from deferring to the view expressed by the representatives of the Powers, the 
Germans appHed to Belgium methods inspired by ideas directly opposed to it. Did not a semi- 
official German message concerning the burning of Louvain, transmitted by wireless telegraphy 
on August 27th, 1914, declare : " The only means of preventing surprise attacks from the 
civil population has been to interfere with unrelenting severity and to create examples which 
by their frightfulness should be a warning to the whole country."* 

We are entitled to conclude from the foregoing that even if the German theory were established 
it would nevertheless be evident that in the conduct of the war in Belgium the German army 
did not observe the rules adopted and the tendencies indicated by the qualified representatives 
of the whole civilised world. 

How, moreover, when repression follows upon the offence instantly and without inquiry, 

is it possible to distinguish equitably between acts of hostihty properly so-called and acts of 

legitimate defence ? If, in exceptional cases, inhabitants had sought to defend their persons, 

and the life or honour of members of their family, such acts would not have justified measures 

of repression. What conclusion can an impartial mind form, for instance, after reading the 

deposition of the private soldier Vorwieger, which figures among those invoked by the Imperial 

Government to justify the massacres and arson at Dinant 1 (App. C 61). " During the street 

fighting at Dinant on August 21st," declares the witness, " I saw in a house I was just about 

to enter, a woman of about thirty standing there revolver in hand, ready to fire." The deposition, 

so far as it bears upon this incident, stops short here ; the soldier does not say that the woman 

used her weapon. 

* * 

Finally, the " White Book," the 328 large pages of which constitute one long panegyric 
of what is asserted to be the admirable behaviour of the German troops in Belgium, and contain 
neither a word of blame nor even the smallest reservation of any kind in connection with them, 
appears entirely ignorant of various categories of crime which inevitably occur in armies in the 
field. Nevertheless a great many witnesses who gave evidence before the Belgian Commission 
declare that the cases of drunkenness so frequent among the German ofiicers and soldiers were 
the cause of mistakes fatal to the population. To these cases of drunkeimess, further attested 
by a large number of diaries taken from the persons of German prisoners, the " White 
Book " makes not a single allusion. The task even of explaining or excusing them no doubt 
seemed beyond the powers of the compilers. Witnesses have spoken of the brawls which took 
place between soldiers, drunk or sober, in the course of which shots were exchanged ; these 
shots were nearly always imputed to the inhabitants. It is also notorious that in the German 
army various acts of vengeance were perpetrated by private soldiers on their officers ; it is so 
easy after such an act for the guilty soldier to exclaim : " Man hat geschossen ! " (Somebody 
fired !). The firing in these cases was generally ascribed to civihans, whereas, when under 
exceptional circumstances a post-mortem examination took place, the German origin of the 
bullets was established. Finally it is inevitable that in huge armies composed for the most 
part of men long unaccustomed to handling arms, there should be occasionally accidental discharges 
of fire-arms. Given the morbid and systematically fostered obsession of the franc-tireur which 
obtained in the German ranks, and the extraordinary nervous excitement noted by many 
witnesses, it cannot be doubted that in many cases the soldiers honestly attributed shots that 
were fired to the inhabitants. 

Numerous eases of this kind are in fact recorded in the note-books taken from German dead 
and wounded. The writers of these notes, some cynical, others making no attempt to conceal 
the shame they felt at the conduct of some of their compatriots, express themselves sincerely. 
The note-books are consequently more valuable as documentary evidence than the reports and 
depositions of the " White Book," in which officers and soldiers, the prescribers or the executors 
of massacre, and the beneficiaries of rapine, indulge in mutual adulation of a kind that passes 
all bounds. Major von Klewitz, of the Staff, IXth Reserve Corps, who arrived at Louvain on 
August 25th, concludes his deposition with this pronouncement : " The conduct of the troops 
at Louvain has been exemplary " (App. D 2). The " Wliite Book " neither mentions nor 
aUudes to these mihtary note-books, though many of them had been pubUshed before May, 1915. 

Moreover, it was not enough that the " White Book " should have refrained from expressing 
the shghtest blame in the form of regret or apology on the subject of the behaviour in any 
circumstances of any one of the German officers or men.f It was not enough that the " White 
Book " should have declared the accusations of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry against the 
German army to be nothing but base calumnies (p. 6). After the most unscrupulous attempts 
to dishonour the Belgian people as a whole and practically without exception in the eyes of the 
world, by representing them as actuated by the most bestial instincts and the vilest sentiments, 
the " White Book " does not hesitate to vaunt the self-sacrificing spirit of the German soldiers 
in their deahngs with those in danger, and with the sick, " in spite of the fact that their patience 

* See Times, August 29th, 1914. 

t At the end of the general report on events at Dinant, the Military Bureau of Inquiry at Berlin declares 
that it is no doubt regrettable that the town should have been destroyed for the most part, and that 
many lives should have been sacrificed ; but it entirely approves the action of the German troops who 
were forced to have recourse to reprisals necessitated b\r the military objective in view (Krieeszweck) 
(p. 124). 


was severely tried by the treacherous attacks directed against them." Old men, women and 
children were, we are assured, very generally spared, even when under the gravest suspicion 
(p. 5) — but the " White Book " gives no explanation of the massacre of old men, women and 
children in considerable numbers throughout the country, and notably at Dinant.* 

True, the Belgian Government, in spite of its legitimate grounds of complaint, is ready 
to admit that certain German corps behaved correctly and humanely, but it maintains that 
others, acting under orders from their commanders — and thus involving the responsibility of the 
higher command — conducted themselves Hke hordes of savages ! The term is harsh, but it 
does not exaggerate the facts. As to the instances of humanity recorded in the " White Book," 
they by no means invalidate the accounts of the innumerable atrocities denounced in the 
reports of the EngUsh and Belgian Commissions of Inquiry. 

The " White Book " further affirms that the German troops strove with the utmost devotion 
to combat the flames at Lou vain, and that it is thanks to them that only a " comparatively small " 
portion of the town, namely, the quarter between the railway station and the Grand' Place, 
suffered from the fire ; finally, it was thanks to them that " the admirable Hotel de ViUe " was 
saved (pp. 235, 236). The truth is that the finest quarters of the town of Louvain were 
deliberately set on fire ;f in certain streets two or three houses were intentionally spared. 
Finally, the soldiers would not have been called upon to show their devotion by "saving" the 
Hotel de Ville from burning had they not prevented the work of zealous citizens who were 
trying to extinguish the flames of the adjoining houses. The preservation of the building 
was, moreover, mainly due to favourable atmospheric conditions. 

Installed as the master of Belgium, the German Government disposes as it thinks fit of the 
life and property of defenceless Belgian citizens. The case is different where the nationals of 
neutral countries are in question. Thus, on the occasion of the murder of five Spanish subjects, 
the Oerman Government was itseK obHged to furnish a material proof of the reality of the 
excesses committed by its troops upon the civil population. It was, indeed, compelled to pay 
indemnities amounting to 182,000 marks for the death of these five Spaniards, shot without any 
reason, together with other inhabitants of the town, at Liege, on August 21st, 1914. After thus 
recognising the claims of the famifies of these five victims, can the German Government be 
allowed to assert that its troops did not go beyond their rights in this execution, and that in no 
case did they commit any excesses in Belgium ? It is hardly necessary to say that none of the 
famifies of other victims shot on August 21st have received any indemnity so far. 

Whenever the German Government ventures to insist upon the humane sentiments which 
govern the Imperial troops, it is allowable to refer it to the publication, already mentioned 
several times, of the Historical Section of the Great General Staff of the German Army on the 
subject of the Usages of War on Land. This pubhcation expressly puts the officer on his 
guard against " the tendency of thought in the last century . . . dominated essentially by 
humanitarian considerations, which not infrequently degenerated into sentimentafity and 
flabby emotion " (Sentimentalitdt und weicMiche Gefuhldschwdrmerei) (p. 3 ; Engl, ed., p. 54). 
" By steeping himself in miHtary history," says the Introduction itself, as if to emphasise the 
character of the work, " an officer wiU be able to guard himself against excessive humanitarian 
notions ; it will teach him that certain severities are indispensable to war, nay, more, that the 
only true humanity very often lies in a ruthless appHcation of them " (p. 3 ; Engl, ed., p. 55). 

General von Bissing himself, in a proclamation made in Germany in the month of August, 
1914, when he was commanding the Vllth Army Corps, and had not yet been appointed Governor- 
General of occupied Belgium, expressed himseli as follows : " It is no doubt to be regretted that 
in repressing these infamous acts [i.e., the acts of hostUity committed by the civil population] 
isolated houses as well as flourishing villages and even entire towns should be annihilated, but 
this should not provoke misplaced sentimentality. All that we may destroy is, in our eyes, 
less in value than the life of a single one of our soldiers. That is self-evident, and indeed, 
properly speaking, it is not necessary to mention it." He further lays down this axiom : 
" In such a case the innocent will have to suffer with the guilty." {Kolnische Volkszeitung, 
September 17th, 1914, Wochen-Ausgabe, No. 33.) This savage theory is directly opposed to 
Article 50 of the Regulations drawn up at the Hague Conferences of 1899 and 1907, which 
Germany pledged herself to adopt in the instructions to be given to her troops. This 
Article 50, which is never mentioned in the Manual of the Great General Staff | of 1902, is 

* The explanation given on p. 123, para. 3, of the " White Book " as to the death of women and 
children at Dinant, though in part admissible, itself condemns the conduct of the German troops. 
Among the 606 identified victims killed in this town of 7,700 inhabitants were 71 females, 39 boys and 
girls under the age of sixteen, and 34 persons of both sexes over seventy years old. 

f See also pp. 28 and 231-2 of the present volume. 

I The manual indeed expressly authorises war levies as a means of punishment (p. 63 ; Eng. 
ed., p. 136). In January, 1916, a spy in German pay having been found killed at Schaerbeek, the whole 
community of Brussels was punished with a fine of 500,000 francs, in addition to a fine of 50,000 francs 
inflicted on the commune of Schaerbeek. After a formal protest from the communal authorities of 
Brussels, the Governor-General von Bissing, though he upheld the fine, deferred collection of the same. 


in these terms ; " No collective penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, may be inflicted on populations 
by reason of individual acts for Avhich they cannot be considered responsible as a body. 

The first Governor-General of occupied Belgium, Field-Marshal von der Goltz, showed no 
less contempt than his successor for the principle proclaimed in this article. Two proclamations 
posted at Brussels and reproduced below will show under what conditions and as a result of 
what acts " reprisals " may be legitimately resorted to, according to this high functionary, and 
also how unscrupulously German Commanders of the highest rank set at nought engagements 
solemnly entered into by the German Empire. 

The first of these proclamations reads as follows : — 

" It has happened lately in districts not at present occupied by more or less strong bodies 
of German troops, that convoys of wagons and patrols have been attacked by surprise by the 

" I draw the attention of the public to the fact that a register is kept of the towns and 
localities in the neighbourhood of which such attacks have taken place, and that they may 
expect their punishment as soon as the German troops pass near them. 

" Brussels, September 25th, 1914. 

" The Governor-General of Belgium, 

" Baron von deb Goltz, Field-Marshal." 

The second proclamation is in these terms : — 

" In the evening of September 25th the railway line and the telegraph wires were destroyed 
between Lovenjoul and Vertryck. In consequence of this the two places above-named had 
to render account for the same, and to give hostages. 

"In future, places nearest to the spot where such occurrences take place will be punished 
without mercy, whether guilty or not. To this end hostages have been taken from aU places 
adjacent to railways open to such attacks, and at the first attempt to destroy the railways or the 
telegraph or telephone lines they \vill at once be shot. 

" Further, all soldiers guarding railway lines have received orders to shoot any person 
approaching them or the telegraph and telephone communications in a suspicious manner. 

" Brussels, October 1st, 1914. 

" The Governor-General of Belgium, 

" Baron von der Goltz, Field-Marshal." 

It is by no means established that the attacks mentioned in the first notice were committed 
by the civil population ; as to the destruction of the railway line between Lovenjoul and 
Vertryck, it was carried out by a cychst detachment of the Belgian Army, which came from 
Antwerp on September 22nd, 1914. Under the leadership of Captain Delfosse, this 
detachment reached the line at the confines of the communes of Lovenjoul and Vertryck. 
They placed two explosive bombs on the rails. A train that passed shortly afterwards caused 
these to explode. The destruction of the line was accompKshed by Belgian soldiers in mihtary 
uniform. No civilian took part in it (see pp. 105-6). 

IK St: 


The taking of hostages, though not expressly forbidden by the Hague Conventions, is very 
repugnant to the modern conscience ; it was generally beheved that in future wars between 
civilised nations the custom would not be revived. Kriegsbrauch im Landkriege, however, did 
not consider it possible to refrain altogether from this barbarous practice. " We must therefore," 
it says, " disregard the unfavourable criticism of this method of war, which has been employed 
for various reasons, in exceptional cases, by the German Army " (p. 49). A little further on, 
referring to the leading citizens compelled by the Germans to travel on railway engines in 
1870-71, the Manual makes an obvious effort to excuse this measure, which it stigmatises itself 
as harsh and cruel. As a fact, the taking of hostages was comparatively exceptional in the 
course of the last war. The case was very different in 1914 ; never in the past was the taking 
of hostages so systematically and generally practised. As soon as the German troops entered 
Belgium, hostages were taken everywhere, even in places where no disturbing incident had taken 
place. The system was continued for many long months in numerous locahties, even in districts 
outside the region of mihtary operations and camps ; only the capital of the kingdom escaped 
almost entirely, no doubt because of the notoriety which would have attended such measures. 
The Burgomaster of Aerschot, M. Tielemans, was shot on August 20th, 1914, after the alleged 
insurrection of the population of that town. The Burgomaster of Andenne, Dr. Camus, who 
had been taken as a hostage, and subsequently released, was shot on August ^Ist. Many 
hostages were executed at Dinant on August 23rd. 

This last act, which throws a terrible light on the mentahty of the German mihtary chiefs, 
is -'justified" as follows in the Report of the Mihtary Bureau of Inquiry at Berlin as to the 
occurrences at Dinant : — 

" It is essential to bear in mind, in appreciating the behaviour of the troops of the Xllth 
Corps in connection with the extremely hostile conduct of the civil population who had recourse 
to the most reprehensible proceedings, that the tactical objective of the Corps was to cross the 
Meuse rapidly, and drive back the enemy from the left side of the river. It was a necessity of 
war (Kriegsnotwendigkeit) to put a speedy end to the resistance of the inhabitants who opposed 
this aim, and this had to be done, no matter how. From this point of view the troops ■\\ere justified 


in ordering an artillery bombardment of the town, which was taking au active part 
in the fighting, and in setting fire to the houses occupied by the francs-tireurs, as well as in shooting 
the inhabitants who were caught ivith arms in their hands. 

" The shooting of hostages which took place in various quarters was also perfectly lawful. 
The troops who were fighting inside the town were in a situation of extreme peril, seeing that 
while under the fire of the artillery, machine guns, and infantry of the regular troops on the left 
bank of the Meuse, they were also exposed to attack from the inhabitants in their rear and on 
their flanks. Hostages were taken in order to put an end to these operations of the francs-tireurs 
(Franktireurwesen). As in spite of everything the population continued to infliet losses on the 
combatant forces, the German authorities proceeded to execute the hostages. Failing this, the 
taking of hostages would have been nothing but an empty threat. Their execution was the 
more justifiable, as, in view of the general participation of the population in the fighting, they 
can hardly have been innocent persons. The measure was inevitable, taking into account the 
military objective (Kriegszweck), and the dangerous position of the troops who were treacherously 
attacked from behind " (p. 123). 

Thus everything becomes lawful for the German troops at once in virtue of the franc-tireur 
hypothesis, and in virtue of military necessity, which is always subjectively estimated by the 
rnilitary authorities themselves, who subsequently invoke it — to justify their acts. Execution 
without previous inquiry, even of hostages, is a lawful act, as soon as there is an important 
mihtary objective to achieve ; from that moment the most sacred rights are non-existent. 

What were actually the circumstances which preceded the shooting of the hostages at Dinant 
on August 23rd, 1914 1 M. TschoSen, the Pubhc Prosecutor of that town, relates them as 
follows (see the 20th Report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry) : — 

" The troops, coming down by the Froidvau road, occupied the Penant quarter. The 
inhabitants were arrested as soon as the Germans arrived, and kept under observation near 
Rocher-Bayard. As the French fire had slackened the Germans began building a bridge. 
Occasional bullets still annoyed them, however. As these were very intermittent, the Germans 
concluded — honestly or not — that they were fired by francs-tireurs. They sent M. Bourdon, 
deputy clerk to the magistrates, over to the left bank, to announce that if the fire continued the 
civihan prisoners would be executed. He carried out his mission, and then, recrossing the river, 
gave himself up again, declaring to the Germans that he had ascertained that only French soldiers 
were firing. A few more French bullets arrived, and then something so monstrous happened 
that the imagination could not conceive it, did not eye-witnesses sur\dve to attest it, and did 
not corpises with gaping Avounds furnish the most irrefutable of proofs : the band of prisoners, 
men, women and children, were driven in front of a wall and shot ! 

"Eighty victims fell on this occasion ! " 

Among them were M. Bourdon, his wife, his daughter, and one of his sons. 

An appeal to Kriegsnotwendigkeit allows German morahty to treat the primordial laws of 
humanity as it treats solemnly concluded treaties ; they are of no more account than scraps 
of paper when they interfere with the interests of the German army. 

In the case of the Burgomaster of Aerschot, an important mUitary objective, such as that 
invoked to justify the massacre of the Dinant hostages, did not even exist. But what of that ? 
Under the domination of a mentahty which deifies the national ideal* and a mad presumption, 
which at the beginning of the A^ar really seemed in certain respects to have deprived the German 
army of all sense of reality, it was inevitable that scruples should have httle weight. The 
dangerous aphorism " Krieg ist Krieg " (war is war), so often proclaimed by officers and soldiers, 
is always present in their minds to cut short hesitations and stifle the voice of conscience. 

When all scruples as to the objective certainty of crimes and the individual responsibility 
for offences are thus ehminated from the consciences of mihtary leaders, there are no longer any 
guarantees of hiimane conduct on the part of armies in the field. Is it not idle to claim justice 
from minds so distorted, which seem to have lost all sense of equitj^ when their own people are 
not in question ? 

Moreover, Kriegsbrauch im Landkriege in its Introduction proclaims the fact : " A war 
conducted with energy cannot be directed merely against the combatants of the enemy State 

* In a work published in the autumn of 1914 by Kohler, at Minden, in Westphalia, and entitled. 
Die Eroberung Belgiens, 1914, Selbsterlebtes {The Conquest of Belgium, 1914, Personal Experiences), the 
author, Major Victor von Strantz, puts into the mouth of a young officer the following declarations, 
which may be taken to express the mentality which obtained, at least in certain sections of the German 
army, at the beginning of the war. In answer to a Belgian peasant woman who had come to murder 
him as he slept, the officer exclaims, after showing how the peaceful German nation, treacherously 
attacked {aus dem Hinterhalt), had suddenly become the most martial of all peoples : " And then you 
come, you, a small State, who had the audacity to bar the way, you, to whom we had promised peace 
and protection if you would not hamper us in our great work, and you make common cause with our 
enemies. It is as if you were to attack a priest bearing the Holy Eucharist. We are sanctified bv the 
greatness of our destiny ; we are, each one of us, bearers of the Holy Eucharist, guardians and protectors 
of our Fatherland, our women and our homes " (p. 34). The author, a few lines further back, had 
made the officer say to the peasant that she talked like a schoolgirl ! 



and its defensive measures, but it will and must in like manner seek to destroy the total moral and 
material resources of the latter. Humanitarian claims, such as the protection of hfe and property, 
can only be taken into consideration in so far as the nature and object of the war permit. 

Thus are massacres of innocewt civiUans, on the ground that eomeon«s in the locality fired 
or is suspected of having fired, explained and justified ! A certain number of persons are seized 
indiscriminately and shot in cold blood ; for the interest of the German army—which sanctihes 
everything— demands that an example should be made, and that there should be executions 
without inquiry or sentence. Although it is silent as to a good many occurrences of this na,ture, 
and makes no allusion, for instance, to the massacre of over 400 civiHans at Tammes, the White 
Book" itseH enables us to reconstitute some of these dramas. Such deeds, for which no 
precedents are to be found in modern history, are not acts of war, but murders. 

* * =f 

What are we to think of a means of conducting war which consists in arresting thousands 
of civilians and interning them for months as a preventive measure ? Among those deported 
was the vahant M. Max, the Burgomaster of Brussels, who was imprisoned in a cell in the fortress 
of Glatz.* A number of Belgians who were carried off to Germany under these circumstances 
were only set at hberty on condition of signing a declaration acknowledging that they had been 
justly arrested, as German troops had been fired upon in their commune. Several hundreds of 
the inhabitants of Louvain and the surrounding villages, both male and female, of all ages and 
classes, were taken to Cologne on August 28th, 1914, in a truly inhuman fashion. The 
interminable journey was made in cattle-trucks, and the prisoners were almost without food 
the whole time. At Cologne, where they spent only one night, as well as in the stations on the 
way, they were insulted by the crowd, which looked upon them as criminals, the accomphces of 
those who, as the Germans believed, had treacherously murdered German soldiers ; they were 
afterwards sent back to Belgium. The transport of these hundreds of the inhabitants of 
Louvain to Cologne and their immediate return to Belgium bear witness to the state of disquiet 
that reigned at the time in the higher spheres of the German command ; though it is also possible 
that the unhappy prisoners were deUberately exhibited in order to strengthen in the minds 
of the German people beUef in the legend of the Belgian francs -tireurs, which was so necessary 
to give some semblance of justification for the massacres and arson committed by the invading 

Lamentable as was the fate of these few hundreds of Louvain citizens, we must esteem them 
fortunate when we think of the treatment infhcted on many thousands of other Belgian civihans 
sent to Germany under conditions no less ignominous, insulted by the population on the way, 
and kept in prison for many long months. At present, more than a year and a half after the 
outbreak of war, several thousands of Belgian civilians are still in captivity in the heart of 
Germany.! According to estimates which may be considered fairly accurate, from 13,000 to 14,000 
Belgian civilians have been sent as prisoners to Germany ; about October 1st, 1915, 3,000 of 
them had been sent back to their homes. Thus at this date from 10,000 to 11,000 still remained 
in Germany in prisons or internment camps. Article 4 of the Hague Regulations declares that 
prisoners of war must be treated with humanity ; the representatives of the Powers did not 
even think it necessary to ensure special protection for civil prisoners (see inter alia pp. 265-6 of 
this volume as to the treatment to which these prisoners are subjected). 

* * 

In conclusion, we may ask whether any monuments of the past would still exist if throughout 
the centuries advancing troops had brandished incendiary torches in the towns on their hne of 
march, and had practised the methods considered legitimate by the Germany of to-day, that 
Germany, whose army, unlike the mercenary hordes of the past, contains in its ranks the 
intellectual and scientific elite of the nation ? 

The American writer Powell describes the organisation of the incendiary service of the 
German army as follows : — 

" The Germans went about the work of house-burning as systematically as they did everything 
else. They had various devices for starting conflagrations, aU of them effective. At Aerschot 
and Louvain they broke the windows of the houses and threw in sticks which had been soaked in 
oil and dipped in sulphur. Elsewhere they used tiny black tablets, about the size of cough- 
lozenges, made of some highly inflammable composition, to which they touched a match. At 
Termonde, which they destroyed in spite of the fact that the inhabitants had evacuated the 
city before their arrival, they used a motor-car equipped with a large tank for petrol, a pump, 

* Arrested on September 26th, 1914, M. Max was transferred at the end of 1915 from Glatz (Silesia) 
to Celle (Hanover), where officer prisoners are interned. 

t General von Boehn says (App. D 1) that to guard against the enterprises of the francs- 
tireurs it became necessary to deport the entire population of the environs of Louvain, " and this by 
sending them as far as possible as prisoners to Germany. For, as Antwerp is not entirely isolated, 
these people could always reappear on the scenes, and would do so with the courage of despair. To 
evacuate them in the direction of Antwerp would not, therefore, meet the exigencies of the situation." 
Even admitting that such an argument may have had some value at the time when it was put forward, 
in September, 1914, it is quite certain that it can no longer be considered valid. 


a hose, and a spraying-nozzle. The car was run slowly through the streets, one soldier working 
the pump and another sprajing the fronts of the houses. Then they set fire to them. Oh, yes, 
they were very methodical about it all, those Germans." 

A report of the Belgian military authorities, dated September 19th, 191-1, contains this 
passage on the subject of the burning of the town of Termonde : " A company was directed to 
carry out the destruction of the houses. This company kept central reservoirs, where each man, 
carrying a pneumatic belt, went to replenish himself with an incendiary liquid with which to 
sprinkle the wood on the outside of the houses ; another man, wearing a glove especially provided 
with a preparation of phosphorus, passed in front of the houses which had been sprinkled and 
rubbed his glove on the wood. This set fire to the houses and permitted a whole street to be burnt 
in a quarter of an hour. In order to expedite still further the burning of the houses, the men 
threw inside inflammable matter, of which I send you a sample." 

M. G. de Rudder, chemist, first-class, formulates his analysis of the incendiary tablets in 
the following terms : — 

" These tablets are black in colour with a metaUic surface ; they are shiny, greasy to the touch, 
elastic and odourless. When rubbed on paper they leave a black mark. 

" They have a diameter of 20-5 milhmetres, a thickness of 2-9 millimetres, and show in the 
centre a circular aperture of 4-2 millimetres. They weigh 1-43 grammes. Examined under a 
magnifying glass, they show a sHght trace of parallel fines going in the same direction on either 
side ; which seems to indicate that they had been subjected to mechaiucal roUing. 

" "When cut in transverse sections it is seen that they are black only on the surface, and 
that they are composed of a substance of a horny nature, of a yellowish colour, and transparent. 
" When fighted they quickly burst into flame and produce a deflagration ; the flame is of 
a yellowish colour. 

" A chemical examination shows that they are composed of rntro-cellulose. 
" Conclusions. — ^These tablets are made with nitro-cellulose, gelatinised with a view to 
enabling them to be submitted to the process of roUing, and afterwards cut by a machine. 

" Their surface is covered with blacklead with a view to lessening the electric properties 
of the nitro-cellulose and facifitating their manipulation. 

"It is possible that the central aperture of these tablets is designed to enable a number 
to be joined together by means of a wick intended to be ignited before they are thrown on to 
the spot where the fire is to be produced." 

These incendiary tablets have been found in Belgium by the thousand ; the " White Book," 
however, makes not the sHghtest allusion to these engines of destruction, nor to any of the 
incendiary appfiances with which the German army was provided, doubtless because their 
existence reveals the premeditated nature of the work of destruction. Rather it does its utmost 
to suggest that when the troops were obfiged to fire the houses, they made use of any materials 
that came to hand. Thus Captain von Esmarch relates (App. D 46) that at Louvain he saw 
soldiers setting fire to a number of houses by throwing burrung petroleum lamps into them and 
setting fire to the gas escaping from the pipes, the burners having been broken off previously, 
also feeding the flames with curtains and bedding ; he also saw them using benzine here and 
there. The orders to begin this burning came from Colonel von Stubenrauch, commanding 
officer of the munitions columns ; there seems, moreover, no reason to doubt the good faith of 
Von Esmarch's narrative. Captain Karge also reports (App. A 3) that he used oil of turpentine, 
which he found in a tin on the spot, to set fire to a house at Aerschot (App. C 3).* 

Violence of every kind, pillage and theft, naturally followed in the train of murder and 
arson, when once free course was allowed to brutal instincts and passions. In certain places 
pillage, expressly forbidden by Articles 28 and 47 of the Hague Regulations, became general ; 
but certain houses bore the inscription in chalk : Nicht pliindern (not to be plundered). In other 
places, as, for instance, at Louvain, there were printed notices warning the frenzied soldiers not 
to enter the houses and plunder them without the permission of the Kommandantur. This pro- 
hibition is in itseK an avowal. According to information received by the Belgian Government, 
15,000 houses were pillaged in the province of Brabant alone. 

This plundering is attested not only by the evidence of witnesses before the Belgian and 
English Commissions of Inquiry, but also by a large number of pocket-diaries found on German 
soldiers. To these facts, the truth of which it is impossible to impugn, the " White Book " 
makes only one allusion ; this refers to the plundering at Louvain. The statement in the 5th 
Report of the Belgian Committee of Inquiry that a large part of the booty, packed into military 
wagons, was afterwards transported by train to Germany, is a pure invention, says the BerHn 
Mifitary Bureau (p. 237). " It is the mUitary authorities," it adds, " which decide what is to be 
despatched by wagons and by rail, and they never made any arrangements of the kind in question." 
We can easily believe this ! 

Women were outraged in many places ; even nuns fell victims to the bestiahty of the German 
soldiers. Although we have no desire to dwell on this delicate subject, it is essential to mention 

For the number of houses destroyed by fire in Belgium see above, p. 23. 


it, lest an argument should be drawn from our silence. Already Cardinal Mercier's reticence on 
this point has been interpreted in a way favourable to their own case by the German CathoUcs 
who have answered the French Catholics. In Appendix II, e, of the collective letter addressed 
on November 24th, 1915, by the Belgian Episcopate to the Austro-German Episcopate will 
be found the text of the correspondence exchanged on this question between the Archbishop of 
Malines and Baron von Bissing, Governor-General of occupied Belgium (see pp. 357-8 of the 
present volume). 

All the rules of international law have been transgressed by the German army.* While 
individual excesses took place in great numbers, massacres and arson were carried out by order ; 
they formed part of the German programme calmly elaborated in time of peace— they show 

us Kriegsbravch im Landkriege in action. 

* * 

Nothing, however, can surpass in dastardly cruelty the system inaugurated by the German 
troops as soon as they came in contact with the Belgian army, the system of protecting them- 
selves by driving men, women and children in front of them. 

This cowardly and barbarous proceeding was adopted throughout the course of the campaign 
in Belgium. At Liege, at Tamines, at Dinant, at Andenne, at Mons, at Charleroi, at Tournai, 
at Termonde, at Alost, at Melle, at Sempst, at Hofstade and at Keyem, to name but some of 
the places, groups of civilians were forced to act as living shields for the German troops, and 
were massed on the bridges, exposed to artillery fire.f 

* * 

Just as it is the higher authorities who formulate the German theories of war, so too it is 
they who give orders for and set the example of brutalities. During the fighting at Dinant on 
August 23rd, Captain Wilke was entrusted with the measures against the civil population ; the 
orders he received were so rigorous that he felt it necessary to protect himself by invoking the 
authority of his superiors. Thus in his deposition he quotes the injunctions of his Major, of the 
Brigade Commander, and of the General of Division. All three successively order him to act 
with severity ; the last-named, Edler von der Planitz, even emphasises the injunction, 
ordering him to refrain from any kind of indulgence, and to take the most stringent measures. 
Wilke considered his mission accompUshed when about fifty men had been massacred (App. C 
26). Lieutenant-Colonel Count Kielmansegg roundly declares that he caused a hundred guilty 
Dinantais of the male sex to be shot in pursuance of superior orders ; his deposition, made at a 
calmer moment, on January 6th, 1915, contains no expression of regret. The witness declares, 
but without giving any indication of numbers, that his troops had suffered considerable (namhaft) 
losses ; he makes no mention of any prehminary inquiry. He goes on to state that the wounded 
German soldiers were tended in a house arranged for this purpose together with citizens of 
Dinant, the latter wounded mainly by the fire of the enemy on the left bank of the Mouse. This 
gives Count Kielmansegg an opportunity to lay stress on German mildness ; but he refrains 
from saying that the German soldiers were also victims of the enemy's fire. His deposition 
seems to make the civil population solely responsible for the wounds and deaths of these soldiers 
(App. C 7). 

In exoneration of the German people it is only just to record the statement repeatedly made 
by priva,te soldiers, horrified at the abominable tasks assigned them : " We only did a small part 
of what we had been ordered to do." Others shed tears as they executed the barbarous commands 
they had received, though they had not the courage to protest, for such is the subjection of the 
German soldier to discipline that it causes him to commit actions against which his conscience 
revolts, and for the majority alas ! the immolation of the innocent with the guilty seems to 
have become both natural and immaterial. 

* * 

Far from indulging in hostile acts towards the German troops, the peaceful Belgian 
population, in whose minds there was not the slightest idea of an eventual war, seems scarcely 
to have reaUsed the new state of affairs in districts adjoining the Prussian frontier at the outset. 
Numerous witnesses declare that in this part of the country the inhabitants, touched by the 
sight of young soldiers exhausted with fatigue in the August heat, went spontaneously to offer 

* From the very beginning of hostilities the provisions of the Hague Conventions as to bombardments, 
requisitions, the forcing of the inhabitants to render services entailing participation in military 
operations against their own country, have been systematically ignored (See the reports of the Belgian 
Commission of Inquiry, Vol. I., II., and the letter of the Belgian Episcopate to the Austro-German 
Episcopate, infra, p. 360). The use of projectiles forbidden by the International Conventions, and of 
treacherous methods of warfare have been repeatedly denounced (See more especially the Seventh Report 
of the Belgian Commission of Enquiry). The shells fired upon the forts of Liege during the first fortnight 
of August, 1914, were even then charged with poisonous gases. But it was on April 22nd, 1915, that the 
German army before Ypres began openly to violate the declaration of July 29th, 1899, which since then has 
become a dead letter (see the fourteenth Report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry). 

t See more especially the seventh, tenth and fifteenth Reports of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry, 
the report of the Pubfic Prosecutor of Dinant (infra p. 143), and the note of Monseigneur Heylen, Bishop 
of Namur {infra, p. 339). 


refreshments and comforts to the German troo]is, forgetting, in the goodness of their hearts, 
that those they were thus welcoming were their enemies. Indeed, a considerable number of 
German officers and soldiers in depositions recorded in the " White Book " declare that they 
were correctly and even cordially received by the Belgian population (see, inter alia, App. 
3, 8, 11, 12, 13, 16, 18, 39, 40, 43 ; Report on Andenne, p. 107, App. B 1 ; Report on Louvain, 
p. 233, paragraph 6, in which there are numerous references to passages where the statement 
in question is made ; Report on Aerschot, pp. 91, 92). 

But this attitude on the part of the population, far from being accepted by the " White 
Book " as an indication of its peaceful sentiments, is, on the contrary, indignantly denounced 
as a manifest proof of its perfidy. 

Throughout the country, moreover, and not merely in the frontier districts, great rehance 
was placed on the strong discipline which was known to reign among the German troops. There 
was a general tendency to a kindly behef that individual excesses were less to be feared from 
German troops than from the soldiers of any other army. This illusion was so deeply rooted 
that many Belgians were only very gradually convinced by evidence as the narratives of eye- 
witnesses and of victims who had escaped from massacre spread abroad. The perusal of the 
German official proclamations completed the enlightenment of the incredulous, proving that in 
many places violence had been committed deliberately and by order. 

The probatory value of the evidence on which the conclusions of the " White Book " are 
based may be perhaps estimated by the few examples that follow :— 

Constabulary-Captain Karge (App. A 3, p. 98) declares that several German officers 
told him that according to a current rumour the Belgian Govermnent, and in particular the 
King of the Belgians, had decreed that every male Belgian was bound to do as much harm as 
possible to the German army, and that, indeed, an order to this effect had been found upon a 
Belgian mUitary prisoner. He had also heard that Belgian soldiers had been sent to their native 
communes to fight against the Germans as civihans ; this was proved by the fact that Belgian 
soldiers, dressed partly or whoUy in civilian clothes, had been taken prisoners. An officer had told 
Karge he had himself read on the door of a church tower in the environs of Aerschot that Belgians 
were forbidden to keep German officers prisoners on parole, and that it was their duty to shoot 
them. Karge adds that he cannot recall the exact words of this officer, but maintains that 
they certainly conveyed the meaning indicated above. Why was not this officer called upon 
to give evidence himself, as also the other officers who told Karge of the order found upon the 
Belgian soldier ? The names of the propagators of these false statements are not given in the 
" White Book." 

Sub -Lieutenant of Reserve Bohme relates (App. 53) that he saw a document (Schein) 
with an official seal, which, according to a Rhenish officer whose name is not given, was found in 
the communal hall of a village near Retinue. This paper, which was typewritten, invited the 
Belgian population in the name of the Government to offer armed resistance to the German 
troops and offered a reward for so doing. The amount of the reward was specified. Four other 
officers, mentioned by name, also saw the document. Why, we may ask, were none of them 
interrogated on the subject of a document so compromising for the Belgian Government, and 
why did not the Berhn Military Bureau of Inquiry demand that the Rhenish officer who 
discovered it should hand it over to them for pubUcation ? 

The Reservist Wester kamp (App. T> 37), whose perverted imagination would have sufficed 
to make his evidence suspect to any Committee but that which is installed at the Prussian War 
Office,* alleges that a Belgian told him nothing would have happened at Louvain had not the 
clergy declared from the pulpit that the blessing of God would rest (selig gepriesen) on those 
who fired on the German troops. 

We cannot but draw the following conclusion : If the Military Bureau of Inquiry at Berlin, 
which for .eight months was at perfect liberty to find witnesses among hundreds of thousands 
of German officers and soldiers, is reduced to bringing forward such absurdities, it is because 
its investigations did not, in its opinion, produce a sufficient number of serious documents to 
exculpate the German troops from the charges of atrocity brought against them by Belgian 
and foreign witnesses. 

* Westerkamp, who gave evidence on January 10th, 1915, declares, inter alia, that on August 26th 
he met in the street at Louvain a soldier who was being carried on a Utter, and according to what he 
was told, several inhabitants of the town had mutilated this man by cutting off his testicles. He further 
echoes the statements made on August 30th by Sub-Lieutenant Forster, concerning similar mutilations, 
said to have been inflicted on several German soldiers ; the acts in question are so revolting that they 
could only have been imagined by an unhealthy mind. It is scarcely necessary to remark that if such 
deeds had really been done, they would have been officially recorded, or that at least Sub-Lieutenant 
Forster would have been interrogated on the subject if he had refrained from reporting it spontaneously 
to his superiors. The " White Book " reproduces Westerkamp's deposition without comment or 
reservation. (See for the alleged mutilations of German soldiers p. 45 et seq of the present volume.) 


Is this tantamount to saying that the Belgian Government question the good faith of all 
those whose evidence is recorded in the " White Book ? " By no means. They know that 
the German ofhcers and soldiers, when they crossed the Belgian frontier, -weie obsessed by the 
suggestion that they would be attacked hy fraiics-tireurs. They dreaded such attacks ; memories 
of the war of 1870, still so vivid in Germany in all classes of society, had led them to expect them. 
Thus it was noted that from the very first days of the war the German troops felt a deep distrust 
of the civil population. Outside the actual battle-field the shghtest noise startled them.* The 
bursting of a bicycle tyre, the explosion of a petard under a train, or of a gas motor, the deflagra- 
tion of certain products in a laboratory attacked by fire, invariably raised the cry Man hat 
geschossen (someone fired), with all its sinister consequences. Thus it is really astounding to 
write, as does the " White Book," that the population treacherously attacked the unsuspecting 
{nichts ahnend, App. D 3, p. 249 ; ahnungslos, p. 107, etc., etc). German soldiers, when it is 
notorious that at the beginning of the war, whenever there were not large numbers of them 
present, these soldiers always had their rifles in their hands and their fingers on the trigger. 
Even in Brussels, when they had been in occupation of the capital for a year, the German soldiers 
as a general rule never walked about the streets without their rifles. The statement of the Berlin 
Mihtary Bureau of Inquiry in connection with events at Andenne, to the effect that soldiers 
traversed this town ahnungslos (p. 107) is, moreover, expressly contradicted by the soldier Roleff 
(App. B 3, p. HI), who declares that they instantly returned the fire of the inhabitants, for 
they had been cautioned to be prudent and had accordingly made the necessary arrangements. 

The propagation of the francs-tireurs obsession was carried on by means of literature, and 
more especially by the bellicose novels, which have appeared in Germany in such large numbers 
in recent years. Of one of these. The Collapse of the Ancient World, pubhshed in 1907, 150,000 
copies were printed. Referring to the passage of German troops through Belgium, the author 
of this work states that the turbulent working class population, though incited by fanatical 
priests, remained passive at first (p. 67). But the German Army, when it had advanced as far 
as Charleroi without meeting with any resistance to speak of, found itself confronted here by 
the armed masses of the Sociahsts of the district. " The German troops," writes the author, 
" had imagined their first encounter with the enemy somewhat differently. Instead of meeting 
their foes in the open field [in offener Feldschlacht), they had to fight in the blazing streets 
against the dregs of the town, and a civil population possessed by a bHnd fury of fanaticism " 
(p. 68).t 

But it was above all by war doctrines and military instruction that German officers and 
soldiers were prepared for the idea of reprisals to be eventually carried out against the civil 
population of hostile countries. The mihtary manuals in use in Germany represent the 
operations of francs-tireurs as a certain eventuality of future warfare, and discourse of methods 
for guarding against the danger. One of these manuals, the Military Interpreter, written by 
the retired army captain. Von Scharfenort, Professor and Librarian at the Mihtary Academy 
of BerHn,t treats the subject at great length. Is it surprising that, thus prepared to be 
exposed to treacherous attack on the part of the population, the first bodies of troops that 
trod on Belgian soil should have shown extreme nervous excitement directly they came in 

* Nothing gives a better idea of this frame of mind than the following incident recorded by Count 
F. van den Steen de Jehay, Belgian Minister at Luxemburg, before the war, in an article in the Revue 
des Deux Monies of November 1st, 1915, entitled : Comment s'est faite I'invasion du Grand-Duchi de 
Luxembourg) (How the Grand-Duchy of Luxemburg was invaded). Major van Dyck had been instructed 
by the President of the Government, M. Eyschen, to take up his station on the bridge of Bock, on 
the road from Treves, on August 2nd, 1914, in order to present a protest on the part of the Grand-Ducal 
Government to the first German of&cer who should appear. On arriving at the appointed spot, Major 
van Dyck had his carriage drawn across the road, and awaited events. Presently a motor-car debouched 
from the Treves road and began to ascend the Bock inchne. But all of a sudden it pulled up and turned 
back. Three hours later an armoured train arrived, bringing the first troops, who were to occupy the 
capital. The of&cer in command of the detachment was requested to present himself before the head 
of the Government. " Major van Dyck was waiting for you at the bridge of Bock," said M. Eyschen. 
Why did the motor-car which was coming in that direction turn back ? " " It was fired on," rephed 
the officer. "I deny this formally," retorted Major van Dyck, who was present at the interview. " I 
was there alone with one of my men, and we were unarmed." It is true that on this occasion the German 
officer does not seem to have feared a surprise hy francs-tireurs, but rather an attack by French troops. 
However this may be, the nervousness betrayed by this officer as eariy as the morning of August 2nd, 
that is to say, before any act of hostiUty had taken place, reveals the state of mind that obtained in 
the German army. How many similar mistakes occurred subsequently, for which German officers, imbued 
with the theones of the Great General Staff and emboldened by the presence of their troops, made 
inoffensive civilians suffer ! 

^ Der Zusammenbruch der alien Welt, by Seestern (Leipzig, Theodor Weicher). 

■'j^'^K^^*' P^^^^^^^'"' Mohrenstrasse 8, Berlin, 1906. The following passage, miley alia, occxxxs on p. 
140 of this manual : "In certain cases ... the laws of war authorise . . . executions [of 
hostages] which are sometimes the only means of striking terror into a hostile population andpreventing 
the recurrence of similar offences." (See also Note 25 of the Bureau Documentaire Beige, estabhshed 
at 52, Rue des GobeUns, Le Havre.) 


• contact with small advance detachments of Belgian troops whom they could not see, and ^vllo 
were retiring before them, fighting as they went ? * 

It is impossible to lay too much stress on the responsibihty incurred by the German mihtary 
authorities, not only for having exploited the hypothesis of the frmics-ti re urs war in time of peace 
in the interest of their methods of terrorisation, but also for having done nothing at the outset 
of the campaign to guard against the effects of this collective obsession. Now, far from having 
attempted anything of the kind, the German Government tolerated the pubhcation in pamphlets 
and in the press of abominable stories concerning the supposed reception given to the German 
troops by the Belgian civil population, and the brutal treatment of German residents in Belgium 
at the very beginning of the war. The newspapers declared that in Brussels German women 
had been so unmercifully beaten that one of them had died, young children had been thrown 
out of windows, a man had been ripped open. Scenes even more terrible were said to have 
occurred at Antwerp. Not a word of all this was true. But the soldiers beheved firmly in the 
truth of deeds they read of in aU the newspapers, and thus hundreds of thousands of men who 
had as yet not come into contact with the Belgian population at aU themselves crossed the 
Prussian frontier aflame with rage and thirsting for vengeance. f 

The German Government must bear the entire responsibihty for the results of these incite- 
ments, for in this country of unparalleled organisation there was no lack of means by which the 
propagation of this poisonous Hteratuxe might have been checked. Certain stories, the falsity 
of which has been exposed and recognised even in Germany a hundred times, continue to reappear 
there : such, for instance, as the tale of the twenty-one German Jesuit Fathers murdered on 
August 7th, 1914, in a suburb of Liege, and that of the attack on the German troops by the women 
of Herstal, with weapons and with boUing water. This last story figures even in a recent pamphlet 
by Professor Clemen, { of Boim University, without any sort of reservation as to its authenticity. 

No doubt it may be urged that it was not obhgatory for the " White Book " to include in 
its scope demals even of thei most odious of these lying stories, although, by reason indeed of 
their outrageous character and the wide pubhcity given to them, they exercised a particularly 
disastrous influence on the attitude of the soldiers towards the Belgian civil population, and their 
incendiary tendencies perhaps explain the development of certain incidents between the 
inhabitants and the German troops. It might, however, have been expected from this official 
publication, a propagandist work designed above all to produce an impression in foreign 
countries, that it should have expressed some regret for the immoderate use made in Germany 
of these perfidious weapons against an enemy whose reputation does, in spite of everything, 
run the risk of permanent damage in certain minds. 

When the first excitement at the outbreak of the war had subsided, several organs of the 
German press returned to a more equitable judgment of events, and tried to some extent to 
rehabilitate the Belgian population, which had been so grossly calumniated (see more especially 
the Kolnische Volkszeitung of September 10th, 1914, No. 799). § 

* The first German troops crossed the Belgian frontier on August 4th, 1914, early in the morning. 
Their cruelties began on the same day, at the end of the afternoon. Even in the battle of the Yser, 
which did not begin until two and a half months after the invasion of the territory, certain German 
soldiers believed in the intervention of the francs-tireurs. Thus, the chaplain, Leinhos, apparently a 
cultivated man, wrote on November 3rd, 1914, from a trench before Dixmude : " We have some of the 
hardest of the fighting here in Northern Belgium, because the whole of the civiF population is against us, 
and supports the enemy with thoiisands of francs-tireurs." [See p. 23-24, etc., Nos. 38, 39 of the series 
Volksschriften zum grossen Krieg, published by the Evangelischer Bund, Berlin, 1915.) 

f See Massart : Comment les Beiges rksistent a la domination allemande {How the Belgians resist 
German domination), Payot & Co., pp. 126-134 and 229. 

I Die deutschen Greuel in Belgian und Nordfrankreich, nach dem offiziellen englischen Bericht, p. 38 
(Velhagen and Klasing, Bielefeld and Leipzig, 1916). 
§ The article in question runs as follows : — 

" The German press has been full for the last fortnight of stories of acts of brutality committed 
by the Belgians on our compatriots, and it might be supposed that all Belgium is a vast den of cut-throats 
whence no German could escape with his fife save by some lucky chance. 

" The author of these lines has no desire to question the truth of the numerous occurrences that have 

been reported. He was himself an eye-witness of the manner in which the populace in the heart of Brussels, 

enraged by the news of Germany's first step, gave vent to its anger by attacking German shops and 

I restaurants. He has heard that some Germans were very roughly treated. He himself was subjected 

^ to insults from some of the rowdy elements. He is far from wishing to excuse any of these acts. But 

[ he is anxious to state that these excesses were committed by disorderly bands drawn from the dregs 

of the population. 

"... The writer of these fines was obfiged to leave Brussels with his family on Friday, August 7th, 
at daybreak. We had had to spend the night of Thursday to Friday at the German Consulate, which 
was already under American protection. About 3,000 of our compatriots had sought refuge there with 
their wives and children, taking a few necessaries with them, in order to safeguard their lives and secure 
their return to their native country under official protection. 

" I met there many foreign famifies who had fled from the French frontier, who had already spent 
two days and two nights without taking off their clothes, and whose supply of food had been most pre- 
carious. Huddled together at the German Consulate, we sat on the floor, in the passages, and on the 
staircases. By reason, no doubt, of the danger of keeping such a number of persons in a comparatively 

Footnote continued on. page 42. 


It is much to be regretted that the compilers of the " White Book," who claim judicial 
functions, should not have been actuated by the same sense of rectitude and respect for truth. 

It is incontestable that the German commanders constantly attributed to the civil population 
acts of hostility and defensive preparations the true authors of which were small detachments 
of regular troops, who fell back after accomplishing their mission. The leaders of the German 
army were disconcerted by these skirmishing tactics, in which the Belgian soldier excels. Perhaps 
they only consider scientifically regulated operations in mass to be legitimate acts of war, or 
again they may hold that stratagems and surprise attacks are only meritorious and permissible 
when'they are carried out by their own troops. One is inclined to beheve this when one finds 
the " White Book " denouncing as Meuchelmdrder (treacherous murderers) all those who undertake 
such detached actions against them, and imputing these actions de piano and without inquiry 
to the civil population. The German chiefs took a short way to put an end to this indubitably 
lawful warfare of surprise and ambuscade : it was to identify the civil population with and 
make it responsible for the acts of the soldiers. 

We are led to conclude that the procedure of the Germans was the apphcation of a system 
by the fact that the repression of the so-called acts of the francs-tireurs took place with the 
utmost frequency and intensity in places where the allied troops had been shortly before. This 
was the case in the villages of the district between Aix-la-Chapelle and Liege, at Aerschot, at 
Dinant, at Andenne, in the villages to the south of the province of Luxemburg and in Hainault. 

Taking into account the prepossessions with which their minds were impregnated, it is 
quite possible that in certain cases German officers should have honestly behoved that they had 
to deal with aggressions on the part of the population ; but even if this be admitted they cannot 
be exonerated from having allowed themselves to be deceived so easily, and having proceeded 
to absolutely unjustifiable acts of summary justice. Moreover, the war-moraUty proclaimed 
by Kriegsbrauch im Landlriege, the doctrine that " the only true humanity very often hes in 
a ruthless application of certain severities " (p. 3 ; Engl, ed., p. 55) -those which are " indis- 
pensable to war " — leaves very httle room for those extenuating circumstances which persons 
whose minds recoil with almost insurmountable repugnance from loss of their own illusions 
and of faith in human nature, are inclined to adduce in favour of the German leaders. 

Major de Melotte, Belgian Military Attache in Berlin at the time when war broke out, who 
at the beginning of the campaign was detailed for service with the corps of French cavalry 
operating in Belgium, has made the following statements in this connection, statements which 
sum up the situation very clearly : — 

" I was able to ascertain in the course of operations both on the right and the left bank of the 
Meuse, that the German invaders had sent out strong patrols or reconnaissances of officers very 
far ahead of the main force. Many of these officers were made prisoners. They surrendered, 
indeed, very readily and sometimes without fighting, only too thankful to be done with it all. 
This was strange, inasmuch as these patrols were composed of picked men. There were, however, 
some gallant individuals among the commanders of these patrols, such as Lieutenant von 
Brandenstein, of the Guards, who only surrendered (at Maissin, province of Luxemburg), after 
kilhng three men and being twice wounded. 

" To sum up : many of these cavalry patrols, sent forward very far in advance, never 
returned to the German lines for one reason or another. I have long been convinced that the 
Germans attributed these disappearances to the action of the civil population. Hence reprisals, 
due either to a desire for vengeance or to fear. I can affirm that the civil population held 
absolutely aloof from the conffict, and that the lack of skill or of energy on the part of the leaders 
of advanced patrols was the sole cause of their loss." 

small and therefore ill-lit house, it was decided about midnight to transfer us to the Cirque Royal. This is 
a large building, very spacious and well ventilated, situated only a few minutes' walk from the Consulate, 
and belonging to the municipality. During the transfer, as in the circus itself, and the next morning 
at dawn, on our way to the station, we were in the custody of soldiers of the Civic Guard, who treated 
us with so much consideration that they seemed rather to be acting as our protectors than our custodians. 
The sight of these innumerable fugitives with their wives and children and their scanty possessions, 
passing along at night, guarded by soldiers with fixed bayonets, was certainly a pitiable one, and 
in spite of the hour, we heard exclamations of compassion from the inhabitants, watching us from 
the windows of their houses. The soldiers were no less sympathetic. There was not one of them whose 
expression, words and gestures did not reveal humane pity. Many of the guards helped their unhappy 
charges by carrjdng their children or their valises. Burgomaster Max arrived himself in a motor-car 
at 2 o'clock in the morning to make sure that everything was in order. In the circus again the soldiers 
looked after the children, distributing milk and food. An eye-witness told me he saw them making 
up a subscription for a destitute family. An officer on duty, who was a friend of mine, insisted upon taking 
my wife and children away to his own house close by, for the time we were to wait in the circus. The 
soldiers who were instructed to collect weapons made every effort to speak German as well as they could. 
In a word, they all did everything in their power to succour the fugitives." 


Thus massacre and arson appear as acts of vengeance wreaked upon the civil population 
in return for the checks infhcted on the Imperial forces by the regular troops. These checks 
afforded the German miUtary leaders a welcome pretext for calling the population to account, 
after denouncing them to the soldiers, and so legitimatising "reprisals " in the eyes of the latter. 
Recourse to such measures had a definite object of general application : they were designed 
to obstruct certain operations of the enemy by terrorising the population, and to relieve the 
German military authorities from the necessity of leaving a considerable army of occupation 
in Belgium. Perhaps there was even some hope of inducing the Belgian Government, under 
pressure of panic-stricken public opinion, to put an end to the resistance of the army, whose 
action, from the very first days of the war, had compromised the triumphant victory so con- 
fidently reckoned upon by the German High Command. 

In certain cases, indeed, " reprisals " were not a result of engagements with the enemy 
on the spot ; we may instance Louvain. But in tliis to^vn, again, the system of terrorisation 
was applied, as Herr Walther Bloem admits (see supra, p. 28). The most trustworthy Belgian 
and neutral eye-witnesses of the events which took place at Louvain are unanimous in declaring 
that the inhabitants indulged in no acts of hostility against the German troops ; the commanders 
of these troops assert the contrarj^. But even if the German authorities were the victims of 
a mistake — unpardonable as this would have been — they cannot maintain that theie was any 
proportion between the gravity of the offence and its repression. At Louvain, as elsewhere in 
Belgium, the object was to strike terror. 

Germany can never wash herseK clean of the opprobrium that weighs upon her. From 
the very first days of the invasion accounts of scenes of violence and drunkenness, of attacks upon 
wine-cellars, of depredations of every kind, of indescribably filthy acts, of shameless pillage, 
were placed on record ; the officers permitted these things, if they did not themselves take part 
in the excesses. Massacres and arson began almost immediately, ordered and carried out 
according to a methodical plan. 

The German Government is responsible for the conduct of their troops — are not their armies 
the most perfectly discipUned in the world ? The ninety-three German savants and artists, as 
we know, had such confidence in this discipline that they did not hesitate to make a spontaneous 
declaration of their concurrence in all the acts of the German soldiers, denying, in their manifesto 
of October 2nd, 1914, that the life or property of a single Belgian civilian had been attacked 
without absolute necessity. The very rigour of this discipline adds to the crushing weight of 
responsibility incurred by the supreme chiefs of the German army, those deliberate violators 
of the rules of international law, instigators of massacre and devastation, protagonists in methods 
of terrorisation. It is the military system itself, the whole German theory of war, which is at 
the bar. 

From this point of view the advance made since 1870 may be appreciated if we read the 
famous proclamation addressed by the King of Prussia in August of that year to the 
French nation. It will be well to recall the text here : "I am making war on the French soldiers 
and not on the inhabitants of France. The latter wiU therefore continue to enjoy complete security 
of person and property as long as they do not themselves deprive me of the right of granting 
them my protection by hostile enterprises against the German troops." The chiefs of the present 
German army are imbued with the idea that " humanitarian claims, such as the protection of 
life and property, can only be taken into consideration in so far as the nature and object 
of the war permit." (Introduction to the Manual, Kriegsbrauch im Landkriege, p. 2 ; Engl, ed., 
p. 52).* 

Reading the " White Book," it is easy to perceive that the German officers, thoroughly 
indoctrinated with the teaching they had received, were never at a loss to find mihtary reasons 
incompatible mth " humanitarian claims " when they ordered massacres. To their minds 
it is natural that the innocent should suffer mth the guilty, and even instead of the guilty — or 

* We may appreciate the difference between the proceedings of 1914 and those of 1870 if we compare 
the fate of the town of Laon with that which befell the towns and villages of Belgium. The German 
army commanded by the Duke of Mecklenburg, entered Laon on September 9th, 1870. Scarcely had 
the citadel been handed over when an explosion took place ; the keeper of explosives, an old soldier whose 
head had been turned by the misfortunes of his country, had blown up the powder-magazine, and 100 
German soldiers lay on the ground ; the Duke of Mecklenburg was wounded. The German soldiers 
began to fu'e on the French Mobiles. The Duke of Mecklenburg threatened to take exemplary vengeance 
on the town. Count Alvensleben intervened, pleading the cause of the city. He succeeded in calming 
the Duke, who ordered the firing to cease (see Ernest Lavisse, Essais sur I'Allemagne Imperiale, p. 16, 
Paris, Hachette). It may be affirmed without hesitation that had such an occurrence taken place in 
the course of the present war the town would have been razed to the ground and hundreds of the 
inhabitants would ha\'e been shot. 


rather, \\ ith and instead of those whom then' brutal doctrines lead them to consider guilty without 
inquiry or sentence. Did they not at Aerschot shoot one civiUan prisoner out of every three 
haphazard, and at Hasselt did not the mihtary authorities theaten to put a third of the rnale 
population to death, should the inhabitants fire upon the German soldiery ? A vast majority, 
if not the whole, of the thousands of Belgian civiUans executed, were sacrificed to theories based 
exclusively on the interests of Germany. 

As in 1914, so again in 1915, the Imperial Government had recourse to terror to ensure its 
domination. On August 27th, 1914, Father Dupierreux was shot at Tervueren because a few 
hnes of manuscript were found upon him, declaring that the Germans, Hke a barbarian horde, 
had laid waste the country with fire and sword, and comparing the fate of the Library of 
Louvain University with that of the Library of Alexandria, burnt by Omar.* On October 12th, 
1915, Miss Edith Cavell, an Enghsh nurse, who helped soldiers to escape, was executed at 
Brussels only a few hours after sentence had been pronounced, in order to foil any attempt 
at intercession ; it was necessary to make an example at all costs, as Herr Zimmermann, 
Under-Secretary at the Imperial Foreign Office, himseK declared in an interview he granted 
to a representative of the Associated Press. f 

The majority of the Belgian civihans, numbering some 5,000, who fell victims to the German 
armies, were executed for alleged acts of hostUity or cruelty ; only had they been proved with 
absolute certainty against each one of them — ^which was not the case — might these acts, perhaps, 
have called for severe punishment. Neither Father Dupierreux nor Miss Cavell, as the German 
authorities themselves admit, committed any offence of the kind. Not their crimes, but the 
interests of Germany caused their death. 

Further, it behoves us to note that the death -sentences pronounced by the mihtary courts 
were never more frequent in Belgium than at the period following upon the reverses suffered 
by the German troops in Artois and Champagne at the end of September, 1915 ; fresh examples 
were no doubt considered necessary to safeguard the communications of the Imperial army. J 

Thus terrorisation appears to be the method of government par excellence of the German 
authorities, and this not only during the frenzy of the invasion of Belgium, but at a time when, 
a whole year after the close of military operations, their judges have full leisure to apportion 
punishment to the gravity of the offence, and to weigh the rigour of the sentences they pronounce 
on Belgian patriots. 


Acts of Cruelty. 

The accusations brought against the Belgian population of having committed 
acts of cruelty upon the German wounded were first officially formvdated, it appears, § 
in a proclamation made by General von Biilow, dated August 13th, 1914. He 
invoked them to justify the levy of a war contribution of 50 million francs on the 
province of Liege. This proclamation was drawn up at Montjoie in Prussia ; in 
fixing its terms, General von Biilow was guided entirely by reports made to him. 

* See p. 263 of the present volume. 

t See Berliner Lokal-Anzeiger, October 26th, 1915, No. 548. 

X Twenty-three death-sentences were pronounced in occupied Belgium during the month of October, 
1915 ; nineteen executions took place and four sentences were commuted. 

§ A telegram from the semi-oflicial Wolff Agency of August 8th, 1914, had, however, already accused 
the population about Liege of having taken part in the fighting, and of having committed acts of cruelty 
upon the wounded. It announced that if these deeds recurred war would also be waged upon the guilty 
population with relentless rigour, and for this, it added, the enemies of Germany would have only them- 
selves to Wame. 


On September 4th the Emperor Wilham reiterated these accusations in the 
message he sent to the President of the United States of America : " The Belgian 
Government," he said, " has openly encouraged the civil population to take part 
in the fighting, and has for a long time carefully organised the resistance. The cruelties 
perpetrated in this guerilla warfare even by Avomen and priests on wounded soldiers, 
doctors, and hospital nurses (doctors have been killed and ambulances fired upon) 
were such that our generals were compelled at last to adopt extreme measures for 
the punishment of the guilty and to terrorise the bloodthirsty population, thus 
preventing it from continuing its murders and deeds of horror."* 

The Imperial Chancellor on September 2nd, 1914, addressing the representatives 
of the great American press agencies, expressed himself as follows : " What you 
have not been told is that on the battle-fields young Belgian girls put out the eyes 
of our defenceless wounded." 

It is interesting to note that the date of this Imperial telegram and of 
this statement by the German Chancellor coincide with the despatch 
by H.M. the King of the Belgians of a special mission, under the direction of the 
Minister of Justice, to the President of the United States of America. This mission, 
which left Antwerp August 30th, 1914, and landed at New York on September Ilth, 
was sent for the very object of calling the attention of the United States Government 
to the situation of Belgium in consequence of the violation of her neutrahty and 
the methods of warfare adopted by the Germans from the first days of their entrance 
into the country. Was there not some connection between a desire to counteract 
the effect on American opinion of the protests and documents brought by the Belgian 
Mission to the United States President, and the Imperial telegram and the 
Chancellor's statement, the violent and categorical terms of which were eminently 
calculated to give a false impression ? There is every reason to think so. 

The Note of the Imperial Foreign Office, at the beginning of the " White Book," 
declares for its part that the German wounded were stripped and killed by the 
Belgian population, and even horribly mutilated. Women and young girls are 
said to have taken part in these abominable outrages. Thus we are told that the 
German wounded were blinded, that their ears, noses, fingers and sexual organs 
were cut off, and their bellies ripped open ; in other cases, that German soldiers 
were poisoned, hanged on trees, sprinkled with burning liquids or burnt in some 
other manner, " so that their deaths were especially painful " (p. 4). 

What is the evidence for these extraordinary assertions on the part of the 
German Government ? 

Accounts of atrocities attributed to the Belgian population are fairly numerous 
in the " White Book." Nearly a hundred of the Appendices contain depositions 
concerning acts of this description, but nine of them, App. C 56, 59, 61, 67 and 
74 to 78, deal probably with the single case of a Saxon Jdger, whose charred body 
was found at Dinant ; it is, however, not impossible that not one alone, but two 
German soldiers, may have been found in this state. On the other hand, three 
depositions, reproduced in App. 55, refer to the corpse of the same volunteer of 
one year's service belonging to the 5th Company of the 165th Infantry Regiment, 
which was discovered at Herve, with the eyes put out, as it was alleged, by Belgian 
civilians. The two depositions of App. 62 relate to the same atrocity. 

Setting aside obvious errors, the accusation against the Belgian population 
of having blinded German soldiers is only formulated in the " Wliite Book " by 
ten military witnesses, in App. 54, 55 (three witnesses to the same occurrence), 
58, 59, 63, 64, 65 and C 78. The statements of these ten refer at most to thirteen 
or fourteen cases. Only one of these witnesses was an officer, Captain von Lippe. 

* Literal translation from the text of the Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung. The text of the telegrarh 
was posted on the walls of Brussels, September 11th, 1914. 


He made his statement near Dinant on August 23rd, 1914, that is to say on a day of 
battle, behind the fighting position of the second section of the Field Artillery 
Regiment No. 12 (App. C 78). It must be noted that the report of the deposition 
of this officer is the only one of the eighty-seven annexes to the Chapter of the " White 
Book " deahng with events at Dinant in which there is any allusion whatever to this 
kind of atrocity. The very unusual character of this evidence certainly suggests 
some doubt as to its accuracy : a whole, or very nearly a whole. Army Corps was 
concentrated in the district where the case was observed. Is it credible that the 
officer should not have asked the opinion of a military doctor ? How much more 
weighty the evidence of a man qualified to pronounce upon the cause of the injury 
would have been ! 

Moreover, no military doctor, nor even any non-commissioned officer or private 
of the Medical Corps, noticed any mutilation of this particular kind on the spot in 
Belgium ; at least such is the conclusion we are entitled to draw from the complete 
absence of statements by doctors or hospital orderlies as to the blinding of German 
soldiers, among the 212 appendices of the " White Book." We shall see further 
on that neither was any statement made in Germany as to mutilations of this 

One of the imputations specially calculated to stir up the opinion of the civilised 
world against the Belgian people was the statement, vouched for inter alia by the 
Emperor WilUam's telegram of September 4th and the Imperial Chancellor's 
assertion of September 2nd, 1914, that even women and children had perpetrated 
cruelties on the German wounded. " What you have not been told," said von Herr 
Bethmann-HoUweg, " is that on the battle-fields young Belgian girls put out the 
eyes of our defenceless wounded." It is more particularly by incessant repetition 
of this supremely odious accusation that Germany strove, and is still striving, to 
tarnish the honour of Belgium. Do the depositions inserted in the " White Book " 
give any support to this imputation ? None whatever. In the first place, out of the 
ten military men who speak of blinded soldiers, eight saw dead soldiers alleged to have 
been mutilated in this manner, and only two saw wounded soldiers. In App. 54 
a wounded soldier is reported to have said to the Reservist Weisse and his comrades : 
" Take me away, they have just put out my eyes." In App. 59 the Infantryman 
Lagershausen declares that he saw in a first-aid station four or five cruelly mutilated 
soldiers among some fifteen wounded ; their eyes had been put out, and the fingers 
of several of them had been hacked off. Secondly, women are only once mentioned 
in connection with soldiers whose eyes are said to have been put out, and that is 
in App. 59, quoted above. In his deposition, Lagershausen says that four Belgian 
women were giving drink to the wounded, in the absence, it would seem, of any 
German doctor— and therefore on their own initiative ; he adds that he cannot 
say positively whether these women and the two or three men who were also in 
the house committed the cruelties described by him. Thus absolutely nothing 
remains of tlie abominable accusation brought by the Imperial Chancellor against 
the Belgian women ; at least, such is the conclusion we are entitled to draw from 
the fact that not one of the 212 annexes of the " White Book " contains any such 

As to the participation of Belgian women in other atrocities, a deposition 
concermng such participation is contained in App. 60 ; the accusation, which 
deals with a mutilation noted near Vise, the details of which respect for our readers 
forbids us to insert, is formulated by the Landwehr soldier, Mathias Koch, a man 
apparently under an obsession of atrocities. Koch also vouches for a second act 
of cruelty (a finger cut off), in which women, however, took no part ; he further 
echoes the assertions of German stretcher-bearers, who are said to have told him 
that they had frequently seen soldiers with the third finger cut off. The evidence of 
these stretcher-bearers does not figure in the "White Book." Infantryman 
Blankenburg declares he saw near Herve httle girls of from eight to ten years old, 
who had just cut off the lobes of the ears of several wounded Germans (App. 56) ; the 
depositions of none of these men are given in the " White Book," though one of them 
hiniselt certified the fact to Blankenburg. Finally, Steffen, a sergeant in the Army 
Medical Department (App. 62), declares that Sub -Lieutenant Erich Koch had told 
him how he was ill-treated at Porcheresse, not only by men, but by women Koch, 
when wounded, was stripped naked, robbed, and thrown into a liquid manure trench. 
bub-Lieutenant Erich Koch's deposition is not in the " White Book." There is 


no other appendix in the vohime in which Belgian women are accused of acts of 

Other atrocities besides the putting out of eyes are, as we know, recorded in 
the " White Book." 

Six soldiers are said to have had their ears or noses cut off, in addition to those 
who were mutilated by httle girls of from eight to ten years old. The number of 
these victims is not given (App. 55, 56, 57, 58 and 66). 

Three depositions relate to soldiers whose sexual organs are said to have been 
cut off (App. 55, 60 and D 37). The Reservist Westerkamp declares he saw 
a soldier carried on a stretcher at Louvain, whose testicles, he was told, had been cut 
off by several of the inhabitants ; this man is said to have died of his wounds. No 
official attestation whatever of this incident, medical or otherwise, is to be found 
in the " White Book." Westerkamp further relates that Sub-Lieutenant Forster 
spoke to him of mutilations of a similar kind infhcted on German soldiers ; it is 
impossible to reproduce here the details of the incidents recorded (App. D 37). 
This soldier seems to have a disordered mind ; but we may ask how an official 
Commission of Inquiry could lend itself to the propagation of these infamous tales, 
of which no proof whatever is offered. As to the evidence of Sub-Lieutenant Forster, 
we seek it in vain in the " White Book " (see also p. 39, note *). We have just 
spoken of the evidence of the soldier Mathias Koch (App. 60). 

Two private soldiers maintain that at Louvain boihng pitch ^^as thrown upon 
the troops by the inhabitants (App. D 25 and 29) ; no officer, no doctor, no 
non-commissioned ofiicer confirms the statement. Major von Polentz asserts that 
at Andenne boiling water was hurled at his men, one hundred of whom were scalded 
(App. B 2, and p. 107). This assertion is at best the result of a gross error ; 
as this error was not rectified on March 29th, 1915, the date inscribed on the Report 
of the Military Bureau of Inquiry at Berlin concerning occurrences at Andenne, 
we have a right to stigmatise the allegations of Major von Polentz and of the Military 
Bureau as lies. It is superfluous to add that, as usual, the accusation is unsupported 
by any medical evidence, although no less than 100 men are supposed to have been 
suffering from burns ! 

Errors apart, the " White Book " gives eleven depositions concerning soldiers 
totally or partially burnt or carbonised ; nine of these depositions (App. C 56, 
59, 61, 67 and 74 to 78) probably refer, as stated above, to one and the same 
soldier.* The other two depositions relating to incidents of this kind are recorded 
in App. 61 and 63. 

We read of a case of poisoning by sugar which took place at Deynze ; if this 
was a fact, it was certainly not due to malice (App. 50). t App. 62 speaks of 
Sub-Lieutenant Koch, stripped naked, robbed, and thrown into a trench of liquid 
manure at Porcheresse (see below, p. 48) ; App. 55 (3d) of an infantryman 
drowned in a water-hole between Herve and Liege ; App. 58 of an infantryman 
abominably mutilated and of a hussar nailed to a tree near Herve ; % x\pp. 23 
and 24 deal with the case of an infantrj^man bound to a fence at Tintigny, with 
his skull fractured by a blow from a pickaxe ; App. 55 speaks of a hussar hanged 
on a tree near Herve ; App. 66 of two volunteers with their ears and noses cut 
off, their skulls fractured, and their belhes ripped open, found near Thourout, and 
also of a soldier with his nose and ears cut off and his belly ripped open, found at 
Eessen-Kappel ; App. C 59 of a corporal with his skuU split open, noticed among 
the corpses deposited in the courtyard of the Chateau de Sorinne ; App. D 35 
of a soldier with his belly ripped open, found at Louvain. A certain number of 
soldiers are said to have had their fingers cut off (App. 58, 59, 60). § 

It is essential to note that a very considerable number of the various mutilations 
separately recorded above in view of their classification into categories were, or are 

* See pp. 45 and 162. 

t See p. 88. 

+ See below, p. 50 and p. 91. 

§ It seems impossible to accept, as does the " White Book," the deposition of the Reservist Erwin 
Miiller as establishing acts of atrocity. This man is supposed to have found in a house at Dinant an 
officer, a non-commissioned officer and eight German soldiers who had been surprised in their sleep 
and massacred by civilians (App. C 73). See on this subject p. 163. 


said to have been, inflicted on the same soldiers ; collation of the numbers given in 
the appendices will satisfy the reader as to this. Thus, for instance, the soldier_ Ernst 
Baldeweg declares he saw an infantryman with his eyes put out, his nose, his ears 
and his fingers cut off, his belly ripped open, and his breast lacerated (App. 58). 
"The four or five wounded men whose mutilation is attested by Lagershausen had 
their eyes put out and their fingers cut off (App. 59). Similar examples are to 
be found in App. 55, 63, 66, &c. 

Even if we admit that all these atrocities are established facts* — ^^vhich is 
far indeed from the truth in nearly all, if not all, cases, taldng into account 
the almost entire lack of medical evidence relating to themf — the total number 
is so insignificant that it would be a most flagrant injustice to make the whole 
Belgian population responsible for them. Now this is the task the compilers of 
the " White Book " have set themselves in their efforts to produce the impression 
that acts of atrocity were committed in great numbers and in every quarter, efforts 
designed to justify the extent of the so-called " reprisals " in Belgium, the sole 
object of which was the terrorisation of the country. 

Further, is it not extraordinary that certain soldiers, such as Voigt (App. 55), 
Baldeweg (App. 58), Mathias Koch (App. 60), Chaton (App. 63), Westerkamp 
(App. C 37), and several others, have a whole series of abominable deeds to record, 
whereas hundreds of thousands of German soldiers passed through Belgium without 
observing anything of the sort, and the number of those who claim to have 
noted acts of cruelty is, in fact, infinitesimal ? 

One of the most remarkable features of these narratives is that the majority of 
them emanate from men who do not hold the rank of ofificers. Among 34 witnesses 
we find only five officers and three doctors. The remaining 26 are made up of 
19 privates, three infantry or cavalry corporals, two non-commissioned officers, 
and two non-commissioned officers of the Army Medical Department. J It was 
obviously preferred to leave the responsibihty for accusations to private soldiers, 
even when these repeat the statements of officers (see, for instance, App. 62 
and D 37). Captain Troeger merely reports incidents of which he had been 
informed by third persons, Captain zur Nieden and the non-commissioned officer 
Schnitzer, whose direct and personal testimony does not appear in the " White 
Book " (App. 66). Only Captains Rumland (App. 24), Sternberg (App. 61), 
and Von Lippe (App. C 78), and Major von Polentz (App. B 2), speak of facts 
they themselves noted. Major von Polentz' story, moreover, as we have shown 
above, is absolutely untrue. 

As to the military doctors. Dr. Beyer recounts incidents which, in part at least, 
were reported to him by Sub-Lieutenant Erich Koch§ App. 62). Dr. Kockeritz 
(App. C 67), and Dr. Holey (App. C 74), themselves saw the charred body of 
the Saxon Jager (see p. 228). The innumerable other doctors belonging to the 
German army apparently observed no " atrocities " in Belgium, for with the 
exception of the depositions of the three doctors mentioned above, the " White 
Book " contains no medical evidence concerning acts of this nature. With very 
few exceptions, the men who claim to have witnessed them were private soldiers 
or non-commissioned officers (see above) ; on their ignorance, their lack of percep- 
tion or their unscrupulousness the " White Book " is obhged to reply in order to 
give official sanction to the legend of Belgian atrocities inaugurated by the Emperor 
William and the Imperial Chancellor ! || 

* In connection with the accusations brought against the Belgian population, it is important to 
read the refutations made by Monseigneur Heylen, Bishop of Namur, in the note appended to his letter 
to Baron von Bissing of November 6th, 1915, and by Monseigneur Rutten, Bishop of Li^ge, in his lettet 
of November 1st, 1915 (see pp. 323 and 346). 

t The " White Book " does not contain a single duly formulated and properly attested medical 
Cc 1 tinc cL lc . 

J These figures are given by way of example. 

§ Koch, who had been shot through the perinseum and whose rectum was perforated, told Dr. Beyer 
that he was stnpped and thrown into a liquid manure trench by the inhabitants of Porcheresse. He 
says not a word as to the circumstances under which he was afterwards rescued from the manure trench 
and transported to the ambulance at Graide. See on this subject the note appended by Monseigneur 
Heylen on October 31st to his letter of November 6th, 1915, addressed to the Governor-General of 
occupied Belgium, p. 330). 

II Captain von Sandt declares in his third deposition (App. D 8, p. 258), that he did not himself 
see mutilated soldiers at Louvain ; but some Marines, he thinks of the 7th Battalion, told him in a 
manner worthy of credence (glaubhafi) that a soldier with his skuU battered in had been found in the 

Footnote continued on page 49. 


We must repeat : the imputation which the German Government has made 
with the most extreme violence and frivohty, that of the bUnding of the wounded, 
is supported by nine private soldiers and one sohtary officer. No military or civilian 
doctor, either in Belgium or Germany, has endorsed it with the authority of his 

However, the " White Book " eagerly accepts the evidence of the infantr^- 
Eeservist, Lagershausen, a youth of nineteen, who does not hesitate to declare that 
on August 6th he saw, among jfifteen wounded men deposited in a farm near Chenee, 
four or five soldiers whose eyes had been put out {es war en ihnen beide Augen 
ausgestochen) and fingers cut off (App. 59). This youth, not having spoken with 
these wounded men, does not undertake to transmit their complaints ;* his 
accusation is based solely, it would seem, on an impression. It is not unreasonable 
to feel the gravest doubts, if not as to the sincerity, at least as to the perspicacity 
and judgment of young Lagershausen, who may very well have been mistaken in 
respect of the cause of the wounds he attributes to mutilation. The " White Book," 
moreover, makes no mention of the inquiry which was doubtless held, and the 
measures taken against the guilty persons. This silence is the more surprising, seeing 
that the village of Chenee is at the very gates of Liege, where German troops were 
massed in considerable numbers in the month of August, 1914. The " White Book " 
also puts on record the opinion of Private Rohr, aged twenty-three, according to 
whom there is no doubt that two Uhlans not otherwise wounded, whom he found 
in a barn at the end of August, 1914, died of injuries due to the putting out of their 
eyes. The soldier mentions in his deposition that he at once reported his discovery to 
the commandant of his battahon. Although the spot where it was made was close to 
Brussels no inquiry seems to have been held ; or, if held, the result was no doubt 
negative. Be this as it may, there is not a word on the subject in the " White 
Book" — ^but it upholds the accusation (App. 65). The book-keeper Chaton 
also declares unhesitatingly that " the nature of the wound made it evident that 
the eyes of the Dragoon (whom he found lying in a street at Charleroi) had been 
put out maliciously and not in battle " (App. 63). No medical certificate appears 
in the " White Book " to confirm the diagnosis of the book-keeper, who, it would 
seem, bases his conviction on the fact that from a distance of 50 or 60 paces he saw 
a struggle between the Dragoon and three civihans, and that one of the latter had 
in his hand a blood-stained dagger. When Chaton approached the Dragoon, whose 
body had been set on fire, the victim had ceased to live (see p. 120). 

The extreme indigence of the " White Book " in the matter of medical evidence 
and the depositions of officers makes it reasonable to suppose that some of the 
soldiers who declare that they noted acts of atrocity were mistaken — ^perhaps 
honestly mistaken. But if we may believe the German press of the months of 
August, September and October, 1914, many soldiers, out of braggadocio or for 
other reasons, told tales of purely imaginary atrocities. Among the " witnesses " 
of the " White Book " were there no visionaries or impostors ? An analysis of 
certain depositions leaves no doubt on this head. 

It should further be noted that the so-caUed mutilated persons brought no 
personal accusations against the Belgian population before competent German 
authorities (miUtary or civil tribunals ).t The German " White Book " contains 
but a single deposition made by an alleged victim of Belgian atrocities, that of the 
Reservist Hilberath (App. 50), who beheves that he, together with several of his 
comrades, some of whom died, were poisoned by sugar they bought at Deynze 
(see p. 88). The circumstances under which this poisoning is supposed to have 
taken place, as also the absence of medical attestations and proceedings against 
the offender — at any rate the " White Book " makes no allusion to either — are 

Hotel de Suede. These same Marines told him that another soldier, whose arms and legs had been 
chopped off with a hatchet, had been found in the Rue Marie-Th6rese. It should be said that neither 
the introductory note (p. 4) nor the Report of the Military Bureau concerning Louvain (p. 235) refers 
to von Sandt's deposition, which was no doubt considered too questionable ; but this did not prevent 
the insertion of the odious accusation in the " White Book." Captain von Sandt is not counted among 
the 34 witnesses mentioned above. 

* He only spoke to some other unmutilated wounded, who told him there was no doctor in the 

t Statements by the mutilated appear, it is true, in App. 54, 56 and 62, but they are reported 
by third parties. With the exception of Sub-Lieutenant Koch (App. 62), these victims were found 
close to the German frontier. It seems reaUy very strange that after they had been removed to Germany 
they should not have been called upon to make a personal deposition confirmatory of the declarations 
attributed to them by third persons, with which the compilers of the " White Book " were apparently 


such that the idea of malice on the part of the grocer seems quite untenable. If 
the mutilated made no complaints it was because there were no mutilations ; it 
is, in fact, incredible that not one of the alleged victims of Belgian cruelty should 
have survived his injuries, and that the protests of the mutilated should not have 

been duly formulated. .< txt, ■ -r> i )> i 

Thus an examination of the documents inserted in the White Book leads 
to the conclusion that the German Government in unable to furnish proofs of those 
atrocities which for a year and a half it has never ceased to lay to the charge of the 
Belgian people. 


The evidence of the Reservist Ernst Baldeweg claims special attention (App. 58). 
In his short deposition, made at Magdeburg on November 1st, 1914, this man declares 
he saw : 1. In a village near Verviers, on August 8th, 1914, four horses in one stable 
and one horse in another stable whose tongues had been cut out in order, he assumes, 
that they might not be carried off by the Germans ; 2. On August 9th or 10th, 
near Herve, a Hussar tied by his hands and feet to a tree, to which he was further 
fastened by two large stout nails, which had been driven into his eyes and through 
Ids head ; 3. In the same place an infantry soldier lying near a farm, his eyes put 
out, his nose, ears and fingers cut off, his belly ripped open, and his breast lacerated ! 
It must be noted that there is no evidence in the " White Book," other than that 
of Baldeweg, concerning horses whose tongues had been cut out. As to the 
mutilations of the infantry soldier, we may remark, with all due reserve as to the 
fundamental truth of the statement, that Baldeweg is the only witness who observed 
such a number of mutilations on a single victim. 

Baldeweg was taken prisoner some time after this, in France. Although he 
was a soldier in the 11th Company of the 35th Regiment of the Line, he passed himself 
off as an ambulance orderly, and as such was liberated. Part of his deposition, 
inserted in the " White Book," pubhshed by the German Government in answer 
to accusations against the German troops, and entitled Widerlegmig der vo7i der fran- 
zosischen Regierung erhobenen Anschuldigungen (Refutation of the Accusations 
brought by the French Government), relates to the ill-treatment said to have been 
inflicted on the German wounded in the fortress of Blaye (Appendix 26). These 
are the terms in which the French Minister for War refutes Baldeweg' s assertions 
in a letter of September 15th, 1915, addressed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs 
in answer to the allegations put forward in the " White Book" (p. 1). 

" Information received from the Commandant of the depot for prisoners at 
Blaye shows conclusively that the criticisms in question are entirely baseless. The 
wounded have never lacked the most attentive care ; the German doctors were 
never at any time prevented from tending their compatriots. On the contrary, 
it was remarked that these doctors showed little zeal to avail themselves of the 
permission to dress wounds, so little, indeed, that the medical inspector who visited 
the fortress was obliged to threaten them with arrest if they did not exert them- 
selves more in the service of their own wounded. However, these two doctors 
seem to have had very little knowledge of surgery. 

" Moreover, at the date in question, Miss Mary Bayle O'Reilly, Inspector of 
the State prisons of Massachusetts (U.S.A.) from 1900 to 1912, was allowed to 
visit the fortress of Blaye together with Miss Grace Ellison. Both agreed in their 
testimony to the excellent state in which they found the depot, not only as regards 
general cleanUness and diet, but also in respect of the kindness of the French to 
their prisoners. 

" As to Baldeweg, in the examination to which he was subjected at Blaye, when 
he put forward his status as an ambulance orderly as a plea for his return to Germany, 
he declared he had taken no part in the fighting on September 7th, and had confined 
himself entirely to his mission, which was to pick up the wounded ; he added that 
his own conduct had been irreproachable ' both towards civilians and soldiers.' 

" Now it appears from the deposition made before the German military 
magistrate that on this occasion Baldeweg states himself to be, not an ambulance 
orderly, but a Reservist of the 35th Regiment of Infantry, a statement which seems 
to be correct this time, since he declares that lie played the part of a belUgerent 
on Septeniber 7th, and even boasts of having killed a French Dragoon. 

" It is therefore important to note the dishonesty of Private Baldeweg, a 
combatant who claimed to be, and was released as, an ambulance orderly, or who, 
if he really was one, acted as a belligerent in defiance of the rules of the Geneva 
Cpiivention " (Art. 7). 


What credence can be given to the tales of this impostor, the only one among 
the hundreds of thousands of German soldiers passing through Belgium who mentions 
the mutilation of animals, and who claims to have noted so many acts of atrocity 

pecuUarly abnormal and odious in character ? 

* * 


The falsity of the accusations of cruelty brought against the Belgian population 
is more especially demonstrated by the statements of the Arch-Priest Kaufmann 
in his letter of September 28th, 1914, to the Kolnische Volkszeitung, and by the 
inquiry made at Aix-la-Chapelle by Dr. Van der Goort, Red Cross doctor at Maes- 
tricht, an account of which was given by the Hague Nieuwe Gourant in its issue of 
October 20th, 1914. 

Herr Kaufmami in particular writes in his letter of September 28th, which was 
pubhshed in the Kolnische Volkszeitung of September 30th : "I have received the 
following written statement from the head doctor of one of the hospitals here (Aix- 
la-ChapeUe), who is also a famous ocuUst : ' In no hospital in Aix-la-Chapelle is 
there a ward filled with wounded men whose eyes have been put out. As far as I 
know, not a single case of the kind has been notified at Aix-la-Chapelle.' " (See 
also the second Belgian Grey Book, Document 108.) 

We must also reproduce the following passage from a long letter which appeared 
in the same paper on August 20th, 1914 (No. 738). The author is a chaplain in the 
German army, Dr. Christ : — 

" During the ten days I spent in this part of Belgium I myself found several 
wounded men in private houses. All, without exception, told me they had been tended 
as if they had been members of the family. I heard the same thing from our wounded 
in the Liege hospitals. I paid visits wherever I heard that there were German 
wounded, and I went to each man. Catholics and Protestants alike. Several of 
them certainly said that they had been wounded by shots fired from houses, but 
not a single one of the wounded to whom I spoke — and I saw several hundreds — told 
me he had been mutilated or ill-treated after he had been wounded. Several, 
indeed, said that those who were the first to carry them from the battlefield to the 
hospitals were Belgians. 

" I have thought it my duty to record these facts concerning our wounded 
in Belgium and to complete or rectify the ideas and opinions of Belgium and its 
inhabitants that obtain among us. Cruelties and crimes, attacks upon Red Cross 
ambulances, mutilations and wounds are unhappily facts and cannot be denied. 
But when we compare the number of the victims with that of the German wounded 
who have been saved by the helpful kindness of Belgian families, Belgian nuns, 
Belgian ladies and Belgian doctors, we recognise that the proportion of the former 
to the latter is far smaller than has hitherto been supposed in Germany." 

No doubt Dr. Christ was prevented by prejudice from giving the he outright 
to all the accusations he heard formulated around him, in spite of the evidence of his 
own eyes. But he is at least of opinion that the cruelties committed by the population 
were exceptional, and, personally, he never saw or talked to any mutilated or cruelly- 
treated wounded soldier. 

The Dutch newspaper De Tijd, for its part, pubhshed in its No. 20447 of 

November 13th, 1914, the speech made by Oberstabsarzt (Staff Surgeon) Mliller 

at Liege, on the occasion of the closing, early in October, of the Belgian Red Cross 

ambulance organised in the buildings of the CoUege of Saint-Servais at Liege by 

the Jesuit Fathers, in which from 500 to 600 wounded had been treated. The doctor 

admitted in his address that when he received orders to go to Liege, he felt some 

uneasiness at first, on account of all the evil attributed to the Belgian population 

by the German newspapers. But his prejudices were soon dissipated, and he could 

not refrain from paying his tribute to the entire stafi of the hospital, who had tended 

all the wounded, friends and foes ahke, with the most cordial kindness. He would 

retain, added the doctor, a most pleasant recollection of his sojourn at Liege and 

of his relations with the Jesuit Fathers and with his Belgian colleagues. The Dutch 

newspaper remarks that this testimony on the part of Dr. Miiller, who stayed three 

months at Liege, is certainly of value, and that it constitutes a fresh refutation of 

all the calumnies heaped upon the Belgian people.* 

* * 


Numerous contradictions of the allegations imputing atrocities to the Belgian 

populat ion have appeared in the German press itself. We may note more especially 

• See ako on this subject the Independance Beige (published in London) of January 26th, 1915, 
and p. 295 of the present volume. 



the articles published in the Kolnische Volkszeitung, No. 852, on September 30th, 1914 ; 
i No. 859, on October 2nd, 1914 ; No. 880, on October 10th, 1914 ; No. 931, on 
L October 28th, 1914 ; No. 970, on November 10th, 1914 ; No. 1022, on November 27th, 
1 1914, etc. ; in the Baytrischer Kurier, No. 269, on September 26th, 1914 ; No. 274, 
i on October 1st, 1914 ; No. 290, on October 17th, 1914 ; No. 14, on January 14th, 
\ 1915, etc. ; in the Munchener Tageblatt of September 20th, 1914, and of January 1st, 
" 1915, etc. ; in the Vorwdrts, on December 6th, 1914 ; in the Echo der Gegenwart 
(Aix-la-Chapelle), on October 26th, 1914 ; and in the Volksfreund (Aix-la-Chapelle), 
on November 5th, 1914, French edition, etc. 

The newspapers of Aix-la-Chapelle~the first town the traveller reaches after 
crossing the Prusso-Belgian frontier — were among the first to protest against the 
infamies imputed to the Belgian population. We must also note the honest and 
sensible attitude adopted from the first on this subject by the Vorwdrts of Berlin. 
Some of the articles in this paper are veritable acts of reparation towards the civil 
inhabitants of Belgium. It will be observed that they speak with just severity of 
the soldiers who spread tales of atrocities in Germany, some of them without realising 
the terrible results of their boastings, others acting from ulterior motives. 

We append an article on the subject from L'Ami duPeuple (a bi-lingual edition, 
issued specially for Belgium, of the Aix-la-Chapelle Volksfreund) of November 15th, 
1914. It is entitled : Impartial Testimony. Atrocities of the War :— 

" Some time ago certain ncAvspapers made themselves the medium for stories 
of alleged atrocities committed on the persons of wounded Germans by the civil 
populations of France and Belgium. 

" The Vorwdrts, the leading SociaHst organ of Berlin, has just pubUshed an 
article on this subject, in which it seeks to demonstrate the falsity of such assertions, 
and at the same time to show the disastrous influence they are calculated to exercise 
on the minds of the German people. 

" The war correspondent of the Berliner Tageblatt," says the article in particular, 
" spoke a few weeks ago of cigars and cigarettes filled with gunpowder, and given 
or sold to our soldiers with diabolical intentions. He even asserted that he had 
seen hundreds of cigarettes of this kind with his own eyes. We are assured from 
an authoritative sovirce that these stories of cigars and cigarettes are nothing but 
audacious inventions. Moreover, stories of soldiers whose eyes have been put out 
by francs-tireurs are circulating throughout Germany. Now so far not a single 
case of the kind has been officially recorded. Hitherto, every time it has been 
possible to test such a story, its inaccuracy has been demonstrated. 

" It matters little that rumours of this kind have an appearance of absolute 
certainty or that they are even supported by alleged eye-witnesses. Love of notoriety, 
lack of critical acumen, and personal error play a disastrous part in the times which we are now living. Every nose that has been blown off or merely 
■ bandaged, and every eye that has been destroyed is immediately transformed into 
a nose or an eye removed by francs-tireurs. The Kolnische Volkszeitung has already 
been able to prove that, in spite of very precise assertions from Aix-la-ChapeUe, no 
blinded soldier is to be found in any of the hospitals of the town. It has also been 
reported that wounded men injured in this way were under treatment in the 
neighbourhood of Berlin ; but wherever inquiry has been made into these rumours 
their complete baselessness has been demonstrated. 

" We cannot but applaud the impartial attitude of the great German Sociahst 
paper. The present war entails so many actual horrors that newspapers, of whatever 
nationality they may be, should refrain from further exasperating public opinion, 
already at fever-pitch, in the belligerent countries, by stories at once gruesome and 

Under the title Die Wahrheit bricht sich Bahn (Truth making its way), the EcJio 
der Gegenwart of Aix-la-ChapeUe, pubhshed the following on October 28th, 1914, 
No. 253, 2nd sheet :— 

" In the review, Zeit im Bild, war edition, Year 12, No. 38, published by Pass 
and Garleb, Berlin W. 57, there is a war study entitled : On the way to Brussels. 
At Liege. In connection with Li6ge, it says : — 

" When collecting the dead and wounded on the battlefields in front of the 
forts, we recognised the horrible fact that many of the inhabitants had behaved 
in a truly bestial manner to our defenceless wounded. Not only had they cut off 
the fingers of the victims of the fighting to get their rings, but they had mutilated 
them in an indescribable fashion. When houses were searched for arms, rings and 
watches that had belonged to our soldiers Were found in the possession of women 


and, men ; a priest was also arrested who had strung a number of rings on a cord, 
and was wearing them round his neck. These inhuman creatures were taken as 
prisoners to the Chartreuse fortress. All of them have been sentenced to death. 
Every day several of them are executed. One can feel no pity for such people.' 

" In this connection the Imperial Government at Liege has written to Pax 
Informationen : ' It seems highly improbable that a priest should have been guilty 
of such acts as those described above, and nothing is known of anything of the sort 
here. The other statements are also false or exaggerated. Moreover, no executions 
have taken place in the Chartreuse fort so far.' " 

In the same paper and the same No. 253 of October 28th, 1914, 2nd sheet, there 
is another article entitled : Blinded Soldiers. This is the text : — 

" Having heard stories and rumours calculated to make one's hair stand on 
end {haarstrdubenden), spread abroad mainly by soldiers in the neighbourhood of 
Aix-la-Chapelle, a candidate for a high-class teacher's certificate went to the Municipal 
Ophthalmic Institution of Aix-la-ChapeUe in the Stephan Strasse, where, it was 
said, twenty-eight blinded soldiers were lying in the so-caUed Ward of the Dead 
{Totensaal). He writes as follows on the subject to the Kolnische Volkszeitung : 'On 
Monday, October 19th, I presented myself to the Superintendent of the cKnic in 
question, Dr. BtiUers. 'Good,' he said; 'I will show you the tragic ward.' He opened 
the door of a ward. All was weU with the patients. We visited a second and then 
a third ward. ' Is anyone in pain ? ' ' No, doctor.' Finally a door was opened into 
a room where the hght filtered through dark curtains. Chck ! The electric Ught 
was turned on ! ' Does that hurt your eyes ? ' ' No, doctor.' ' Did they put out your 
eyes in Belgium ? ' The wounded laughed aloud. We went through all the wards. 
Cases of wounded men who had lost both eyes were extremely rare. ' WeU now,' 
said the amiable superintendent, ' if you intend to pubhsh what you have seen, say 
that so far I and my colleague, Dr. Thier, have not attended a single soldier whose 
eyes have been put out.' " 

" To give themselves importance and make themselves interesting, soldiers 
coming back from the battlefield often teU the most improbable stories, which, 
however, are unhappily repeated and beheved. We ourselves recently brought a 
similar case to the notice of the garrison Commandant of Aix-la-Chapelle, a case 
we only refrained from pubhshing in the interest of religious peace. 

"It is only by taking the severest measures against such scandalous offences 
{Unfug), no matter where they are pubhcly committed, that the desired result can 
be obtained. The most flagrant (krasse) cases should be immediately denounced 
to the authorities, the names of the offenders being given, etc." 

It is hardly possible to meet the odious allegations of the " White Book " with 

more striking contradictions than those offered by these newspapers of the frontier 

town of Aix-la-ChapeUe, where there were certainly greater opportunities for learning 

what had happened in Belgium than anywhere else in Germany : wounded men 

coming back directly from the Belgian battlefields were, in fact, treated there in 

considerable numbers from the very first days of the war. 

* * 


The Dutch newspaper, De Tijd, for its part, reproducing in its issue of October 
27th, 1914, No. 20, 430, an article from the Kolnische Volkszeitung, dismisses the 
stories of soldiers whose eyes have been put out in Belgium as ancient myths {otide 
Fabel). De Tijd records in this connection the statement of a Bonn oculist, Privy 
Councillor Professor Kuhnt, who declares that he had not encountered a single case 
of this kind in his clinic, whereas a certain individual had spread the story that he 
had himself seen from twenty to thirty soldiers there who had lost their sight in this 
way. Dr. Kuhnt adds, on the other hand, that he had seen several soldiers who 
had been bhnded as a result of wounds caused either by bullets or exploding bombs. 

The Superintendents of the great Hospital of Charity at Berhn have declared 
that " there are no cases of wounded men whose eyes have been put out under 
treatment at the Charity." The Vorwdrts of December 6th, 1914, which contains 
this declaration, further pubhshes the following statement, addressed to this news- 
paper in answer to an inquiry it had made, by the superintendents of an ambulance 
at Hanover : " From inquiries made among aU the doctors of our subordinate 
sections of Reserve, Hospital III., we find that there are no wounded men whose 
eyes have been put out under treatment here, nor have there ever been any such." 
The Vorwdrts sums up as follows : " We can therefore only state emphatically that 
of all the numerous cases of this kind attested in the most positive manner {mit 
aller Bestimmtheit), not a single one has been estabhshed." 


The superintendents of a hospital at Frankfort also declared that no soldier 
whose eyes had been put out had come under their care. 

Finally, two official Commissions, one civil, the other mihtary, which, according 
to information received, were appointed in Germany in the autumn of 1914 to inquire 
into acts of cruelty ascribed to belligerents, arrived at similar conclusions, though 
they acted quite independently. The civil Commission is said to have stated that 
there were no proofs that Belgian women had put out the eyes of the wounded, 
that no incident of the kind had been officially estabhshed, and that, in general, 
acts of cruelty had been grossly exaggerated. The conclusions of the mihtary 
Commission did not differ materially from those of the civil Commission. 

Whatever may be said as to the accuracy of this information, the Imperial 
Foreign Office, when drawing up the indictment which figures on p. 4 of the " White 
Book," ignored the conclusions of the two Commissions, just as it ignored the 
absolutely incontestable declarations of the oculists and medical superintendents of 
German hospitals. Regardless of equity, the " White Book " deals in general 
accusations without reservation, with the object of creating the impression that 
the Belgian population, as a whole, indulged in abominable acts. 

Further, with regard to the odious imputation of having bhnded the wounded, 
so irresponsibly laid upon the Belgian population, we know that the " White Book " 
contains no single deposition made by any victim of such an act.* True, a certain 
number of private soldiers and even an officer (App, C 78) declare that they saw 
wounded men and corpses mutilated in this fashion. But if we refer to the authoritative 
testimony reproduced above, there is reason to believe that their prepossessions 
led them astray. It must be pointed out that the eyes of dead soldiers which looked 
as if they had been put out may well have been destroyed by wounds or by that 
rapid decomposition common under the scorching heat of the summer sun ; or 
they may even have been picked out by certain birds that settle upon battlefields. 
The Belgian population has the more right to invoke the benefit of the doubt on 
this point, inasmuch as the slanderous character of the accusations brought against 
it in connection with wounded soldiers has been demonstrated by all the German 
medical authorities who are qualified to pronounce an opinion on the subject. 

Similar errors have no doubt arisen as to the apparently inexplicable origin 
of other injuries (missing limbs, contusions of various kinds, etc.). 

The German Jesuit Father, Duhr, in his pamphlet : Der Liigengeist im Volkerkrieg-f 
(Mendacity in the International War) expresses himself as follows on this 
particular point : " It is quite evident, in connection with the putting out of eyes, 
that a perfect mania for seeing atrocities on every hand (Oreuelsucht) spread 
throughout the country. Innumerable tales of horror of this description were recounted, 
hawked about, and finally guaranteed as absolutely authentic — and yet they were 
all nothing but fables !" (p. 11). The author of the pamphlet records, inter alia, 
that, according to an article in the Kolnische Zeitung of October 3rd, 1914, a story 
was current at Aix-la-Chapelle of a boy of ten years old who had been surprised 
on a Belgian battlefield carrying a pail full of the eyes of soldiers ! (p. 16). 

Father Duhr made it his business to classify the legends ot francs-tireurs' activities 
and atrocities, and to bring into rehef a certain number of recurrent tjrpes among 
the mass of stories repeated. He notes more especially the legend of the bhnding 
of soldiers by Belgian civihans, especially by women and children; that of the 
poisonmg of German soldiers ; that of the cutting off of fingers ; that of priests 
firing upon the German troops with machine guns instaUed in their belfries. Father 
i)uhr gives several examples of each type of these legends, pointing out the amph- 
hcations and perversions they underwent in the course of their oral or written 
transmission. In each case, whatever the apparent authenticity of the legend, the 
author ot the pamphlet meets the aUeged facts by contradictions emanating from 

All we find on this subject is an accusation made by an anonymous soldier, whose corps and branch 
01 the service are not mentioned, in App. 54. This accusation is reported by the Reservist Weisse in 
tne loiJowing terms : Take me away," the mutilated soldier is supposed to have said, " they have just 
put out Dotn my eyes. So vague is Weisse's deposition that no verification of the incident, neither 
von Bissin°'' %m ^ ^^ specified, would be possible (see Monseigneur Rutten's letter to Baron 
t Pubhshed by Manz, Munich and Ratisbon, January, 1916. 


the military authorities themselves as a result of inquiries solicited byj^the Catholic 
apologist Association, Pax.* 

The " White Book " does not examine the value of the contradictions given in 
Germany itself to the accusations it formulates. It makes no allusion to them, 
and affects to be ignorant of them, though it is well acquainted with them. Indeed, 
as is mentioned above, a certain number of the inquiries asked for by the Pax- 
Association were made under the direction or through the medium of the 
Military Bureau of Inquiry, installed at the Prussian War Office. This is demon- 
strated by the fact that several of the reports and official contradictions published 
in Pax Infonnationen are signed " Bauer " and " Wagner," the very names that 
figure in the " White Book " at the end of the four general reports on occurrences 
at Aerschot, Andenne, Dinant and Louvain. 

In face of all these authoritative contradictions, what weight can be attached 
to the lucubrations of a Baldeweg, a Voigt, a Koch, a Wester kamp,t to which the 
compilers of the " White Book " have not hesitated to give official sanction ? 

Moreover, the Belgian Episcopate, in a collective letter addressed to the German 
and Austro -Hungarian Episcopate on November 24th, 1916, declared it knew and 
would swear that " the impudent accusations of the Imperial Government were 
calumnies from beginning to end " (see p. 351 of the present volume). 


The Participation of Belgian Peiests in Hostilities. 

With regard to the accusations brought at the beginning of the war against 
the Belgian clergy in particular, the question may be said to have been completely 
elucidated before the pubhcation of the " White Book." 

On the one hand, the German authorities did not venture openly to put obstacles 
in the way of the inquiries instituted by the Belgian Episcopate with a view to 
establishing the truth, and although they made unsuccessful efforts to stifle the 
voice of Cardinal Mercier, Primate of Belgium, they did not succeed in so doing. 
His pastoral letter of Christmas, 1914, was soon widely read not only in Belgium 
but in foreign countries. The same may be said of the protest of Monseigneur Heylen, 
Bishop of Namur, dated April 10th, 1915. J On the other hand, unhke the accusations 
against the Belgian population in general, which were accepted as true by the whole 
German people, the imputations specially directed against members of the clergy 
were not received without distrust by a section of German public opinion. Alarmed 
by the violence of the attacks against the Cathohc rehgion itself that the stories spread 
abroad by soldiers had excited in Germany, the Catholics of that country had felt, 
as early as the middle of the month of August, 1914, the imperative necessity of 
counter-action without delay, for a new era of KuUurJcampf seemed already 
about to dawn. The supreme importance of maintaining domestic peace in Germany 
induced the miHtary authorities not only to accede to the requests for an inquiry 
addressed to them, but also to communicate the results to the interested parties, even 
at the risk of stultifying the telegram sent on September 4th, 1914, by the Emperor 
WilHam to the President of the United States of America. § Thus the apologist 
Association, Pax, was enabled to bring to the knowledge of the public by degrees the 

* The of&ce of the Association is at 16, Kunibertskloster, Cologne. — See the work of F. van 
Langenhove, Comment nait un Cycle de Legendes. Francs-tireurs et atrocites beiges. Paris and 
Lausanne, Payot, 1916. 

t See App. 55, 58, 60 and D 37. 

+ See pp. 300 and 308 for the text of these two documents. — It was not until the end of December, 
1915, that the Belgian Government became acquainted with the protests of the Bishops of Liege and 
Namur against the " White Book," which were transmitted to the Governor-General of occupied Germany 
in a letter of November 6th, 1915, as also with the collective letter of November 24th, 1915, addressed 
by the Belgian Episcopate to the Austro-German Episcopate. These documents are reproduced at the 
end of the present volume (pp. 322 to 362). 

§ In this telegram the Emperor even went so far as to accuse the clergy of having committed cruelties 
upon wounded soldiers, doctors, and ambulance orderlies (see p. 45). 

various items of information collected by the military authorities with regard to 
those episodes of the war in which, according to the first German reports received 
from Belgium and France, ecclesiastics had played a reprehensible part. The 
inquiries made, as was inevitable, served to confound the accusers. 

The German apologist review, Der Fels* even took upon itself to publish on 
p. 181 of its issue Nos. 9 and 10, of February, 1915, the following lines, signed by 
Herr Lorenz Miiller : "No single case of firing from belfries with the conmvance 
of priests has been officially recorded. Everything so far reported as to atrocities 
alleged to have been committed during this war by Catholic priests which it has 
been possible to test by mquiry has proved without exception to be false and, 
indeed, pure invention. Doubtless we shall only know after the war how we are 
to reconcile this fact with the passage relating to the clergy in the telegram sent 
by our Emperor to the President of the United States." 

But more than this. A Note addressed on January 22nd, 1915, by the Prussian 
War Office at Berlin to the Imperial Chancellor, categorically retracted the general 
accusation brought against the Belgian clergy at the beginning of the war, and 
only retained individual and exceptional charges. This Note, which was kept 
secret, but which was sent to the German diplomatic missions in foreign countries to 
be utiUsed by them in furtherance of the propaganda in circles where little was 
known as to the real attitude of the German armies during the invasion of Belgium, 
was pubHshed in its entirety in De Tijd on March 22nd, 1915, in Dutch, and on 
April 12th, in German.f It was here particularly stated : " The German Government 
is convinced that it was above all the higher clergy of Belgium who endeavoured 
to bring the people to a more reasonable frame of mind and to induce them to cease 
these attacks." The Note adds that here and there a few priests had disregarded 
the duties of their position, had ranged themselves on the side of the francs-tireurs, 
had taken up arms, and had even lent themselves to espionage. It concludes : 
" There is no doubt that these were exceptional cases." As examples of these 
" exceptional cases," the Note cites only the parish priests of Hockai, Spontin, 
Battice and Aerschot. Now, as regards each of these, the falsity of the accusation 
has been demonstrated by irrefutable documents. 

Further, it appears from an inquiry held in Belgium in the spring of 1915 by 
Abbe van den Bergh, an Austrian priest of Dutch origin long domiciled in Austria,! 
that, from the beginning of the said year, the German Government had abandoned 
all but sixteen well-defined cases of complaint against the Belgian clergy. These 
sixteen cases relate to the communes of Linoe, Battice, Barchon, Hockai, Aerschot, 
Pont-Brule (Oyenbrugge), Acoz, Hougaerde, Andenne, Spontin, Bouge, Champion, 
Namur, Silenrieux, Relst and Etalle. 

The " White Book " gives no details as to the accusations made by the German 
authorities against the priests of these places save in the cases of Champion 
(App. 36 and 37), Silenrieux (App. 39 and 40), Acoz (App. 43, 44 and 45), Hou- 
gaerde (App. 47), Aerschot (App. A 5), and Andenne (p. 107 and App. B 3).§ The 
majority of the testimonies in these various appendices are based upon deductions 
and lack precision ; one-sided and interested, they have no probatory value. Only 
absolutely impartial inquiries could shed fuU light on the subject ; but the German 
Government, as we know, has always refused to carry out the proposals made to 
it on several occasions to institute international Commissions of Inquiry. 

In general terms the episcopal authorities of Belgium deny any participation 
whatever in hostihties by ecclesiastics. Refutations of the German accusations are 
to be found more especially in the pastoral letter of Christmas, 1914, of Cardinal 
Mercier, in the protests of Monseigneur Heylen and Monseigneur Rutten and in 
the extracts from the report of Abb6 van den Bergh. The various documents are 
inserted in the Second and Third Parts (Appendix) of the present volume. In his 
pastoral letter, the Archbishop of Malines makes the following statement, inter alia : 
" Wherever it has been possible, I have questioned our people, our clergy, and 
particularly a considerable number of priests who had been deported to German 
prisons, but whom a principle of humanity, to which I gladly render homage, has 
since set at liberty. Well, I affirm upon my honour, and I am prepared to assert 

* This fortnightly Review, the organ of the Central Bureau of Information of the German Cathohc 
press, IS pubhshed at Frankfort-on-the-Main, Niedenau, No. 24. 

t This Note was also published in the Rheinisch-W estf dlische Zeitung of April 3rd, 1915. 

+ Extracts from Abb6 van den Bergh 's report are published on pp. 278 and 312 of the present volume. 

§ The " White Book " also accuses the priest [der Geistliche) of Marche of having fired upon the 
German troops. 


upon oath, that so far I have not met with a single ecclesiastic, secular or regular, 
who had incited civilians to bear arms against the enemy. All have loyally followed 
the instructions of their Bishops, given in the early days of August, to the effect 
that they were to use their moral influence over the civil population, so that order 
might be preserved and military regulations respected." 

The Note of the Prussian War Office of January 22nd, 1915, further maintains 
that no German officer or soldier ever deliberately laid hands upon ecclesiastical 
property, or even upon any member of the clergy. This assertion does not figure 
in the " White Book." How, indeed, could it have been reconciled with the fact 
that 50 Belgian ecclesiastics had been massacred, and that hundreds of priests had 
been wounded, pursued and fired upon, set up against walls to be shot, ignominiously 
treated, and deported to Germany ? In face of these undeniable facts, duly attested 
by the Belgian Episcopate, the compilers of the " White Book " evidently realised 
that it was impossible to reproduce the audacious statement of the Note of 
January 22nd. 

The prefatory Note to the " White Book " formulates an accusation in general 
terms against the Belgian clergy, without any of the reservations contained in the 
Note of January 22nd, and indeed without the slightest allusion to them, declaring 
that men of every condition, workmen, manufacturers, doctors, professors, 
even ecclesiastics, and also women and children, were arrested with weapons in 
their hands (pp. 1, 2). It refrains on the other hand from making it known that after 
six months of investigation, the German Government was reduced to the abandon- 
ment of all but sixteen of its cases against members of the clergy, for this would 
have been an impficit acknowledgment of the falsity of all the other accusations. 

There is indeed legitimate ground for surprise in the fact that the authors of 
the Note of January 22nd, 1915, and the compilers of the " White Book " — ^with 
the exception of the six introductory pages — are one and the same : the Major 
Bauer and Dr. Wagner already mentioned. The text of the memorandum of 
January 22nd is reproduced below on pp. 312 and 313. 

Finally, it must be noted that the " White Book," by refraining from repeating 
the earfier accusations of the German Governments against Belgian priests, in 
which these were said to have been guilty of acts of cruelty to the wounded, recog- 
nises the falsity of the imputation contained in the Imperial telegram of September 
4th, 1914. 

With regard more especially to the massacre and arson at Louvain, the Report 
of the Mihtary Bureau of Inquiry instituted at the Prussian War Office expresses 
itself as follows concerning the attitude of the clergy : " Unhappily a certain number 
of the clergy were so misguided as to abuse their influence over the population, 
and induce the inhabitants to harbour francs-tireurs : it is proved that some of 
them even took an active part in the fighting " (p. 236). Rifleman (Musketier) 
Dreher, of the 48th Regiment, declared on December 16th, 1914, that on the morning 
of August 26th he saw over 100 civiHans, among whom were flve ecclesiastics, 
shot in front of the railway station at Louvain for having fired upon German soldiers, 
or for having been found with arms in their possession (App. D 19). The 
Landwehr soldier Westerkamp states, and the " White Book " seriously affirms, 
that, according to a Belgian who spoke to him in German, the whole catastrophe 
might have been averted had not the clergy declared from the pulpit that those 
who fired upon the German troops would be eternally blessed (App. D 37, p. 300). 
Private Griiner, a merchant by profession, even asserts in his second deposition, 
made on March 19th, 1915, that a Belgian, wearing the Order of the Red Eagle, 
had said to him : " It is impossible to struggle against the clergy, who dominate the 
people entirely " (App. D 38, p. 304). Everyone knows how little truth there 
is in this allegation. This same soldier states in his first deposition that a great 
number of the Belgians he interrogated told him the priests had represented 
resistance to Germany as a matter of faith {Olaubenssache) (p. 302), Lieutenant 
Kurt Brandt says that two ecclesiastics had been shot because they had distributed 
ammunition to civilians (App. D 48). — The Report of the Military Bureau of 
Inquiry concerning events at Dinant also declares that ecclesiastics took part in the 
armed resistance to the German troops (p. 122). — As to the " rising " at Andenne, 
the Report of the Military Bureau (p. 107) asserts, as do also Major von Polentz 
(App. B 2) and Private Roleff (App. B 3) that the signal for this was given by 
a peal of bells, which suddenly rang out from the church tower. Rolefi even declares 


he heard from German famiUes by whom he was nursed at Andenne — and who, 
we may note in passing, apparently remained unmolested in Belgium after the 
outbreak of war, like many other Germans — that the whole attack was a pre- 
arranged affair and that the clergy had given the necessary instructions ( Verhaltungs- 
massregeln) from the pulpit. We may point out that this deposition was made 
at BerUn on December 5th, 1914, that is to say, three days before the statement 
of Lieutenant-Colonel von Eulwege, given below. — At Aerschot, according to Captain 
Folz (App. A 5), two ecclesiastics at least were seized with weapons in their hands 
in the course of the searches which were made in the houses. 

These stories, unanimously and vigorously denied by Belgian witnesses, are 
again contradicted, at least as regards Louvain and Andenne, by categorical German 
declarations. Dr. Sonnenschein, of Miinchen-Gladbach, came to Louvain in the 
early days of September, 1914, in the company of two Dutchmen. The special 
object of Dr. Sonnenschein' s journey was to establish the truth as to the part 
ascribed to the Cathohc clergy by certain German newspapers. On September 10th 
the Kblnische Volkszeitung pubHshed an article signed by him containing, among 
other things, such statements as the following : "It would be unjust to implicate the 
University and clergy of Louvain. The students were away for the vacation, and 
also the majority of the professors : those who remained devoted themselves to the 
care of the wounded, German as well as Belgian. As to the priests and monks, 
far from stirring up the inhabitants, they exhorted them incessantly to be calm. 
Moreover, no weapons were found in any church, nor were shots fired from any 
church tower." There are certainly no grounds for suspecting Dr. Sonnenschein 
of excessive sympathy with or prepossessions in favour of Belgium. Was it not 
he who in a fly-sheet inserted in this same Cologne newspaper on September 5th 
falsely attributed to Monseigneur Coenraets, Vice-Rector of the University of Lou- 
vain, a confession of the guilt of the Louvain population, and permitted the repeated 
contradictions of this statement by the ecclesiastic to remain unknown to the German 
public to this day ?* This attitude on the part of Dr. Sonnenschein gives additional 
weight to his assertions concerning the University and clergy of Louvain (see 
also p. 227). But more than this, one of the principal witnesses of the sack of Louvain, 
Major von Manteuffel, in an interview of October, 1914, completely exculpated • 
the clergy of Louvain. As to the supposed share of the clergy in the " rising " 
at Andenne, Lieutenant-Colonel von Eulwege wrote as follows on December 8th, 
1914, from Namur to the ecclesiastical Association Pax : " My very careful personal 
investigations among a great variety of persons did not furnish the slightest reason 
to suppose that the parish priest of Andenne incited the population to take part in 
street fighting."f 

* * 


As has been said above, the attitude of the Belgian clergy at the time when 
the German troops invaded Belgian territory and took possession of it in August 
and September, 1914, was thoroughly elucidated by the inquiry conducted in 
Belgium by the Abbe van den Bergh. This inquiry was undertaken on behalf of 
a Viennese ecclesiastical Association, analogous to the German Bureau of Eccle- 
siastical Defence, Pax. Having had an opportunity of examining the Note mentioned 
above as drawn up by the Prussian War Office and dated January 22nd, 1915, Abbe 
van den Bergh undertook the task of examining its assertions, in spite of the 
difficulties put in his way by the German authorities. His conclusions completely 
exonerate the Belgian clergy from the charges brought against them. (See pp. 
312 to 316.) 

While proclaiming the innocence of the clergy, the conclusions of Abbe van 
den Bergh also exculpate the mass of the Belgian civil population from the charge 
of having committed hostile acts against the German troops ; the clergy and the 
population were indeed, in the majority of cases, accused at the same time and 
of the same acts by the same German witnesses, whose authority is now destroyed. 
The same conclusion emerges from the inquiries which were made by the 
German mihtary authorities at the request of the Pax Association. This Association, 

* One of the contradictions sent to the press by Monseigneur Coenraets, none of which were pubhshed 
in Germany, appeared in the issue of March 30th, 1915, of the Dutch newspaper De Tijd. The text is 
reproduced below, p. 69. 

t Dr. Bachem, editor of the Kolnische Volkszeitung, the principal German Cathohc organ, recognises, 
for his part, the utter absurdity of ail the accusations against the Belgian clergy which it had been 
possible to examine, in a study on the Religious Problem in Belgium pubhshed in the Siid-deutsche Monats- 
heft for April 1915 (p. 35). 


when it set them in motion, was no doubt actuated exclusively by sectarian motives ; 
but without its volition, and perhaps even contrary to its secret desires, these 
inquiries, which their initiators would fain have confined to the attitude of the 
clergy, had, by the force of circumstances, results, the effects of which went far 
beyond the goal in view of which they were undertaken. When the story of an 
action performed in common is disproved, all who have participated in it are involved, 
and the clergy cannot be exonerated without exculpating the laity. This conclusion 
presents itself to the mind with peculiar force when we remember that the priests 
are generally represented in the statements of German military witnesses as the 
leaders of the crowd, whose patriotic fanaticism they are supposed to have excited 
even from the pulpit. 


Violations of the Articles of the Geneva Convention 

(Red Cross). 

The " White Book " reproaches the " Belgian population " with " bestial " 
conduct to the German wounded, and contraventions of Article 1, paragraph 1, of 
the Geneva Convention of July 6th, 1906 ; they are accused more particularly of 
having fired unhesitatingly upon the German troops under cover of this emblem, 
and of having attacked ambulances containing wounded and the medical staff in 
the discharge of its duty (p. 4). At Dinant, among other places, they are said to 
have fired upon the Germans from buildings on which the Red Cross flag was flying 
(p. 122). At Louvain, the infuriated populace is said to have fired upon doctors, 
sick persons, wounded, and even an ambulance (p. 235). 

The universal propagation of such calumnies reaUy passes all bounds : the 
" White Book," in fact, incriminates " the population of Belgium," and brings 
a general accusation, as if the whole of the population, or at least a very considerable 
portion of it, had been guilty of such crimes. 

No one, of course, is in a position to deny positively that there may have been 
at some point of Belgian territory an excited person, who so far lost his senses or 
his self-control as deliberately to attack ambulances and medical attendants, though 
such actions seem really almost incredible. But the Belgian Government can 
affirm in the most categorical manner that the Belgian Commission of Inquiry has 
no more knowledge of incidents of this kind than of acts of hostility committed 
by civilians against the German troops, or acts of cruelty to the German wounded. 

The compilers of the " White Book " promulgate their accusations without the 
slightest respect for justice. Thus they have not thought it their duty to discriminate 
between accidents due to ill-directed fire, which must necessarily arise in the course 
of fighting, and the crimes which they lay to the charge of the Belgian population. 
No trace of this elementary respect for justice is to be found, at any rate, either in 
the extracts from mihtary reports and depositions which they reproduce, or in any 
one of the four general Reports of the Mihtary Bureau of Inquiry, or, finally, in 
the prefatory Note drawn up bj' the Imperial Foreign Office. 

The Belgian Government declares unhesitatingly that the articles of the Geneva 
Convention have been scrupulouslj' observed in Belgium. 

From the beginning of hostilities the Minister of the Interior was indeed careful 
to remind the population of the respect due to the wounded, and to define 
the functions of the Red Cross Society. The circular sent by M. Berryer to 
all the communal authorities in the country on August 4th, 1914, contains 
the following passage on this subject : " The inhabitants will be performing a 
patriotic and humanitarian duty by giving succour to the wounded during and 
after battle as far as possible. The communal authorities will make every effort 
to organise such assistance in concert with the doctors and assistants of the Red 
Cross Society. No opposition must be offered to the use of pubhc buildings as 


hospitals, when this is necessary. The buildings occupied by the wounded must 
be respected by all combatants, but the abuse of the insignia of the Red Cross is 
strictly forbidden. These insignia consist of a red cross on a white flag or armlet."* 

Thousands of German soldiers have been tended in Belgian hospitals and private 
houses with all the sohcitude and respect evoked in kindly hearts by the spectacle 
of human suffering. The letter of the German army chaplain, Dr. Christ, to the 
Kolnische Volkszeitung, an extract from which we have reproduced above (p. 51), 
bears witness to this ; the same may be said of the testimony of Oberstabsarzt 
(Staff Surgeon) Miiller, also reproduced above (p. 51). Professor Korte of Berhn 
and other German doctors confirm their statements. Staff-Surgeon Major Professor 
Stuertz, on August 31, 1914, even offered the thanks of the German Government 
to the members of the Belgian Red Cross Society for "the devoted care they 
bestowed on all the wounded brought into the capital." Indeed, the fact is so Wei! 
known that it is almost superfluous to mention it. 

The compilers of the " White Book " probably feared to attenuate the probatory 
force of their arguments by paying homage to truth on this point, after having 
denounced the " bestial conduct of the Belgian population." German official 
writers refrained from any such tribute, though the opportunity of manifesting 
some sHght sense of justice offered itseff to them here quite naturally. 

The German Government has, indeed, never maintained that it was because 
German soldiers did not receive necessary care in Belgian hospitals that they ceased 
to entrust their Abounded to these charitable institutions, save in a few cases, and 
that they removed those who were under treatment in them as early as the end of 
September, 1914. May we not conclude that the reason for this behaviour, the result 
of which was to deprive the German wounded, although so numerous, of the succour 
offered them with so much goodwill and devotion, was that the German Government 
feared to be embarrassed by the protests of its own soldiers in the campaign of 
calumny it had undertaken in order to justify the crime of having put whole regions 
of Belgium to fire and sword ? Getting the better of their early prejudices, the 
majority of the German wounded did not fail, in fact, to express the warmest gratitude 
for the care bestowed on them in Belgian hospitals. Some of them, when transferred 
to German hospitals, installed in Belgium by the German authorities, even com- 
plained that they were less kindly treated in these than in- the Belgian hospitals; 
others, before they left, deputed one of their number to express their gratitude 
to the Belgian staff in a farewell speech. f A great many of the wounded did not 
conceal their aversion to the young German military doctors, often brutal and ignorant 
men, whose arrogant behaviour to the doctors and staff of the Belgian hospitals 
frequently roused their indignation. It is only right, however, to acknowledge that 
the medical corps of the German army, which comprised various distinguished 
representatives of the medical profession, contained men with a lofty conception of 
their duties, who, as a general rule, behaved correctly.^ 

Gradually, as the Belgian hospitals closed for lack of wounded to tend, and 
as orders were given to remove the tutelary sign of the Red Cross from the buildings 
which had sheltered them, a staff of German orderlies and nurses arrived from 
Germany, while the military authorities requisitioned the stores and appliances 
of many Belgian hospitals. At the same time several German newspapers hinted 
that nothing, or practically nothing, had been done in Belgium for the rehef of 
wounded soldiers. § 

* See the complete text of the circular, p. 289 of the present volume. 

t See the work of J. Massart, Professor of Brussels University, entitled Comment les Beiges resisteni 
a la domination allemande, p. 121-124 (Payot & Co., Paris, 1916). 

J In a letter dated December 19th, 1916, the Belgian army doctor, Watry, in particular writes : 
" If we had reason to complain of exactions and insolence, often of a revolting nature, on the part of 
members of the German medical staffs who succeeded each other at the hospital of Antwerp, I am bound 
to say that this complaint does not apply in any way to the naval doctors under whose orders we were 
during the first two months." 

§The pubhcation, Kriegsarztliche Vortrdge (Army Medical Lectures, Gustav Fischer, Jena, 1915), 
having reproduced a lecture given at Berhn by Dr. Mamlock, under the title Die Deutsche Medizinai 
Verwaltung m Belgien (German Medical Administration in Belgium), Dr. Depage, Professor at the 
Brussels University, and Chief Medical Officer of the Belgian Army, dealt with certain allegations contained 
in this lecture in a letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. As this letter confirms and formulates 
a certain number of the opinions put forward above, the text of the protest made by Dr. Depage, one 
of che most distinguished of our Belgian surgeons, has been inserted on pp. 298 et seq. of the present 


A few articles praising the Belgian doctors and recognising the services rendered 
to the German wounded by the Belgian Red Cross appeared, however, in the press 
of the Empire.* Only a complete misconception of the mentality of German official 
writers could lead one to expect equal honesty on their part ; the " White Book " 
confines itself to invective. Is it not designed to impress the minds of nations who 
are taking no part in the confhct, and to fill them with indignation against the 
Belgian murderers and mutilators of the wounded ? 

As to the respect shown bj' the German troops to the articles of the Geneva 
Convention, the Belgian Commission of Inquiry has recorded a number of incidents, 
some of which are noted below. 

On Wednesday, August 12th, 1914, after the fighting at Haelen, German 
infantrymen finished off Major van Damme, who was lying face downwards, severely 
wounded, by firing a revolver into his mouth. 

On August 9th, at Orsmael, the Germans picked up Major Knapen, who was 
seriously wounded ; they set him up against a tree and fired at him till he was dead ; 
they then slashed his corpse with a sword. 

At various places, notably at HoUogne-sur-Geer, at Barchon, at Pontisse, at 
Haelen and at Zelk, the German troops fired on doctors, ambulance orderUes, field 
hospitals and ambulance vehicles. 

On August 16th French soldiers who had been wounded the day before at 
Dinant, were found with their heads battered in by the butt-ends of rifles. 

On August 18th, 26 Belgian wounded and prisoners were shot at Aerschot. 

On August 23rd, at Namur, German soldiers, after bringing out the German 
wounded, killed four wounded soldiers (two Frenchmen and two Belgians), who had 
been treated in Dr. Bribosia's nursing home, transformed into a hospital ; they 
then set fire to the building. 

On August 25th, in the course of the afternoon, a nurse who was tending the 
wounded at Eppeghem, saw a German soldier finish off a Belgian soldier, who was 
sHghtly wounded in the face, by striking him on the head with the butt-end of his 

On August 16th, 1914, on the road between Ttrlemont and Hannut, a group of 
stretcher-bearers was attacked by the Germans and fired upon. There were no 
combatants among them, and no mistake was possible. 

On August 19th ambulance orderHes, wearing clerical costume and the Red 
Cross armlet, were fired upon by German troops at Aerschot as they were picking 

* With regard more especially to the Belgicin Red Cross Society, we may call attention to a commu- 
nication from Professor Dr. Bickel, entitled On a Belgian Battlefield, which appeared in the Berliner 
Tageblatt of September 24, 1914. This communication contains the following passages :■ — " The 
wounded were taken to a large school belonging to the Ursuhne nuns. The Sisters, among whom there 
were a few Germans, tended the wounded with devotion. The great majority of these wounded were 
German officers and soldiers ; this time, however, we had also to give medical aid to a considerable 
number of Belgians. As soon as their wounds were dressed, when they were in a condition to bear 
transport, the sufferers were taken directly to the mihtary hospitals of Brussels by the large motor 
ambulances of the Belgian Red Cross Society ; these hospitals are placed under German administration 
and have a staff of German doctors. Thus everything is reaUy perfectly (vorzuglich) organised for the 
care of the wounded ; the proximity of Brussels with its great resources and its ambulances f acihtates the 
medical service most wonderfully. . . . The extreme density of the population of Belgium, where towns 
and villages succeed each other almost uninterruptedly on the main highways, and where farms are 
scattered everywhere over the meadow lands, as well as the existence in the rural districts of a large 
number of schools imder the direction of nims, which are now without exception transformed into 
hospitals, make it possible to transport the wounded (to their great advantage) rapidly from the battle- 
field to permanent buildings, where they are very comfortable {wo sie gut aufgehoben sind). There are, 
further, such a superabundance of ambulances estabhshed here ad hoc, that all that is required to work 
them is the despatch of a sufficient medical staff. Thus our field ambulance colurmis are not under 
the necessity of undertaking the task of adapting houses (always a somewhat complicated business), 
in order to have temporary hospitals ready for use. The more mobile formations, such as the ambu- 
lance corps, are those more especially suited to conditions in the Belgian theatre of war ; when they are 
supplemented by a park of motor ambulances, like that placed at our disposal in such an exemplary 
manner {in vorbildlicher Weise) by the Belgian Red Cross Society, they constitute an organisation as 
perfectly adapted to their purposeas can be imagined." The Vossische Zeitung of September 20th, 1914, 
moreover, publishes an article with the signature of Staff -Colonel Professor Dr. Lennhof , entitled Germany 
in Belgium, in which the following sentence occurs inter alia : " Coming to our help, the Belgian Red 
Cross Society placed its motor ambulances at our disposal, after battles, and very often itself undertook 
the transport {Unterbringung) of the wounded to hospital." 


up the wounded, although they showed their badges. One of them was subsequently 
ill-treated all day in the hospital while he was tending the wounded. 

On the same day at Lovenjoul, the Germans tore off the armlets of three 
ambulance orderlies., whom they arrested, struck, and abused. When they were 
finally released and were carrying away a wounded man, they were obUged to set 
down the stretcher seven times, because the Germans were training machine guns 
upon them. One of the orderlies was wounded in the thigh by a bullet. 

On August 23rd, 1914, on leaving the village of Bioul, near Namur, the Belgian 
ambulance column, under the orders of Senior Surgeon Petit, was attacked by 
the enemy and came under heavy fire. Dr. Petit was wounded and also an assistant 
surgeon, named Snouck. The orderlies were dispersed. 

On August 26th, about 3 o'clock, on the road between Werchter and Haecht, 
a motor-car with the Red Cross flag, which was conveying three wounded men, 
was attacked by the Germans ; a number of shots were fired. A bullet went through 
the body of the car and pierced the legs of two of the wounded men inside. 

The hospitals of Heyst-op-den Berg and Malines were not respected by the 
German troops who bombarded these places, though the Red Cross flag was flown 
conspicuously on the buildings. 

On September 27th the Germans, in defiance of Article 14 of the Geneva 
Convention, captured an ambulance vehicle, after killing the two horses and wounding 
a stretcher-bearer whom they took prisoner. 

They had already captured a hospital section of the 2nd Army Division at 
Haelen, and at Liege they held up two hospital trains.* Statements as to the treat- 
ment inflicted on Belgian mihtary doctors at the beginning of the war are to be 
found in the Second Belgian Grey Book, Documents 92 to 97. 

Among the irregularities of a less serious character frequently committed by 
German officers, we may note the temporary use of motor-cars (which had not been 
requisitioned by the Belgian authorities because they had been placed at the disposal 
of the Red Cross Society), for services of a purely mihtary character, such as the 
transport of officers or of mihtary messages to places at a distance. One car of 
the kind, forcibly diverted from the work for which it was intended, was never 
returned, an officer who had taken a fancy to it having appropriated it ; after a week 
of persistent requests for its restoration, another car of no value and in very bad 
repair was given in exchange (see The Germans at Louvain, by Herve de Gruben, 
p. 131).t 

The army doctor Watry further writes, on December 19th, 1915 : " One of 
the first acts of the German authorities at Antwerp was to carry off from the hospital 
and send to a destination unknown to me, nearly the whole stock of instruments 
in the hospital. Theoretically, the Geneva Convention authorises the requisitioning 
of surgical apphances in hospitals. But in practice this procedure was incorrect, 
I might almost say inhuman, for it disregarded the exigencies of the treatment of 
the wounded, which was thus rendered very difficult for several days. We under- 
stood the trick of legerdemain practised upon us when we saw a new stock of apphances 
arriving at the hospital, requisitioned at the expense of the town for the needs of 
the hospital, which was bare of everything of the sort (for a very good reason !). 

" Among the apphances taken from the hospital there were instruments which 
were the private property of Dr. Chevaher van Havre and of myself. Our assertions 
to this effect failed to convince our gentlemen of our ownership, and the said 
instruments were considered part of the hospital equipment." 

At the begmning of the war it was necessary to make certain German officers 
understand that the ambulances installed by the Belgian Red Cross Society, whose 
statutes merely confirm the fundamental and uniform principles of the international 
Red Cross Society, are in virtue of this under the safeguard of the Red Cross flag, 
and have the same right to the respect and protection of all beUigerents as the 
German Red Cross estabhshments. 

Most 01 the incidents described above are contained in the 7th Report of the Belgian Commission 
of Inqmry into the violation of the rules of international law and the laws and usages of war. 

t This evidence was confirmed before the Commission of Inquiry by Monseigneur Deploige, President 
of the Institut Leon XIII. at Louvain. 


A report bj- Father Goovaerts, the Superior of the Monastery of the Sacre- 
CcBur at Aerschot, who lived in the town from the moment when the German troops 
entered it until the day when he was carried off to prison in Germany, together 
with twenty-one other priests and monks, paints in particularly vivid colours the 
mentality of certain German officers with regard to the respect due to Red Cross 

On August 19th, in the morning, German troops entered the monastery, which 
had been converted into a hospital, duly registered under the fegis of the Belgian 
Red Cross Society. Some Belgian wounded were there. Although the main door 
over which the flag of the Geneva Convention was flying stood open, the German 
soldiers broke in the lateral doors with hatchets. They invaded the wards with 
fixed bayonets, preceded by officers, revolver in hand, on the pretext that Belgian 
officers and soldiers were concealed there. They ordered the bandages of the 
wounded to be removed, and themselves tore them off, saying openly : " We care 
nothing for the Belgian Red Cross Society." 

The staff of the hospital, priests, friars and laymen, with certain civilians 
arrested outside, were ranged along the fagade to be shot. The order, however, 
was not carried out, though some bullets fired in the direction of the hospital killed 
three civilians. The hospital staff succeeded in escaping, while the soldiers took 
possession of the building, and fired their rifies at random ; flying through the 
streets of the town under a lively fire, they took refuge in the civil hospital. 

In the evening the attendants returned to their posts in the monastery, where 
a large number of civihan victims were placed under their care ; these were visited 
regularly by a German doctor, whose conduct was all that could be desired. 

On the 22nd or 23rd of August a new and very numerous troop of German 
soldiers was billeted in the monastery, in spite of the Father Superior's protests. 
The officers indulged in an orgy. Hundreds of empty bottles were found in the 
corridor. Further on, the witness says that the German officers quartered in the 
monastery made use of the house as an observation-post. The jjriests who had 
been carried off to Germany were sent back to Belgium on December 20th. On 
the 19th German passports were given to them, but the authorities refused to return 
their papers, notably those which set forth their status as Red Cross officials.* 

The small respect of the German authorities for the letter and spirit of the Geneva 
Convention has found its latest and most flagrant manifestation in the dissolution, 
pronounced on April 14th, 1915, of the managing committee of the Belgian Red 
Cross Society, and the sequestration of the property and archives of the association. 
This arbitrary act was the subject of a vigorous protest addressed to the presidents 
and members of the various national Red Cross Committees, by the international 
Committee of Geneva on May 8th. This committee took the initiative in submitting 
its protest to the whole world in virtue of its mandate and the moral authority 
accorded to it. The International Committee of Geneva, as guardian of the traditions 
and principles which have made the union and the strength of the Red Cross Society, 
considered the decision of the German Governor-General of occupied Belgium a 
measure calculated to injure the work of the Red Cross Society and interfere with 
its normal and regular action. 

Did the German Government take measures to instruct its soldiers concerning 
the spirit of the Geneva Convention, as enjoined by Article 26 ? We may well ask 
this question. How many German wounded, when brought into Belgian hospitals, 
behaved in a surly and suspicious fashion during the first days after their arrival, 
some even refusing obstinately to lay aside their arms ? This happened so often 
that we must suppose a great number of German soldiers had no idea of the pro- 
tection ensured to the wounded by the emblem of the Red Cross. There is no other 
possible explanation of their conduct, unless we assume that they were systematically 
misled by their superiors as to the sentiments of the Belgian population towards 
wounded soldiers. If this last hypothesis be the true one, the use made by the 
German officers of their authority over their subordinates would be in direct contra- 
diction to the views which inspired the founders of the Red Cross Society. 

* Father Goovaerts' complete report is given on p. 121. 


Tlius by a variety of incidents the mentality of those who do not hesitate to 
accuse the Belgian population — without any reservation whatever — of having failed 
to respect the tutelary insignia of the wounded, stands revealed. 

We find, therefore, that there are very numerous causes of complaint against 
the German authorities and troops in Belgium with regard to infringements of the 
Geneva Convention. Nevertheless it must be admitted that extenuating circum- 
stances must in justice be conceded in respect of certain of the charges, even though 
these charges be based upon authentic incidents. Many acts of violence and ill-will 
were indubitably committed, but some of these may have been provoked by the 
frenzy of battle and the riot of passions which is its inevitable accompaniment. 
On the other hand, fatal mistakes were certainly made. Hence the Belgian 
Government does not assert that the German army as a whole and on every occasion 
was guilty of violating the Geneva Convention. The King's Government— though 
it is the victim and not the aggressor, though its righteous anger might perhaps 
excuse its derogation from the serenity that is certainly an easier matter to the 
assailant, the responsible author of the calamity that has fallen upon the land — will 
not commit this injustice. It cannot, however, forget that the German Government 
has incriminated the " Belgian population " without reservation or restriction, 
and has sought to draw down the animadversions of the world on the entire nation 
by means of an accusation formulated in general terms. 



Accusations against the Belgian Commission of Inquiry. 

The " White Book " declares that the narratives of fugitives collected by the 
Belgian Commission of Inquiry bear tlxe stamp of improbability, not to say of a 
malicious perversion of fact, that, moreover, the Commission is incapable, by reason 
of circumstances, of verifying the truth of the rumours that reach it or of appreciating 
the correlation of events. Its conclusion is given in these words : " For these reasons 
its accusations against the German army are nothing but base calumnies " (pp. 5, 6). 

What foundation is there for these assertions ? It is true, as we have already 
stated, that the Belgian Government has been unable to hold inquiries on the spot 
save in a few places ; but whereas it has repeatedly proposed to entrust this under- 
taking to an international commission, the German Government has met the 
suggestion not only with a formal refusal, but with an obstinate silence, which has 
reHeved it of the difficult, if not impossible, task of justifying its attitude. If the 
Imperial Government is really persuaded that the accusations brought by the 
Belgian Commission against the German army are merely " base calumnies," why 
should it reject the means of bringing the truth to light ? Why should it have 
allowed the world to give credence to " rumours " which it could so easily have 
discredited, had they been false — ^for at the beginning of the war no one, least of 
all perhaps anyone in Belgium, save those who had witnessed the facts in question, 
would have accepted them as true ? If, then, the Belgian Commission has been unable 
to verify the stories told by fugitives on the spot it is because the German Government, 
for reasons it has not disclosed, has prevented it from so doing. 

However, this local verification, which it would have been so desirable to carry 
out at once, and which will, in fact, be carried out after the liberation of the, soil, 
with all necessary guarantees of impartiality, was not absolutely indispensable ; 
thanks to the multiplicity of witnesses, a number of incidents have been reconstituted 
with such precision that the data of the accusations formulated by the Commission 
of Inquiry cannot be questioned. A great many of the depositions held over by 
the Commission will be verified as soon as possible. The result of such investigation 
will very probably be an acknowledgment that if the Belgian Commission deserves 
any sort of criticism, it might be charged with having erred through an excess of 

The statements of the Commission are, indeed, supported by hundreds of 
witnesses belonging to every class of society : priests, magistrates, university 
professors, officials, manufacturers, tradesmen, workmen, and soldiers of every 
rank, have come from every corner of the country to Brussels, Antwerp, Ostend, 
Havre, to bear testimony. They signed their depositions and accept full responsi- 
bihty therefor. These depositions, which agree, though there was no possibility 
of preconcerted action, form an important dossier. They wiU be published when 
the German occupation is at an end, and the witnesses and their families, who have 
remained in the country, have nothing more to fear from German vengeance. 

The conclusions of the Committee derive special force from the observations 
made on the spot in August and September, 1914, by some of its members in the 
parts of the country not at the time occupied by the Germans, as well as from the 
reports addressed to it at this period by the judicial and administrative authorities. 
The diaries found upon German officers and soldiers killed or captured also 
contribute largely to the confirmation of certain statements made by the Belgian 
Commission. The same may be said of declarations made by German prisoners 
interrogated in France (see p. 169). 

The statements of the Belgian Commission are, moreover, confirmed by the 
inquiries held in England and France. Convincing proof of this will be furnished 
by a comparison with the conclusions of the Commission appointed by the British 
Government under the presidency of Lord Bryce, and with the documents published 
as appendices to the report of this Commission. The Commission appointed by 
the French Government has also recorded a considerable number of incidents 
analogous to those which took place in Belgium. This perfect concordance reveals 


the existence of a veritable system, and forbids us to consider the deeds of violence 
committed by the German troops as fatalities rendered inevitable by war, however 
perfect the discipline of an army may be. 

Finally, the conclusions of the Belgian Commission are m complete accord 
with the spontaneous declarations of witnesses belonging to neutral States. The 
deposition of M. Grondijs, formerly professor at the Technical Institute at 
Dordrecht, a Dutch subject, to take but one witness, contradicts and annihilates 
the German -version of events at Louvain. This deposition is reproduced on 

p. 253 of the present volume. ,,^,. ,,;r ■ tji -r- i. 

Cardinal Mercier, Archbishop of Mahnes, and Monseigneur Heylen, Bishop 
of Namur, have been able to note the extent of the ravages caused by the German 
invasion in their dioceses, and determine their causes. M. TschofEen, Pubhc 
Prosecutor at Dinant, has done the same in his district.* Their statements, which 
no one will question, differ in no respect from those of the Commission of Inquiry. 

The reproach addressed by the " White Book " to the Commission of Inquiry of 
having sanctioned base calumnies is a gratuitous insult ; the Belgian Government 
is not alone in this opinion. What, we may ask, was the procedure adopted by the 
German investigators to estabUsh truth, and give them the right to deny all value 
to the statements of the Belgian Commission ? 

Whereas the Belgian Government entrusted the task of inquiry to a Civil 
Commission, the German " White Book " rehes, not mainly— which would have 
been excusable, taking into account the object of its pubUcation — but almost 
exclusively upon data collected by the miUtary authorities, or emanating from 
miUtary sources. Setting aside the Prefatory Note composed in the Imperial 
Foreign Office, the " White Book " contains only the four general Reports upon 
occurrences at Aerschot, Andenne, Dinant, and Louvain, drawn up by the Mihtary 
Bureau of Inquiry instituted at the Prussian War Office, extracts from field-diaries, 
reports {Meldungen) by officers, and depositions of officers and soldiers. These 
depositions, with few exceptions,! were made before war-tribunals, before military 
men generally of a higher rank than the witnesses, or before the Military Bureau 
of Inquiry at Berhn itself. The depositions of soldiers should not, certainly, have 
been excluded ; but the authors of the abuses of power or the terrible mistakes 
committed in Belgium have really too great an interest in representing themselves 
as victims of the attacks of the population, for us to accept their one-sided statements 
as impartial. The amount of credit due to them is further diminished when we 
consider the conditions under which a large number of them were received. As 
to the Note issued by the Foreign Office itself, which occupies but six pages out 
of the 328 of which the " White Book " is composed, it is obvious that the con- 
siderations of international law formulated therein, as well as the deductions drawn 
from these considerations, notably on pages 2 and 3, do not emanate from the chiefs 
of the army of invasion ; J on the other hand, the account there given of the incidents 
actually witnessed in Belgium are based exclusively, it would seem, on mihtary 
reports. At any rate, there is no suggestion that officials of the German civil 
administration, who abound in the occupied country, were called upon to test the 
truth of the audacious and improbable assertions contained in the 212 appendices 
of the " White Book."§ 

* The above lines were written before the Belgian Government was aware of the refutationi made 
by the Bishops of Namur and Liege in reply to the allegations of the " White Book " as to occurrences 
in their dioceses. 

t Only twelve depositions were made in civil jurisdictions, all in Germany ; they are embodied in 
App. 49 (5 depositions), 50, 64, 56, 65, D 35 and 36 (2 depositions). With the exception of the last 
two, they were all made by soldiers in hospital. 

J See on this point pp. 7 et seq., of the present volume. 

§ According to certain information received, two official Commissions, one civil, the other miUtary, 
were appointed in the autumn of 1914 in Germany, in enquire into the alleged acts of cruelty committed 
by belligerents. Although they acted independently, they are said to have arrived at identical con- 
clusions. The Civil Commission in particular is said to have declared that there was no proof of the 
allegation that Belgian women had put out the eyes of the wounded, and that, generally speaking, acts 
of cruelty had been grossly exaggerated. Whatever may be said as to the accuracy of this information, 
it is obvious that in formulating the accusations of cruelty against the Belgian population set forth 
on p. 4, the authors of the Prefatory Note of the " White Book " relied exclusively upon military sources 
of information. 


It may even be observed that of the only two German civihans called upon to 
give evidence — or at least the only ones whose depositions are given in the " White 
Book " — one, Herr Sittart, a member of the Reichstag domiciled at Aix-la-Chapelle, 
appeared on November 14th, 1914, before the garrison command (Garnison-Kommando) 
of that town, where he was interrogated by a councillor of the tribunal of war, 
assisted by a miUtary clerk of the court (App. D 30), and that the other, Herr 
Bloch, made his deposition on December 14th, 1914, at Brussels, before the tribunal 
of the Governor-Generalship of Belgium, also composed of a military councillor and 
a military clerk (App. 51). 

The German military authorities caused inquiries to be held among the 
inhabitants in a great many places. It is easy to form an idea of the value of the 
depositions taken down under such conditions : in this one-sided inquiry was the 
protocol drafted with all necessary guarantees of impartiahty ? Were the Walloon 
and Flemish witnesses always perfectly understood by their German interrogators ? 
Were they allowed to speak freely ? May they not have been anxious to say nothing 
which would be displeasing for fear of reprisals ? And even so it may be affirmed 
that these necessarily partial inquiries did not come up to the expectations of those 
who prescribed them ; the " White Book," indeed, mentions only one enquiry 
of this kind, that entrusted to a young officer, Sub-Lieutenant Gotze, at Andenne 
(App. B. 4). The " White Book " refrains, save in three instances, from reproducing 
any of the depositions taken down in the course of such inquiries, or independently 
of them. The three depositions admitted are to be found in App. 51 — a dual 
deposition by the German Bloch and his Belgian servant, Brontine, relating to the 
same incident — and App. D 31 — a deposition by Dr. Lemaire of Louvain University, 
of Belgian nationahty. The absence of the evidence of civihans from the " White 
Book " is the more significant, seeing that a great many German subjects remained 
in Belgium throughout the war.* 

It is certain that no judicial authority in the world would recognise any probatory 
force in the inquiry held at Andenne (App. B 4). The eleven inhabitants of 
the town convoked by M. de Jaer (acting as the Burgomaster's substitute) in 
obedience to the orders of Sub -Lieutenant G5tze, were nearly all evidently anxious 
to plead ignorance, the majority declaring that they took refuge in their cellars 
during the terrible days, and saw nothing of the events that occurred. It would 
be unjust to reproach them for their attitude. What guarantee, moreover, does the 
summary of their depositions drawn up by the German officer afford ? There does 
not even seem to have been any textual transcription of these depositions, a 
precaution the more necessary as the investigating officer and the witnesses did 
not speak the same language. 

The report of the officer deputed by the miUtary Governor of the province 
of Namur to collect information on the subject of the massacres at Andenne, admits 
without any circumlocution that 196 inhabitants of the town were imdoubtedly 
shot, whereas 28 must be considered simply to have disappeared ; the list of victims 
drawn up by the communal authorities consists of 234 names. Three hnes of a report, 
which contains 78, record this appaUing carnage ; there is no further allusion to 
it. Gotze hardly pauses to elucidate the circumstances which led to the executions. 
He merely reports that aU the deputy Burgomaster knows is, that on August 20th, at 
7 o'clock in the evening, when the German troops were preparing to cross the 
bridge on their way to Seilles, a murderous fire was opened upon their ranks ; M. de 
Jaer does not state whence this fire came, nor whether those who fired were soldiers 
or civihans. The witness Debrun states that when he was in his garden at 7 o'clock 
in the evening of August 20th, an aeroplane appeared at a great height, afid the 
German troops at once began to fire at it. All of a sudden, he reports, fire was 
opened from every side in the town. The German military reports say nothing of 
the appearance of this aeroplane. May we not reasonably ask whether one of the 
various bodies of troops in Andenne at this date did not take the fire directed against 

* Among these Germans, Herr Bloch, mentioned above, declares that he only left Brussels on 
August 20th, 1914, at 6 a.m., that is to say a few hours before the entry of the German troops into the 
Belgian capital (App, 51). He returned, no doubt, shortly afterwards, for he seems to have left of 
his own free-will, and in his deposition made in Brussels, December 14th, 1914, he does not complain 
of having been molested by the Belgian population before his departure. The private soldier, Roleff, 
was nursed at Andenne by German famihes living in the town (App, B 3). 



the aeroplane to be an attack on the part of the inhabitants ? The latter declare 
unanimously that none of them committed any acts of hostiUty. On the other 
hand, may not the soldiers have imagined (taking into account their state of nervous 
tension), that the bullets which were fired at the aviator, and fell back on the 
ground, came from rifles fired in the houses ? The schoolmaster BeUn is said to have 
declared that it was beheved at Andenne that a Belgian deserter in civiUan costume 
had fired upon the German troops; another deserter, also in cmhan costume, 
accompanied him; both were strangers in the town. Finally M. Cartiaux, the 
parish priest, states that in the month of September, 1914, three suspicious characters 
were arrested. These statements are the only elucidations offered by the Gotze 
inquiry as to the determining causes of the massacre at Andenne, which cost several 
hundreds of civiUans their lives. And, moreover, the report makes no reference to 
Major von Polentz' hundred scalded soldiers (Cf. p. 107 and App. 2). 

On the other hand, the Sub-Lieutenant discusses at some length the question 
whether a young boy was really shot because a cartridge was found upon him; 
he contests the statement that another doctor was shot in addition to Dr. Camus, 
Burgomaster of Andenne, an elderly man of sixty-four ; he denies that seven persons 
of the same family were killed by German bullets, as was reported ; the individuals 
in question really belonged to two famihes, those of the brothers Davin ; _ he notes 
how it was generally recognised in Andenne that unconfirmed rumours were circulating 
in the town, among others that according to which certain inhabitants were put 
to death with hatchets. The report further certifies that only 37 houses out of 1,900 
in the town were destroyed, although many houses were damaged by rifle fire in 
the course of the street fighting, without, however, any very serious loss to the 
owners. The Sub-Lieutenant allows that " a great many windows were broken 
when the cannon was fired on the Place du Marche." The report concludes with 
these words, which emphasise its futihty : "According to the schoolmaster Belin 
the population of Andenne is very silly, which would account for the incredible 
rumours that obtained in the town."* 

The Andenne inquiry was a mere parody. And yet the report of this inquiry 
is the only one of the kind that the compilers of the " White Book " ventured to 
insert ! 

It is important to note in this connection that according to the statement of 
the parish priest Cartiaux, a military inquiry had already been opened at Andenne 
in September, 1914 ; there is no further mention of this first inquiry elsewhere in 
the " White Book." It may fairly be assumed that the military authorities only 
ordered the second inquiry to save their faces ; for when the matter in question was 
the elucidation of one of the most awful tragedies of the war, they deemed it adequate 
to send to Andenne a young Sub-Lieutenant, who does not even seem to have enjoyed 
the help of a clerk, and who, at the beginning of his report, bears witness at once 
to his lack of conscience and his prejudice by speaking of the " pretended " war 
atrocities at Andenne. The " White Book " does not state the profession practised 
by Gotze in civil life, as it does in the case of all officers of the Reserve ; we may 
therefore conclude that this sub-lieuteneant is a professional soldier. The investi- 
gator sent to Andenne was therefore most probably a very young man, as we must 
suppose from his rank, and one entirely lacking in judicial experience. 

As we have noted above, only two depositions by Belgian civilians have been 
reproduced integrally — as far as we can judge — ^in the " White Book." They are 
the depositions of Dr. Albert Lemaire, Professor of the University of Louvain, on 
the one hand, and of M. Brontine of Brussels, the servant of Herr Bloch, a German 
subject, on the other. M. Lemaire's evidence is, as a fact, an overwhelming indict- 
ment of the Germans. The professor declares that he saw no civilians firing from the 
houses or in the streets ; he further declares that all the houses of doctors and 
professors in the Rue Leopold were burnt (App. D 31).t M. Brontine, confirming 
his master's deposition, declares that on August 19th, 1914, a police superintendent 
refused to receive the revolver which the witness came to hand over, on the ground 
that " one must not believe everything the papers say." The German authorities 

* It appears from the inquiry of Monseigneur Heylen, Bishop of Namur, that M. Belin formally 
denies having expressed tliis opinion. (See p. 337). 

t This deposition is no doubt inserted in the " White Book " because Dr. Lemaire declares that 
the soldiers who were quartered jtj his house in the afternoon of August 25th behaved properly. 


know perfectly well that in consequence of the notice published by M. Max, Burgo- 
master of Brussels, on August 12th, 1914 (see p. 11), a considerable number of 
weapons were given up to the police. The reply of the superintendent in question, 
always supposing that it was accurately reported and interpreted, carniot invaUdate 
this incontestable fact, nor serve to support the suggestion in aid of which it is 
apparently invoked, namely, that the poUce had received no instructions on this 
head, and that the appeal addressed to the population by M. Max and the other 
burgomasters of the communes in the district of Brussels was merely formal (App. 51). 

Among the other witnesses whose evidence was taken by the German authorities 
in Belgium we must mention Father Parijs, Sub-Prior of the Dominicans, and 
Monseigneur Ladeuze, Rector of the University of Louvain. The " White Book " 
does not reproduce their depositions : the mere fact of the omission of statements 
emanating from personages so eminently quahfied by their office and functions 
to throw light on events shows most manifestly that the " White Book " is a very 
incomplete dossier. On November 30th, 1914, Father Parijs sent the following 
open letter to the editor of La Flandre Libdrale, on the subject of the deposition 
he had made before the German authorities : — 

" On one of the early days of October La Flandre Liherale communicated to its 
readers a letter from Herr J. Partsch, a Professor at Freiburg, recounting in his 
own manner the unhappy events which took place at Louvain on August 25th, 26th 
and 27th, In a parenthesis he invokes the testimony of the Dominicans of Louvain 
in support of assertions which we consider absolutely inaccurate. Like certain 
other gentlemen, he tries to make out that the Dominicans declared that civilians had 
fired upon the German troops, and had thus provoked the terrible reprisals from 
which the town had suffered. 

" As I alone among the Dominicans was actively and consecutively concerned 
in the events of the days mentioned above, I think it my duty to offer a formal 
contradiction to Herr J, Partsch, and to inform the public that neither I nor any 
other Dominican of Louvain can be quoted as a witness to the fact that civilians 
fired upon the German soldiers. Moreover, we do not beUeve that anything of the 
sort happened. / 'personally declared on oath, before the German examining magistrate, 
that I never saw any inhabitant of Louvain firing on the soldiers, and that I have 
no proof whatever of such an occurrence. All the Dominicans of Louvain are of 
the same opinion as myself, and are ready to give evidence. 

" I shall be greatly obliged to you. Sir, if you will kindly communicate this 
letter to the readers of La Flandre Liberate, and thus help us to undeceive those 
who have been led by certain newspapers to believe, contrary to fact, that the 
Dominicans declared that the civilians of Louvain had fired upon the soldiers." 

The " White Book," moreover, does not confine itself to suppression of the 
deposition of Belgian witnesses, whatever their competence and authority ; it goes 
so far as to rely (App. D 30), without mentioning the categoric contradictions that 
had been given to them, on the alleged statements of a Belgian witness, Monseigneur 
Coenraets, Vice-Rector of the University of Louvain, to the effect that shots were 
fired upon the German soldiers who accompanied him when he had just finished 
reading a proclamation to the people in the streets of Louvain. This speech was 
also ascribed to Monseigneur Coenraets by Dr. Sonnenschein, who reproduced it 
in an article from Louvain in the Kolnische Volkszeitung of September 5th, 1914. 
Monseigneur Coenraets hastened to repudiate the words attributed to him, but 
the German newspapers refused to insert his letters of protest. The following is 
the text of the letter addressed by Monseigneur Coenraets to the Dutch newspaper, 
De Tijd, and published in that journal on March 30th, 1915 : — 

" I never made any communication to the Eheinische Westfdlische Zeitung, 
I was never asked to do so, I was never interviewed by any reporter of that paper, 
and it is unnecessary to say that I never stated what this journal dares to ascribe 
to me. A few months ago some other papers published news of the same description. 
I caused the following contradiction to be inserted in the Dutch and Belgian papers : 
' Your issue of September 7th might give rise to the mistaken belief that, according 
to my evidence, the citizens of Louvain fired on the German soldiers. Kindly note 
that I herewith declare, openly and emphatically, that I have no idea where the 
few shots I heard in the distance came from, and that they were certainly not aimed 
at the German soldiers who were accompanying me. I know nothing whatever of 
any inhabitant of Louvain having fired.' " 

The almost total absence in the " White Book " of the depositions of Belgian 
or neutral witnesses is the more striking inasmuch as the German Governmeni; 


fully realised the future value of opinions expressed by persons taking no part in 
the conflict. Thus in the " ^Vhite Book " we find certain statements by Belgian 
witnesses indirectly reported by German officers and soldiers in their depositions. 

At Aerschot, for instance, Captain Karge (App. A 3), addressing the man 
who seemed to him the most inteUigent in a group of male civihan prisoners— he 
was a teacher in a normal school— told him that all the guilty prisoners would be 
shot, but that his life should be spared in any event " if he would reveal the truth as 
to the organisation of the attack." The teacher then admitted that the inhabitants of 
Aerschot had committed a grave fault by receiving fugitive Belgian soldiers into 
their houses, hiding them, and providing them with civilian clothes; according 
to him these soldiers undoubtedly combined with the Civic Guard and they 
afterwards carried out the attack.* Why was not this intelligent witness 
interrogated by a competent Commission ? What weight can be attached to this 
declaration extorted under a threat of death and as the ransom of his life from a 
prisoner whose name, moreover, is not given ? 

Captain and Battahon Commander Josephson (App. D 34) also throws a veil 
of anonymity over a most important statement attributed to the director of a 
secondary school. This Belgian is supposed to have told the officer how he had 
heard an innkeeper of the environs of Louvain declare on August 24th that he had 
that day seen a band of about 100 young men pass in front of his house on the way 
to Louvain, talking in a variety of languages. The innkeeper is said to have 
remarked to the schoolmaster : "If those people get into the town it will be a bad 
business for Louvain to-morrow." The schoolmaster, on his side, apparently suggested 
in the presence of the officer that the young men were going to take up their quarters 
in the University, in the students' rooms, which were vacant as it was then vacation 
time. Why were this schoolmaster and this innkeeper not regularly interrogated, 
and why was their evidence not reported directly, instead of from the recollections 
of a third person ? 

Herr Sittart, an inhabitant of Aix-la-Chapelle and a member of the Reichstag, 
adopts similar methods to create the impression that Belgians themselves admitted 
that the German troops had been fired upon in Louvain (App. D 30). Having 
seen nothing of what took place himself, Herr Sittart reports what some weeping 
women and the widow of a doctor said to him at Louvain on August 31st, 1914. 
A very different value would have attached to the declarations of these women if 
they had been personally vouched for by their authors. He does not even reveal 
the name of the doctor's widow. The words attributed to Monseigneur Coenraets 
in this deposition have been, as we have seen above, formally repudiated by him 
(p. 69). 

Similar indirect testimonies are also adduced by the Reservist Sub-Lieutenant 
Lemke (App. C 83), but they consist mainly of thanks for the care and nourishment 
bestowed on sick persons, wounded men, and the inhabitants of Bouvignes, near 
Dinant. These persons, as well as " the owner of the Chateau of Bouvignes," 
the Burgomaster of Bouvignes, and a certain " M. van WiUmart," all, according 
to Lemke, " formed a very high opinion of Germany." If such was really the case, 
it is inconceivable that these witnesses of the massacres and the sack of Dinant 
sho\ild not have been interrogated in due form, and that their depositions should 
not have been given a prominent place in the " White Book." This same Sub- 
Lieutenant further states that a legal functionary of Brussels, whose name is not 
given, and who was undergoing a cure at Dinant at the time of the calamity, wrote 
a card to his mother, residing in Germany, expressing his gratitude. Lemke finally 
alleges that the Burgomaster of Bouvignes spoke with great indignation of the 
francs-tireurs. ' ' f 

* * 


M. Struycken, Professor at the University of Amsterdam, and a member of the 
Dutch State Council,! expresses himself as follows with regard to the absence of 

* There is an ambiguity here in the German text ; Karge no doubt means to say that the attack 
was afterwards undertaken jointly by the Civic Guard and the soldiers in civiUan clothes. 

t It appears from Monseigneur Heylen's Note of October 31st, 1915, reproduced in the third part 
of the present volume, that the Burgomaster of Bouvignes contradicts this assertion. He further 
declares on his word of honour that no civilian in his commune fired on the German troops (see pp. 161 
and 339). ^ ^ ^^ 

J The Dutch State Council examines the drafts of bills before they are submitted to Parliament 
and possesses a general right of supervision over all legislative enactments and regulations at home and in 
the colonies. 


direct statements by civil and even military witnesses of events, and the vagueness 
of the accusations in the " White Book " : — * 

"If we try to explain the lack of persuasive power, in many respects, of the 
German " White Book," we shaU find the principal cause of it to be the fact that 
so little direct evidence was collected or at least published relating to events 
observed by eye-witnesses, to justify the horrible reprisals carried out upon Belgian 
civilians. What we find before us is far too much a mass of suppositions, con- 
jectures, and assertions, insufficiently supported by duly attested facts. It is amazing 
that the personages entrusted with the inquiry — a Kriegsgerichtsrat or OberJcriegs- 
gericMsrat, sometimes an Amtsrichter or Oberamtsrichterf — should have been satisfied 
with it. With every deposition the perusal of their reports suggests a host of questions 
in default of answers to which it seems impossible to form any clear judgment, but 
which, nevertheless, were not put to the witnesses. A large number of soldiers 
implicated in events seem marked out to make direct statements of the highest 
importance. We are eager to hear them interrogated ; but we seek their evidence 
in vain in the " White Book." The possibihty that the population may have been 
guilty is certainly not ruled out ; but when we see the military authorities at Berlin 
satisfied with such a method of inquiry, when we find that they obviously consider 
the evidence so far pubUshed as sufficient, we shudder to think on what evidence 
ofiicers and soldiers of inferior rank must have relied when pronouncing sentence 
of death on thousands of citizens in Belgium itself, in the fever of conflict, in the 
devil's cauldron {Hexenkessel) of Dinant, in flaming Aerschot and Louvain, and in 
many other parts of the unhappy covmtry. 

" ' Man hat geschossen ! ' (Somebody fired !) This was the usual signal for 
murder and destruction. With regard to these shots, we naturally expect the dossier 
to contain abundant direct proofs, given in evidence, that civilians fired them. 
During such furious fighting as that which is alleged to have taken place between 
the civil population and the German army, there must have been hundreds of 
witnesses who could have attested the fact. Nevertheless, comparatively few make 
a direct statement on the subject ; and, moreover, their observations were often 
made under such circumstances as to render them peculiarly Uable to error ; this is 
notably the case when in the darkness figures were seen firing from the house-tops, 
from openings in the roofs or from trees, or aiming at soldiers on the march from cellars 
and loop-holes on a level with the ground, etc. With regard to Andenne and Aerschot, 
not a single piece of direct evidence is even quoted. Generally speaking, the accusa- 
tion la based upon hearsay statements or upon such hypotheses as the following : 
' Shots were fired from the houses — mainly from ventilators and openings in the 
roof ' ; ' the detonation was not that produced by a German rifle ' ; ' shot-guns were 
apparently fired ' ; ' Hght clouds of smoke and dust rose into the air above the roof ' ; 
' there were no Belgian or French soldiers left,' or ' there could not have been any 
left,' etc., etc. When we consider that the German troops hved in constant terror 
of attacks from the civihan population, whose treachery and cruelty were the 
subjects of the most fantastic rumours ; that many places had been only just 
evacuated, or, indeed, only partially evacuated by the Belgians and the French ; 
that German soldiers were quartered in many of the houses ; that a single shot, 
and the suggestion that it had been fired by a civilian often gave rise to a savage 
bombardment of houses by rifies and machine guns on the part of soldiers in the 
streets, and that the officers were often unable to put a stop to such bombardment ; 
when we consider all this, it is impossible to allow any decisive weight to such 
depositions, even if reinforced by the statement : ' Es waren bestimmt Zivilisten,'X 
and we are obUged to demand more direct evidence." 

As we have already shown,§ a great number of the reports and depositions 
inserted in the " White Book " were only drawn up and received six, and even 

* Extract from the Dutch review Van Onzen Tijd, years 1914-1915, No. 45. The series of four 
articles on the subject of the " White Book " in this review is reproduced, together with other studies 
by the same author, dealing with the present war and international law, in the pamphlet De Oorlog 
in Belgie (Arnhem, S. Gouda Quint, 1915). The passage here given appears on pp. 65 and 66 of the 

t Respectively : a President of a Court-Martial, or a President of the miUtary Court of Appeal, a 
Justice of the Peace, or a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Justices of the Peace. 

+ " They were certainly civiUans." 

§ See Section I. of Chapter II. of the first part, p. 24. 


seven months after the events with which they deal, notably in the case of the j 
massacres and destruction at Dinant.* We are justified in according but a relative 
value to these belated documents, taking into account the mentahty of an army 
in the field, the strength of the collective suggestion which dominated the minds 
of the German officers and soldiers, and the fact that in the interval so many other 
events and emotions have tended to blur the sharp outhnes of the original impression, f 
Would those non-commissioned officers and soldiers who were questioned in February 
and March, 1915, in their French quarters, have dared to contradict the official truth, 
i.e., that which their superior officers were determined to have affirmed and confirmed 
by 'their subordinates as witnesses? (App. 39 and App. C 10, 13, 14, 16, 41, 
52, 53, 54, 56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 75, 76, 77, 81, 82)4 

Generally speaking, indeed, the majority of the documents pubhshed m the 
" White Book " betray the eagerness of the German authorities to exculpate them- 
selves rather than to give an objective account of facts. 

The " White Book " makes no mention whatever of the massacre of over 400 
persons, not to speak of 78 wounded, at Tamines, a township of 5,712 inhabitants. 
On the other hand, a perusal of the depositions dealing with incidents that took 
place to the north-east of the province of Liege (recorded in the seventeenth Report 
of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry), and of those which occiirred in South 
Luxemburg (about 700 civilians were massacred in this province, see the eighth 
Report of the Commission of Inquiry), fails to suggest the least idea of the awful 
reahty. The depositions, for instance, make not the slightest allusion to the 
collective executions which took place at Soumagne (165 victims)§ and at Ethe 
(197 victims). § These communes contained respectively 4,755 and 1,804 inhabitants 
(see on p. 105 a long list of places, the scenes of ravage and massacre, to which the 
" White Book " makes no allusion). 

We may ask, further, whether the German Government made any attempt 
to reveal the truth ? The answer to this question must be an unquahfied negative. 
As every one-sided inquiry like that held by the German authorities in Belgium 
must necessarily be suspect, we can only explain the refusal invariably given by 
these authorities to the numerous proposals made them to institute inquiries at 
which both parties should be represented by their desire to conceal the truth. 

The Belgian Commission of Inquiry into the violation of international law 
and of the laws and usages of war has, on the contrary, as we have already stated, 
repeatedly offered to take part in the constitution of an international Commission. 
M. Magnette, Senator of liege, Grand Master of the Great Orient Lodge of Belgium, 
made the same proposition by letter on September 27th, 1914, to nine of the Masonic 
Lodges of Germany ; his proposal was scornfully rejected by two of these ; the 
other seven did not even deign to reply. || Similar propositions were repeatedly 

* Twenty-two in February and twenty-nine in March, 1915 (irrespective of the fact that several 
appended documents in the " Wliite Book " contain several depositions), making 61 depositions out of 
a total of 87 appended documents relating to Dinant. 

t It is hardly possible to allow that the diaries of the German soldiers furnished all the answers 
to the questions put to them. This remark also applies, though perhaps in a lesser degree, to the officers, 
who are responsible for several belated depositions and reports. 

t Were not the answers expected of him suggested, to some extent, to the non-commissioned officer, 
Martin (App. C 68), when he was shown a newspaper article entitled : The Incredible Cruelties of the 
German soldiers. The witness' statements are kept entirely within the hues laid down in this article, 
which is explicitly mentioned in the first line of the deposition, and also in the last but one, the latter 
allusion being followed only by these words : " I have nothing more to say." (Weiter habe ich nichts 

§ Minimum totals based on the hsts giving the names of identified victims. 

II M. Magnette had proposed to make an appeal to the populations of the beUigerent countries and 
their armies, solemnly urging them not to disregard the rules of humanity, of international law, and of 
the Code of War. He further expressed a wish that a Commission of Inquiry should be instituted, 
composed of delegates from the Grand Lodges of neutral countries, and of a German and a Belgian Free- 
mason. Writmg from Darmstadt, Herr Siiss replied to M. Magnette, inter alia : " An exhortation to 
humanity, etc., addressed to our poUtical leaders, our generals, and our soldiers would be superfluous. 
They are Germans, and Germans are men in the' midst of the most violent conflict. And should our 
German Brothers insult our men in the field and our responsible pohtical groups by the doubt as to their 
humanity implicit in such an appeal as that you wish to make ? Never would I consent to this. The 

F»$tntte C0ntinuei m page 7i. 


made by the Belgian religious authorities, notably by His Eminence Cardinal Mercier, 
Archbishop of Malines, and by Monseigneur Heylen, Bishop of Namur ;* they had 
no better success. After the sack of Louvain a group of representative citizens of 
this town, among them Baron Descamps-David, Monseigneur Ladeuze, Rector 
of the University, Professor Nerincx, etc., put forward a kindred suggestion.! 
When the German Socialist deputies, Messrs. Noske and Koster, came to Brussels 
in the autumn of 1914, the Belgian Sociahsts asked them to take part in a common 
inquiry, but in vain. J The proposals of M. van Kol, the Dutch Socialist Senator, 
and of M. Vliegen, President of the Dutch Socialist party, were no more fruitful.§ 
As to the inauguration of a court of arbitration suggested in the collective letter 
addressed by the Belgian Episcopate to the Austro-German Episcopate on 
November 24th, 1915, no answer had been received as yet on February 25th, 1916. J| 
Finally, Abbe Aloijsius van den Bergh, a priest of Dutch origin, long domiciled 
in Austria, who became a naturahsed Austrian seven years ago, and was deputed 
by a Viennese ecclesiastical association to hold an inquiry in Belgium as to the 
attitude of the Belgian clergy at the time of the occupation of the country by the 
German army in August and September, 1914, encountered the same obstinate refusal 
on the part of the German authorities to elucidate the question by means of a 
bilateral enquiry. Abbe van den Bergh was accredited by His Eminence Cardinal 
Piffl, Prince- Archbishop of Vienna, ^f 

We have shown that the dossier of the " White Book " is incomplete, and 
that it was composed with a partiaUty which deprives it of all probatory value. 
Yet a further proof of the spirit in which this volume has been compiled is to be 
found in a dehberate textual perversion committed by the authors. The Report 
of the German MiUtary Bureau of Inquiry concerning the sack and biirning of 
Louvain accuses the Belgian Commission of having declared in its fifth Report that 
Monseigneur Coenraets, Vice-Rector of the University of Louvain, had been shot. 
" The shght importance attached by the Commission itself to the stories served up 
to it (aufgetischt)," says the German Report, " stories which unhappily it reproduces 
without any reservation, is shown amongst other things by the tale of the execution 
of Bishop {sic) Coenraets and Father Schmidt, mentioned in the fifth Report. It 
speaks itself of the ' alleged ' {angebliche, a word placed between inverted commas 
in the German text) execution and roundly repeats the fable that the involuntary 
spectators of this (alleged !) scene were forced to mark their approval by applause. 
It would be impossible to recognise more openly that these documents, collected 
in haste, are pubHshed with an eye to sensation, and that truth and justice have 
no part in them. It should be stated in this connection — a fact of which the Belgian 
Commission can hardly have been unaware — that Mgr. Coenraets is living at present 
in perfect health with Professor Toels, at Jirlen {sic) in Holland " (p. 237). 

This same grievance had already figured in the Note addressed by the Prussian 
Minister of War, under the date of January 22nd, 1915, to the Imperial Chancellor. 
It is there formulated in similar, but still more categoric, terms, which suggests 
that the error committed had not escaped the compilers of the " White Book." The 
note expresses itself as follows : — 

" What we ought to think, for instance, of the Belgian allegations concerning 
the persecution and murders of priests is clearly indicated by the case of the Vice- 
Rector of the University of Louvain, Dr. Coenraets ; the Belgian Commission of 
Inquiry gave the most voluminous details concerning his terrible end ; he was said 
to have been put to death at Louvain in the presence of hundreds of spectators 

Commission you desire to institute stands condemned^ as far as I am concerned, by this suggestion." 
Herr KesseWng, writing from Bayreuth, also asserts positively, without having seen anything, that 
the German troops have not committed any cruelties ; at the same time he accuses the Belgians, the 
French and the Russians of the most abominable acts. He concludes by saying that he would not enjoin 
the German troops to show mercy and kindness, because the behaviour of their enemies makes it impossible 
for them to do so. Have the Germans no conception at all of the effect produced on foreigners by the 
complete and voluntary negation of the critical sense they so ingenuously avow ? (See the full text of 
the correspondence, p. 291). 

* See pp. 350 and 356. 

t See p. 220. 

J See p. 296. 

§ See p. 297. 

j.See p. 349. 

liTwo extracts from Abbe van den Bergh's report are reproduced on pp. 278 and 312 of this volume. 


(including women and children), who were forced to applaud. This is what we 
read in the Reports of the Commission, and this is the account it spreads abroad 
everywhere. The truth is that Dr. Coenraets is at present living with Professor 
Tools at Heerlen (Holland), and in excellent health." 

Furthermore, there is an allusion to this incident, without any mention of names, 
it is true, in the deposition made by Private Griiner on March 19th, 1915, at Berlin, 
before the Military Bureau of Inquiry itself. He contests the statement that a 
simulated execution of priests took place in the square outside the railway station 
of Louvain (App. D 38, p. 304). The exact meaning of the Belgian accusation 
was therefore perfectly well known to the Military Bureau as early as March 19th. 
Nevertheless, it persists in its accusation in its report on events at Louvain, dated 
April 10th, of which Griiner's deposition is one of the appendices. Moreover, on 
April 10th, Monseigneur Heylen, Bishop of Namur, formally noted the insinuation 
relating to the execution of Monseigneur Coenraets in his protest against the 
memorandum of January 22nd. The Prefatory Note to the " White Book," drawn 
up at the Imperial Foreign Office, is dated May 10th ; the German Government 
therefore had plenty of time to withdraw the calumny directed against the Belgian 
Commission of Inquiry, had it chosen to do so. 

It is, as a fact, false that the Commission ever asserted that Monseigneur 
Coenraets had been put to death. All it alleged was that Monseigneur Coenraets 
had been subjected by the German soldiers to a mock execution. The 
following are the words used : "A mock execution of Monseigneur Coenraets, Vice- 
Rector of the University, and of Father Schmidt, of the Order of Preaching Friars, 
took place before them. A volley rang out, and the spectators, who were convinced 
of the reality of the drama, were forced to applaud."* 

" I might write a bitter word here," says Abbe van den Bergh in this con- 
nection (see p. 314 of the present volume), " but I refrain. It is sad. And this 
innocent phrase that ' Monseigneur Coenraets is living in Holland in excellent 

health ' is no less revolting. The poor man suffered so terribly that he said to , 

who himself repeated it to me : ' I do not suppose I shall ever be fit for my work 
again.' " 

But the Belgian Government does not hesitate to admit that, according to 
information recently received, the statements of witnesses before the Commission 
of Inquiry seem to have been inaccurate on one point. 

Deceived no doubt by the volleys and the mock executions at which they were 
present, these witnesses imagined that Monseigneur Coenraets had been the victim 
of a species of moral torture actually inflicted on a large number of their compatriots, 
notably a group of priests which included Monseigneur van Cauwenbergh, the 
second Vice-Rector of Louvain University, and Father Vermeersch, of the Society 
of Jesus. Fleeing from Louvain on August 27th, 1914, these clerics were arrested 
at Tervueren and carried about in carts for sixty-two hours in the district round 
Brussels. They were several times made to undergo mock execution. 

It is impossible to accept the conclusions of the " White Book " as a decisive 
judgment by an impartial tribunal. The one-sided inquiry conducted by the German 
authorities in Belgium coidd not and did not establish the truth. The Belgian 
Government therefore intends — and it seizes this fresh opportunity to proclaim 
it solemnly — to institute a Commission of international inquiry as soon as Belgian 
soil is free again, a tribunal before which accuser and defendant will plead with 
equal rights. It is certainly much to be regretted that time will necessarily impair 
the precision of memories and efface many material evidences ; the task of the 
International Commission will not be an easy one in many cases. We find the 
German authorities, who fully realise the advantages to be gained in this connection 
by exercise of the dictatorial powers they now enjoy, threatening to take the most 
severe measures against persons who should fail immediately to hand over to 
officials at the Town Hall of Dinant any hsts in their possession of bodies exhumed 
(notice placarded at Dinant on October 20th, 1914). In certain places, again, they 
have taken steps to conceal the traces of destruction, thus endeavouring to mitigate 
the wrath and indignation kept ahve by the lamentable sight of towns and villages 

♦ See p. 71 of the first volume of Rapports sur la Violation du Droit des gens en Belgique. Paris- 
Nancy, Berger-Levrault, 1915. 


reduced to ashes. Throughout the country, moreover, photographing the devastated 
districts was strictly forbidden, as soon as the German authorities had power to 
prevent it. 

But all these precautions will be of no avail : it will take many long years to 
repair the all too skilfully conceived and executed work of the incendiary sections. 
As to the lists of the victims of " reprisals " which the Belgian Commission of Inquiry 
already possesses, and those which it will yet receive, they will constitute a crushing 
indictment against Germany as long as the righteous anger of the world is roused 
by iniquity. 

* * 


Strong in the justice of its cause, and the scrupulous honesty, of which the 
members of the Commission of Inquiry it has instituted have made an immutable 
law for their guidance, the King's Government awaits the verdict of the universal 
conscience in perfect confidence. 

Already Justice begins to shine through the clouds. Professor Struycken 
comes to the following conclusion in his study on the " White Book " (supra, p. 70), 
published in the Dutch Review Van Onzen Tijd (Nos. 43-46, years 1914, 1915, p. 549) — 

" It has already been remarked on several occasions during this war that the 
Germans have no very exalted opinion of the intelligence and critical sense of 
neutrals whom they wish to convince of the justice of the German cause. The 
German "White Book" furnishes a fresh proof of this. If they really desire to 
persuade neutrals that they were justified in deahng so severely with the civil popu- 
lation in Belgium, they must produce a mass of evidence very much more convincing 
(Heel wat deugdelijker bemjsmateriaal) than that they offer us here. We are anxious 
to hear both sides of the story of events, and not to base an opinion solely on 
Belgian, French and English reports, which may easily contain exaggerations. But 
it rests with the Germans to bring forward a body of evidence capable of resisting 
the test of critical examination, really proving what we should be glad to believe, 
and not tending to establish just the opposite conclusions." 

The meagreness and lack of precision of the German evidence has already struck 
all intelligent minds. The abundance and pertinence of the Belgian proofs will 
finally convince them. They will understand and share the sentiment which the 
Belgian Government does not hesitate to express as to the conduct of the Imperial 
Government towards the Belgian nation, in all serenity, before God and men : " Doubly 
guilty is he who, after having violated the rights of another, impudently attempts 
to justify himself by imputing to his victim faults he has never committed." 

Le Havre, February 25th, 1916. 

Baron Bbyens, H. Caeton de Wiart, 

Minister for Foreign Affairs. Minister of Justice. 


Statement of Facts, and Critical Examination of the Reports 

of the German MiHtary Commission of Inquiry and of the 

German Documents and Depositions of Witnesses. 


Destruction and Massacres in various Districts. 

If one looks on the map at the districts where the systematic atrocities of the 
army of invasion were committed a decisive circumstance is at once established. 
It is especially, though not entirely, in the places where the invader met with resistance 
from regular troops that civilians were murdered, their houses burned, and looting 
methodically carried out. 

The districts in question include : — 

1. The plateau of Herve and, generally, the places in the neighbourhood of 
the forts of Liege, and also the towns and villages where the German army was, 
from the 6th to the 20th August, 1914, attempting to force a passage against the 
resistance of the Belgian army. 

2. The vaUey of the Upper Semois and that of the Upper Lesse, where bloody 
encounters between the invaders and the French army took place during the second 
half of the month of August. 

3. The Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse and the Charleroi and Mons districts, where, 
during the same period, violent battles were waged between the German army 
and the Anglo-French armies. 

4. The scene of the fighting which followed on the sorties of the Antwerp 
garrison, and the combats during the siege of the city, where the German army 
was resisted by Belgian troops from the 20tli August to the 9th October. 

5. The Yser district from the time when, on the 16th October, 1914, the battles 
of the Yser and Ypres began. 

In aU these areas the extent of the disasters is immense. The worst of these 
fearful events occurred during August, 1914 ; afterwards the frequency and the 
violence of the " r^eprisals " diminished. In the Province of Western Flanders 
(Yser district), the damage appears to be chiefly due to bombardment and other 
mihtary operations. 

The " White Book " in general attempts to conceal the gravity of these cruelties ; 
as a rule it is content to pass them over without mention. In the first part, con- 
taining 66 documents (App. 1 to 66), it brings forward reports {Meldungen, Berichte) 
by officers and also depositions by officers, non-commissioned officers, and men,* 
wherein is set out, with more or less precision, the fact that in certain places civiUans 
joined in the firing, and that in others the population joined in the fighting, and that 
in others again mutilation, attributed to the population, of dead or wounded 
German soldiers was noted. In the following parts, the " White Book " is 
concerned more particularly with the events of Aerschot, Andenne, Dinant and 

The communes, or parts of communes, nearly 80 in number, which the " White 
Book " mentions are, in order of Provinces, as follows : — 


Aerschot. Herent. Neerlinter. 

Bueken. Hougaerde. Rotselaer. 

Capellen. Kessel-Loo. Schaffen. 


* Among these 66 document;: there are four reports or depositions of army surgeons, and a map. 




Rotilers. Staden. 















(Ward of Hockai). 




Trembleur (Blegny). 



(Belgian) LUXEMBURG. 


Anlier (Beheme). 



Attert (Nothomb] 

1. Leghse. 



Les Bulles. 






MeUier (Thibessart). 

Termes (Frenois). 


Morhet (Rosiere). 

Tintigny (Ansart). 





Dinant (with the wards 

Le Roux. 


of Leffe, Les Rivages 



and Neffe). 

Malonne (La Vigne).* 











Leignon (Ychippe and 




The " White Book " contains no document relating to the devastation and 
massacres in the Provinces of Limburg and Antwerp. 

The evidence and the reports given in the first part (App. 1 to 66) are inserted 
without any comment. It would seem that, as in the case of those inserted in 
the other parts, they were accepted without any check or discussion. Yet they 
are in themselves suspect ; they emanate, in fact, from soldiers whose imagination 
was over-stimulated by the fighting and who had to justify the crimes of which 
they are accused. Nearly two-thirds of the documents in this first part which 
bear a date were drawn up, on an average, two or three months after the circum- 
stances to which they relate. (See, on this, p. 23.) 

The Belgian Government, removed from its country and deprived of the means 
of investigation and criticism, has been unable to inquire into every one of the 
charges made in the " White Book." But the Belgian Commission of Inquiry has 
collected hundreds of statements by persons who, without hesitation, declare that 
the civil population everywhere scrupulously refrained from taking part in the 
struggle, and indignantly protest against the calumnies heaped upon that population. 
The Commission boldly affirms that, in the districts where it has been able to 
pursue its inquiries, no single deed on the part of a franc-tireur — ^to take the most 
common accusation — seems to them to have been proved or even to be probable. 

The mere examination of the evidence against this categorical affirmation 
increases its force, so feeble is that evidence. It reveals in many places the bias 

* The name of this place, which is near Tamines, is wrongly spelled " Vignee " in the " White Book " 
(App. 41). 


of the witnesses, the want of precision, the inaccuracy and the improbabihty of 
their assertions. 

Take, for example, the statement of the events in a certain number of loeaUties 
with which the first part of the " White Book " is concerned. These examples 
could easily be multiplied. They wiU be borne in mind when reading the refutations 
by Mgr. Heylen, Bishop of Namur, and by Mgr. Rutten, Bishop of Liege.* 


The Commune of Acoz (1,393 inhabitants), situated at the eastern boundary 
of the Province of Hainault, was burnt down at the time of the fighting on the 
Sambre in August, 1914. 

Among the numerous dwellings which were dehberately set on fire were the 
Convent of the French Sisters, the Post Office, the Town Hall and the school. 

Three persons, Abbe Douet, the priest of Acoz, who was nearly 70 years old, 
and MM. Archange and Joseph Bourboux were shot in the Commune of Somzee. 

There are four depositions in the " White Book " relating to the village of Acoz, 

Sub-Lieutenant Huck, commanding the 2nd horse depot of the 10th Army 
Corps, states that at Acoz, at 10 p.m. on the 24th August, he was fired at from the 
houses (App. 43) ; Captain Liidke, commanding the 2nd transport section of 
the same Army Corps, confirms this deposition (App. 44), as also do Lieutenant 
MliUer, commanding the 5th artiUery ammunition column of the 10th Corps 
(App. 45, 1), and Sub-Lieutenant Schroeder (App. 45, 2). 

On the other hand, it appears from information in the possession of the Belgian 
Commission of Inquiry that the inhabitants of Acoz had quitted the village on the 
morning of the 22nd August, when the Germans crossed the Sambre at Chatelet ; 
the burgomaster and the riiral pohcemen were the last to leave. The French mihtary 
authorities had requested them to have the village evacuated so as not to hinder 
the firing, being informed that the Germans in the Chatelet district were forcing 
civilians to march in front of them. 

Wien M. Paul Gendebien, advocate at the Court of Appeal of Brussels, left 
the vUlage, all the doors were shut and all the shutters fastened ; the inhabitants 
had fled. Sub-Lieutenant Huck himself states in his deposition (as does also 
Captain Liidke) that the greater part of the houses appeared to be abandoned and 
were shut up. 

An inhabitant of Acoz was able to re-enter the village about five in the evening 
to take a few things away ; the village was deserted. 

Who, then, were the numerous francs-tireurs who, according to the " White 
Book," opened fire on the German soldiers ? Huck says, in fact, that firing occurred 
from almost all the houses in the street, whilst MiiUer alleges that he recognised 
by the sound that the persons firing were using sporting guns. 

A circumstance which shews the extent to which the Germans were dominated 
by the delusion of these so-called francs-tireurs is that Captain Liidke, in order to 
give greater weight to his evidence, relates that he was told that there were found 
at the Town Hall several cases of dynamite and hundreds of guns and packets of 
cartridges, each packet bearing the name of an inhabitant of the commune — a 
proof, according to him, that the civihans were organised for armed resistance, 
when the deposit of these arms and cartridges at the Town Hall ought in itself to 
have shewn him that the inhabitants had no hostile intentions. As to the dynamite, 
it is sufficient to note that Acoz lies in the centre of a manufacturing district. Here, 
as elsewhere, the communal authorities had caused the weapons and munitions 
in the possession of the inhabitants to be deHvered up ; and in order to be able to 
restore them after the war, they had taken care to have written on each weapon 
and on each packet the name of the owner. But German prejudices are so strong 
that this surrender of weapons is itseK invoked as evidence against the people. 
Lieutenant MiiUer and Sub-Lieutenant Schroeder (App. 45) even say, in order 
to prove the guilt of the priest of Acoz, that there was found at his house (or on him) 
a receipt for 50 cartridges and an English revolver which he had handed over to 
the communal authorities ! 

MiiUer and Huck add that the priest was shot together with two others, who 
were found hidden in the barn of the priest's house. According to the soldiers, the 
priest, by signs, offered them drink and money to prevent them searching the house. 
He also categorically denied that there was anyone there and at first refused to 
aUow the soldiers to enter, shewing them the emblem of the Red Cross, which he 

* See Appendix, Doct. IX., pp. 322-349. 


wore on his arm. Miiller says that the priest and the two other civiUans did not 
deny that they took part in the fighting. But as the priest expressed himself in 
part by signs, it may well be doubted whether the soldiers understood him. Does 
not Sub-Lieutenant Schroeder himself, who interrogated the three prisoners, declare 
that he only obtained unintelhgible rephes ? 

According to Huck, the two civiHans had arms, cartridges and cartridge cases ; 
Liidke only speaks of cartridges ; Miiller merely says that on one of the civilians 
they found four cartridge cases ; according to Schroeder, who interrogated them 
without understanding their replies, weapons and cartridge cases had been found 
in the barn, the soldiers said. 

However this may be, as we have seen above, the priest of Acoz and the two 
civilians were shot. Moreover, from the time Huck had arrived in the village, 
the priest had, by his behaviour, made a bad impression on him. The houses from 
which firing took place were set on fire, declares Liidke ; Acoz was dehvered to 
the flames, states Schroeder. Yet they had only found three francs-tireurs : the 
priest and two other civilians ! 


The village of Battice (3,179 inhabitants) was looted and burned on Thursday, 
the 6th August, 1914, by the German forces repulsed by the Forts of Liege. 

Thirty-six persons, three of whom were women, were murdefed. Many inhabi- 
tants received bullet wounds. 

The vUlage was deliberately set on fire ; the church was destroyed ; the station 
district where the German troops were quartered was alone spared, together with 
the hamlets at some distance from the centre of the commune, f 

What explanation does the German Government give of these murders and 
this destruction ? It brings forward a declaration of Max Amelunxen, a sub-lieutenant 
of reserve, belonging to the 4th Jager batta,lion, who declares that, on the 4ih or 
5th August, civilians had fired at him as he was passing through Battice with a 
few cavalrymen. He adds that he was struck by small shot which slightly wounded 
him (App. 2). 

Assuming this deposition to be accurate, one asks : how could this justify 
the destruction of a village and the murder of 36 of its inhabitants ? But it is 
enough to remark that this destruction and murder took place, not on the 4th or 
5th August, but on the 6th, and were committed by the 165th Infantry Regiment, 
on which rests the guilt of the ravages committed in a very large number of places 
in Belgium. 

Besides, there is nothing to prove that the patrol to which Sub-Lieutenant 
Amelunxen belonged was attacked by civilians. Quite the contrary. In fact 
it appears, from information supplied by the StafE of the 3rd Belgian Division, that 
soldiers of the 1st squadron of the 2nd Lancers were sent on the 4th August to 
Battice on a reconnaissance. Shots were exchanged between the patrols of this 
squadron and the Germans, cavalry and cyclists, on the roads from Battice to 
Thimister, from Battice to Herve, and from Battice to Aubel, as well as at Battice 
itself. The fixed picquet of the squadron, under the command of Sergeant-Major 
Evrard, posted at the Battice Mill, opened fire on every German trooper who passed 
on the road from Charneux to Battice. The 4th squadron of the same regiment 
also fired on groups of cavalry and cyclists advancing from Herve towards F16ron 
and stopped their advance. 

Moreover, the following report from Abbe Voisin, D.D., priest of Battice, states 
in the most precise terms the circumstances of the destruction of Battice, and 
disproves any participation by the civiUan popl^lation in the fighting which was 
raging between the Belgians, who were defending the fortified position of Liege, 
and the Germans who had invaded the national territory on the 4th August, 1914. 


" I have the honour to forward you a report upon the events that occurred in the parish 
of Battice in the early days of the invasion. I shall limit myself to facts that I witnessed myself 
or which I have learned from trustworthy witnesses. 

"The first German troops reached Battice about mid-day on Tuesday, 4th August. At 
that moment some Belgian Lancers, who had been out reconnoitring in the morning, were returning 
along the Aubel road. They were received by a sustained fusillade and escaped at fuU speed in 
the direction of Liege. Four of them were wounded, and I was able to give them the consolation 

* See also the letter of Mgr. Rutten to the Governor-General of Belgium under occupation, p. 348. 
t Seventeenth Report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry. 


of religion. One died in a half hour. He was placed on a little hand bier, but the Germans 
wotdd not aUow his remains to be taken to the cemetery, and it was only after several days that 
he could be buried ; decomposition was then well advanced. Another Lancer fell on the steps 
of the house of M. Wiertz. A parishioner of mine, Adelin Christiane, has informed me that he 
and a friend wished to succour this poor soldier, who was waving his arm in the air for help ; but 
the Germans prevented them. It was an hour before he was allowed to be removed. I believed 
him to be at the point of death, but a German army surgeon who was with the troops was requested 
to examine him, and he tended him with such care that he succeeded in reviving him ; this Lancer 
is now cured. 

" As the troops were passing through the village without baiting or harming anyone, I went 
to the hamlet of Bouschmont, where many of the inhabitants of the centre of Battice had taken 
refuge. I told them that they could return without fear. I had also told them the evening 
before that we had nothing to fear if we did nothing to harm the army of invasion. I returned 
an hour later just as a battahon was taking up its quarters in the village. 

" Officers and men were paying in gold for their purchases in the shops. But they were 
already entering, by breaking open doors and windows, houses, the occupants of which had 
fled ; they stole wines and cigars and amused themselves by smashing the furniture. As I know 
a little German, I was able to talk to the soldiers. One of them, in the presence of M. Brouwers- 
Willems and members of his family who also understood the language, told me : ' I have come 
from Berlin and I am tired ; we have been four days on the march.' And it is a fact that these 
soldiers appeared to be quite exhausted. I saw some of them fall on the road and at once go fast 
asleep. About 6 o'clock MM. Pirard and Radermaecker came to find me. ' Our brother-in- 
law, Charles Goori'ssen, has been arrested,' they said. ' Will you go and ask the Major to set 
him free 1 ' Charles Goorissen was the son of a wealthy farmer — a pious, honest young fello^v 
with an excellent reputation. But the war frightened him. He ran about the street with 
his coat collar up, and his cap on sideways, and unshaved. The Germans had their eye on him. 
When he was on the Herve road with four others — an old man named Gilles Kohl, Farmer Kehren, 
LaUemantof Herve, and a workman of M. Bruwier's, whose name I do not know, but who, it seems, 
came from Bilsen. All five were arrested, but the old man and the farmer were afterwards 
released. There were others about. Why, then, were these five singled out ? None could 
teU. Perhaps because their appearance did not please. I went and found the Major at the 
Quatre Bras inn and spoke to him on Goorissen's behalf. ' I know him intimately,' I said, ' and 
am convinced that he has done nothing reprehensible.' He rephed, with some embarrassment : 
' He must be tried.' In the evening I saw them take the poor boy to a doorway. A long state- 
ment, it seems, was read to him and then the soldiers removed him, treating him shamefully. 
A little later I was arrested in my turn and brutally treated. They forced me with their rifle butts 
to their Major, who was on horseback near the Quatre Bras inn. I asked him what this meant. 
' If a single shot is fired,' he rephed, ' you will be shot. You are going to see what is done to 
those who fixe at German soldiers.' Immediately afterwards they shot, before my eyes, on the 
pavement in front of M. Christiane's house, the three who had been arrested that afternoon. 
Permission to inter their remains in the cemetery was not given until several days after. They 
were buried at the same time as the soldier whom I have already mentioned. 

" I am sm-e that none of the three was guilty. They were in the street minghng mth the 
soldiers who filled the village, and would therefore have had to fire point blank. Now the Germans 
did not dare to suggest that a single one of their men was killed or wounded. When arrested 
in the naiddle of the road the three were talking with some others . How could they have had any idea 
of shooting under such circumstances 1 When I saw the Major, would he not have answered 
me : ' Civilians who shoot at German soldiers are not set free ? ' But he was only able to reply 
with some embarrassment : ' He must be tried.' Lastly, Goorissen, according to his relations 
and friends, had no weapon on him. Lallemant had returned from Grand Rechain, where he 
had made in a cafe hostile remarks about the enemy, but neither mentioned nor shewed any 
weapons. As to the third, he was a peaceful workman who, hke many others, was there out 
of curiosity. But I noticed that, in the afternoon, the Major was calm and polite and his men 
almost agreeable ; whereas in the evening, they were Hke demons. The reason is that in the mean- 
time the forts had opened fire and steady fire was continuing. The troops were much alarmed. 
It is probable that three inhabitants were taken by chance and shot in order to terrorise 
the population and keep them under. 

" The first part of the night I spent leaning against the wall of the Quatre Bras inn with 
my hands bound, under the care of two sentries. Soon they brought Iserentant, the Sheriff, 
who was to be killed the next day but one, and Councillor Brouwers. I had round me continually 
soldiers who insulted me and threatened me with their bayonets. M. Brouwers heard one of 
them say : ' Black crow, your beUy wiU be ripped up.' They paid httle attention to my com- 
panions, and I noticed that it was my cassock that was exciting their anger and spite. About 
2 a.m. they made us march towards Liege in the middle of the troops. We were struck with rifles 
and lacked and pushed against one another. Our guard kept on retying the cords that bound us. 
When we got to Herve a mounted oflicer stopped and shouted : ' Untie those men and let them 
go.' A few minutes later we heard a brisk fusillade. The Major had released us just as his men 
were about to come under fire. 

" Wednesday passed without incident. Thursday morning I saw on the Maestricht road 
numerous soldiers who were returning in disorder, haggard and frightened and black with dust. 


I foolishly believed that the German invasion had met with speedy disaster and that the enemy 
was fleeing, never to return. The few families that remained in the village rendered every possible 
assistance to the fugitives. They were given food and drink. Hubert Sonas actually washed the 
feet of about 20 soldiers whose boots were hurting them. As for myself, I asked all who were on 
my road to come and have a glass of wine at my house. These brought others, so that I opened 
about 30 bottles. These poor wretches inspired pity rather than hate. They appeared to be 
grateful. One of them, to shew his confidence in me, produced a locket with a portrait. ' It 
is my fianc6e,' he said. ' Ah, you will no doubt be glad to go to see her again.' ' Yes, but before 
then we must go to Paris !' An hour later an artillery column arrived from the Aix-la-Chapelle 
road and stopped in the market place in front of my house. A superior officer with polite 
manners, who spoke French very correctly, came to my house. ' M. le Cure, where is the burgo- 
master ? ' ' The burgomaster has gone.' ' And the people ? ' ' Some are here, but most 
have become frightened and taken refuge in the hamlets near by.' ' But why are they frightened V 
We are not savages, and we pay well for what we take ' (so saying he took a handful of gold coins 
from his pocket). ' Can you not induce the inhabitants to come back ? I assure you that you 
will be doing them a good turn.' ' As they are not far, I can at least inform them of your wishes 
and ask them to return.' ' Well, do that. You have nothing to fear. I am the commandant 
of the forces that are arriving, and wiU take you under my protection. I have several friends 
among the Belgian clergy and wish you no harm. Tell the people that I am taking them imder my 
protection ; they can return without fear.' I went and asked my sexton, who lived opposite 
the church, to go to the hamlet of Xheneumont, whilst I went to Bouschmont, behind the station. 
The artillerymen quietly took up their positions in the market. They left the village soon after 
my departure. I am convinced that the officer who spoke to me had nothing to do with the 
sack of Battice. He probably reckoned on spending some time in the village. But I saw him 
talking to another superior officer, a general, I beHeve, and I suppose he was ordered to set out at 
once. On my way to the station I found the other soldiers, the fugitives of the morning, sitting 
or lying down by the roadside. Those I had entertained saluted me, a few somewhat 
ironically, but others scowled at me and made remarks to one another that I did not hear. I 
went first to M. Lecloux's farm, and told those who had taken refuge there of my conversation 
with the Prussian ofl&cer. Suddenly firing broke out. ' What is that ? ' said the farmer to me. 
I rephed : ' No doubt they are firing at an aeroplane, as they did on Tuesday.' I then went to 
M. Adolphe Herzet to tell him of the wishes of the commandant. Then I became uneasy. It 
seemed to me that there was firing in all directions and bullets whistled past my ears. I asked 
a farmer who was hurrying up from the station : 'What does this mean ? ' ' They say,' he replied, 
' that our people have fired at them and they are shooting at aU the houses, and they talk of 
burning down the village.' Tliis is what happened in that tragic hour : — 

" The inhabitants, who were peacefully standing on their doorsteps and to whom, as I passed, 
I had made known the reason of my departure, had 'to rush indoors, as the soldiers along the 
Station Road began to shoot at all the windows. Jacques HaUeux, who was sitting with his 
fianc6e in a pubhc-house with the door open, was killed on the spot. Ferdinand Denoel, while 
running upstairs, was struck by bullets in the side and in the arm. He was able to escape to 
Bouschmont, where I saw him and rendered first-aid. He is now quite cured. FeKx Servais 
was less fortunate. While escaping towards Bouschmont he was ^vounded in the thigh. 
Gangrene supervened, and the poor fellow died at Verviers, where he had been taken. At M. 
Lecloux's place, the first farm to which I went, soldiers came running, and said that a horse 
had run awayin that direction. They carried off the farmer and also Gustave Beaujean, who had 
just arrived with his children. As they passed M. Fortemps' house, they asked M. K6vers to take 
the farmer's horse from the meadow and follow them. They went with their prisoners along 
the La Minerie road, and on the way stopped Emile Xhauflair, of La Minerie, and Midrolet, of 
Battice, the latter of whom had his httle child in his arms, and was going to La Minerie with his 
wife. From the direction of Herve they brought Ruwet, the farmer, who also lived outside 
the village. These six men were shot on the La Minerie road. Malvaux, the veterinary surgeon, 
returning from Bouschmont, saw his house on fire and tried to enter. They seized him and took 
him along the Maestricht road, where they had just arrested two more men, who Hved near the 
colliery, about ten minutes from the viUage. They were named Ridelle and Habay. AU three were 
shot at the same time as the prisoners from Bl^gny, who had been brought to Battice. On the 
Herve road, Iserentant, the sheriff, had taken refuge in the cellar of the farm with his wife, his 
brother-in-law, Garson (an old man), his maid (a young girl), and a neighbour named Hendrickx. 
They were all killed in the cellar (Hendrickx lingered for an hour). At the next farm, Hendrickx's, 
there were two giris. One was sick and was being nursed by a nun. One giri jumped out of the 
wmdow on to a heap of faggots. She was killed and burnt on the faggots. The sick giri, who 
escaped mto the meadow with the nun, was wounded in the face, but not mortally. There were 
also two young men there. One was killed, as I have said, at M. Iserentant's. The other was 
ill m bed. He may have been killed before they set the farm on fire, but it is more Hkely that 
he was burnt alive. 

" While these murders were being committed, the village was set on fixe in four places. On 
the next day but one (Saturday, the 8th August), they burnt the houses that had escaped the 
arson ot Thursday. The houses near the station were the only ones spared. The Germans knew 
that these were wanted as quarters for the soldiers guarding the railway lines. These dwellings 
were, however, almost completely looted. MM. Eugene Lemaire, Eugene Cupers, and Jacques 


Liegeois saw in Battice station trucks laden with booty. On Friday, the 7th August, a railway 
servant, named Wilkin, obtained a safe conduct from an officer in order to get bread at La Minerie. 
He was returning to Battice, carrying the loaves under his arm, and accompanied by his wife, when 
he was hit in the mouth by a shot fired from his own house. He fell dead on the spot. Two 
old people, Eugene Lecloux and his sister, wanted to go into their house, which had been gutted. 
They were arrested, taken to B16gny and shot. Emile Liegeois took refuge in a cellar with his 
two sisters, his brother-in-law, and the latter 's two children. Emile heard a noise on the ground 
floor, went up, and was killed before he could say a word. His sister Maria, who followed, was 
hit by two bullets. She has told me that, when she fell, she shut her eyes so that they might 
think her dead. A soldier leaned over her and said to the others : ' The woman is done for, too.' 
Her brother-in-law eventually took her on a wheelbarrow to the Convent of the Sisters of Pro- 
vidence at Herve. She has now almost recovered. 

" Having committed these vaHant deeds, the Germans tried to justify them. They have not 
dared to suggest that they had a single man killed or wounded. But on the Thursday evening the 
priest of La Minerie, who is a German and has several nephews serving with the enemy, alleged 
that firing had occurred from Fraikin's house, on the Herve road. On Saturday he came and 
saw me at Bouschmont farm, where I had taken refuge, and told me that I was accused of shooting 
from the top of the church tower, and that my Kfe was in danger. He confided to me that he 
went the evening before into the ruins of the church to remove the Holy Sacrament. But the 
tabernacle was empty. The sacred vessels had been stolen. Some weeks later this priest, with 
whom I was intimate, obtained for me from the Commandant's office at Battice permission 
to go where I pleased in the deanery. As they could not with any decency give such a permission 
to a priest guilty of shooting at German soldiers, there appeared a few days later, in the Friend 
of the People of Aix-la-Chapelle — and I read it myself — an account of which this is a summary : 
' When we arrived at Battice the garrison surrendered (!), the burgomaster read an address of 
welcome to the German troops, and then drew a revolver and shot the commanding officer. That 
is the reason why we burned down the village.' 

" These accusations are not only untrue, but are also singularly imskiKul. M. Fraikin lived 
alone in his house on the Herve road. His wife and son had been staying at Liege for some 
months. At the time when he is supposed to have been shooting I was talking to him at Lecloux's 
farm at Bouschmont, and about 30 people can bear Avitness that he was in that village at that time. 
In the houses near his there was nobody. All had fled. If anyone fired thereabout, it could only 
have been a Prussian soldier. As to the priest, the soldiers, as well as the inhabitants, had seen 
him leave the village on the officer's invitation ten minutes before the firing began. The burgo- 
master himseH lived at the hamlet of Bruyeres, about three miles from the centre of the village. 
He had been made to come in — much against his will — on the Monday night. I caused him to 
be informed that the people were frightened and that it was his duty to remain constantly at the 
Town Hall. But on Tuesday morning, before a single German soldier had entered Battice, 
he had returned to Bruyeres, and he was not seen again until weeks later, when the Germans 
forced him to return to hand over the communal cash. Of the three accused persons, two remained 
at Battice ; the priest was still there in the middle of November, as was seen and known by the 
commandant and the soldiers staying in the village. It was want of means, not fear of the 
Germans, that decided him to leave. But though the so-called criminals are alive, many innocent 
people fell victims to these savages, who, when they arrived, declared in a celebrated proclama- 
tion : ' We come as friends ! ' 

" The arrests and murders of the 6th August were quite as arbitrary. The majority of the 
men in the centre of the village at the time when it is alleged that the shooting occurred were 
not disturbed. All those killed, except Halleux and Malvaux, were arrested outside the village. 
Several were in their working clothes, like poor Lecloux, whom I had just seen in his shirt 
sleeves and sabots, busied in farm work. AH these men were good Christians, model citizens, 
peaceful and inoffensive people. As for the two victims arrested in the town, I have said before 
that Halleux was sitting with his fiancee in a house facing the street with the door open. If he had 
intended to kiU one of the soldiers in front of him he knew what to expect. One would beheve 
in that case he would at least have sent his fiancee away and himself have left the place before 
shooting. Malvaux was returning from Bouschmont. He was drunk, and unable to open the 
door of his house. It was then that he was arrested. It is clear that he had no idea of shooting 
at the soldiers who were aU round him. Moreover, Malvaux, hke Halleux, was one of the most 
inoffensive men in the world. He had probably never fired a gun in his life. Some of the 
inhabitants had fled before the Germans came. More had taken refuge in the hamlets after 
Goorissen was arrested. Those who remained had treated the soldiers well. I mingled freely 
with the people during those days, and heard none speak of resisting the invaders or of annoying 
them. It was only after Battice was sacked that they said bitterly : ' Ah ! If we had only 

" Several newspapers, in particular Het Centrum, of 14th July, 1915, have stated that a 
German deserter who was at Battice on the 6th August had confessed that the village was destroyed 
because a soldier had kiUed his captain. It is possible. But I never heard anything about that. 
It is difficult to say whether the place was destroyed in consequence of such an occurrence or 
by deliberate intention. If they wished to terrorise the countryside by sacrificing a village, 
it is easy to understand why Battice was chosen, for it lies on the crest of the Herve district and 
its flames were seen for miles round. I have been told by the Strouven family that on the 



Thursday, about half an hour before the firing began, Mme. Beaujean, whose husband was killed, 
went to the Strouvens' arid said : ' A soldier has just told me that they are going to set the village 
on fire. I am going away.' It would therefore seem that the destruction was premeditated. 
On the other hand, it is easier to understand an outburst of homicidal fury on the part of the 
soldiers if some accident did occur to one of them or of their officers. I add that M. Baurens 
alleges that a soldier fired into his doorway before the massacre occurred. Remy Lepourck 
told me that he heard an isolated shot a few minutes before the volley. Mile. Emma Strouven 
has told me the same thing. However this may be, one thing is certain : the inhabitants did 
nothing to provoke such terrible reprisals. If Battice was destroyed it was either because its 
destruction had been already decided upon, or a Prussian officer had been killed by one of his 
men ; unless the fugitives simply wished to take revenge for their reception by our forts 
on peaceable civiUans. 

" As the question oi francs-tireurs is still much under discussion at the present time, I may 
be allowed, M. le Ministre^ to add a few facts which are not known abroad and may serve to eluci- 
date this problem. 

" I have often heard it said : ' There were francs-tireurs, because it is the most natural thing 
in the world for the inhabitants of an invaded country to resist the enemy. Francs-tireurs are 
the best patriots.' So people argue at a safe distance and a priori. But I was Hving on this side 
of the Meuse during the early days of the war, and I can say that as a fact the inhabitants 
did not consider it natural to resist that swarm of formidably armed soldiers, who were 
spreading over the country. Certainly patriotism was not wanting. But it manifested 
itself only in the wish to see our soldiers greet the invaders with the welcome they deserved. 
They would have been bitterly disappointed if the country had offered no resistance. I even 
heard one of the parishioners say during the afternoon of Tuesday, the 4th August : ' We 
are betrayed. The Germans have been passing for hours. They must be weU past 
Liege and yet the forts have not fired a single shot ! ' Yet they realised that to commit 
acts of violence would merely mean the sacrifice of one's life for nothing. In truth, the 
dominating feeling was terror, especially in the country, where one felt oneself isolated 
and at the mercy of the soldiery ; one was almost grateful to the enemy for allowing one to Kve. 
I can mention a very significant fact in this connection. The colliers of the Micheroux district 
have the reputation of utter fearlessness. But I was told this by the priest of La Minerie when 
he came to warn me that I was accused of shooting at the enemy. He was doing Red Cross work 
with the Germans, and during the course of Thursday, the 6th August, was in the neighbourhood 
of Micheroux. ' I saw,' he told me, ' the corpses of several colliers who had just been shot. There 
was a group of about 40 men there awaiting the same fate. I spoke to the commanding officer 
and asked him if he was not ashamed of killing innocent people Hke that. He said that they 
had been firing at the troops. I swore that they had not, and eventually I obtained their release. 
I then went to them and said : ' My friends, you see that a priest can yet be of some use. I 
have obtained your pardon. You are free, but I recommend you not to shoot and not to talk 
about the forces you have seen here,' and then these poor wretches, mad with joy, threw up 
their caps and began to shout : ' Long five the Emperor.' 

" A few days later, I beheve the 17th August, Dr. Deleval, of Charneux, had to take in some 
superior officers, the very ones who next day ordered the destruction of the village of Julemont. 
Sentinels were stationed along the avenue which led to the doctor's villa. During the night 
a shot was heard. A soldier was wounded. There was at once a great commotion. There was 
talk of burning down the village, and petrol was being thrown on the door of the villa. But the 
doctor, who knows German, asked to examine the wound. He proved that the buUet was a 
German one and fired at close range. Apparently a soldier had asked his neighbour to 
wound him in the foot so as to get out of fighting. Several of the wounded who were being 
nursed at Valdieu were wounded in this way, so a priest of the community told me. The doctor's 
demonstration was so convincing that the officers decided to spare the village. 

" Two farmers from near Herve were forced to accompany the troops with their wagon. 
On the way one of them asked a soldier : ' Do you think that we shall be allowed to return ? ' 
' Yes,' said the soldier. ' You will get back, but that man there won't,' and he pointed to the 
officer who was marching at the head of the detachment. 

" M. Ruwet, the provincial councillor at Thimister, told me that one night the sentries posted 
on the Battice road fired at a German motor which did not stop when challenged. At once 
the soldiers at Thimister raised the cry that civihans had been shooting at them and wished 
to burn down the village. The commanding officer who was billeted on M. Ruwet, knowing 
what had happened, said to his host : ' Come with me ; we will try to calm them down,' and 
on his return he said : ' I have had a bad quarter of an hour. I thought I should not be able 
to control my men. You see how evilly disposed they are.' 

' I met lately at Abbe Poels' house, at Velten, the doctor from Heerlen, who made this 
remark to me : ' It is not susprising that the soldiers believed they saw francs-tireurs everywhere. 
At the frontier I spoke to men who had not yet set foot in Belgium and were terrified. 
They believed that they would be fired at from every house.' As to the incident at Charneux, 


he told me : ' Near Bernlau I myself attended to soldiers who were supposed to have been 
wounded by civihans, but I was able to estabhsh that the woimds were caused by German 
bullets ! ' 

" Soldiers firing at their officers out of revenge, or getting themselves shot in the foot so as to 
escape service, or imagining that every shot was fired by a civilian — these things explain the belief 
in francs-tireurs. These regrettable mistakes have apparently occurred in many districts. At first 
we Belgians believed that there were francs-tireurs ; the Germans told their lying stories with 
such assurance and with such a wealth of detail that one never thought of disbeheving them. 
One was agreeably surprised Later on to meet ahve and well compatriots whom the enemy said 
they had punished with death. 

" I declare upon my honour as a priest that this report is absolutely sincere. The facts 
that I have narrated are beyond question, and I am sure that an honest inquiry would estabhsh 
the accuracy of my information. 

" I have the honour to subscribe myself, M. le Ministre, 


"D.D. Louvain, Priest of Battice." 


Capellen, a small village to the north of Tirlemont, has 857 inhabitants. No 
civihans were killed, but eight houses were burned down and 52 were looted by the 
Germans after the retreat of the Belgian forces on the 18th August, 1914. 

Captain Strauss, of the 12th Grenadier Regiment, whose deposition is repro- 
duced in the " White Book " (App. 48), states the circumstances in which the 
houses were set on fire. While passing through the village his men were fired at 
from a house and a garden. A search was made, but no soldier was found. There 
were two men and nine women and children in the house, all unarmed, and no 
weapon was found. The shots remaining inexphcable, the house was set on fire. 
The civihans were released the next day. 

This deposition, which exonerates the inhabitants from taking part in the 
struggle between the rearguard, which was covering on the 18th August, 1914, the 
retreat of the Belgian army on the Gette, and the Germans, is interesting from a 
double point of view. It shews in a striking manner the way in which the Germans 
waged war in Belgium, ravaging towns and villages every time the Belgian or Anglo- 
French troops made them a base of defence. It also shews that the German 
Government does not repress such excesses, and that it even tries to base charges 
against the people upon such incidents. The insertion of Captain Strauss' deposition 
in the " White Book " has hardly any other object — unless, indeed, it is meant to 
illustrate German mildness, the civilians suspected but not convicted of hostile 
acts not having been shot at CapeUen. 


The village of Champion, not far from Namur, was sacked. Fifty-rune houses 
were destroyed and a great many others looted. 

The " White Book " has two documents relating to what happened in this 
commune. The first is the deposition, taken at Berhn, of the Sergeant of Landwehr 
Ebers, who, having been shghtly wounded, was on the 24th August in the Convent 
of Champion, which had been turned into a hospital (App. 36). The second is 
the joint evidence of Sergeant Schiiltze, a corporal, and five grenadiers of the 93rd 
Infantry Regiment, taken at Berlin on the 18th September, 1914. 

According to these depositions, about 10 p.m. on the 24th August, 1914, brisk 
firing was directed against the principal entrance and the windows of the Convent 
of Champion, which was full of wounded. The marksmen were civihans, who were 
firing from the windows and garrets of the houses facing the side wing of the convent. 
The nuns had taken refuge in the cellars. Having been made to come out, they were 
placed in the midst of a group of doctors, stretcher-bearers, and shghtly wounded 
men, which proceeded towards the door of the convent. Both a French and a 
Belgian surgeon, who were prisoners, had already spoken to the people from the 
doorway and urged them to be quiet. The firing slackened, only to become brisker 
when the shghtly wounded soldiers, helped by the men of a small-arms ammunition 
column which was near the convent, went into the street in order to visit the houses. 

* See also, as to the affair at Champion, the report of the Austrian priest Aloijsins van den Bergh 
at p. 315, and the note of Mgr. Heylen, Bishop of Namur, at p. 331. 


It lasted until nearly 11 o'clock. During the night ten of the houses from which 
firing had occurred were set on fire. Next morning the marks of many shots were 
seen on the exterior of- the convexat, and, moreover, in a house opposite its principal 
entrance, where a priest lived, there were found 40 cases of dynamite and 30 boxes 
of cartridges. The priest remained for two days under the guard of the ammunition 
column and was then set at liberty. _ m • • 

As a matter of fact, the civihan population, had no hand in the affair. This is 
proved by the following deposition of M. Ernest Claes : — 

" On the morning of the 24th August, a German ambulance took me from the trenches 
before Bonnine to the Convent of the Sisters of Providence, which had been turned into a field 
hospital. I had a bullet wound in the right side, one in the back and two in the left shoulder. 
Sub-Lieutenant G. Mathieu, who was in command of my platoon, was also taken in the ambulance. 

" I had been lying for some minutes on the straw in one of the rooms by the side of Victor 
Stroobants, of Louvain, who belonged to my company, when a German non-commissioned officer, 
Carl Magersuppe,* inspector of the hospital, came and asked me if I would help him as interpreter. 
He had heard that I knew German. 

" I was placed on a chair in the passage, near the entrance. Every time the German hospital 
attendants had to speak to the nuns they came to me. I made the acquaintance of 
many of the Sisters, and the German doctors, including the chief surgeon, Dr. Blum, commanding 
the fnd Field Hospital of the 11th Army Corps. The three or four doctors were very busy. 
Many wounded were being brought in, chiefly from the Marchovelette and Cognelee forts. Most 
of them were fearfully burnt. They all passed by the place where I was sitting. Captain 
Duchateau, from Fort Marchovelette, wounded in the left shoulder and right leg, and his lieutenant, 
badly burnt on his body and hands, were both there. The Germans spoke of the former with 
the highest praise. They had been told that he had heroically stayed at his post until the fort 
was completely destroyed. I also made the acquaintance of Lieutenant Nemery, the surgeon 
of the fort, and Lieutenant Janssen, the surgeon of Cognelee Fort. Neither of these was wounded. 

" About midday I suddenly fainted. Then my wounds were dressed and I was placed 
on a chair in the yard in front of one of the windows of the passage. Through this open window 
I translated everything asked of me. 

" AU the passages and available rooms were full of wounded. The floor was sticky with 
blood — it was a warm August day — and the cries and moans of the wounded were heard everywhere. 

" The kitchen was just beside me. It was entered through a verandah. I chatted with 
the Sisters who were working there. 

" The convent beKry was in front of me. The clock had stopped at 2 o'clock. I remained 
in this place all the afternoon until the evening. 

" Dusk was falling — I don't know the exact time — ^when suddenly about five shots were 
heard in the great garden which runs down the slope of the hill, on which the convent stands, 
as far as the main road from Eghezee to Namur. I heard them quite distinctly. No one took 
any notice of them, not even the German soldiers walking in the yard. Again, a couple of shots 
sounded in the garden behind the chapel, and someone shouted ' Francs-tireurs ! ' 

" Immediately the German soldiers rushed indoors. The guard posted at the entrance 
was ordered outside (I distinctly heard the command), and all ofiicers, soldiers and attendants 
took up positions in passages 9 and 3 near the entrance to the yard. Firing, still from the garden 
side, went on for about two minutes. There was a short stop and then it began again for two 
or three minutes only, and then ceased entirely. We heard no bullet whistle and saw no one. 
Above passage number 12 I saw German soldiers rushing downstairs. Up there were the rooms 
of the staff of the field hospital (the small rooms of the boarders). I was in front of the kitchen 
door, asking myself where these francs-tireurs could have sprung from. By the side of me was 
a priest, one of the spiritual directors of the nuns, I believe. He was between 40 and 60 years 
of age. The Sisters, who had been very busy in the kitchen preparing a meal, had run away in 
a fright. 

" AU this happened Mke a flash of hghtning. 

" The convent was searched by an officer and two soldiers, preceded by two Sisters carrying 
a lantern. In the cellars they found two or three men and some women and children of the 
village who had taken refuge in the convent and had been there for some days. 

" At this time the flames of the houses and farms that had been set ahght were mounting 
high above the convent. They must have been fired at the first moment of the shooting, 
before it was known what was really happening. Otherwise the flames could not have made 
such progress. 

" While they were searching the convent I asked Dr. Blum if I might go round the village 
with some of the soldiers to see what had happened and to calm the inhabitants if there were 
disturbances. He consented, and I went under an escort of five soldiers. An officer said to 
me at the entrance to the convent : ' You are running the risk of being killed, for they won't recog- 
nise you.' We turned to the left in the direction of the church. At the large horse-pond by the 
road side we met a small body of soldiers leaving the village. 

" ' What is happening in the village ? ' 

His address is Carl Magersuppe, von Humboldtstrasse, 7, Cassel. He gave me this address himself. 


" ' Nothing. We have seen absolutely nothing. They are shutting up all civilians in the 

" ' Where did they fire fx-om 1 ' 

" ' In the convent, down there behind the wall. Xowhere in the village. Some of us then 
fired in the air, as we wen ordered.'* 

" ' Why were the farms set alight, then ? ' 

" ' Der Befehl.'t 

" All this I learned by question and answer from the soldiers. Nobody had seen or heard 
of any francs-tireurs. We remained a .short time longer in the ruddy light of a burning house. 

" On my return to the convent I had to inform the Sisters that they all, mthout exception, 
even those who were ill in bed, were to go to the chapel. These poor creatures were almost mad 
with teiTor. They had already been told that they would be turned out and the convent 

" They were sitting on the left of the gallery, a prey to mad terror, as they saw through 
the windows the flames belching from the houses and the sparks flying. They believed that the 
convent was already burning. Gathered round the Reverend Mother, they implored me to 
ask for permission for them to leave. In the passage by the little bedrooms, I saw an old nun 
sitting in a chair ready to be carried away. 

" A non-commissioned officer made them come together. He and I were alone in the chapel 
with the Sisters. The doors had to remain shut. I perceived that the German was amused at 
their terror. 

" I then had to translate, phrase by phrase, the following speech :— 

" ' The Germans have no desire to do any harm, but the francs-tireurs force them to take 
severe measures. In the convent francs-tireurs have been firing and several wounded have 
been killed,! and the Germans would have been justified in shooting the Sisters. But I have 
spoken in your favoiir (a he), and I may be able to save your lives. But you must pass the night 
in the chapel, and to-morrow you wiU go to tell people about here that they must not shoot Germans. 
The nuns must wear an armlet with the Red Cross.' 

" This man was playing an abominable comedy. He had even had most of the lights put 
out : Es muss ein bischen schavderhaft aussehen.% This man had no orders whatever. When 
we left the chapel he laughed. Later on the Sisters got permission to go to bed. 

" I found Carl Magersuppe in the kitchen. My wounds had begun to bleed freely and 1 
was quite exhausted. He first helped me to regain consciousness and then said : ' Do you now 
know what all this verdammte Schiesserei ^ was ? ' The electricity plant had been suddenly put 
on full to provide lighting for the whole convent. The electrician had departed the evening 
before for Namur and did not return. One of their men (a BerUn chauffeur) had been at work 
lOn the plant. At one time it had made a few short explosions. The soldiers who were wandering 
in the garden to gather fruit had probably imagined that these were shots and had fired at random. 
They had told Carl Magersuppe this themselves ; hence all the trouble. ' There was no question 
of francs-tireurs at all.' In fact, at nightfall they were afraid of being depirived of light, which 
would have been serious on such a night. The Sister who taught natural science had been called 
in to advise. Afterwards the chauffeur who had made the plant work came to the kitchen and 
gave us a detailed account of what happened. 

" That night Carl Magersuppe and I slept together by the side of the stairs to the Sisters' 

" Next day all was quiet. Not another word was said about francs-tireurs. During the 
morning I went into the village as far as the church. Thanks to a little fib, the sentries let me 
pass as an interpreter. I had been told that several prisoners belonging to my company were 
there with Major Rousseau, and at the kitchen I had even got some food for the Major, But 
the prisoners had been removed. I saw the houses gutted by fire. Not a soul in the village, save 
a man in his dotage who was sitting alone on a doorstep. A dead dog was lying at his feet. All 
the villagers were shut up in the church. Just as I arrived a cart came through the graveyard, 
bringing them food : green apples and pears from the neighbouring orchards. I saw a cleric, 
the priest, I think, standing in the midst of them. 

" That day, or the day after, I, with Carl Magersuppe, visited all the rooms, including the 
water-closets, which opened on to the garden or the streets. Nowhere was there any sign of a 
bullet, save in a corner of the garden where the mndows were broken, and we found some pieces 
of shrapnel which had fallen into the garden during the first bombardment and had knocked down 
a tree covered with foliage in an alley of Hme trees. 

* I remember this important point ^'ery clearly. 
t " Orders." 

I No one, German or otherwise, was wounded or lolled in the convent. Next day I saw several 
wounded civilians there. A man with a bullet wound in his arm, two young boys, one wounded in the 
left shoulder and the other in the knee, and a little child of two with a bullet in the left thigh. But I 
do not know whether they were wounded on the night in question. 

§ " It ought to look rather gruesome." 
^ " Damned shooting." 

II Before leaving Champion I gave Carl Magersuppe a letter of thanks for his kindness to the French 
and Belgian wounded. It was signed by Captain Duchlteau, Lieutenant Mathieu, Dr. Stroobants, 
Pierre de Meyer (the civilian doctor of Champion), a French non-commissioned officer, and myself. 


" Several days later Dr. Janssen and Dr. Nemery departed for Namur. 

" I fell very ill and was treated by Dr. Kohler, professor of surgery at Coburg. He chatted 
with me several times, and, speaking of francs-tireurs and what had happened at Champion, 
he said : ' It is possible that there was a mistake here, but it has been clearly proved in many 
places that civihans fired at our men.' 

" I can name all the persons mentioned as witnesses of what I have described. 

" I carefully noted in my diary these events in detail and also the names of all the people. 
But this diary was taken from me at the hospital at Gotha by Sergeant-Major Roth (No. 2 

" I declare on oath that all that I have written above is true. 

"Dr. Ernest Class." 


In the area of the town of Charleroi 160 houses were burned down in the Rue 
du Grand Central, the Mons Road, and the Boulevard Audent, which are the finest 
streets in the town. 

This arson was systematically carried out under the orders of German ofl&cers. 

Inhabitants, including Dr. Cothon and Dr. de Ponthiere, the latter wearing 
a Red Cross brassard, were taken by the troops and forced to march in front of 

About 40 inhabitants perished. Some were burnt ahve in their houses or 
suffocated in their cellars, where they had taken refuge. Others were shot as they 
tried to escape from their burning houses. 

The " White Book " makes no allusion to these outrages by the German army. 

It contains only one deposition by a private in the Landwehr, Alwin Chaton, 
of the 78th Reserve Infantry Regiment, who alleges that, during the fierce fighting 
in the streets of Charleroi between the French and Germans, he saw three civihans 
round a German dragoon who was Ijdng on the ground, still moving his legs. One 
had a long bloody knife in his hand. The dragoon's eyes were gouged out. The 
dragoon's body was sending out a thick smoke. He had doubtless been sprinkled 
with some inflammable liquid (App. 63). 

That is all that the editors of the " White Book " have found to say 
in justification of the destruction and murder committed in Charleroi by the 
German armies. They do not seem to have considered that the improbability of 
Chaton's story itself should have led to the rejection of his evidence. How can one 
admit for a moment that when fighting was raging in the principal streets civilians 
could have accomplished their horrible task without fear of danger up a side street 
close by (50 or 60 yards) ? This story, which is entirely uncorroborated, is obviously 
the product of a diseased imagination. He also states in his last sentence, without 
giving any details, that he afterwards saw other corpses on fire, which must have 
been burnt deliberately, as there was no fire near by. Chaton therefore saw several 
autos-da-fe of this kind, while thousands of German officers and men did not see a 
single one ! 


The Belgian Commission of Inquiry has received no information as to the 
destruction or the murders committed by the Germans at Deynze, 

The German " White Book " contains a deposition by a Reservist, Gottfried 
Hilberath, of the 12th Company of the 236th Reserve Infantry Regiment who, 
on being transferred on the 31st October, 1914, to the hospital at Werne (Germany), 
declared that on the 25th of the same month, while engaged in digging trenches 
on the outskirts of Deynze, he and several of his comrades bought some sugar at 
a shop in the village. He put it in the coffee with which he had filled his water 
bottle. Next day, after drinking the coffee, he lost consciousness. He was taken 
to the hospital at Westroosenbeke, where he learned that the other soldiers were also 
poisoned and that some had died. He does not know what happened to the shop- 
keeper who sold them the sugar (App. 50). 

The pubhcation of such vague and fantastic evidence is characteristic of 
the spirit in which the " White Book " was compiled. It shows how easily the 
most scurrilous and unfounded accusations are accepted by the German Government. 
It is hardly necessary to remark that, if there had been the least appearance of an 
attempt at poisoning, the German authorities, having regard to the gravity of the 
matter, would not have failed to hold a serious inquiry and that, instead of a private's 
statement, the Government would have brought forward the evidence of the doctors 
who attended to the sick and pubhshed the result of the analysis of the poisoned 


sugar. It is to be noticed that the deposition of Hilberath is the only one in the 
" White Book " which gives the direct evidence of a victim of the so-called Belgian 


The Commune of Gougnies (683 inhabitants), at the extreme east of the Province 
of Hainault, was sacked on the 23rd August, 1914, during the battle of the Sambre. 

There was no fighting at Gougnies. The first troops passed through qmetly. 
Towards the evening of Sunday, the 23rd August, the Germans, alleging that the 
civilian population had fired at their men, set the village on fire at several points. 
Seventeen houses were burnt down, in particular a house where M. Piret, Provincial 
Councillor of Hainault, had established a hospital. Ten French soldiers were burnt 
ahve in it. 

Next day but one M. Piret, in spite of his advanced age, was taken out and shot 
at Le Roux. Two other inhabitants of Gougnies, M. Thiry, aged 83, and M. 
Gregoire, aged 56, were also shot. 

What does the " White Book " say as to this place ? That the lady who owned 
the Chateau of Gougnies had told the German medical officers and the stafiE of the 
German ambulances that Provincial Councillor AdeUn Piret had distributed among 
the inhabitants the weapons deposited at the Town Hall. There had also been firing 
from the village on the columns on the march, so says Dr. Esche, author of the report 
inserted in App. 33. 

This, therefore, is the explanation of the sack of Gougnies, the burning of the 
hospital and the murder of M. Piret and two other inhabitants. 

Yet there is no doubt that a part at least of this explanation is quite fantastic. 
The Chateau of Gougnies belonged to M. Piret. The lady whom the " White Book " 
calls "the owner' ' * of the chateau must have been one of M. Piret's family. It is obvious 
that the meaning of the words attributed to her must have been misinterpreted, 
when one remembers that it was a question of the arms deposited by the inhabitants 
themselves at the Town Hall. The words of the " owner " are nowhere given in the 
" White Book," which contents itself with reporting them indirectly. This method 
of quoting Belgian evidence is, we know, characteristic of the " Wliite Book " (see 
Part I., Chapter III., p. 71). The " owner " evidently was merely stating, in order 
to clear M. Piret, that he had ordered these weapons to be deposited at the Town 


The Belgian Commission of Inquiry has no knowledge of the crimes committed 
at Gouvy, the place where the Belgian frontier station on the Liege-Luxemboiarg 
line is situated. 

A report of the staff of the 64th Infantry Brigade states that the brigade was 
received in a friendly manner by the people of Gouvy when it arrived on the 
5th August, 1914. Nevertheless a search made in the station buildings resulted in 
the discovery in a corner of cases of weapons containing about 300 Browning revolvers 
and 50 kilos of dynamite. Questioned on the subject of arms and ammunition, 
the station-master said that there were none in the station. So he was arrested 
(App. 13.) 

It is impossible to see what bearing this has on the alleged francs-tireurs. The 
report of the 64th Brigade mentions no act of hostihty imputable to the inhabitants. 
What is there unusual in the fact that arms and ammunition were found in the 
warehouse of a customs station ? What is there extraordinary even in the station- 
master, on the day after the declaration of war, anxious not to reveal anything about 
them to the enemy, declaring that there were no articles of such "a nature in the 
warehouse ? 

Moreover, it appears from information received by the Minister of Railways 
that additions were being made to Gouvy station in August, 1914. In order to widen 
the track, explosives were used, which were entrusted to the overseer at Vielsalm. 
He had placed a certain quantity of tonite in one of the out-buildings of the station. 
As to the arms, they were in two cases and were a consignment from a house at 
Liege to Switzerland. When they arrived at Gouvy, on the 3rd August, they were 
not forwarded because traffic with the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg was suspended. 
The cases were left at Gouvy and put by the overseer's directions in the warehouse 

* La proprietaire. 

] See also the note by Mgr. Heylen, Bishop of Namur (Appendix, Document ix., p. 331). 



\vii\\ many other packages. The station-master, who had nothing to do with the 
enlargement, which was under the charge of the technical staff, nor with the handling 
of goods, may even have been quite ignorant of the existence of explosives and weapons 
in the station buildings. 


The town of Herve (4,682 inhabitants) was sacked. 

About 4 p.m. on 4th August, 1914, a motor car containing German officers 
entered the town. Messrs. Dechene, Dieudonne and Gustave Stjme, who were 
on the MalakofE Bridge, made a move to go indoors. The occupants of the 
motor car hailed them. Without giving them time to answer, they fired at the 
men. Dechgne was killed and Styne seriously wounded. 

Shortly afterwards the troops entered Herve. Next day hostages were taken. 
Several serious events occurred during the following days, but it was not until 
Saturday, the 8th August, that the destruction of a great part of the town took 

About 10 o'clock in the morning of that day fresh troops coming from Germany 
entered the town, shooting in all directions. They set fire to the station and to 
Mme. Christophe's house. Mme. Christophe and her daughter were suffocated 
in the cellar. Mme. Hendrickx, seeing the fire catch her house, ran into the street 
with a crucifix in her hand ; she was killed by rifle -fire. 

The killing, arson, and looting went on for several days. About 40 people were 
killed. Several women were among the victims, in particular : Mme, Christophe- 
Diet, aged 47 ; Mile. Christophe, aged 20 ; Mme. Hendrickx, aged 40 ; Mme, Grailet, 
aged 50 ; and Mile, Lecloux, aged 51, 

The town was completely sacked, and about 300 houses were destroyed by 

The " White Book " does not mention these assassinations, arsons, and robberies. 
It publishes a few depositions of soldiers, but there is in none of them any allusion 
to the doings of the German soldiers at Herve ; they relate only to acts of hostility 
or cruelty to which their men were subjected in the district. 

Corporal Funke, of the 2nd Hanoverian Dragoon Regiment, No. 16, relates 
that at Herve some soldiers of the Magdeburg Field Artillery Regiment pointed 
out to him the body of a hussar lying near a straw rick. He .went to look and found 
that the hussar's ears and nose were cut off and that his face was slashed all over 
(App. 57). This is the only deposition as to what happened at Herve, The other 
evidence relates to occurrences in villages near Herve, to which the witnesses could 
give no name. 

Reservist Voigt, of the 165th Infantry Regiment, declares that on the 6th August 
he, with seven of his comrades, surprised five Belgian soldiers in a village just behind 
Herve, They surrendered. They had with them two German hussars, whom they 
had taken prisoners. One of these hussars pointed out to Voigt the corpse of another 
hussar hanging from a tree with his nose and ears cut off. The hussars declared 
that the Belgian soldiers were guilty of the murder and also of the mutilation, aftd 
added that, but for the arrival of Voigt and his companions, they themselves would 
have suffered the same fate. Voigt continues by saying that, on rejoining his com- 
pany, they were met in a village, the name of which he does not know, by shots which 
came from the windows and ventilators of the houses. This village lay in the 
direction of Liege, between Herve and a large colliery. The day before, he adds, 
his company was engaged in advanced guard fighting to the right of Herve, A 
wounded Einjahriger% was left on the scene of the fighting. Next day, passing 
by again, Voigt saw his body near a garden fence. His eyes were gouged out. On 
the 7th August, while marching towards Liege, he saw the corpse of a German foot 
soldier, whose privates had been completely removed and who bore no gunshot 
wound (App. 55). 

Reservist Marks, of the same regiment, declares that he also saw at a village 
near Herve the body of the Einjdhriger with his eyes gouged out. He says : " We 
were convinced that it was done by the villagers," Next day, when they were 
again passing through the village, they were greeted by shots coming from windows 

* See also the letter of Mgr. Rutten, Bishop of Li^ge (Appendix, Document ix., p. 348). 

t See the 17th Report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry. The Hst of names of victims, 44 in 
number, which has been drawn up, is no doubt incomplete. Many disappeared, but a number of the 
inhabitants have left Belgium and others were taken to Germany, It was with great difficulty that 
the deaths were ascertained. 

I One year volunteer. 


and ventilators. Orders were given to disarm the inhabitants and to take them 
prisoners. As the firing continued, six guilty Belgian peasants were shot (App. 65). 

Reservist Hartmann, of the same regiment, also saw the Einjcihriger with his 
eyes gouged out in a village near Herve. He adds that his company commander, 
Captain Burkholz, gave orders to the men to search the houses. In the house by 
the hedge where the body was lying they found a middle-aged man lying on a bed. 
He pretended to be asleep. He Avas taken to the officers, who questioned him, and 
he was then shot. During the march to Liege the witness saw the body of a German 
infantryman who had been put, head foremost, half way into a muddy pool 
{ein morastiges Wasserloch) (App. 55). 

Paul Blankenburg, a private in the 7 th Company of the same 165th Infantry 
Regiment, declares that, in a village west of Herve from the houses of which shots 
had been suddenly fired on the columns on the march, they fo\md some German 
wounded, among whom he recognised some men of the 4th Jager battalion. Some 
little girls of from 8 to 10 years of age were near the wounded. They were holding some 
sharp instruments, which were neither knives nor scissors. They were handling 
these instruments near some W9unded who had had the exterior parts of their ears 
cut off. One of the wounded said that he had been mutilated in that way by the 
little girls. Blankenburg also gives evidence that farther on during the march 
a hospital orderly, who was attending a wounded man in a school yard, was killed 
by a shot fired from the schoolhouse by some inhabitants (App. 56). 

Reservist Baldeweg, of the 11th Company of the 36th Infantry Regiment, 
says that about the 8th August he saw in a village near Verviers horses with their 
tongues cut out. They were in a stable. He thinks that civihans had mutilated 
them. The same witness also declares that he saw at a place close to Herve a hussar 
bound hand and foot to a tree and nailed to it by two strong nails driven through 
the eyes. He also says that he saw at a farm in the same district an infantryman 
whose eyes had been gouged out, nose, ears and fingers cut off, and stomach ripped 
open with the bowels protruding. His chest was also slashed all over by some 
pointed instrument (App. 58).* 

Have the facts stated in these depositions any relation to the sacking of Herve ? 
It would seem not, since, according to the witnesses, most of them occurred outside 
the town boundaries. But the " White Book " contains no deposition which would 
tend to give any other explanation for the sacking of the town and the murder of 
over 40 of its inhabitants. One is therefore forced to the conclusion that it was 
in consequence of allegations of this kind that the assassinations and the destruction 
were committed. 

Yet, in the first place, most of these declarations are entirely lacking in precision, 
especially as to the firing. The witnesses are quite incapable of determining exactly 
where these events occurred. Yet they all declare that they took place on the 
5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th or 10th of August, that is, at a time when the German troops 
must have expected attacks from Belgian detachments and patrols, basing their 
defence on the villages in this district. The evidence collected by the Belgian 
Commission of Inquiry is unanimous in declaring that the civilian population took 
no part in military operations. 

Again, the question must be asked, what credit do the statements of Voigt, 
Blankenburg and Baldeweg,* who were giving evidence nearly three months after 
the event, deserve, when one bears in mind their mental condition at the time ? 
The absurd fables they report as to the cruelty committed by the Belgian popula- 
tion are very significant. Either these men are impostors or their morbid state of 
mind and their obsession concerning francs-tireurs have led them to mistake for 
reahties the creations of their imagination. 

It is surprising to find such stories in an official publication. The absence 
of any report establishing the truth of facts, which could not, had they occurred, 
have been unknown to the officers and surgeons, should have decided the German 
Government a priori to reject such unusual depositions. No doubt it was such stories 
as these that, at the beginning of the war, provoked the slanderous accusations 
against the Belgian nation which were current in Germany and were echoed by the 
Emperor William in his telegram to President Wilson. 

The testimony of the German, Private Kvirasinski, who was taken prisoner^ 
enables one to form an idea of the way in which the German armies behaved them- 
selves in the Herve district on their entrance into Belgium. Kurasinski, a private 
in the 20th Infantry Regiment, No. 7 Company, was examined on oath by the French 

* See Part I., p. 50. 


Lieutenant Loustalot, the deputy Prosecutor of the Court-Martial of the 18th Army 
Corps District, assisted by Sergeant Laborderie, registrar, and Corporal Latourcaae, 
interpreter. (See pp. 169 and 174). He made the following deposition :— 

" On the 3rd August the 20th Infantry Regiment, to which I belong, left Aix-la-ChapeUe for 
Belgium * We had hardly crossed the frontier before we found barricades made up of carts, casks, 
&c At the first Belgian village (Soiron), where we passed the night, we were told that cmhans 
had shot at the troops from the top of the belfry. We were given orders to fire, but as the 
35th German Infantry Regiment was posted at the other end of the village we fired at them, thmkmg 
that they were the enemy. On both sides men were wounded by our own fire. As soon as the 
mistake was discovered, the column set out to march in the direction of Liege. (This was on 
the 5th August as near as I can teU.) The 20th Regiment was one of the first, but up to Verviers 
and in that place nothing in particular occurred. Then we reached the viUage of Foret, where 
\ there were knapsacks of Belgian soldiers lying heaped up. We found here some prisoners (a 
priest and five civifians, one being a lad of 17). Looting began. The 20th Regiment began 
i to take all it could find, but about five or six shells were fired at us. As we were told that civilians 
I had been shooting, the order was given to the soldiers that in such cases they were to fire at the 
inhabitants. We continued our march and we arrived at the next viUage, where there was a 
school The doors of the houses were at once smashed in with our rifle butts ; everything was 
taken : curtains and inflammable articles were heaped together and set on fire. All the houses 
were burnt. It was while this was going oii that the civihans, of whom I told you, were shot, 
except the priest. I have no doubt about it, as I saw the five corpses myself. A little further 
on, under the pretext that civihans had fired since {sic) a house (I don't know myself whether 
it was soldiers or civihans who had fired), orders were given to set this house on fire. A woman 
who was in bed was dragged out, thrown into the flames and burnt ahve. 

" We again set out and marched all night long. Next day we came to another village. 
We also heard shots fired here, coming from some houses at the other end of the village. But 
the same mistake occurred as at Soiron. The 20th again fired on the 36th, not knowing that they 
were stationed there. About 10 were kiUed and 20 wounded. The officers, not wishing to have 
it said that such a mistake had been made, hastened to assert that civilians had reaUy fired and 
ordered them all to be killed. This order was obeyed, and there was a frightful butchery. I 
mean, however, that only men were killed, but all the houses were burnt. The houses where 
food remained were entered, a meal was prepared, and we gave ourselves up to looting. But 
some sheUs began to fall, and the battalion was separated from the rest of the regiment. From 
shame, a Reserve lieutenant of the 8th Company committed suicide, behoving that we had to 
retreat and return to Verviers. Nevertheless, they left a detachment of 16 men, of whom I 
was one, to occupy a bridge. There we met a man who made himself known to us as a German 
spy, speaking German and French, and I am convinced, for I spoke to him, that he also knew 
a little PoUsh and Russian. He shewed us a paper signed by the German Government, which 
appeared to be a passport. After this incident our detachment met five carts under convoy 
commanded by Lance-Sergeant Schuboth, then the band of the 20th ; everyone was going to 
Eupen and then branching off to Herve. On the way everything was burnt. At Herve every- 
thing was burnt except a convent. Everjrwhere were corpses burnt to a cinder in one heap. 
(There were about 100, all civilians, including some children). I only saw three living people 
in the viUage — an old man, a Sister of Charity, and a girl. As far as Li^ge, where we went next, 
there was nothing to mention save a few burnt houses. When we reached Liege the town was 
already taken. When we arrived I was told that a truck load of wine had been plundered, and 
I was brought wine to drink. Liege did not seem to have been looted, but on the outskirts I saw 
a very fine villa which had been ransacked, and the carpets, &c., taken. Then we set out again. 
Between Liege and Louvain nearly everything had been burnt down, and what had not been 
burnt, had been plundered. Innumerable bottles were lying on the road and the roadside. 
Though the villages all seemed to have been looted and burnt, the large towns had not suffered. 
On the march. Lieutenant Mayer (of No. 7 Company) gave orders that no prisoners were to be made 
in Belgium, and that all soldiers found -were to be killed. 

" At Looz I noticed a poster in three languages, which stated : ' Everyone who fixes will 
be shot and the houses wiU be set on fire.' 

" Between Louvain and Li^ge, in the villages, the furniture was lying pell-mell 
outside, mixed with innumerable bottles. 

" Past Tervueren, in the Tervueren wood, near Brussels, we came across the Congo Museum, 
on the door of which was a notice : ' Entry forbidden,' signed by a German general. A civilian 
pointed this notice out to the soldiers and prevented them from going inside. 

" After a very long march, we came to a large cavalry barracks situated at one end of Brussels. 
We laid down on mattresses for the night, but at some time someone found some immense cellars 
stocked with food and wine. The men got quite drunk. Everything was ransacked, 
especially the leather store, and everyone took his share. Next morning, it is true, the sergeant- 
major, feehng qualms of conscience, came to ask how many bottles had been drunk After 
some uninteresting comings and goings, I went with my regiment by bye-ways to Mons. The 

* It was at daybreak on the 4th August, 1914, that the first German troops entered Belgium (Nnip 
by the Belgian Commission of Inquiry.) ^ 


paving had been torn up and the houses partly plundered and burnt. At Mons we learned that 
the Enghsh were there, and we passed the night on a neighbouring hill. Then the artillery and 
the Enghsh machine guns began to fire. The combat lasted an hour. My rifle was broken. 
The Enghsh were forced to retire, but our losses were heavy. We entered Jemappes. PUlage 1 
For the rest, there was nobody left. One of my comrades took a watch. Later we saw about 
200 English prisoners in a factory. At last, on the 2.5th August, we crossed the French frontier, 
but from that moment the atrocities diminished. 

" To sum up, in Belgium I saw a vast number of civilians killed, but only men (except the 
women and children I have already mentioned). In the villages, three-quarters of the houses were 
burnt and the rest looted. On the other hand, except at Herve, almost everything in the towns was 
untouched. In the villages in Belgium and France furniture was put out of doors and empty bottles 
lay about everywhere. On the doors were inscriptions in chalk (on some, at least), ' Oute Leute 
— bitte schonen ' (' Well disposed people — please spare them '), then underneath the number 
of the regiment and company. I myself was ordered to write ' 7th Company, 20th Regiment.' 
Between Brussels and Mons the haystacks and some of the houses were burnt down. 

" The deposition, having been read over, the witness declared that his answers were correctly 
taken down, and true, and signed, together with myself, the interpreter, and the registrar. 

" R. Labordbrie, 
" Paxil Lafourcade, 
" loustalot, 
" a. kxjrasinski." 


Four residents .were killed ; 50 houses biirned and 100 looted. 

Captain Caspari, of the 3rd Company of the 75th Infantry Regiment, states 
that on the outskirts of Hougaerde a man in clerical attire met them and told him 
that there were no Belgian troops in the -village, and that the inhabitants were 
peaceable. Nevertheless, he came across -a barricade at a turning in the street 
and was at once subjected to a lively fire from all sides, in which civihans participated. 
He declares that he then saw armed civilians run away across the gardens, and that 
several of his men were wounded by small shot (App. 47). 

Here again the German commander was a victim of the hallucination which 
caused the invaders to see the acts of frarics-tireurs in every ambush into which 
they fell. Caspari behaved, even admitting that the inhabitants took part in the 
fight, as if the chief struggle had been against civihans. In this officer's statement 
there is no word about the presence at Hougaerde of Belgian soldiers, and one must 
read it with great care in order to notice tliat Caspari does not deny that there was 
a brush with enemy soldiers. 

The truth is that the Bridge of La Gette, in the village of Hougaerde, was, 
on the morning of the 18th August, 1914, defended by an outpost of the 4th Company 
of the 2nd BattaKon of the 3rd Chasseurs a pied, under the command of Volunteer 
Sergeant Dominique de Neef. 

This detachment was posted in the village, where it had erected a barricade. 
The men lay in ambush, partly behind the barricade and partly in the houses. 

When the 3rd Company of the 75th German Regiment advanced through the 
vOlage, they forced the priest of Autgaerden to march in front (see the 15th Report 
of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry), thinking that, if Belgian troops were there, 
they would hold their fire.* But at a turn of the street the Germans suddenly 
found themselves 30 or 40 yards from the barricade and the Belgians opened fire. 
The priest of Autgaerden was struck by a bullet and kUled. 

The inhabitants, who had taken refuge in their cellars, took to fhght when they 
saw the Belgian troops retire. The captain mistook these peaceful fugitives for 
francs-tireurs. The part of the village where the Belgian soldiers had organised 
a defence was burnt down after their retreat, and consequently without any military 


WiUi Kandt, aged 31, a volunteer in the 2nd Company of the 201st Reserve 
Infantry Regiment, states (App. 49) that on the march to Lessines his regiment 
was fired at from two farms which were set on fire. In the evening of the 20th 
October, 1914, the rear companies of the regiment, passing through Lessines, were 
greeted on all sides by shots fired from the houses and the church tower. Four 
men were wounded. The artillery were ordered to fire on the tower, and the church 
caught alight. A non-commissioned officer and eight men who were making a search 

* Captain Caspari says on this point : " My request to conduct us through Hougaerde obviously 
did not please the man (in clerical attire), but he complied." 


in the tower apparently perished in the flames. On the same day a civihan was shot 
because he had some cartridges in his pocket. Next day shots were fired from 
a farm, where no one was found, and it was immediately set on fire. But the corpse 
of a franc-tireur was found in the ruins. As the enemy forces had left the district, 
the shots could only have been fired by civilians. 

This deposition, so exceptionally precise, is absolutely incorrect. The incidents, 
it would seem, are delusions of the witness. From the beginning of the war up 
to the 4th June, 1916, nothing out of the way occurred at Lessines. Not only was 
there no hostile act committed, but, in contrast to what happened in so many other 
places, no excesses were committed by the German troops. This is estabhshed by 
the following deposition of M. G. Delaunoit : — 

" 27th July, 1915. M. Georges Henn Delaunoit, assistant station-master at Lessines, aged 25, 
appeared before me, Chevalier Ernst de Bunswijck, Secretary of the Commission of Inquiry, 
and made the following declaration : — 

" The only important transits of German troops through Lessines took place between the 
23rd August and the beginning of September. These came either from Bas-Silly and Ghislenghien 
on their way to Frasnes-lez-Buissenal, or from the direction of Grammont on the way towards 

" We never heard at Lessines of any hostile act on the part of the inhabitants nor of any 
act of violence on the part of the German troops towards the civilian population. After the 
passage of the troops a garrison of about 500 men remained at Lessines. 

" The inhabitants, during the whole of my stay at Lessines, which I did not leave until 
the 4th June, were never subjected to any violation of the laws and usages of war. No destruction 
was committed. The church and its belfry are intact. 

" In the whole district there has been no damage. 

" The deposition, having been read over, the witness adheres to it and signs. 


The example of Lessines is characteristic. It shows how lightly the German 
Government accepts the truth of unverified evidence. What weight can be given 
to an inquiry which reports incidents, the truth of which has never been verified, 
when the German Government had every facility for taking that precaution ? 


The commune of Monceau-sur-Sambre was delivered up to sack on Saturday, 
the 22nd August, 1914. 

Two hundred and fifty-one houses were entirely destroyed by fire. Sixty-two 
were looted. Here, as everywhere else, the arson was methodically carried out. 
Groups of soldiers smashed open the doors and windows, whilst others followed, 
throwing inflammable materials inside — pastilles, grenades, petrol and parafiin. 

Twelve residents of Monceau-sur-Sambre were shot ; 28 were murdered as 
they came out of their houses ; 30 others received wounds which eventually caused 
their death. By 4th November, 1914, 70 persons of all ages and of both sexes had 

Neither women nor children nor old men were spared. The Gerard family — 
the father, an official of the State Railways, the mother and a child aged eight — 
were murdered. The woman was shot in the yard of the house at close range. 
The father, holding his son's hand, took refuge in the garden. A German soldier 
saw them, and they were both shot dead. 

An old man of 77 was shot as he was coming out of his burning house . 

The " White Book " gives as to these events the depositions of Captain Leon 
von Guaita, of the 2nd Reserve Uhlan Regiment, Sergeant Hermann Hammermeister 
and Trooper Westphal (App. 46). The first -named states that on the 22nd August 
he was leading 25 Uhlans, when he was fired at in Rue Neuve in Monceau-sur-Sambre 
from the windows and cellars of the houses. One Uhlan was killed and a lieutenant 
and four Uhlans were wounded. The officer is sure that the firing came from civihans, 
and states that the map that he had in his hand was pierced by two small shot. 
Sergeant Hammermeister, who was one of the patrol, says that his impression was 
that two volleys were first fired at the front of the detachment and that then shooting 
from the houses took place. He saw a civilian fire a revolver but saw no soldier. 
Westphal is certain that he saw in a house from which firing occurred a civilian with 
a rifle in his hand. 

These depositions are unconvincing and are formally contradicted by the 
evidence, collected by the Belgian Commission of Inquiry, which shows that the 

* See the 22nd Report of the Bel.^ian Commission of Inquiry. 


conduct of the German troops was inexplicable. The shots which were fired at the 
troops as they entered the commune of Monceau-sur-Sambre, during the fighting 
on the Sambre between the French and German armies, came from French detach- 
ments hidden in the streets of Monceau-sur-Sambre, and m particular from machine 
guns posted on the Sambre Bridge. 

This is clearly shewn by the following report to the Belgian Commission of 
Inquiry : — 

" The German troops advancing from the direction of Roux were announced at Monceau- 
sur-Sambre about 9 a.m. on Saturday, the 22nd August. Preceded by Uhlans, they made their 
entry into the commune under the fire of French soldiers posted in a wood near the road from 
Monceau to Souvret. 

" About 60 Germans were wounded, and at once sent to Courcelles, where they were 
attended to. 

" The Germans reached the commune therefore while fighting. According to their tactics, 
it was necessary at all costs to terrify the population. As the French soldiers had not shewn 
themselves, this was a splendid opportunity for developing their favourite theme : ' CiviUans 
have JBred at German soldiers ; their repression must be terrible.' 

" This is what they did. 

" It is unnecessary to say that at the first shot all the inhabitants took refuge in their cellars, 

" When they reached the first houses in the Rue de Trazegnies, they began to shoot through 
the windows of the houses, to break open the doors with rifle butts and with axes which certain 
German foot soldiers carry for this express purpose. 

" I was present during their exploits, having been taken prisoner, and I must confess that 
they were past-masters. 

" The windows flew into atoms. The Germans entered the houses, yelhng hke savages, 
forced the inhabitants out, and took them all — men, women and children — ^prisoners. Ah the 
houses in the Rue de Trazegnies were set on fire. Two hundred and fifty-seven houses were 

" During this time several Uhlans were venturing through the various streets. 

" Eighteen (I counted them) reached the Mons Road and entered the Rue Neuve, which is 
in Marchienne-au-Pont. 

" They were greeted by a French machine gun, posted on the Sambre Bridge. Several were 
lolled and wounded. The rest of the band turned round and joined the main body of the army, 
which was stationed above the Rue de Trazegnies, near the Ruau School. 

" As I hve near the Rue Neuve, I saw the Uhlans reach the Mons Road, and then I went 
down into my cellar. The French gun was no longer heard. I went into my garden, whence 
I heard shouts and cries. I saw women and children, driven out of their burning houses, get 
over the wall of M. Thiebaut's, the burgomaster's, house. They came to beg protection. The 
burgomaster gave them permission to take refuge in the outbuildings of his house. I also went 
there. We had hardly got there when the redoubled blows of rifle butts sounded at the main 
entrance. M. Thiebaut, being near bj^ opened it. 

" He was at once seized. 

" I was about 20 yards away, and was covered by two German soldiers, who made signs 
to me to come forward with my hands up. We, and the residents of the adjoining houses, were 
pushed and bustled out, and we all, men, women and children, were gathered together at the 
entrance to the Rue Neuve, where the French had been firing. Luckily for us they were no 
longer firing. 

" There were also made prisoner Lebrun, the notary, Deglimes and Thi6baut, advocates, 
Mouchart, an exchange agent, and Bastin, an engineer. They made us march between 
foot and horse, hke criminals, with our hands up. 

" The soldiers struck us with butt-ends and bayonets. The Uhlans pushed their horses 
into us and struck us with their lances. I saw a man's face lacerated by lance cuts. 

" They made us walk along the Rue de Trazegnies in the midst of the flames. The houses 
on both sides of the street were ahght. 

" When we got near the Ruau schools we were searched. Needless to say we were the objeot 
of sarcasm and insult from the soldiers stationed there. No weapons were found on us, but 
they took our pocket knives and the money of some of us. 

" A colonel came and told us that we were going to be shot for fuing at the soldiers. 

" M. Bastin, who knew German, interrupted to say that no civihan had fired at the soldiers, 
the inhabitants having no weapons at their disposal. He also asked that a selection should 
be made from the hostages, saying rightly that the residents in the Mons Road could not have 
fired on the Germans, as the latter had not yet passed along that road. This powerful argument 
secured the release of aU the residents in that road, but those in the Rue de Trazegnies were kept. 
" We had not gone 50 yards when a captain questioned us and again made us prisoners. 
" M. Bastin told him that the colonel had allowed us to return home. It was of no avail, 
and they made us sit on the grass, surrounded by sentries. 

" We remained there from mid-day until 7 p.m. The soldiers looked upon us as strange 
animals. Some said we were going to be shot, others that we should be formed into a company 
and be made to march at the head of the troops. A delightful prospect ! 


" During this period the captain made a pretence at investigation. He questioned a young 
man by me, told him that he was a Belgian soldier and that he was going to have him shot at once. 

" This unfortunate man, who was wearing a little white vest and had not had time to put on a 
coat, in vain denied it. It was no good. He was made to come out and was placed on one side; 
He was a mathematician named Georges Radu. 

" The officer then asked his men if they recognised any of the civilians who had fired at 
them. They chose several haphazard, for it is quite clear that no one had done so. In this 
way they took five civihans out of our group. 

" The captain led these unfortunate men to a brickworks, followed by a firing squad. 

" We heard the sound of firing ; the soldiers returned to finish their meal, appearing quite 
pleased with themselves for shooting defenceless Belgians. 

" While this was going on others were playing gramophones and concertinas that- they 
had taken from the neighbouring houses. 

" AH the soldiers were drinking wine, which they had found while plundering the houses. 

" M. Thiebaut, the burgomaster, wishing to plead for his townsfolk, was kicked ; one soldier 
even took him by the neck to throw him down. AH this without any objection from his officer. 
The burgomaster was then taken to the Chateau of Monceau, M. Houtart's, and kept as hostage. 
He remained sitting on a staircase for a day and a night without food or drink. 

" About 7 p.m. the soldiers were ordered to get ready. 

" They made us get up and placed us in fours among the soldiers, followed by eight men 
with loaded rifles. 

'* They warned us that, if a single shot were fired by soldier or civihan, we should all be shot. 
Four civilians were placed at the head of the army with instructions to lead the column to 

" As they came near the station at Marchienne-au-Pont the German soldiers, seeing some 
civilians in the street, fired at them, fortunately without effect. We continued to march in the 
midst of the flames, having to step aside from time to time to avoid the bodies of civilians and 
horses lying in the streets. At last we reached Montigny. We were again searched and then 
shut up (about 100 in number) in a httle barn, which was fit by a lamp. Half an hour later another 
50 people from Montigny were thrust in— young men, old men, women and infants in arms, 
all half dressed and dragged from sleep. The children were crying, suffocated in the place where 
there was scarcely room for 50 people. 

" We were so crushed against one another that we could not move. The heat was intolerable. 
The children cried so much that about 11 o'clock they made the women and children go out. 

" The old men were released about 3 o'clock, and the residents of Montigny about 5 o'clock, 
but no one had pity on those from Monceau. 

" During the night five more of us were taken and shot against the wall of M, Bailleux's 
property. We saw the corpses when we left the barn about 2 in the afternoon. 

" It is unnecessary to add that we were without food or drink from 11 a.m. on Saturday 
till 2 p.m. on Sunday. 

" When the semi-official inquiry was made, it appeared that no civihan had fired at the 
German soldiers. 

" The Germans went so far as to allege that the burgomaster had distributed 5,000 military 
rifles among the townsfolk. This allegation is unfounded, since placards had for a long time 
been pubhshed throughout the commune ordering all the inhabitants to deposit all their weapons 
at the Town Hall. 

" Some days after the Landsturm arrived, and the officers took the sporting guns and passed 
their time in shooting in the neighbourhood. 

" The searches made by the Germans in all the houses failed to discover the smallest 

" At Monceau 12 men were shot ; the others were killed in their houses or gardens. 

" A young man of 17, named Malghem, was killed before his mother's eyes, having come 
to protect her. 

" Several inhabitants, including MM. Robat and Thomas, were killed in their gardens. 

" Two hundred and fifty-seven houses were burnt at Monceau. 

" At Marchienne-au-Pont everything was looted at M. Bailleux's house, where a Red Cross 
hospital had been set up. Wines were put into cases and loaded on carts, as also were bedding 
and furniture. 

" All the large farms round about Gozee and ThuiUies were looted and their fine horses 

Once again the civilian population was made responsible for acts of war and for 
the resistance offered by regular troops to the advance of the invading armies. 


The Commission of Inqtiiry has had no information as to events at the httle 
village of Peissant (738 inhabitants). The " White Book " contains one deposition 
relating to this place. 


Lieutenant von Manstein, of the 10th Uhlan Regiment, states that on the 
24th August, 1914, he found the doors and shutters of all the houses at Peissant 
fastened and provided with loopholes. At the various entrances to the village there 
were strong barricades. The inhabitants refused to clear him a passage. Why ? 
The witness is careful to explain himself, for he says that the people knew that he 
wished to escape from a company of Enghsh infantry posted near the village. 

The struggle here had a military character, which was so obvious that the witness 
himself states that next morning the Enghsh artillery fired at the houses occupied 
by the 1st squadron of the 1st Uhlan Regiment and the 1st squadron of the 4th 
Dragoon Regiment. According to Manstein the inhabitants during the night had 
pointed these houses out to the Enghsh (App. 52). 

The witness mentions no shooting by civihans, and no search resulting in the 
discovery of arms or ammunition in the houses. 


The village of Retinne (1,830 inhabitants) was sacked on the 6th August after 
the attack by the 27th and 165th Infantry Regiments on the gap between Forts 
Evegnee and Fleron. 

The fighting was severe. The German General von Wussow, Colonel Kriiger, 
Majors Hildebrandt and Ribesalm, Lieutenant Vogtand many men fell on the field 
of battle. They were buried at Liery on a hill overlooking the road and in the ceme- 
tery of Retinne. 

The Germans used the church tower as an observation post. Fort Fleron 
respected the tower, as it was flying the Red Cross flag. The church itself had 
been turned into a hospital. 

When the Belgian troops, overwhelmed by numbers, retired, the German army 
advanced on Lidge. A rear-guard, arriving at Retinne at this time, set on fire about 
15 houses and killed 41 civihans. Four were also accidentally killed by shells from 
Fort Fleron. 

The "White Book" has two depositions concerning the occurrences at Retinne. 

The fijst comes from the Reserve Staff Surgeon, Dr. Rehm, of the 3rd Battahon 
of the 165th Infantry Regiment, who states that on the 6th August, 1914, a hospital 
fljang the Red Cross flag was continually fired at. The shots could only have come from 
civihans, as there were no longer any enemy troops about, but the marksmen, being 
weU hidden, could not be seen. When fresh German troops arrived at Retinne in the 
evening. Dr. Rehm had a search made in the houses. He only found civihans — 
dozens of men of all ages, but only a few women and no children. Rehm was there- 
fore under the impression that the firing had been arranged beforehand (App. 4). 

The search did not result in either arms or ammunition being discovered. 

The second deposition is by Reserve Sub-Lieutenant Bohme, of the 165th Infantry 
Regiment. Bohme states that at Retinne an officer of a Rhenish regiment shewed 
him a notice (Schein) found in the Town Hall of a place near by. This notice was 
an appeal by the Belgian Government to the population, asking them to oppose 
armed resistance to the invasion of the country. A reward was even promised 
and the amount of it stated (App. 53). 

Here again one sees the fhmsy nature of the charge, which no doubt caused 
the murder of the unfortunate inhabitants of Retinne. Not only were there Belgian 
troops at Retinne on the 6th August, but they infhcted heavy losses on the German 
regiments. These troops, very few in number, belonged to the 14th Line Regiment. 
(Report of the Staff of the 3rd Belgian Division). To defend the three gaps, Pontisse- 
Barchon, Barchon-Evegnee, and Evegnee-Fleron, the Belgians had only 1,500 men 

It was on a mere impression that, without examination or verdict, 41 people 
were killed. 

As to Sub-Lieutenant Bohme's assertion, it is hardly necessary to contradict 
it. The Belgian Government never called upon the civilian population to resist, 
much less encouraged such resistance by offering a reward. The document found 
by the Rhenish officer to which Bohme alludes may have been either the circular 
of the 4th August, 1914, addressed to the communal authorities (see Appendix on 
p. 289), or a copy of the Royal Decree of the 5th August, calhng up the reserve of 
the Civic Guard (see p. 14), but neither of these documents was directed towards 
instigating the civihan population to take part in the operations (see also p. 39). 

* See also the letter of the Bishop of Liege (Appendix, Document IX., p. 347). 



Rossignol, a Httle village in (Belgian) Luxemburg, had before the war 948 
inhabitants, dwelling in 218 houses. . , , ^.-u 

The village was sacked at the time of the fighting on the Semois, between the 
French and German armies, on the 22nd and 23rd August. 

One can form an idea of the extent of the ravages of the German soldiers by 
reading the following account, which has been sent to the Belgian Commission ot 

Inquiry. . u 4. to, 

"At Rossignol the fire spared nothing. Everything was burnt. ±ney 

commenced executions, then thought better of it, and 117 men and one woman. 

whose husband had found death several hours earher, were taken away into exile. 

They covered, under a strong escort, the 20 kilometres that separated them Jrom 

Arlon They spent the night there, and about 8 o'clock the next mormng these 

118 persons were all shot in groups of ten in the sight of the terrified Arlonnais. 

The last who were placed against the wall had seen all the others fall, and the ilSth 

victim was poor Mme. Huriaux, wife of a well-known manufacturer and mother 

of three children, who fell bravely crying ' Vive la France.' " 

The Commission of Inquiry has a fist of the names of 105 of these victims and 

a schedule of 73 of the houses that were methodically set on fire. 

The " White Book " is silent on thi^ massacre and destruction. It is content 

with reproducing : — icr74.v. 

(i) Three lines of a report by Major Guhr, of the 2nd battahon of the 157th 
Infantry Regiment, according to whom a corporal was wounded at Rossignol by a 
shot gun fired by a civilian on the evening of 22nd August (App. 23). 

(ii) A statement by Captain Rothe, of the 62nd Infantry Regiment, who 
declares that civilians fired at soldiers as they went to draw water (App. 28). 

(iii) A report by Captain Sternberg, commanding the 2nd Medical Company 
of the Sixth Army Corps, who states that while passing at Rossignol on the 23rd 
August, 1914, he was told by an infantry soldier that there was the body of a German 
lying in a house. He stated that the body bore the mark of a slight wound and 
that the head of the soldier was burnt away {verbrannt). A few yards off was a half 
empty bottle of petrol and a bottle of benzine. Captain Sternberg draws the 
conclusion that the inhabitants dragged the wounded man into the house, poured 
petrol and benzine on to his head and set fight to it (App. 61). 

The vagueness of the statements of Major Guhr and Captain Rothe makes it 
impossible to check them. Moreover, these two officers do not seem to have been 
eye-witnesses, but to have repeated the story told to them, no doubt by their men. 

Sternberg and Guhr make no mention whatever of the measures of repression 
that were taken. Rothe is content with saying that " the civilians " — ^without 
any other description — " were then taken prisoners by the men of Regiment No. 157." 

Assuming these facts to be proved, how can they excuse the abominable massacre 
and destruction of which the German troops were guilty ? 


The country town of Staden (5,475 inhabitants) suffered much during the fight- 
ing that preceded the battles of the Yser and of Ypres in October, 1914. 

Many inhabitants were murdered. 

The " White Book " pubfishes the statement of Otto Biernirth, a non- 
commissioned officer in the 213th Reserve Infantry Regiment, who declares that 
he witnessed the activity of francs-tireurs at Staden. The Germans had had to fight 
exclusively against these during the whole night of the 19th October. On the 
morning of the 20th October, as they attacked the town, they encountered, about 
400 to 500 yards away from the town, a flanking fiire, which came from a house 
standing by itself. When the house was taken four francs-tireurs came out of it (App. 

Here, again, the civiHan population was held responsible for the resistance of 
the Belgian and French forces. 

On the 19th October the 1st Belgian Cavalry Division was, in conjunction 
with French cavalry, operating near Staden. A cychst company of the Division 
with a motor machine-gun was moving from 8 to 10.45 a.m. between Staden and 

*.See also the Note of Mgr. Heylen, Bishop of Namur (Appendix, Document IX., p. 332). 


Cortemarck ; it then retired on the hamlet of Hazewind, half way to Staden, where 
it opened fire about 1 p.m. on some German skirmishers, who were also under the 
fixe of a battery. Moreover, on the 19th October Staden was occupied by two French 
infantry battalions. At midday on the 20th October the Belgian General Head- 
quarters was informed that Staden had had to be evacuated by the French troops 
after night fighting. 

As to the assertion that francs-tireurs were found in an isolated hoiise, that 
is no less open to suspicion than the assertion which attributes the defence of Staden 
to francs-tireurs. Biernirth, who no doubt saw four peaceful inhabitants dragged 
from a house, gratuitously calls them francs-tireurs. He does not even say that 
these people were armed, or that arms or ammunition were found in the house. 

The incident to which he refers is apparently one of many occurrences which 
happened during the fighting before Staden. Here are two accounts of incidents 
of the same kind which have reached the Belgian Commission of Inquiry. 

I. Statement oe Abbk Mostaert, Belgian Chaplain at Lislbux. 

M. Foulon, with other inhabitants of Staden, hid in the cellar of his house, which is near the 
church. German soldiers knocked at the garden door. M. Foulon went out and opened it. 
He was asked whether there were any French soldiers inside. When he replied in the negative, 
he was kiUed by rifle fire without trial. Then the others were made to leave the cellar to be 
shot by the church. Fortunately an officer intervened to prevent those murders. 

II. Deposition op VALtEE Rommens, aged 18, residing at Gits. 

On Monday, the 19th October, the Germans entered Gits during the morning, following 
upon vigorous resistance from French Dragoons and Cuirassiers. They set on fire three houses 
and a farm near a wood called Leembosch, and killed by bayonet thrusts the farmer, Victor 
Wijdogghe, upon whom French troops had been biUeted. 

Two houses were burnt in the centre of the village. One of them was intentionally set 
on fire after being drenched with petrol. It belonged to Charles Maes. 

Farmer De Leu was assassinated- at his farm at the place called "Gitsberg," on the pretext 
that civilians had been firing. All the men in the hamlet, about 68 in number, were collected 
and taken to Staden in front of the troops, thus forming a shield against the French troops firing 
from Staden. On arriving at Staden the Germans were attacked by the French. Taking advan- 
tage of the confusion into which the Germans fell, the civiUans ran away. Seven of them (Roelens, 
Michel ; Devos, Clement ; De Beuse, Felix ; Van der Vyvere, Vital ; Haerens, son of Alphonse 
Haerens ; Werbrouck, Victor ; and de Jonckheere, Odile), took refuge in a cellar, but were taken 
out by the German soldiers, who shot them in front of the house opposite. 

I have been told that 28 civilians were murdered at Staden. 

It is certain that no inhabitant of Gits fired a shot. An officer, who came four or five days 
later to make an inquiry at Gits, and in particular went to De Leu's farm, acknowledged it in 
presence of De Leu's wife. 


Blegny, the principal district of the village of Trembleur, was twice ravaged. 
On the 5th August, M. Smets, a master gunsmith, who was by the bedside of his 
wife, who had just been delivered, was killed by the German soldiers, while others 
forced his wife out of bed with their rifle butts and drove her off, and also her sister, 
who was carrying the infant. At the same time many residents in Blegny, driven from 
their houses, which were set alight, took refuge in the Institute of Blegny, which was 
kept by nuns. On the 6th, the Germans shut the men up in the church, leaving 
the women and children in the Institute. Next day they took the men to Battiee. 
The village priest. Abbe Labeye, was shamefully used. They threw him into a ditch, 
rubbed his face in the mud, struck him and pricked him with their bayonets. Seven 
men were ill-treated in every way and then shot. One of them was M. Francois 
Dumonceau, the sheriff, 78 years of age. Three others were murdered on 
the 6th and 7th August. On the 16th August fresh executions took place, the 
Burgomaster, M. Ruwet, the priest, M". Labeye, and MM. Gaspard and Leopold 
Hackin, were put against the church wall and shot. 

On the 15th August two residents of Blegny, M. Henri Rensonnet and his mother, 
who was begging for his release, were shot at Barchon in a cowardly manner. 

The hamlet of Blegny was completely rased to the ground and 17 of its inhabitants 

were murdered. 

The " White Book " is silent on these abominable crimes. It only gives, as 
to Blegny, the deposition of Colonel von Gottberg (App. 3), who states that on 

* See also the letter of the Bishop of Li^e to the Governor-General of the occupied parts of Belgium, 
at p. 347. 


the 5th August, just as dusk fell, the baggage column was violently fired at by the 
inhabitants of Bl^gny, and that the troops were fired at again from time to time during 
the night. 

One may ask how Colonel von Gottberg was able to satisfy himself in the dark 
that the shots fired at his men were fired by civihans. It was the more incumbent 
on him to show caution on this point, since he must have known that Belgian troops 
were defending the Li^ge district. 

In fact, on the 5th August there was on the Barchon Road at Blegny a post of 
about 20 men, commanded by Sergeant Limmer, of No. 2 company of the 4th 
battahon of the 14th Line Regiment, and Sergeant Gihssen, of the Artillery, from 
Barchon Fort, was taking observations at Blegny all day long. 

Neither on the 5th nor on the 16th August did the inhabitants join in the 
fighting. This is proved by comparing the vague evidence of Colonel von Gottberg 
with the account of the events at Blegny, set down by the priest, who was 
murdered, in a note-book from day to day. the account of M. Labeye is as follows :— 

" Monday, 3rd August, at 5 o'clock, the tocsin. Premature signal. Tuesday, 4th August, 
trenches. Arrests. Killed and wounded at Mortiex and Julemont ; 4 o'clock, cannonade. 
At 6 o'clock, German cavalry reported at Trembleur. A platoon of Belgians attacks them. 
A battery in the fields at Trembleur is firing two or three shots every five minutes, and the Barchon 
fort is replying. At 6.30 I am asked for at the hospital, where I hear confessions until 8,30. 
The cannonade stopped at 11 o'clock p.m., to begin again at 3 a.m. 

" 6th August at 5 o'clock. A German battahon occupies the village. The Belgian troops 
fire at it and retire on Barchon. Wednesday afternoon. The Germans are searching the houses 
and sending the people to the church, promising them safety. Then they seize them in the houses 
and take them to the church to the number of about 250. I go to the church. AU was in con- 
fusion. About 15 soldiers were guarding the people. I promise to help calm them and to pray. I 
get into the pulpit and prayers are said. Then I go to the confessional ; almost all present 
themselves. Later I am forbidden to hear confessions or to pray, and they proceed to make in- 
vestigations in the church. Soon we see the light of fires around. Being taken out to appear before 
the Major, I find the square in flames. The market and the houses of Delnooz, Dortu, Lechanteur, 
Greffe, Clermont, Heuchenne, Rikir, Carabin, Smets, Pheyrs, Duckers, Juhn, Dumouhn, Verviers, 
Westphall, Devortille, Battise, Hackin, Ousters, Bartholome, Gueusay, Comblain, Renard, 
Grandjean, Bouvier, Dauy, Fransen, Rademacker, Bouwers, and Darchambeau burning. 

" Joseph Smets, Lambert Delnooz and Herman Hendrick were killed. 

" We passed the night in the church. Ernest Clermont and Leopold Dortu have nervous 
seizures. About 5 o'clock they come and tell us : the women and children may leave ; the 
men will stay and be taken to Germany. Could I have escaped being included ? In any case 
I made no such request. I was of opinion that I should be useful if I accompanied 170 

" We depart. On the other side of Golce we are made to enter a meadow. First alarm : 
we believed we were going to be shot. I begin to pray. After an hour the march begins again. 
We enter another meadow near Battice. We are posted in the middle, surrounded by sentries. 
We must he down ; they will stop there. For food, some sweets and crusts. In the evening 
a little soup, given by sympathetic soldiers. 

" I was the butt of much unpleasantness from the men and subordinate officers. They 
accused me of having put the telephone in the tower (placed there by the Belgian army), and 
of having put soldiers there to fire at the Germans. Then insults to rehgion followed — jeers at 
Jesus Christ and prayer. They wished me to admit that I could speak German. As I did not 
understand them, they shook their fists at me, kicked me, threatened me with rifles and 
bayonets, with an axe and with a dagger. . . . Once an officer spat in my face and threw my 
biretta on the ground and spat on it. Another hit me a violent blow in the chest and kicked 
me on the leg. A soldier pricked me thrice with his bayonet and made a shght wound. Others, 
in order to give apples to my companions, threw them at my head. Nothing very serious, but 
they appeared to be so furious that I believe they would have killed me had I been alone. 

" In the meantime they had just shot near us five of our companions : Joseph Cursters, 
Jean Dortu, Sodar, Joseph Plamand and Renard. Twice also they gave us to understand that 
we too were about to be shot. At another time we are placed under the fire of a volley designed 
to frighten us. Then they place in front of us a second set of four men sentenced to death ; 
one was Noel Nihan. These poor creatures had been there with their hands bound from the 
evening until 4 a.m., and I know that they were there the day after we left. What has become 
of them ? 

" On Friday, the 7th August, it began to rain heavily about 11.30 a.m. How should we spend 
the following night ? Then a captain came and told us that we were free and must return to 
Blegny as quickly as possible. 

"... Monday, August 10th. At this date there were 38 houses burned down and 23 damaged. 

"... Thursday, 13th. Several houses plundered and two young men taken away. The 
Burgomaster obtains some flour from Argenteau mill. 

" Friday, 14th. Several houses plundered. 

" Night between Friday and Saturday^ Th^Y I*"™ the village of Barchon. The priest 
is taken away a prisoner.'' 


The communes or hamlets mentioned in the " White Book " form only a small 
minoritj^ compared with the numerous places as to which the Imperial Government 
attempts no kind of justification. 

The Hst of places where burning and destruction occurred is too long 
to give. For the following Provinces alone the figures are : — Province of Li6ge, 
107 communes ; of Namur, 141 ; of Antwerp, 51 ; of Brabant, 118, without count- 
ing any of the many communes where houses were looted but not destroyed.* In 
the Province of Liege, 3,444 houses were destroyed ; of Namur, 5,243 ; of Antwerp, 
3,553 ; of Brabant, 5,833. The estimate of the number of houses burnt in the 
province of (Belgian) Luxemburg is over 3,000. In Brabant alone over 15,000 
houses were looted, but this last number, which is given as an indication only, is 
not guaranteed to be exact. 

The list given below, which is incomplete, is of places where civihans were 
murdered, t The number of victims for each commune is, as a rule, that of 
inhabitants whose identity has been established. It is often less than the actual 


Exact information as to the murders committed by the German forces in this 
province is still lacking. 








































































































Neder-o ver-Heembeek 


















Gninberghen (and Pont Brule, Oyenbrug) 

























i Pellenberg 



* See the Second Volume of Reports of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry, pp. 146 et seq. 

t The places marked with an asterisk are mentioned in the " White Book." 

+ See the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 21st Reports of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry. 
" White Book " also mentions Capellen. No civilian was kiUed in that village. 

§ See Part II., Chapter V., Section III., Document 31, for the Ust of victims at Louvain, Corbeek- 
Loo Kessel-Loo, Herent and Heverle. This hst contains 210 names. Seven bodies have been 
identified (p. 283). 








Tirlemont 3 





Rhode-Saint-Pierre .. 









'.'. 1 3 




.. : 38 




.. i 22 



























Thielt-Notre-Dame .. 





.. i 10 

Wanmersom ...• 



.. 1 1 



'.'.'. 3 


Civilians were killed at Alost, Termonde§, St. GiUes, Lebbeke, Appels, *Essen, 
Quaetrecht, Melle, Renaix, *Staden, *Roulers and apparently at other places near 
the front. 

* The places marked with an asterisk are mentioned in the " White Book." 

t The village of Schaffen was destroyed on the 18th August. Women and children were among 
the victims. (See the 1st Report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry.) A sick old man and his grand- 
daughter were burnt alive in their home. A girl of 20 was. ripped open and thrown into 
a well. The priest was attacked and left for dead. Here is the deposition that he made at Antwerp 
on the 9th September, 1914, before the Belgian Commission of Inquiry : — 

" The Germans arrived like a swarm of bees at Schaffen about 9 o'clock on Tuesday, the 18th. They 
set fire to 170 houses. A thousand people are homeless. The Town Hall and the priest's house are 
among the houses burnt down. At least 22 people were killed for no reason whatever. Two men 
(named Macken and Loods) were buried aUve, head downwards, in presence of their wives. The Germans 
caught me in my garden -and tied my hands behind me. They ill-used me abominably. They made 
a gallows for me, saying that they were going to hang me ; another took me by the head, the nose and 
the ears, making pretence to cut them off. They made me look at the sun for a long time. They broke 
the arms of the smith, who was a prisoner with me, and then kiUed him. At one time they made me 
enter the burgomaster's house, which was on fire, and then took me out. This lasted the whole day. 
Towards evening they made me look at the church, saying that was the last time I should see it. 

" About 6.45 they released me, striking me with whips. I was covered with blood and I lay 
unconscious. At this moment an officer made me get up and ordered me to go. A few yards off they 
fired at me. I fell and lay as if dead. That was my salvation. 

" They pretended that there had been firing from the tower, which was false, for the door of the 
church was fastened, and they broke it open but found no one inside. 

" Before they released me, they took the Belgian flag and tore it to pieces. 

" All the houses were first drenched with paraffin and petrol, which they brought with them." 

J The " White Book " also mentions the communes of Deynze and Westroosebeke. The Commission 
of Inquiry has no knowledge whether civilians were killed in those places. 

§ See, as to the sack of Termonde and Lebbeke, the 9th Report of the Commission of Inquiry. 

The town of Termonde was almost completely destroyed. The communes of Saint GiUes and 
Lebbeke, which form, with the town of Termonde, a place of 26,000 inhabitants, were sacked and looted. 
Twenty-five inhabitants were assassinated. Except four, aU were tortured and kiUed or finished off 
with bayonets, picks or axes. The majority were so disfigured that they could only be identified 
by objects found on them. 

Many women and girls were raped. Two sisters, aged 16 and 17, had to spend the night in chemises by 
a ditch near their home. They were horse-whipped and threatened by a German whose advances they 
refused, and he set a buUdog at them. A woman whose husband was killed in the morning, after being 
forced to march ahead of the German forces, was ravished before her children's eyes. When the poor 
woman fled from these scoundrels, they took the opportunity of emptying her grocery shop and breaking 
her poor furniture. Women of 60 and 70 had to defend themselves from the brutality of the soldiers. 






♦Acoz ... 







Gilly ... 




3 Jurbise ... 

3 '. Lodelinsait 

1 Marchienne-au-Pont ... 
10 I *Monceau-sur-Sambre 

140 Montigny-le-Tilleul 

18 Nimy 

23 ' Peronnes 

6 Pironchamps 

2 Quaregnon and Jemappes 

3 Rives 

10 Rosalies ... 















Fexhe-Slins ... 




♦Francorchamps and its 









hamJet Hockai 
























Melen (La Bouxhe) 




Queue-du-Bois . . . 
Romsee ... 




♦Trembleur (Blegny) 



Wandre ... 
* Warsage 






















... ! 32 



The information in the possession of the Commission of Inquiry is not detailed 
enough even for an approximate Ust. 

Civihans were assassinated at Bilsen, Caime, Lanaeken, Lummen, Heers and 
Tongres, among other places. 

* The places marked with an asterisk are mentioned in the " White Book." 

t See the 22nd Report of the Commission of Inquiry. The " White Book " also contains depositions 
relating to occurrences at Anderlues, Fleurus, Gerpinnes, La Vigne, Peissant and Lessines. No murder 
or damage was done at Lessines (see p. 94). The Conunission of Inquiry has no mformation as to the 
killing of civilians at Fleurus, Gerpinnes, La Vigne or Peissant. At Anderlues, according to Captain 
von Gottberg a civiUan and a French soldier were shot for havmg killed or wounded three Germans 
bv firing at them from a house (App. 3). The French soldier, although in uniform— at least the 
'White Book" does not state that he was in civilian clothes— was shot as a. franc-iireur. There is 
no comment on this proceeding in the "White Book." , , ^, , , .,, , .. r ri, ■ ^ 

+ See the 17th Report of the Commission of Inquiry and also the book [Vers Liege. Le Chemtn du 
Crime AoM, 1914, by Gustavo Somville. Paris, Perrin et Cie., 35, Quai des Grands- Augustins. 

The " White Book " mentions, besides the places marked with an asterisk, the Commune of Ch6n6e. 
The Commission of Inquiry has no knowledge of any civUians being killed there. 

§ See the 17th Report of the Commission of Inquiry. 





Bleid ... 

Etalle + 

Ethe ... 








*Mellier (Thibessart) 






*Morhet (Rosiere) 
Musson ... 


Neuf chateau 





*Termes (Frenois) 

Tintigny and its ward Ansart 




























Franc-Waret ... 


Hastiere par-del^ 

Hastiere-Lavaux (Maresnes) 


*Le Roux 



Namur ... 

Omezee ... 

Onhaye ... 






Surice ... .... 











* The places marked with an asterisk are mentioned in the " White Book." 

\ See the 8th Report of the Commission of Inquiry. 

The " White Book " also mentions Anher (Beheme), Attert (Nothomb), Bovigny, Chiny, Corbion, 
Gouvy (see supra, p. 89), Les BuUes, Marche, Porcheresse, Saint-Vincent and Waha(Holbogne). The 
Commission of Inquiry has no grounds for asserting that civihans were killed there. The " White 
Book " alludes to the execution of a civihan at Saint-Vincent, and the Bishop of Namur, in his refutation 
of the charges in the " White Book," states that several civihans were killed at Les Bulles. Mgr. Heylen 
denies that any execution of civihans occurred at Anher (Beh6me). (See pp. 332 and 333). 

Inhabitants of Anloy, Bertrix, BeUefontaine, Glaireuse, Izel, Maissin, Saint-Leger, Vance and 
Villance were shot. These are not mentioned here, as the Government does not possess a hst of 
the victims' names. 

j The curate of Etalle, arrested in his parish, was dragged to the square before the church and hanged 
on a street lamp. 

§ Some German soldiers, noticing an 18-year-old girl, tied her to a stair-rail and raped her in turns. 
Her father, who tried to rescue her, was shot. 

II See the 11th, 20th and 21st Reports of the Commission of Inquiry. 

The Commission of Inquiry can give no precise information as to whether any inhabitants of the 
communes of Bievre, Bouvignes, Champion, Conneux, Evelette, Graide, Laneffe, Leignon (Ychippe), 
Leuze, Rosee, Silenrieux or Somzee, mentioned in the "White Book," were killed. The "White Book" 
states that civilians were shot at Laneffe and Somzee (App. 34). According to the note of Mgr. Heglen 
this assertion is incorrect. (See Part III., Document IX., p. 333.) According to the " White Book " 
two were shot at Rosee. 

^The list of the names of victims at Tamines is far from complete. Over 400 were killed there, 
and 276 houses were pillaged and set on fire. 

The murders were committed in an atrocious manner. About 7 p.m. on Saturday, the 22nd August, 
1914, several hundred men were collected at St. Martin's Square, by the Sambre. The German soldiers 
stood about 10 to 12 yards away. At a signal a volley rang out. All — killed, wounded, and unhurt — fell 
down. The cry was raised " Stand up." Those who were uninjured did so and were immediately fired 
at again. Witnesses state that the second time the Germans used a machine gun. 

After the first volley some of the men jumped into the Sambre and tried to escape by swimming. 
The soldiers fired at and killed some ; others escaped. 

When the firing ceased a frightful scene, which continued far into the night, occurred — the finishing 
off of the wounded. If matters had ended with the firing the victims would not have exceeded 200 killed 
and 200 wounded. But the soldiers, notably many wearing the Red Cross brassard, came up to the 
victims and began to kill all who shewed signs of hfe. Lighted by pocket lanterns, they passed along the 
rows of victims, striking the wounded with rifles and bayonets. 


Thus the " White Book " passes over in silence the ravages and murders 
committed by the German soldiers in a large number of places. For example, it 
does not mention the almost complete destruction of the towns of Vise * and 
Termonde,t the frightful hecatombs of Barchon, ]\Ielen (La Bouxhe), Ohie, Romsee, 
Soumagne, Sprimont, Wandre,* Tamines, Surice^ Spontin, Jemappes and 
Quaregnon,§ Latour and Ethe;|! the massacres at Pleron, Haccourt, Heure-le-Romain, 
Liege, Magnee, Pontisse, Saint-Andre, Neuf chateau,^! Hastiere-par-dela, Namur,** 
Marchienne-au-Pont, Farcienne, Lodelinsart, Nimy,tt Gelrode, Sempst, Wespelaer, 
and Werchter ; the martyrdom of the inhabitants of Linsmeau,:}:^ Lebbeke §§ and 
Schaffen;||!! or the tortures inflicted on the priest of the last named place. 

These crimes are inexcusable. The cause of these acts of barbarity, which 
have shocked the world, was, besides perhaps the general desire for plunder, the 
wish to terrorise the people, which forms part of the German theory of war, and the 
odious system of holding civilians responsible for legitimate acts of war which 
occurred at their house, or village, or to%vn. 

There are few cases of the appUcation of the theory so characteristic as the 
murders and arsons that followed upon the destruction of the railway lines, about 
the end of September, 1914, by detachments of the Belgian army. The command 
of the Belgian army states the circumstances in which these detachments, sallying 
from the entrenched camp of Antwerp, were directed to cut the German lines of 
communication, thus : — 

" The railway system of the country afforded great facilities to the enemy's 
commissariat and transport. The Belgian High Command desired to impede these 
services, and ordered the formation of seven detachments of a hundred cyclist 
volunteers, who were to destroy the railways in the occupied districts. 

" On the 22nd September these detachments left Antwerp, each having as 
objective a particular district. Most of them succeeded in crossing the German 
Hnes, reached their destination and cut the principal railways of Limburg, Brabant 
and Hainault, thus causing considerable disturbance to the enemy's transport."^^ 

Devastation was caused in particular : — 

(i) On the 25th September, 1914, on the railway from Bilsen to Tongres. Military 
cyclists unbolted the rails. Shortly afterwards a trainload of German soldiers 
was derailed. The Germans shot eight civihans and set fire to a part of the village 
of Bilsen.*** 

(ii) 25th September, on the Brussels-Paris line. The soldiers destroyed the 
Une not far from the farm occupied by the Burgomaster of Montigny-lez-Lens. As 
a result of this mihtary operation, the Germans burned down the priest's house and 
the burgomaster's house, after breaking open the safe and steahng all that they 
could remove. They also set fire to several small farms in the neighbourhood. fff 

(iii) 29th September, on the Liege-Brussels line. The railway was cut at the 
commune of Louvenjoul, between Tirlemont and Louvain. This was effected by 
a special company of the 6th Belgian Division under the command of Captain Delf osse. 

The company was mounted on cycles and carried with it materials for railway 
demolition. It went from Antwerp to Bourg-Leopold by train, leaving the latter 
on the 22nd September. On the 23rd and 24th the patrols reported that the Demer, 

* See the 17th Report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry. (Berger-Levrault, Paris, Nancy, 
t See the 9th Report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry. 
t See the 11th Report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry. 
§ See the 22nd Report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry. 
II See the 8th Report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry. 
T[ See the 8th and 17th Reports of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry. 
** See the 11th Report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry, 
ft See the 22nd Report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry. 
t+ See the 2nd Belgian " Grey Book." 

§§ See the 9th Report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry. 

nil See the 1st Report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry, and supra note 2 on page 102. 
\*^ L'action de I'armie beige. Period 31st July to 31st December, 1914, "p. 44. (Paris. Libraii 

*** 15th Report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry, 
j-ff 16th Report of the Commission of Inquiry. 


between Aerscliot and Diest, was impassable. During this period the engineering 
staff, under lieutenant Flabas, was engaged in making charges to be placed on the 
rails so as to be exploded by passing trains. On the 25th, three detachments of 
three men each were instructed to go to three points on the railway between 
Tirlemont and Louvain. These detachments, supported by the rest of the 
company, except a few who were kept on the north of the Demer, marched at 
night. On the 29th September, one of them, composed of Ptes. Lignon and 
Verlindin, of the Engineers, and Van Roosbroek, of the 1st Carabineers, reached 
the wood, one kilometre east of Louvenjoul, and about 100 yards from the railway, 
about 11 a.m. Until 7 p.m. they watched the line, which was guarded by sentries 
posted 200 yards apart, where military trains were running every half hour. Taking 
advantage of the twilight, the men fixed two of their charges and returned to the 
wood. A few moments later a passing train exploded the charges and caused the 
derailment of the train and the destruction of the track and telegraph wires. This 
occurred at the boundary between Louvenjoul and Vertryck. 

The noise of the explosion warned the other detachments, who received the 
order to retire. During their retirement they destroyed by dynamite the local 
road, about 1,500 yards south-west of Winghe-Saint-Georges, 

The demolition of the railway between Louvenjoul and Vertryck was properly 
carried out by Belgian troops in uniform. No inhabitant had a hand in it. 

Yet on the 30th September the German troops burned some houses. On the 
5th October Baron von der Goltz had the following incredible notice* posted up 
at Brussels : — 

" During the evening of the 25th September the railway hne and telegraph 
were destroyed on the Louvenjoul- Vertryck section. In consequence these two 
places were, on the morning of the 30th September, held to account and had to give 

" In future, the places nearest the points where such occurrences take place — 
no matter whether they are implicated or not — ^will be punished without mercy. With 
this object, hostages have been taken from all places on the railways threatened 
with such attacks, and at the first attempt to destroy the railways, or the telegraph 
or telephone wires, they will be immediately shot. 

" Moreover, the troops protecting the railways have been ordered to shoot all 
suspicious persons found approaching the railways or the telegraph or telephone 

* The date of 25th September given in this notice is incorrect. As has been seen, the line was cut 
on the 29th. This mistake in the Brussels notice does not occur in the notice posted at Louvain, where 
the date is correctly stated. 


The Sack and Massacrk at Aerschot. 


Statement of Facts. 

About 6 a.m. on the 19th August, 1914, spirited rear-guard fighting occurred 
between the German Second Corps and a Brigade of the 3rd Belgian Division, 
covering the retreat in front of Aerschot. 

About 8 a.m. the Belgian forces retired. 

Shortly afterwards the German army entered the town. The soldiers spread 
through several streets, firing at the houses. They killed five or six inhabitants, 
set several houses on fire, and robbed several shops. 

About 10 a.m. the people were collected in the RiUaer road, M. Tielemana, 
the Burgomaster, accompanied by a German officer, read a proclamation urging them 
to remain quiet and ordering them, under pain of death, to hand over, before 2 
o'clock, all weapons that they had kept back. 

According to this proclamation, every shot fired by an inhabitant would result in 
the execution of the offender and three others. 

The people dispersed and the rest of the day passed without incident. The 
local authorities were occupied in satisfying the requisitions of the German army, 
and particularly in billeting the officers and men. Colonel Stenger, commanding 
the 8th Infantry Brigade, and two other officers, took up their quarters at the 
Burgomaster's house in the Grand' Place. 

Towards evening, when Colonel Stenger was on the balcony of his room and 
M. Tielemans was distributing cigars among the soldiers in the Square, a shot was 
fired. It was immediately followed by brisk firing. The soldiers in the Square 
and neighbouring streets fired in all directions. Colonel Stenger was mortally 

M. Tielemans and his family rushed indoors. They took refuge in the cellar. 
A few moments later a German officer came to find M. Tielemans and his son, 15 years 
of age. 

Meanwhile the soldiers were chasing the inhabitants and plundering and burning 
the houses. 

The German soldiers entered every house in the Grand' Place and the Rue du 
Persil and the Rue Courte. They made the men, women and children come out, 
and hustled them brutally towards the Grand' Place. The men were separated 
from their famihes. One group of 78 men was taken out of the town, and Rittmeister 
Karge, a captain of gendarmerie, had them aU executed.* They were ranged along 
the Louvain road in a field bounded by some workmen's dwellings in flames. They 
were forced to advance in threes, hand in hand, and to pass in front of some gendarmes, 
who shot them with revolvers. The first three were Abbe Carette, holding M. Pa\il 
Verlinden with his left hand and another inhabitant with his right. Of these 78, 
three escaped by falling down. They were MM. Paul Verhnden, Morren and de 

Another group of victims, about 100 in number, including M. Joseph Tiele- 
mans, the Burgomaster, and MM. Emile and Louis Tielemans, his brother and son, 
were taken to the place of execution, in the same field, but a little farther in the 
direction of Louvain. They had their hands tied behind their backs so tightly that 
some were groaning with pain. They had to pass the night on the ground. 

About 6 in the morning a group of officers arrived. A few moments later M. 
Tielemans and his brother and son were shot. The other men were grouped in 
rows of threes. The Germans made every third man come forward and shot him. 

The people of Aerschot were forced to bury the bodies. 

The number of victims was over 150 ; 155 had been exhumed by December 18th, 
1914. Eight women and several children were among the slain. 

Drunkenness, pillage, and arson continued for some days. Furniture and 
valuables were loaded on mihtary wagons and sent to Germany. Most of the 
inhabitants — men, women, and children — ^left in the town were shut up in the 

* The number 78 is given by eye-witnesses. Captain Karge, whose deposition is printed in the 
" White Book " (App. A 3), fixes the number of inhabitants that he executed at 88. 


church and remained there several days with hardly any food. On the 28th August 
they -were marched to Louvain and driven through the ruined city, while the German 
soldiers sent shots after them. 

Next day thev were brought back to Aerschot ; the men were again imprisoned 
in the church, and the women in M. Fontaine's house. Many inhabitants of 
neighbouring villages, including about 30 ecclesiastics, priests and monks of Aerschot 
and the neighbourhood, were brought in durmg the following days. 

On the 6th September 300 of these unfortunate men, mostly put into cattle trucks, 
were sent to Germany.* 

During this time the soldiers outraged many women and girls. 

The places round Aerschot were not spared. 

At Gelrode (997 inhabitants) 18 people were killed and 99 sent to Germany. 
Twenty-three houses were burnt and 131 plundered. 

At Wesemael (1,988 inhabitants) 13 were killed and 324 sent to Germany. 
Forty-six houses were burnt and 147 plundered. 

At Werchter (2,676 inhabitants) 15 were killed and 32 sent to Germany. 
Two hundred and sixty-seven houses were burnt and 162 plundered. 

At Betecom (2,756 inhabitants) 11 were sent to Germany. Seven houses were 
burnt and 25 plundered. 

At Langdorp (2,990 inhabitants) 3 were killed and 1 sent to Germany. Four 
houses were burnt and 20 plundered. 

At Rillaer (3,833 inhabitants) 7 were killed. Thirty-four houses were burnt 
and 300 plundered. 

At Nieuwrode (1,779 inhabitants) 1 was killed and 27 were sent to Germany. 
One house was burnt and 200 were plundered. 


Examination of the Repoet of the German Military Commission of 

Inquiry and its Appendices. 

The truth of the facts does not appear capable of contradiction, and the authors 
of the Report of the German Military Commission of Inquiry concerning Aerschot 
do not even attempt to deny them. 

They content themselves with an attempt to justify the crimes committed 
on the night of the 19th August and the following days as necessary in order to 
repress a general rising, the signal for which was said to have been given by a single 
shot, followed by three volleys, which was fired from a house on the other side of 
the Grand' Place, opposite the Burgomaster's, at 8 p.m. on August 19th. One of 
the shots struck Colonel Stenger (App. A 2 and 3). 

This theory is quite different from the first version, according to which the sack 
of Aerschot was decided on because of the assassination of Colonel Stenger by the 
Burgomaster's son, or a plot against the German command, fostered by the 
Burgomaster and his family, t 

The Belgian Commission of Inquiry has exposed the improbability of the first 
version, which is contradicted by the facts themselves. Even were the charge true, 
it could in no way justify the sack and looting of a whole town, the execution, without 
trial, of more than 150 inhabitants, and the outrages of all kinds which were com- 
mitted on the defenceless population. 

The theory supported by the " White Book " does not stand examination 
either. The Dutch lawyer. Professor Struycken, has clearly demonstrated this, 
in his studyj of the German " White Book " (see supra pp. 70 and 75). The 
following is the translation of the portion of his book that relates to Aerschot :— 

* In the field diary of a cyclist who joined up at Burg on the 15th August, 1914, and was taken 
on the 10th September by the Belgian troops who re-occupied Aerschot we read : " 6th September was 
a day of rest. We only sent off to Germany 300 Belgians, including 22 priests." 

In the third section of this chapter. No. 16, p. 121 will be found the account of the arrest of some of 
these ecclesiastics, and their journey to and captivity in Germany. 

t See in particular as to this version the statement of General von Boehn to Mr. Alexander PoweU : 
" When we liad settled down in Aerschot the Burgomaster's son entered the dining room where our 
officers were, and kiUed the chief staff officer. We merely used reprisals there. The people were treated 
in the way they deserved." {Fighting in Flanders, by Alexander Powell. See also to the same effect 
Grondijs, The Germans in Belgium, Louvain and Aerschot. Notes by a Dutch Eye-witness (Les Allemands 
en Belgique, p. 22). (Berger-Levrault, Paris — Nancy; No. 34 of the collection. Pages d'Histoire, 1914- 

I "Het Duitsche Gedenkboek over den Oorlog in Belgie." (Review Van Onzen Tijd, 16th year, 1914-15, 
No. 46, and pamphlet De Oorlog in Belgie, p. 71). 


" Aerschot is a small ancient town of about 8,000 inhabitants, lying to the north of Louvain. 
During the morning of the 19th August, fighting took place in its immediate vicinity between 
the Belgian and German troops, after which the latter entered the town.* During the day the 
little place was overcrowded with soldiers — ^infantry, cavalry, transport, artillery and. ammunition 
columns. The Staff entered at 5 o'clock. Colonel Stenger, the Brigade Commander, with his 
adjutant, Captain Schwartz, and his orderly ofiicer, Lieutenant Beyersdorff, took up his quarters 
at the Burgomaster's house in the Grand' Place. Captain Karge, of the Mounted Pohce, occupied 
the Burgomaster's brother's house, which was in a narrow street opening on the north or north- 
west of the Grand' Place. Captain Folz, Quartermaster of the 49th Infantry Regiment, arrived 
at the same time, and a Httle later Colonel Jenrich, who took over the command of the Place, 
and also Captain Schleusener, with his machine gun company. 

" Except Colonel Stenger, who was killed, these are the witnesses whose evidence has been 
recorded in the Memorandum. One looks in vain for the evidence of inhabitants of Aerschot. 

" The troops were well received by the people. Immediately he arrived. Colonel Jenrich 
sent for the Burgomaster and warned him against any violence on the part of the inhabitants, 
impressing upon him ' dass an ihn die Todesstraf e voUstreckt werden wurde, wenn auf die deutschen 
Truppen ein Ueberfall seitens der Bevolkerung stattfande.'f 

" About 8 p.m. shots were suddenly fired near the Grand' Place. These were followed by 
volleys and then came a brisk sustained firing. The soldiers who crowded the narrow winding 
streets and the Grand' Place became disorderly. They fired without ceasing. The cavalry and 
transport troops abandoned their horses and wagons. The horses ran away and the vehicles 
collided and were entangled. The officers ran out and tried by orders and signals to force 
the men to cease fire, but with little or no success. J The houses on which rifle and machine-gun 
fire had been directed were attacked and partly burnt. The civilians who had taken to flight 
were arrested, and many were shot. 

" This is a summary of the facts. 

" Had civilians been firing ? None of the witnesses examined says that he saw it. None 
of them found a civilian with arms. None of them had heard of anyone else who had. Yet 
they are sure of it. On what is their opinion based ? 

" Captain Schwarz and Lieutenant Beyersdorff at first beUeved, when, in the Burgomaster's 
house they heard the first shots, that they came from a fight with the enemy, who were reported 
to be to the north. That did not seem accurate. Soon shots were heard near at hand. Shots 
were even fired at the Burgomaster's house. By whom ? Civihans or soldiers ? The two officers 
state positively : ' Von den eigenen Truppen ruhrten die Schiisse nicht her.'§ How could they 
know that ? All the other witnesses declare that their soldiers kept on firing, and in particular 
at the Grand' Place. However positively expressed, the statement of these two officers is in 
general certainly inaccurate. And how, having regard to the fact that the streets and the Grand' 
Place were filled with thousands of troops, horses and wagons in confusion, could they ascertain 
with any certainty, either in their room in the Burgomaster's house or in the street even, that 
their own men did not shoot either in the side streets or in the Grand' Place ? 

" Cavalry Captain Karge at first thought some soldier of the transport had been 
guilty of an imprudence, but altered his opinion. Why ? When at the first shot he looked 
out of the window, he noticed in the distance near the roof of the house at the corner of the 

* All that follows is taken entirely from the German Memorandum (Author's note). 

f " That the death penalty would certainly be inflicted upon him if any attack were made by the 
population on the German troops." 

I " Ich habe auch mit dem Hauptmann Schwarz zusammen nach den ersten Schiessen das Zimmer 
verlassen, um auf dem Marktplatz under den Truppen, die durch das Schiessen in Unordnung geraten 
waren, wieder Ordnung zu schaffen." Beyersdorff. 

(" I left the room with Captain Schwarz at the first shots in order to re-form the troops in the Grand' 
Place, who had fallen into disorder owing to the firing.") 

" Die Fiihrer und Trainsoldaten hatten ihre Pferde und Wagen inzwischen verlassen und in den 
Hauseingangen Deckung gegen die Schiisse genommen. Die Wagen waren zum Teil ineinander 
gefahren, da die unruhig gewordenen Pferde fuhrerlos sich ihren eigenen Weg gesucht hatten." Karge. 

(" The drivers and the transport troops had in the meantime abandoned their horses and carts and 
taken shelter from the bullets in the doorways. The carts were in part mixed up together, as the horses, 
being left without drivers, became restive and went their own way.") 

" Nach kurzer Zeit glaubte ich wahrnehmen zu konnen, dass das Feuervonunseren Truppen erwidert 
wurde, und zwar von dem Marktplatz her. Bald darauf ertonten Signale und Rufe : ' Nicht mehr 
feuem'.' Das Feuer horte dann auch eine Zeitlang auf, wurde aber, anscheinend von beiden Seiten, 
wenn auch nicht so heftig, wieder eroffnet." Karge. 

(" After a short time I thought that I could see that our troops were replying to the fire, especially 
from the Grand' Place. Soon orders and cries were heard : ' Cease fire.' For a short time the firing 
ceased, but it was renewed, though not so violently, apparently on both sides.") 

" In der Nahe der Mairie, die zu einem Artillerie Depot verwendet werden soUte, stand ein 
Hauptmann des Infanterie-Regiments Nr 140, der andauemd das ' Ganze halt ' blasen Uess. Offenbar 
wollte dieser Of&zier zuerst einmal das Schiessen unserer Leute stoppen." Folz. 

(" Near the Town Hall, which had been converted into an Artillery depot, stood a captain of the 
140th Infantry Regiment, who kept on sounding the ' Halt.' This ofiicer obviously wished to begin by 
stopping the fire of our men.") 

§" The shots did not come from our men." 


Grand' Place and the street where he was, ' leichte Rauch-und Staubwolken hochsteigen,'* a 
phenomenon which was repeated after later voUeys. There was no firing from the windows. 
So he concluded from these little clouds of dust and smoke that they were firing from holes 
made in the roof. He obviously thought that this deduction was self-evident. When random 
fu-ing followed the volleys, it appeared to him that the shots also came from other houses. He 
does not give the reasons upon which he based this opinion. 

" That is all. No other evidence proving that civilians were firing in the Grand' Place and 
its neighbourhood is given. On the contrary, there are grave reasons for thinking that the soldiers 
themselves were the guilty parties. 

" The rumour had got about — and Captain Schwarz also mentions it — that Belgian troops 
were attacking the village. This rumour arose among the troops at the north entrance of the 
village, who fled towards the Grand' Place in disorder, firing their rifles. May not the soldiers 
in the Place and in the narrow winding streets, hearing shots, but not seeing who was firing, 
have interpreted this firing as an attack by civihans ? This version is -rendered quite probable 
by the evidence of Captain Folz, who describes how it began in these words : ' Es war zwischen 
3 und 4 Uhr nachmittags als wir in den Ort einritten.f Vorher war von deutschen Truppen 
schon die 3. Infanteriedivision in Teilen durchgekommen und das ganze, an sich schon eng und 
winkhg gebaute Stadtchen war voll von Proviantkolonnen, Artillerie und Munitionskolonnen. 
Wir waren etwa drei Stunden in dem Stadtchen, als plotzhch eine unsinnige Schiesserei begann. 
Die Schiesserei kam etwa vom Nordwestausgang des Dorfes her. Gleich darauf kamen die 
Sanitiitskompagnie, ich glaube es war die zweite, sowie Telle der Bagage der 3. Division unter 
fortwahrendem Schiessen auf uns zu und meldete, sie hatten Feuer bekommen ; ein belgisches 
Bataillon sei in Anmarsch.'ij: 

" A double rumour therefore had caused disquiet among the soldiers ; first, that the village 
was the object of a surprise attack by the Belgians, and, secondly, that civilians were shooting 
at the soldiers. On all sides the latter began firing at the houses. These were attacked and 
some set on fire ; the inhabitants were driven and dragged out. It is conceivable that during 
these occurrences in the narrow winding streets of the village there was firing in and across 
the houses, thus giving rise to the idea that firing came from the houses. Captain Folz, who 
at the beginning speaks only of soldiers firing, now says — about an houj later — that he saw or 
heard shots coming from houses. Captain Schleusener now observes the same thing. Nothing 
shews that the shots were fired by civilians and not by soldiers in the streets and houses. Captain 
Schleusener's evidence tells us how brutally things were done. Hearing that Belgain troops were 
approaching, he went with his machine-gun company, which he had rallied with great difficulty, 
to the outskirts of the town. Captain Folz accompanied him. About three kilometres from the 
village they had failed to find any trace of the enemy and at once returned. Captain Folz was on 
foot and so returned after the others. When Captain Schleusener entered the village with his 
company he heard firing and encountered ' zuriickjagende Kavalleriepatrouillen und Fahrzeuge 
der Bagage der 3. Infanteriedivisionen, die Kehrt zu machen versuchten,' § and who kept on firing. 
He attempted to stop the firing, thought he had succeeded, and continued to hear shots coming 
from the houses. He thereupon gave the order ' die Maschinengewehre freizumachen und die 
linken Haiiserfronten unter Feuer zu nehmen.'lj He was told ' dass auch aus einem Hause rechts 
geschossen worden sei.'TJ What did he do ? ' Ich liess die Gewehre herumdrehen um das Feuer 
zu eroffnen, als mir ein Sanitatsof&zier bedeutete, dass in diesem Hause Verwundete lagen.'** 
And therefore they did not fire at that house. It is understandable that when Captain Folz 
entered the village shortly afterwards he also thought that there was firing from houses, and 
was able to recognise distinctly ' dass es sowohl Gewehre wie Maschinengewehre waren, aus den 
en gefeuert wurde.'tf 

"The German losses in aUthis were, as always, very small indeed. Only one man is mentioned 
as killed. Colonel Stenger who was found, dead from bullet wounds, on the fioor of his room 
in the Burgomaster's house. He had a wound in his face and another in his chest. The balcony 
doors were open and marks of bullets were found on the opposite wall. Some windows were 
broken. It is to be presumed, therefore, that the Colonel was kiUed by bullets coming from 

* " Light clouds of dust and smoke rising." 

I This must be a mistake. Captain Folz entered with the other Staff officers and Colonel Jenrich, 
who all say that it was 5 o'clock. (Author's Note). 

J " We rode into the place between 3 and 4 p.m. We were preceded by German troops. The 
3rd Infantry Division had passed through before us. The whole town, which is built in a peculiarly 
narrow and winding fashion, was full of supply, artillery, and ammunition columns. We had been about 
three hours in the town when suddenly senseless firing began. This firing came from near the north- 
west entrance to the town. Almost immediately afterwards an army medical company — I believe 
the 2nd — and parts of the transport of the 3rd Division arrived, firing heavily, and reported to us that 
they had been under fire. A Belgian battalion was advancing." 

§ " Cavalry patrols retiring at a gallop and the baggage train of the 3rd Infantry Division attempting 
to turn." 

Ij " Get ready the machine guns and open fire on the houses on the left." 

t "That there had also been firing from a house on the right." 
** " I was having the machine guns turned round to open fire on it when a medical officer informed 
me that wounded soldiers were lying in the house." 
f t " That both rifles and machine guns were firing." 


" Was this done by civilians or by soldiers firing at random at the houses ? Next day an 
army surgeon examined the body, but neither his evidence nor the report of his post-mortem 
examination appears among the documents. Captain Folz says, it is true, that he was told 
by the surgeon that the face wound could not have been caused by an infantry buUet, and he 
was of opinion that the chest wound must have been caused by an air gun. Would it be safe 
to conclude, on this statement alone, without the evidence of the surgeon, that the commandant 
was killed by shots fired by the people of Aerschot ? 

" What were the measures taken by the armed troops to suppress the alleged rising of the 
population ? There is no word about the number of civilians killed during the uninterrupted 
firing at their houses. The method of procedure appears most clearly from the graphic account 
given by Captain Karge of the Cavalry. As was said above, this officer had suspicions about 
the red house at the corner of the Grand' Place, whence had come the light clouds of dust and 
smoke. Taking advantage of a short ' Peuerpause,'* he left liis house to report to a colonel, 
who was in the Grand' Place. At the same time he requested permission to set the house on 
fire, because, in his opinion, ' die Radelsfiihrer des ganzen Unternehmens in diesem Hause ver- 
sammelt waren.'f The colonel reftised. On this he himself relates, ' nahm ich einige Soldaten 
die in meiner Nahe waren mit und ging mit ihnen auf das Haus zu, aus dem zuerst geschossen 
wurde und auf dessen Hausboden ich noch die Anstifter und Fiihrer des Ueberialls vermutete. 
Inzwischen fand sich auch noch ein Leutnant des Regiments ein, und ich befahl, indem ich 
Offizier und Mannschaft meinem Kommando unterstellte, die Tiii'en — das Haus hatte eine Haustiir 
und eine Ladentiir — und Fenster des Erdgeschosses, welohe fest geschlossen waren, einzuschlagen. 
Hierauf drang ich selbst in das Haus mit ein, und mit HiKe eines ziemlich grossen Quantums 
Terpentinols, welches sich in einer etwa 20 Liter fassenden Blechkanne vorfand und welches 
ich zum Teil in der ersten Etage, dann die Treppe hinunter und im Erdgeschoss ausgiessen Hess, 
gelang es, das Haus in kiirzester Zeit in Brand zu setzen. Femer hatte ich den hierbei nicht 
beteiligten Leuten Bef ehl gegeben, die Hauseingange zu besetzen und alle fliichtenden mannlichen 
Personen zu verhaften.'J 

" He does not state how many civHians caught in this way were shot. Captain Karge 
accounted for at least 88. What inquiry did he hold 1 What proof had he of their guilt ? 
Let him give his own account of what happened : ' Als ich das brennende Haus verliess, waren 
audi schon etliche Zivilpersonen, darunter ein jungerPfarrer, ausdenNebenhausernfestgenommen 
worden. Ich liess diese zum Marktplatz bringen ; hier hatte sich inzwischen mein Feldgen- 
darmerietrupp versammelt. Ich setzte nunmehr die Kolonnen in Marsch zur Stadt hinaus, 
iibernahm das Kommando uber samthche Gefangene, aus denen ich Frauen, Knaben und 
Madchen enthess. Von einem Stabsoffizier ' (einem Abteilungskommandeur des Feldartillerier- 
regiments Nr. 17) ' erhielt ich den Befehl zum Erschiessen der Festgenommenen. Dann liess 
ich durch einen Teil meiner Gendarmerie die Kolonnen in Ordnung bringen und in Bewegung 
zur Stadt hinaus halten, mit dem anderen Teil liess ich die Gefangenen eskortiren und zur 
Stadt hinausfiihren. Hier brannte am Ausgange ein Haus, in dessen Lichtschein ich die 
Schuldigen, 88 an der Zahl, nach dem ich vorher 3 Kriippel ausgesondert hatte, erschiessen liess. § 

" Next day still more were shot. As to this there is only the evidence of Colonel Jenrich, 
who says as to what concerns himself : ' Inzwischen waren die Haiiser von den Truppen 
durchsucht und eine betrachtHche Anzahl von Einwohnern festgenommen worden, die sich 
nachweislich an dem UeberfaU auf die Truppen beteiUgt hatten. Von der festgenommenen 
mannhchen Bevolkerung wurden am andren Morgen der Biirgermeister, dessen Sohn sowie der 
Bruder des Biirgermeisters und ' jeder dritte Mann ' erschossen.|| 

* " Cessation of fire." 

t "The ringleaders of the enterprise were assembled in that house." 

J " I took with me some soldiers who were near by, and went with them to the house from which 
the firing began, and in which I still thought the instigators and ringleaders were to be found. In the 
meantime I had met a lieutenant of my regiment and assuming the command of the officer and his men 
I ordered them to break in the doors — the house had two doors, a private door and a shop entrance — 
and windows of the ground floor, which were well fastened. Then I went into the house myself with 
them, and with the aid of a fair quantity of turpentine, which I found in a 20 htre tin and which I had 
poured out on the first floor, the stairs, and the ground floor, I set the house on fire in the shortest 
possible time. I had also ordered the men who were not engaged on this duty to watch the entrances 
and to arrest all males who came out to escape." 

§ " As I left the burning house some civihans from neighbouring houses, including a young priest, 
had already been arrested. I had these taken to the Grand' Place. In the meantime my troop of 
Mounted Police had assembled there. I then set the column on the march out of the town, and took 
over the control of all the prisoners, of whom I released the women, boys and girls. I received from 
a Staff officer (commanding a section of the 17th Field Artillery Regiment) the order to shoot the prisoners. 
I then set some of my men to reduce the colimins to order and to direct them towards the exit from 
the town ; with the others I had the prisoners escorted and taken out of the town. At the exit a house 
was on fire, and by the light of its flames I had the guilty parties to the number of 88 shot, having first 

released three cripples." . , , , , . , 

II " In the meantime the troops searched the houses, and a considerable number of the inhabitants, 
who were evidently guilty of taking part in the attack on the troops, were arrested. Next morning, of 
the male inhabitants who had been arrested; the Burgomaster, and his son and brother, and every third 
man, were shot." 


" It follows, from the statement that the Burgomaster was also killed, that the Colonel 
carried out his threat, although the guilt or complicity of the Burgomaster in the pretended 
resistance of the population could in no way be established. Why were his son and brother 
shot ? The statements of the witnesses give only a bare indication. 

" When Captain Schwarz found Colonel Stenger dead in his room he deemed it necessary 
to make a search of the house in the presence of the Burgomaster's wife and daughter, the Burgo- 
master being absent. They also went into the cellar, and found, by the window opening on to 
the street, an ' auffiilUges GesteU,'* and that a pane of glass had been broken. The captain came 
to the conclusion that there had been firing from the cellar. There is no statement what kind 
of trestle it was, or whether the glass had been broken by a shot fired from outside or inside. It 
is true that Captain Karge states that in the evening, when he reached the Grand' Place, an 
infantry soldier posted in a ' Toreingang,'t told him that he had a moment before clearly seen 
a shot fired from the house opposite, and at the same time the man had pointed to the Burgo- 
master's house. Even assuming that the observation was accurate, that it was accurately 
stated and understood, yet it by no means follows that there was firing from the cellar of the 
house. It is indeed quite improbable that a soldier posted on the other side of the Grand' Place, 
when it was full of soldiers and carts, could have seen a shot fired from the cellar. 

" However that may be, while searching the house the captain found the Burgomaster's 
son, a boy of 15, in one of the rooms and handed him to the guard in the Grand' Place. Next 
day he was shot at the same time as his father and uncle. 

" There is beyond all question a serious lacuna in the depositions of the witnesses as to the 
firing. It is clear that the German Mhtary Commission of Inquiry J reaUsed this, and for that 
reason more or less ' arranged the facts ' in its general report. It justifies the execution of 
the Burgomaster and his brother and son in the following way : ' That the family of the Burgo- 
master must be considered, not only as privy to hostihties, but as having taken part therein, 
is proved by a fact ascertained upon the immediate search of the house. There had been firing 
into the street from the cellar,§ the key of which, according to the family,|| had been lost, and 
the door of which had to be forced open. A trestle had been placed by the window to assist 
the marksman. Tl A soldier had seen beyond aU shadow of doubt a shot fired from the house. 
The Burgomaster's son was the only person who could have done this ;** hidden by his family,f f 
he was brought out of a dark room. J J As complicity in the murder of the colonel, who, 
according to the Belgian version, had been received hospitably, completely involved the family, 
the father and son were shot next morning, the 20th August. The Burgomaster's brother met 
the same fate.§§ It was at his house that, at the Burgomaster's suggestion. Cavalry Captain 
Karge, nil commanding the Second Troop of Field Police, was billeted. He also had been 

" This is the reconstruction of the affair by a Commission at BerUn, which did not see the 
events nor hear the witnesses give evidence. The Commission surpasses itself in its final 
conclusion : ' Die Teilnahme der gesamten Familie des Biirgermeisters beweist, wie planmassig 
die belgischen Behorden bei derartigen leider so haiifigen heimtiickischen Handlungen gegen die 
deutschen Truppen mitwirken.'*** There is nothing but a presumption, unsupported by any 
fact, that the Burgomaster's son took part in the firing. One seeks in vain for any trace of 
compHcity on the part of his father or uncle. Nevertheless, in the opinion of the Commission, 
the whole family was bound to pay the penalty. And because they had as a whole to pay the 
penalty, it is admitted that they all took part in the attack, which proves that the Belgian 
' Behorden-f-ft planmassig 'Jf J take part in such plots ! " 

* " A curious trestle." 
■j- " Gateway." 

J Major Bauer and Dr. Wagner, advocate at the Court of Appeal, sign on its behalf. (Author's Note.) 
§ No one said so. (Author's Note.) 

II The witness merely said : " zu der der Schliissel angebHch nicht zu finden war " (" the key to 
which, it was stated, was not to be found "). It must be borne in mind that the Burgomaster was 
out of the house. (Author's Note.) 

11 A very free interpretation by the Commission of the words : " ein auffalliges Gestell " ("a curious 
trestle "). (Author's Note.) 

** Commission's own conclusion. No witness said this. (Author's Note.) 
ft Commission's own conclusion, coming from none of the witnesses. (Author's Note.) 
It The witness stated : " Beim Absuchen der Wohnzimmer kam mir der Sohn des Biirgermeisters 
aus einem dunklen Raum entgegen." (" During the search through the living rooms the Burgomaster's 
son met me as he came out of a dark room.") (Author's Note.) 

§§ Is not the Commission nearer the blood vengeance of the ancient Germans than Article 50 of 
the Hague Convention in this argument ? (Author's Note.) 

1111 He merely says that near him " Schiisse einschlugen " (" buUets lodged "). (Author's Note.) 
^^This passage, commencing " As complicity," &c., is quoted in the German original by Professor 

*** " jhg participation of the whole family proves how systematically the Belgian authorities took 
part in treacheries hke this, unfortunately so numerous, against the German forces." 
•ff " Authorities." 
tli " Systematically." 


The judgment of M. Struycken is aU the more significant, in view of the fact 
that the author limited himself to the information given by the German MiUtary 
Commission of Inquiry.* His work, which is purely objective, is not chargeable 
with partiality, seeing that it comes from a neutral. 

In fact, no blame can be attached to the people of Aerschot. 

Though the German Inquiry failed to prove the charge made, the evidence 
before the Belgian Commission of Inquiry and before the English Commission, 
under Lord Bryce's chairmanship, enables us to recognise the exact facts. Whether the 
affair began through panic on the part of the German forces, or through the drunken- 
ness or the crime of a German soldier is a question to which no answer can be 
given. But it is beyond doubt that the theory of a plot or rising of the inhabitants 
is quite unfounded, as is also the charge against the family of the Burgomaster of 


Belgian Documents and Witnesses. f 

1. DEPOsiTioiir OF Majok Gn^soN, 

Major Georges Gilson, of the 9th Line Regiment, who was ordered to cover the retreat 
of the Belgian troops before Aerschot, states that on Wednesday, August 19th, 1914, during the 
fighting between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., when he was protecting the approaches of Aerschot, he saw 
between the opposing Knes four women, each carrjdng a child, and two Kttle girls passing along 
the road. The Belgians ceased fire to avoid hitting them. The German machine guns continued 
to fire. One women was wounded in the arm. They could not have crossed the German lines 
and got on the road without permission. Everjrthing seems to shew that they were driven 
forward by the German troops to hinder the Belgian fire at the moment the German troops began 
to deliver their assault. 

2. Deposition or Mme. Cecile Corbns, Wife of Louis Gitstave Miohiels, 
Head Guard at Aerschot Station. 

On Wednesday last, the 19th August, my husband was on duty at Aerschot station. About 
7 a.m. he went to the station to see whether he ought to leave, but, as trains were no longer running, 
he was excused from duty. He returned home, and, as the shots fu-ed by the Germans were 
frequently striking our house, we took refuge in the cellar. Shortly afterwards a body of about 
500 or 600 Germans came ; they broke open the door of our house and searched all over it to find 
weapons. They came into the cellar and took my husband and me out. They forced me, with 
my seven months child, and my husband to go in front of them for about 200 yards. 

At one time we had to stop outside a closed house and could no longer talk to one another. 
When I wished to say something to my husband the Germans shouted, " Halt's Maul. "J 

A leader, probably an officer, ordered me to go with my child behind the house, and then 
they sent my husband into a field and shot him. 

Then they came to me and, holding me and threatening me with a revolver, they forced me 
to shew them where the lock-keeper hved. I pointed out his house and they sent me home. 

When aU the German soldiers had gone, I went to where my husband was lying and saw 
that he had a bayonet wound in the thigh and a bullet in the head. He was akeady stiff and 
quite dead. I took his watch, his purse and wedding ring, and returned home. 

I stayed there until Thursday morning, when the Germans came back and made me leave the 
house, which they set on fire. 

I fled with my child and two pieces of bread to Lierre, and then went to Antwerp to stay 
[ with my brother, Alphonse Corens, of No. 9, Miohiels Kaai, who is employed at Antwerp. 

M. Janssens, the Police Officer, fled with me from Aerschot to Antwerp, but I don't know 
where he is living now. 

* In the preceding pages Professor Struycken calls the " MiUtar-Untersuchungsstelle " by the 
abbreviation " De Commissie " {" The Commission "). 

t The depositions collected on the subject of Aerschot are extremely numerous. Only some are 
given, but none which could in any way be regarded as favourable to the German troops have been 


The identity of some of the witnesses, who are in Belgium and exposed to German reprisals, cannot 

be disclosed. 

Many depositions as to the murders and damage at Aerschot are appended to the Report of the 
Commission appointed by the British Government and presided over by Lord Bryce. It is interesting 
to compare them with these. 

j " Hold your jaw." 


3. Deposition of M. Andre Dauwen, Aged 56, Spirit Merchant at Aerschot. 

On the morning of Wednesday, the 19th August, the Germans entered Aerschot. They 
requisitioned five men in the Rue du Marteau to shew the way, and then shot them five minutes 
from their house. The German soldiers declared that civilians had been firing at them, which 
is quite untrue. The Burgomaster had several times warned the inhabitants to abstain from 
any act of hostility. 

During the evening the Germans hacked down the doors of all the houses whose owners 
had gone, and plundered them. 

As I did not leave home I did not see what happened in the Grand' Place. I did not see the 
Burgomaster arrested. 

On Thursday morning the soldiers came to my house. I was taken to a field as a prisoner 
and stayed there for some hours, and then I spent an hour in a stable. There I found M. Pletinx, 
a magistrate, who was already imprisoned there. Then I was taken to a field to bury the dead. 
They were civihans who had been shot by the Germans that morning, including M. Tielemans, 
the Burgomaster, his brother Emile, his son, 15J years old, and about a dozen others. After 
that we were made to dig a large trench, which was to serve for burying others. 

At 7 o'clock I was released mth four or five other elderly men, but the others were kept until 
the next morning. They were employed in digging pits to bury civilians who had been shot- 
more than 150. 

After that, every day men were imprisoned in the church, and sometimes kept there for 
two, or even three, days. I left Aerschot this morning at 6 o'clock with a pass given me by the 
German Burgomaster of Aerschot. 

For two days and two nights a continuous stream of Germans passed through, and since then 
others have still been passing through every day. I don't know what provoked the Germans, 
but it is certain that no one in Aerschot fired a shot. I am convinced that the Burgomaster's 
son did not. 

I don't know if the Germans assaulted any women or girls. 

As for myself, they stole my horse and cart, my motor cycle, my bicycle, clothes, all spirits, 
all the wine in my shop and all my goods. They broke open my safe. Half the city is 
burnt down. There has been no arson since the day before yesterday. 

4. Deposition oe X., Aged 46, a Clerk at Aerschot. 

I was in the employment of Tielemans Brothers at Aerschot. When the Germans arrived 
I was at Emile Tielemans' house. 

Soldiers came in and threatened us with their weapons. The Burgomaster was with them 
with his hands raised. The Germans ordered the people to open the doors and shutters of their 

I was taken with many others to the RiUaer Road. At this time a great mass of Germans 
was entering from this side. The officers spat at us and shouted : " Durch den Kopf schiessen." 
(Shoot them through the head.) 

The Burgomaster was brought up to us. He was in charge of soldiers under the command 
of an officer. From the top of the bank he spoke to the citizens, consulting notes in a notebook. 
He said that all weapons must be deposited at the Town Hall by 2 o'clock, that those who kept 
them back would be shot, that the citizens were not to go about in groups, and that, if any one 
fired a shot, he and three others would be shot. After these announcements we were set free. 

As I returned to the town I noticed that all the windows along the route taken by the soldiers 
were broken, and that upstairs windows had been pierced by bullets. 

I remained at home until 6 o'clock, and then risked going out. In the street I began to 
talk to a German soldier. AU at once I heard a shot from the direction of the boulevard, and at the 
same time many shots came from the yard of the hospital, which was full of Germans. AU the 
soldiers in the street began to shoot. I hid myseK in the cellar. The firing lasted quite half 
an hour. I saw my neighbour, Alphonse van Opstal, who wore a Red Cross brassard, lying dead 
in front of his door, struck in the face by two buUets. 

Next day I took refuge in the hospital, where three of my sisters are nuns. All the night 
and morning the town was being set on fire. My sisters begged an officer, who was in the hospital, 
to save my house. He went out and, thanks to his intervention, men were made to get on the 
roof to stop the fire. 

5. Deposition of X., Aged 22, Medical Student at Louvain, Residing at Aerschot. 

Early in the morning of Wednesday, the 19th August, the Germans entered Aerschot. My 
sister, who was holding my Mttle niece in her arms, was upstairs at a window which was shut. 
An officer saw and fired a revolver at her. The shot grazed her. The day passed without 
any other incident. 

About 7 p.m. the Germans said that inhabitants had shot at them from the house opposite 
ours. No one had heard any shot fired, but a townsman, 0. Nijs, who was afterwards shot, 
stated in my presence, and maintained it up to the last, that a revolver shot did come from that 
house. This shot had wounded a superior German officer. I did see a wounded officer, who shouted 
and shook his fist at us as he was being carried away. It should be noted that some fugitive 
Belgian soldiers were still hi(iden in some of the houses. The house from which the shot came 


belonged to M. Achille Wygaerts. Shortly afterwards, when they set his house on fire, he 
jumped out of the window. In his faU he broke his legs and was taken to the Institut des 
Picpus, where he may still be.* As this house burned, ours, which was opposite, caught alicrht 
and the flames spread. ° 

The men hving in the street were arrested, and we were taken, about 40 of us, to a potato 
field, where we spent the night. In the morning superior officers came and held a consultation 
m a farm close by, and then announced that every third man would be shot. The Burgomaster, 
his son and his brother were standing apart. The Burgomaster's brother begged an officer, who 
was biUeted on him, to testify that he had not fired. The officer promised and entered the farm 
where the consultation was being held, but did not return. Another officer came and said that 
all three must die. They were shot just before our companions. 

I was one of the third men, and should have been the last to be shot, but I declared that 
I belonged to the Red Cross and shewed my card as a student of the Faculty of Medicine at 
Louvain. That saved me at the last moment. 

6. Deposition oe M. Francois Teurlinckx, Pbintbe, of Abkschot. 

I Mve in the Grand' Place, opposite the Burgomaster's house. 

At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, the 19th August, a fusillade began. There was a German soldier 
in my shop. I asked him what it meant. " Are they machine-guns ? " " Yes— the French," 
he said, and he wanted to hide in the cellar. I saw that the shots were fired downwards from 
above the road. Soldiers were also firing upwards. Others were firing in the air. I beUeved 
that it was a sham fight. 

Three officers were looking on from the Burgomaster's balcony. At first they drew back 
a httle in the opening of the window of the balcony, and then suddenly the window was slammed 
to. I think that at that moment a superior officer was killed or wounded. Afterwards I asked 
Mme. Tielemans what happened. She said : " They say that my son shot the officer who was 
killed at my house, but that is not true. During this sham fight, which was intended to scare 
the people, the officer was hit by a shot from the street. My son was indoors and had been 
wounded in the foot. I can say of my own knowledge that there were no civihans in the street 
when this occurred." 

Next morning I saw my own son shot. He was 18. My youngest son was wounded in the 
street. He is under the care of Dr. X., who beheves that the wound was caused by a dum-dum 
bullet. The Germans had wooden bullets for breaking mndows. The cavalry are provided 
with these. 

Everywhere the houses were completely pillaged. 

7. Deposition of M. Gaston Nijs, of Abrschot. 

About 7 p.m. on the day the Germans entered Aerschot my brother and I were taken. Our 
hands were bound behind us with copper wire, fastened so tightly that our wrists were cut and 
bled. We were taken in the group of the Burgomaster, his son and his brother along the Louvain 
Road. We had, though bound, to lie on our backs in such a way as to make no movement. Our 
heads had to touch the ground. About 6 o'clock next morning they decided to begin the executions. 
We were forced — with other civihans, about 100 all told — ^to be present at the execution of the 
Burgomaster and his relatives. When the officer announced that the Burgomaster and his son 
and his brother were to be executed, M. Claes van Nuffel offered his life for them, saying that 
he begged for the sake of the town that the Burgomaster and his relatives should be spared. 
" No," said the officer. " It is the Burgomaster that we want." Then the Burgomaster rose 
and begged the officer to spare the townsmen, but no entreaty could soften the German officer. 
The Burgomaster, knowing that he himself could obtain no respite, asked that his son's life should 
be saved, so that he might comfort his mother. The officer tittered, adding that they wanted the 
Burgomaster and his son and brother. Then the boy rose, followed by his uncle, and stood 
between his uncle and father. Six German soldiers took their stand 10 yards from them, and, 
while the poor fellows were saying a last farewell, the officer made a sign with his sword. The 
shots rang out and the three bodies fell on top of one another. 

The others were then arranged in threes ; they counted one, two, three, and the one who 
was No. 3 had each time to come out and stand behind the bodies. The Germans said that 
they were going to be shot. All the civihans had their hands tied behind them. My brother 
and I were together. I was No. 2 and my brother Omer, aged 20, was No. 3. I then asked the 
officer : " Can I take my brother's place ? It doesn't matter to you which one you shoot, but 
my brother, who has finished his studies, is more useful to his mother, who is a widow, than I 
am." Once more he remained unmoved. " Let No. 3 fall out." We embraced, and my brother 
Omer joined the others. They were about 30 in a row. Then a horrible scene occurred. The 
German soldiers passed slowly along the Une, kilhng three at each discharge, each time an order 
being given by the officer. 

* Detailed information given to the Belgian Commission of Inquiry estabUshes that M. Wygaerts, 
a joiner, of Aerschot, was in the house with his wife and child when it was set on fire. From the first 
floor window he threw the child into the yard. Then he jumped, and broke a leg as he landed. Mme. 
Wygaerts perished in the flames. M. Wygaerts was arrested by the Germans and made the subject 
of an investigation, but no case was found against him. 



The others, numbers 1 and 2, were made to leave, and we passed in front of the machine 
guns that had been brought up during the night. As we reached the outskirts of the town some 
of the men were retaken and led back to the place of execution. They were shot there. I 
succeeded in escaping with some comrades, including the head-master of the secondary school 
and M. Frans Teurlinokx. 

8. Deposition of M. Gtjstave Piebabd, Aged 20, bobn at Merxplas, serving as a 

Volunteer in the 6th Line Regiment. 
I was wounded in the left arm during the engagement which took place* when Aerschot 
was occupied. The Germans took me prisoner in a small wood, where I had taken refuge. It 
was then about 8 a.m. They took me to a field just by the town. There were already soldiers 
there who had been taken prisoner, some were wounded and others not. Others were afterwards 
brought there. A German surgeon attended to me and bandaged me. There were 28 of us, 
including five or six civilians. We stayed there until 4.30. Then we heard the sound of firing. 
We were taken into a little shop, one of the first houses in Aerschot on the left side of the road. 
About 10 minutes later we were taken on to the road by the Demer. Two German companies 
were there, and we were driven in front of them and they fired at us. Some prisoners jumped 
into the Demer and were shot down Only myself and a private in the 9th were saved out of 
these prisoners. I fell down by the Demer embankment, and was hit by a shot which went through 
my overcoat. Seeing that I was alive an officer came up, and, when a soldier wanted to shoot 
me, he ordered me to be thrown into the Demer. I hung on to the branch of a tree, supporting 
my feet on some stones at the bottom. I remained in the water, with only my head shewing, 
until the next morning. I then got out and went into a house through the garden. I put on 
civilian clothes and joined a party of fugitives. 

9. Deposition oe Abbe Lebmans, Professor at St. Joseph's College, Aerschot. 

On the morning of Wednesday, the 19th August, the Germans arrived at Aerschot. I was 
at the college with about 200 refugees, A large number of troops passed. In the meantime 
about 50 soldiers, one of whom carried an axe, and an officer entered the college. They asked 
if there were Belgian soldiers there. I said no, and they went away. Suddenly I heard the noise 
of faUing glass and doors being broken open. A body of Germans arrived at the college. They 
ordered us to go out, holding up our hands, broke the windows and proceeded to make a search. 
Suddenly firing began. The Germans alleged that it was civilians who were firing. I am 
inclined to beheve that Belgian soldiers, who had taken refuge in the houses, had, in fact, fired. 
I took refuge with the German soldiers in a house. When the firing ceased, I was taken to the 
hospital. Then a German officer questioned me, threatening to destroy the town if any more 
shots were fired. I went off in the direction of the firing. I was stopped after a short time 
and taken by two soldiers to the Rillaer road, where there were already many people from 
Aerschot. On the way I was ill-treated and insulted. 

We remained there about three or four hours. Then the Burgomaster arrived with the 
Commandant. The Burgomaster ordered aU weapons to be given up, saying that everyone could 
go home and that nothing more would happen. We noticed as we returned that the streets were 
full of soldiers posted there. 

Until about 5 or 6 p.m. everything was comparatively quiet. About 6 p.m. we saw towns- 
people giving the soldiers drink. Suddenly we noticed a movement, and we were ordered to leave 
the streets and go indoors. We went to the hospital. We had hardly reached it before brisk firing 
began. Machine guns were firing in the streets. The Germans alleged that it was because civiUans 
had been firing, and in particular they said that the Burgomaster's son had shot at the Com- 
mandant. I was not present at subsequent events nor at the executions. In fact, I remained 
at the hospital, where there was no one but Germans, the Belgian wounded having been 

During the 20th, 21st and 22nd, the Germans were burning the town. They took to looting. 
The soldiers entered the houses, seized food and clothing, and loaded them on motors. On the 
23rd some of the inhabitants returned. I went to look at the college, which was not greatly 
damaged. On the 25th the college was sacked. On the 26th the Germans imprisoned the men 
in the church. On the 28th they evacuated the Red Cross hospital of the Picpus Fathers, and 
imprisoned in the church the Picpus Fathers and several priests from the neighbourhood and 
the Red Cross attendants. I went to the college and noticed that the safe had been broken open, 
and that the Germans had stolen all the contents except a ciborium. I also noticed in the town 
that several other safes had been broken open. On the same day the Germans took most of the 
prisoners from Aerschot to Louvain. On the 29th they left Aerschot. 

On the 30th August the Landsturm arrived. Up to then the 42nd Infantry Regiment had 
occupied the town. The men of the Landsturm alleged that they had been fired on by 
Belgian civiUans. Like the others, the Landsturm took to plundering. The tabernacleis of 
the college chapel and of the Picpus Institute were broken open by them. The prisoners remained 
m the church until the 5th September. Among them were about 30 ecclesiastics, who were made 
the object of insults. Latterly the prisoners were properly fed. I have been told that these 
prisoners were taken to Louvain and thence to an unknown destination. I know that many 
girls were violated and also women in the presence of their husbands. 

According to what I was told, abominable deeds were committed at Rillaer. 

* On the morning of the 19th August, 1914. 


10. Depositiox of Mme. Jeanne Andries, Wife of M. van de Meulbbroucke, 

Merchant, of Aebschot. 

The Germans stole not only food and clothes, but everything valuable — plate, jewellery, 
pictures, furniture, deeds, stock-certificates and money. They loaded these on German carts. The 
looting lasted from the 19th August until the 7th September, the day when the Belgians 
re-took Aerschot. They broke the furniture and safes. I witnessed this, because I did not leave 
Aerschot until after the Belgian troops came. 

The Germans alleged that civihans had fired on them, but in fact the civihans had been 
disarmed. The Germans were always drunk, and they quarrelled and shot at one another. I 
saw the priest of Gelrode brought in to Aerschot with three wounded men on Thursday, the 24th 
August. The Germans said he was an Enghsh spy. They took him to the Town Hall, where they 
ill-treated him. Next day he was taken to the front of the church, and violently struck with rifle 
butts. His hands were bleeding. Then he was taken to the Demer Bridge, by the Van Nele's 
house, and there shot. His body remained there until next day, when it was thrown into the 

The men were shut up in the church and received no food for 30 hours. Then they received 
some bread and water. On the 28th August the women and children were taken to Louvain 
(15 kilometres) on foot, through the blazing streets. In the Rue de la Station they were fired 
at, and after that they were taken to the pohce station. 

Many girls of Aerschot were violated by the German soldiers. At the Picpus Fathers' 
monastery, where there was a Red Cross Hospital, in which there were 70 sick, the German 
soldiers indulged in orgies. They took 650 bottles of wine there. A great part of Aerschot is 
destroyed. Everything has been sacked and plundered. 

11. Statement of Mme. Tielemans, Widow of the Burgomastek of Aerschot. 

Here are the facts, as I saw them, after the Germans had taken Aerschot. About 8 a.m. 
on the 19th August I was not able to go to church with my children, as bullets were dropping 
into the streets. We went into a room looking on to the Grand' Place. About 9 o'clock some 
Belgian soldiers, with blood on their faces and helping one another along, came from one of the 
streets. I opened the window and asked what was happening. " We are retreating. The 
Germans are pursuing us." A few minutes afterwards the Grand' Place was full of German 
troops. Seeing this, my son pulled down the blind. A shot was at once fired through the 
window. The bullet ricocheted and wounded my son in the foot. 

About 10 o'clock the German commandant sent for my husband to the Town Hall. When 
he arrived he was called a Schweinhund, and, with extreme brutahty, he was ordered to haul 
down the national flag. He had then to translate into German the notices that he had published 
in the town, ordering the people to give up their weapons and to remain quiet. 

In the meantime three officers called on me and asked to be put up. They were a general* 
and his two aides-de-camp. They were taken to their rooms, which looked on to the Grand' 
Place. They could watch the troops stationed there from their windows. Shortly afterwards 
they went out. The housemaid called me to shew the condition in which they had left the rooms. 
The lowest burglar could not have upset the furniture in the way the Germans did. Not a 
drawer had been left unexamined or a paper intact. I got an explanation of this conduct 
later on. The General asked me the name of the Belgian colonel who was there the night before, 
insisting on knowing the branch of the service to which he belonged, &c. I replied : " I no more 
know his name than I do yours. I don't laiow whence he came or whither he went, any more 
than I know where you are going." 

The German army kept on passing. The men were halted. About 4 o'clock my husband 
returned. He said to me : " Up to now all has gone well, but I am anxious." He took some 
cigars to give to the sentries posted at the house. The position of the street door in the garden 
enabled us to see the General on the balcony. I said to my husband that what he was doing might 
displease the authorities. As I went away I glanced at the Grand' Place, and I saw very distinctly 
two pillars of smoke, followed by a multitude of shots. My courtyard was at once filled with horses 
and soldiers, who were firing in the air hke madmen. My husband, children, servants and myself 
had only just time to rush into a cellar, hustled by the soldiers who took refuge in our house, 
still firing their rifles. After a few moments of indescribable anguish, one of the aides-de-camp 
came downstairs, caUing out : " The General is dead. I want the Burgomaster." The General 
was hit by a German bullet while he was on the balcony. My husband said to me : " This is 
a serious matter for me." I clasped his hand and said, " Courage." The captain handed my 
husband over to the soldiers, who hustled him and took him away. I threw myself in front of 
the captain, saying : " Sir, you can prove that my husband did not fire, nor my son either, for 
they were both here and unarmed." 

" No matter, madam, he is responsible." 

My son made us change our cellar. About half an hour after he said : " Mamma, I^hear 
them seeking for us. Let us go up and meet our fate bravely." It was the same captain. 
" Madam, I want your son." He took my son, 15 years old ! As my poor child walked with 

* It was, in fact. Colonel Stenger, commanding the 8th Infantry Brigade. (Note by the Belgian 
Commission of Inquiry.) 


difficulty, because of his wound, he followed, kicking him. I shut my eyes so as not to look. 
I felt I was dying of grief. It was atrocious. I beheve that he had my son taken to his father 
at the Town Hail. 

The rage of the captain was not yet assuaged. He came back and insisted upon my 
accompanying him from ceUar to attic, alleging that there had been firing at the soldiers. 
He was able to satisfy himself that the rooms were empty and the windows shut. During this 
inspection he threatened me with his revolver. My daughter placed herseK between him and me. 
This procedure did not make him understand his cowardice. When we reached the hall I said 
to him : " What is going to become of us ? " He rephed coldly : " You will be shot with your 
daughter and servants." During this the soldiers were bending their bayonets and shewing 
the terrified servants that they pricked well. When the captain left us a soldier came to me 
and said : " Go into the Grand' Place. They wiU do nothing to the women." I turned to get 
a hat and cloak, but all was stolen already. We left our home without anything. When we 
reached the Square we found all the neighbours in tears. By my side was a young girl dazed 
with grief. Her father and two brothers had been shot, and she had been dragged from the bedside 
of her dying mother. She found her dead nine hours after. 

We were an hour in the square, surrounded by a cordon of soldiers. AU the houses on the 
right side of the square were in flames. We could notice the perfect order and method with which 
these bandits set about their task. There was none of the greediness of men left to their own 
devices. I can state that they worked in order and under orders. While the houses were burning 
we could see the soldiers enter the other houses. Using electric torches, they searched the houses, 
opened the windows and threw out the mattresses and bed clothes, which were given to the poor. 
From time to time soldiers spoke to us, saying, " You are going to be shot. You are going to 
be shot." In the meantime soldiers came out of our house with their arms full of bottles of 
wine. The windows of our rooms were opened and everything in them was thrown out. I 
turned away so as not to see this pillage. In the fight of the burning houses my eyes fell on 
my husband, my son and my brother-in-law, with other gentlemen, whom they were taking 
to the place of execution. Never shaU I forget the sight nor the look of my husband casting a 
last glance at his home and wondering what had become of his wife and daughter. And that I 
might not make him lose courage, I refrained from caUing out to him, " Here I am." 

About 2 o'clock they said to us : " The women can go home." As my house was stUl fuU 
of soldiers I accepted the hospitahty of a neighbour. We had hardly got inside before the Germans 
came and said that we must leave the town at once. It was going to be bombarded. We had 
to leave by way of Rillaer. With about 30 women and children we had to walk along a road, 
upon which were lying the bodies of poor Belgian soldiers, and civilians and horses, in the midst 
of burning houses. On the way we met hundreds of motors filled with German officers, whose 
bravery consisted in pointing revolvers at women who had nothing in their pockets with which to 
buy bread. At last, after an hour's walk, we were able to find a farm which was still standing. 
We had hardly reached it before a German patrol forced us to remain in a field, forbidding us to 
enter the farm. Not until late in the evening did we get permission to enter, but we were forbidden 
to leave. We were obliged to stay there until 8 o'clock. During this time the Germans were 
capturing men, watching the farewells of husbands and wives, then making their victims advance, 
only to release them 300 yards farther on. Before leaving they asked if the wife of the Burgo- 
master of Aerschot was there. They were told no, and in the meantime my pass was destroyed. 
After their departure I reached the next village, where my friends concealed me at the risk of 
their lives, and were able to get me to HoUand. 

I have learned that they were searching for me for weeks, and even offered 10,000 francs 
reward to anyone who would teU them where I was. I never have learned why the Germans 
desired to capture me. 

It was 1 1 o'clock in the evening when my husband and his companions left the Town HaU. 
They took them out of the town. A pofitical opponent of my husband, M. Claes van Nuffel, 
asked the officer in charge of the execution to spare the Burgomaster's fife, saying that he did 
not belong to my husband's pofitical party, but that my husband was necessary to Aerschot, 
and offering his own life for him. The German officer was unmoved. My husband thanked 
M. Claes, saying that he died in peace, that he had passed his fife endeavouring to do aU the good 
he could, that he did not ask for fife, but he asked that his son, 15 years of age, should be spared 
to comfort his mother. He was not answered. My brother-in-law asked that his brother and 
nephew might be spared. He was not fistened to. About 5 o'clock on the 20th August they 
were made to kneel, and a moment later the best people in the world had ceased to live. 

12. Deposition of X., of Independent Means. 

On Wednesday, the 4th September, Bluts, the Countess Jeanne de Merode's chauffeur at 
Westerloo, was requisitioned by the German troops to take a wounded German to Aerschot. 

When he reached Aerschot he was taken to the church. The Germans allowed him to go 
inside. He there saw about 250 men of all ages who had been prisoners for about a fortnight. 
Among them were 20 or 25 ecclesiastics, including several parish priests of places near Aerschot. 
They had only the church stairs to rest on and had no blankets. One of the prisoners had become 
insane, and others were sick. None of them could go out, and the air in the church was terrible. 
They received for their food nothing but bread and water. After some days, however, the 
Germans authorised the women to bring food to their relatives. 


13. Statement of Mlle. Elmire Janssens, of Aerschot* 

I used to live at Aerschot. On the 19th August, about 7 a.m., a German patrol came by, 
and I wondered what would happen. Not thinking that there was any need to be afraid of 
the German troops, I let my shop remain open. 

About 11 o'clock the troops arrived. They halted. Some soldiers came to the shop mndow 
and smashed it before I had time to reahse what was happening. The shop window was looted 
in a second. Then the soldiers came into the shop and ransacked it. I was unable to save 
anything. The soldiers were quarrelling about the bottles of cognac and rum when an officer 
entered. He did not seem to be at all astonished, and merely claimed three bottles of cognac 
and three of wine. He handed me a warrant. The officers, non-commissioned officers and men 
went into the cellar and stripped it bare. At this moment I called one of the servants of the 
Burgomaster's aunt, who lived opposite, and we went to the cellar. There was nothing left. 

In the afternoon the Germans came and searched the house on the pretext that there might 
be arms there. M. Omer Nijs went over the house with some soldiers. A German Red Cross 
man was sitting on the ground floor. Suddenly we heard the sound of firing. The German 
cried : " That wiU be terrible for Aerschot." It was about 6 in the evening. In the street 
a special trumpet was sounding, which was only heard during the firing. The German 
soldiers ran into the street. I took refuge in my garden. I saw the house next to M. van 
Hasendonck's in flames. I called to the members of my family for help, and M. Omer Nijs rescued 
the inhabitants by means of a ladder. Hardly had this been done when the whole of the upper 
part of my house was in flames. There were about a dozen persons inside, and the Germans 
had shut the street door to prevent them from escaping. They tried in vain to get on to the roofs 
of the houses next to mine. The situation being critical, the door was burst open, and M. Nijs 
went to ring at M. EmUe Tielemans', two doors off, to ask for shelter. There could be no idea 
of remaining in the street, as the Germans were firing at everyone there. Hardly had they shut 
the door before there came a violent ring at the bell. They went to look, and three German 
soldiers ordered everyone in the house to come outside. They took the men away. In spite 
of my entreaties my father, who was 74 years old and iU, was taken off. The men were sent 
to the Louvain road. It was at the time they were separated from the women that M. Tielemans, 
M. Omer Nijs, aged 20, and M. Gaston Nijs, aged 17, had their hands bound behind them with 
copper wire. The women were taken to the Grand' Place. AU fights had been extinguished, 
but the burning houses afforded fight. It was then about 9 o'clock. When the women had 
been at the Grand' Place for about a quarter of an hour they brought my father back to the 
women, saying : " Old Father Janssens cannot follow." The women remained there until 
4 o'clock. The burning went on. Four houses were set on fire by the Germans during the night 
in sight of the poor women. Many soldiers kept on passing through the square. As they went 
by, the old men, women and children had to hold up their hands. At 5 o'clock we were sent 
to occupy the houses which had not been burnt. It was not for long ; officers soon ordered 
the town to be cleared, as it was to be bombarded. At the same time the men were forbidden 
to leave. To save my father I cut off his moustache and dressed him in women's clothes. He 
walked doubled up, as if by age, in order to hide his face. We tried to take the Diest road, 
but, as it was covered with motors filled with officers, we decided to return to the hospital. We 
stayed there three days. After that we went to Mme. Nijs' house, as the Germans threatened 
to take all unoccupied houses. That was not enough, for the Germans then said that there 
must be children in the house or they would expel the inmates. I went to find my sister with 
her five children, from 13 to 5 years of age. They had begun to get coffee ready for the refugees 
when the Germans rang at the door. Mme. Nijs, a widow, went to open it, accompanied by one of her 
children. The Germans ordered her to leave the house. Mme. Nijs said that she had five young 
children. The Germans paid no heed to her. An officer, who happened to be passing, asked 
what was the matter. After some explanation he ordered the house to be left alone. A few 
minutes after a fresh ring came, and this time three soldiers took the three women and five children 
to the church, which was nearly full. They all had to stay there for three days and three 
nights, with no accommodation for the night. For food they were given a httle black bread and 
some water. Without their officers' knowledge, the soldiers brought some dates for the Httle 
children. The door of the church remained open. During the second night many shots were fired 
into the church from the street. The bullets went over the heads of the people and knocked frag- 
ments off the walls where they struck. The consternation and despair of the mothers with 
children were indescribable. 

On the 28th August a German officer came and ordered the prisoners to group themselves 
in fives, keeping famifies together as much as possible. When this had been done, the column, 
under armed escort, set out for Louvain under the guidance of officers. The mothers carried their 
children. One (Mme. Romain) had eight, most of whom were very small. Women who were 
enceinte, like Mme. Antoinette Devroye, were forced to follow. Mme. Devroye's father, who was 
75, being exhausted, asked to be put on a cart. He was refused and forced to continue on foot 
under threats of being killed. The sufferings of this pitiful group can be imagined when, after a 
short while, the least unfortunate had one child on the back and held two by the hand. The little 
ones were crying. About 6 o'clock in the evening we reached the Boulevard Tirlemont at Louvain. 
Some German troops were halted there. The soldiers took their rifles and made as if to fire at 
the mass. We were hustled to the Station Square. In the Boulevard Tirlemont there were 


smouldering houses where the fire was dying down. The Station Square was destroyed. When 
the poor fugitives reached the square the soldiers on the station side opened fire. There was 
a mad flight among the ruins. I held one of my nephews by the hand. I received two wounds 
on the left arm, a little above the elbow. One buUet passed right through, the other remained, 
and is still there. I fell down, dragging the child down with me. My sister picked me up and 
wished to take me away, but the Germans shouted : " She's ours. She is hit." My sister 
entreated these brutes to allow her to take me away, and went with me about 20 yards. She could 
not continue, for the Germans came up and fired. I was hit in the stomach. I fell down and lost 
consciousness. When I came to, half an hour later, I was still on the pavement. T began to scream 
and a soldier picked me up. He put me in a chair in the first-class waiting room. A German doctor 
came and examined me, and, having cut away my bod'ce, made an injection. I heard him say : 
" She's a brave lass. There's nothing more to be done. She's past help." Then he went away. 
Some time afterwards he returned. I asked to be taken to Louvain Hospital, saying that I felt 
very bad. He refused, saying that I would be imprisoned at Aix-la-Chapelle. He left me. My 
wounds had not been dressed. Three hundred soldiers came into the waiting room and took up 
quarters for the night. One of them made inquiries after me, saying that it was he who had picked 
me up. I thanked him. An hour later the doctor returned with a stretcher, and told them to lay 
me on it. As the soldiers were asleep and did not hear, he knocked on the floor with a rifle and 
repeated his order. As I did not wish to go to Germany I asked to be taken to Tirlemont, where 
I had relatives, who were nuns there. The doctor gave an order, but I don't know to what effect. 
I was laid on the seat of a reserved compartment, They put on the other seat a German soldier, 
whose chest had been crushed by a falling waU in the town. The Germans came and looked 
in the carriage at me out of curiosity. One of them was ordered to look after the two wounded 
in the compartment. He brought me drink and put cold water compresses on my head. On 
the way he said to me : " You are a brave girl. I live at Essen. Come and see me when the 
war is over. I am married, but that's no matter." Then he kissed my hand. At Tirlemont 
I was taken out. When I was put on the platform the same German came up and made the 
same proposition as in the train, and again kissed my hand. Immediately afterwards I found 
that a ring which had cost 100 francs, as well as the money I had hidden in my dress, had 
disappeared. I was taken to the German receiving station, where the doctor sent me to the 
Convent of the Sisters of Our Lady, but I could not find a refuge there. I was taken to the 
hospital, where I was admitted. It was 4, o'clock when, for the first time, I received proper 
attention from Dr. Noel. I was there imder treatment for eleven weeks. They wanted to send 
me to Germany. My pass there had been signed when my family, with whom I had communicated, 
succeeded after two days in taking me to Holland. I arrived there at 5 a.m. on the 1st November, 
after an 18-hour journey on a cart laden with furniture. 

14. Deposition of Mme. Clara Boeye, Wife of Francois Teurlinckx, Printer, 

OF Aersghot. 

On Friday, the 28th August, I was taken on foot to Louvain with the other inhabitants 
of Aerschot, young and old. There we had to pass the night on the manure in the stables of the 
Artillery Barracks. German soldiers came and slept among the women. Not far from me the 
Raskin girls were awakened by a soldier, who came and lay down by them. Mile. Raskin called 
out, " Papa, I'm so frightened," and the German fled. Several incidents of this kind, and worse 
still, were rumoured to have occurred at Aerschot. Next morning we were released. " The 
King is a prisoner and Antwerp is in our hands," said the Germans. 

When we reached the station road at Louvain we were fired at, and everyone fled into the 
houses which had been burnt down. 

15. Deposition of X., Schoolmaster. 

About 9 a.m. on the 19th August the Germans made their entry into Aerschot. There 
was not a single Belgian soldier left in the town. The Belgian forces had evacuated it in the 
morning. I can testify that no shot was fired at the Germans. No one in the town made any 
such attempt. The Germans at once killed six men with the 'bayonet. These men were doing 
nothing. They were in the passage of a house. The Germans at" once began to break open the 
cellar doors, and soon the maj ority of them were drunk. About 7 in the evening the Germans began 
to set fire to the church, and then they burned down two streets. During the night they broke 
all the windows and doors. Some of the inhabitants had fled. Others had taken refuge in 
their cellars. About 9 p.m. the Germans had taken the principal burgesses, I beheve about 40 ; 
they led them into the fields, tied their hands behind them and threw them on to their knees. 
They kept them there all night, and began to shoot them about 5 in the morning. 

On the evening of the 20th they were still looking for inhabitants who had not fled, and 
the next mornmg, about the same time, they put them to death. In the evening of that 
day they set fire to two large houses, belonging to M. Dehaas, the notary, and Mme. Daels. 
On the following day they plundered the whole town, and the furniture that remained unbroken 
was taken to the station and loaded into trains. At the Burgomaster's thev unloaded five boats 
of gram, which was then taken to the station. 

On the 26th and 27th all who were stiU there— men, women and children — were shut 
up in the church. About 8 in the evening about 30 men began to fire into the church, but no 
one was hit, as everyone lay down. 


About 11 a.m. on the 28th August all the men, women and chilch-en were sent on foot (o 
Louvain. There the Germans began to shoot at them. They fired in the direction of the houses 
and windows, but several of the fugitives were killed and wounded. AH the Aerschot 
people had then to go and sleep in the stables of the Artillery Barracks. 

On the 29th they were taken under escort to the Louvain Canal and there set free. On 
reaching Aerschot we were again taken prisoner by the Germans. The men were shut up in 
the church and the women in M. Fontaine's chateau. 

On the evening of the 30th the women and children were liberated, but the men remained 
in the church until the 6th September. Then those over 45 were hberated, and the others, about 
400, were put into cattle trucks about 6 o'clock in the evening and sent to Germany. We have 
had no news of them since. 

On the 9th September the Belgian soldiers re-entered Aerschot. In five minutes there was 
not a German to be seen. 

The worst of the pillage took place on the 28th and 29th. Apart from fm-niture and wine, 
stockings, shirts, handkerchiefs and bed linen were most coveted. What they could not take 
away they tore up and soiled. 

I was a prisoner from the 30th August to the 3rd September, and do not know what happened 
during that time. I was also at Louvain on the 28th. 

16. Report by Father Simon Goovaerts, Superior oe the Congregation of the 
Fathers of the Sacred Heart, and his Colleagues, who were taken with 

HIM TO Germany. 
I. In our Hospital at Aerschot, l^th to 28th Amjust. 

The Damien Institute is just by the Malines gate of the town on the road from Lierre to 

When the war broke out steps were taken to turn it into a Red Cross Hospital. It was 
officially recognised by the Central Committee of Brussels, under the description, " Hospital 
No. 1005. Province 5." Three doctors, Drs. Vermuylen, Bergen and Goossens, were attached 
to it. An operating theatre, with surgical instruments and dressings, had been established, 
and 200 beds were prepared. 

On the 18th fugitives arrived from Montaigu, Tesselt, &c. We watched from our windows 
in the evening the smoke and flames of the fires in the districts near by. Two Brothers of the 
Congregation of Our Lady of Mercy, Brother Adalbert and Brother Amand Spitaels, of the House 
at Montaigu, took refuge with us. They shared all our sufferings. 

About 5.30 a.m. on the 19th August we heard the first cannon shots. In spite of the Red Caress 
flag which was flying conspicuously on our roof a number of buUets came through the windows, 
and forced us to take the beds from the rooms and put them in a large passage, which was better 
protected. There we attended to the first wounded who came in, about 20, aU Belgian soldiers. 
We had been engaged in this work for about two hours when the Germans surrounded the house. 
We heard them break the doors and windows of the neighbouring houses with their rifles and 
axes. An officer, followed by some soldiers, entered the hospital, came upstairs and seized the 
Belgian flag which was flying beside the Red Cross flag. He threw it into the street, where 
the soldiers tore it to pieces and stamped on it. In the meantime they broke open the doors at 
both sides of the house. About 60 men, commanded by an officer, broke roughly into the house, 
tore off or unwound the bandages of the wounded to make sure that there was no deceit, and made 
a search through the rooms. They accused us of shooting at them, and, in spite of protests, 
they fetched aU the hospital staff out into the street, where they made us line up in front of the 
house with some wounded soldiers they had forced to get up and some civilians whom they 
had just arrested. To the Superior, who demanded an explanation, the officer stated that the 
Major declared that he had seen three shots fired from the house. He kept on repeating on 
every denial, " Der Major hat es gesagt " (" The Major said so "). A superior officer, who 
was riding by and from whom the officer respectfully asked for orders, ordered us to be shot. 
As we continued to protest our innocence and to explain that the retreating Belgian forces had 
surrounded the house and fired from behind it, he at last, after 20 minutes' argument, consented 
to go and find the General. 

He had scarcely departed when the fighting began again round us. The returning Belgians 
swept the street (we were told with a motor machine gun). The Germans fled outside the town, 
but, though several of our guards took shelter, they kept us in sight and forced us to remain 
under fire. Three civihans were kiUed by our side. At last the remaining Germans took to 
flight and we went back into the house. 

Shortly afterwards about a dozen of the Fathers and Brethren were shot at as they left 
the house and were obliged to take shelter at the civihan hospital. While there they were asked 
several questions by a superior officer who came in. In spite of his brassard, he asked one if he 
had joined in the fighting, declaring, "We do not recognise the Red Cross in Belgium." We 
take this opportunity of stating that, whenever we claimed our status as Red Cross attendants 
we were met by contemptuous smiles and comments, which clearly shewed that they thought 
nothing of this. The officer then ordered them to be kept in the hospital, had them counted by 
a subaltern officer, and told the dispenser that if anyone was missing when he returned he, the 
dispenser, would be shot. Two hours later they were ordered to remove the Belgian wounded 
from their own hospital to the Damien Institute, as the hospital was to be reserved for the German 
wounded. Among the wounded thus removed one was in extremis and died just as he arrived. 


In the meantime the officer who had first arrested us, had returned to the hospital. He 
said that the general had ordered us to be spared, and asked for two Fathers to go with him to bring 
in a wounded man (a civilian) some distance away. Shortly after other Fathers and Brethren 
went out to bring in wounded. In spite of their Red Cross brassards they were fired at several 
times. Father Helonius de Busschere and Brother Willebrord Slaats, both Dutchmen, brought 
a wounded man in from the street. Father Camille Busard, also a Dutchman, was preparing to 
bring in another. Brother Willebrord wished to rejoin him. In our corridor he had three shots 
fired at him by Uhlans. At the first shot he threw himself down and happily escaped. Not seeing 
the others return. Father Helonius went to meet them ; he had hardly got into the corridor 
in sight of the soldiers in the street before he was fired at twice. Fortunately he was not hit. 
Father Camille Busard, while attending to a wounded man in the street, was seized by the 
Germans, put behind a cannon, and for an hour was taken along the Louvain road. During 
the whole journey he was being continually insulted and threatened with death. At last through 
his protests they decided to release him, and he was given a safe conduct, which enabled him 
to return to the house, but not without having to undergo many further outrages. 

In the afternoon they brought us some wounded Germans, so that the number of patients 

was about 80. Later they came to fetch these wounded Germans, to take them to the hospital. 

Next day a mounted officer came into the courtyard and made a rapid inspection. He told 

the Superior that the Burgomaster of Aerschot had treacherously killed a colonel while he sat 

at table, and added that the Burgomaster had been shot. 

At our request, on the 21st and following days, two German surgeons came to treat our 
wounded. We have nothing but praise for them. 

Towards evening on the 20th, in spite of the Superior's protests, we were forced to put up 
1,100 men. The Major himself gave this number. The whole night was spent in giving these 
men, several of whom were drunk, food and drink. Each man had a bottle of champagne or 
gin. Next morning we collected 800 bottles. 

The whole night the patients, several of whom were feverish, were unable to sleep. The 
German surgeon, when asked during the night to attend to a wounded man, refused to do so. 
Next evening, after making his preliminary arrangements, the Major sent for the Superior. 
He asked the number of wounded under care and whether the wounds were serious or shght, and 
expressed astonishment that we were not under military guard, blamed the troops who had come 
before for having left us at liberty, and ended by stating that it was his duty to make us aU prisoners 
and send us to Germany. Next day, however, he received orders to continue his march, and 
set out without disturbing us. 

Shortly after their departure the Superior asked a German doctor to examine a wounded 
man who was causing him anxiety. The doctor at once agreed. When he ^rose after examining 
the wound (a bullet in the stomach) the wounded man said to him bitterly : " I must die, mustn't 
I, doctor ? " " No, indeed," repHed the doctor, " seeing that it is three days since you were 
wounded." " But I feel that I must die," said the wounded man. " Your soldiers are the cause 
of it. When I was wounded they forced me with their rifle butts to walk 200 yards." The doctor 
went away, saying to the Superior: "He's done for, that's evident." And he added with 
emphasis, " It's shameful." 

This was not an isolated case. Several of the wounded under our care told us that, while 
prisoners on the field of battle, a major made them sit on the ground between each other's legs 
and ordered his men to shoot them. " Toten sie die Schweine " (" Kill the pigs "). Fourteen 
out of twenty were killed and six escaped. Those who escaped and came under our care were 
sent to Germany. We met them again at Sennelager Camp, near Paderborn. 

On the 21st August, having no more food, owing to our having continually to supply many 
German soldiers, we were forced to apply to the German authorities, who obtained for us meat 
and bread every day until we were arrested. 

During the days that followed the Fathers and Brethren, aided by some devoted young 
men, searched the neighbourhood for wounded and went to bury the dead, having first obtained 
the written authority of the Kommandantur. Besides our wounded soldiers we also had at our 
hospital four women and several civilians and children. One child, a year old, had been wounded 
in the thigh by a bayonet while in its mother's arms. Several civilians were burnt, and also 
had gunshot wounds. They said that when the soldiers were setting the houses on fire they shot 
at the suffocating inmates as they tried to escape. We several times put this question to the 
wounded civilians whom we tended : " Do you think that the inhabitants were firing ? " Every 
time their reply was emphatic : "No one fired." 

On the 26th the devoted priest of Gelrode, M. Dergent, brought us three wounded civilians 
on a cart. In spite of the strong remonstrances of the Superior, who warned him of the danger 
he ran in departing at once, he was resolved to return to his parish. We learned afterwards 
that he was ill-treated, shot, and thrown into the Demer. 

During these sad days several of the Red Cross hospital attendants were killed. M. Alphonse 
van Opstal, who had spent a whole day helping us, was found next day dead in front of his house. 
M. van de Kerckhove was wounded in the arm and attended by us. M. Prosper JMertens, Secretary 
of the Red Cross Committee, was executed. M. van Kriekinge, the architect, was shot. Two 
others, whose names we do not know, were taken away with their hands tied behind them. We 
never learned what became of them. 


We ourselves had to undergo continual visits from officers and men, who often threatened us. We 
were several times subjected to a search, and each time we were asked if we had arms or officers 
in the house. On the first search the officer, on entering the Superior's room, caught sight of a 
map of Belgium on the wall. He at once made a sign to a soldier to tear it down with his bayonet, 
saying, " Belgien besteht nicht mehr " (" Belgium no longer exists "). They kept on accusing 
the priests of being fra7ics-tire^irs, of having gouged out the eyes of their wounded soldiers, and 
of having received arms from the Government to distribute among the people, &c. The day 
after the occurrences at Louvain the commandant of Aerschot unexpectedly arrived at the 
hospital, accompanied by two officers. He sent for the Superior and angrily told him the (German) 
story of what happened there. One of them said that he had seen priests firing at him. They 
asked the Superior if he answered for his staff. Upon his replying in the affirmative, the com- 
mandant repeated to him what he had said two days before ; "If the least thing happens I burn 
down the whole monastery." One of the officers, who had come from Louvain, said as he went 
away, " AU you priests will be taken to Germany." 

It is our duty to give an instance which shows how little the Germans observed the 
provisions of the Geneva Convention. For two days a post of three men were placed at the attic 
windows in the roof. They observed through field-glasses, and signalled to a non-commissioned 
officer in the courtyard, all the movements of the Belgian troops operating in the neighbourhood. 
Several times we had alarms raised by drunken soldiers. For eight days we saw the Germans 
methodically plundering and setting fire to the town. Large vans stopped in front of the 
houses, everj^thing that could be taken away was loaded on to them, aU the rest was broken 
or spoUt, and the houses were then set ahght. One day, when a company departed, the 
Superior saw two soldiers some distance behind the others staggering under the weight of a 
great basketful of plunder. On top were two heavy bronze candelabra. 

About 7 p.m. on the 27th, firing began alongside the monastery wall. About 3.30 a.m. an 
officer, followed by four men, entered one of the rooms where wounded were lying, and told the 
Father on duty to put out the fight in the room occupied by the wounded on the first floor. 
Previously this room had always been lit at night. 

Next day, the 28th, a detachment of about 40 men under three officers entered the hospital. 
The officer sent for the Superior and the manager, and said to them roughly, "Das Haus wird 
geraiimt " (" You wiU leave the house "). The Superior asked for an explanation : " Sie haben 
geschossen und Signale gegeben " (" You have been firing and signalling "). " It is false," repHed 
the Superior. " That does not matter," said the officer. " I have my orders and I am executing 
them." He told the two Fathers to stand against the wall, and placed three soldiers opposite 
them with their bayonets pointed at them. Then he told a passing Brother to assemble the 
whole community. " If one is missing," he blustered, " the Superior will be shot." Next day, 
when we were prisoners in Aerschot church, a non-commissioned officer confessed to us : " Sie 
haben geschossen ! Es war eine Schweinerei. Es sind unsere Soldaten gewesen, aber Sie sind 
bestraft worden " (" You were firing ! It's a dirtj' business. It was our own men, but you are 
punished for it "). 

Then all the wounded were made to come out. Those who could stand had to fine up in the 
yard against the wall, and stay there for some minutes with their hands raised. Several who were 
made to get up were in their shirts. One fainted. The beds of those who could not get up were 
taken into the yard, and some of the Fathers and Brethren were forced to carry them to the 
hospital under escort. On the way they were frequently insulted. In order to clothe the wounded 
soldiers, things were taken haphazard. Clerical hats were even thrown at them in derision 
out of the windows. 

One of the Fathers was saying Mass when the soldiers invaded the house. The officer sent 
him word to stop. The soldier entrusted with this order did not obey it. He waited until the 
priest had finished. 

In the meantime the whole house was being searched. At one time an officer, holding a cigar 
box, came to the Superior, and opening the box asked, " Do you know these cartridges ? " " No," 
replied the Superior. " They were found in your room." " I have never seen them. Moreover, 
for over eight days, by your officer's orders, the door of my room and the whole house have 
been open to everyone day and night. I can answer for nothing." This search was made by 
the soldiers alone, in the absence of the persons interested, and the cartridges were brought to 
the officers, who were chatting together outside, by four soldiers. Shortly after two officers 
motioned to the Superior to follow them into his room. Everything there, as throughout the 
whole house, was upside down. An officer pointed out to the Superior the place where he said 
the cartridges were found. The Father remarked that it was unUkely that, after ten days of 
German occupation and several searches made in that very room, one should find a box of 
cartridges on top of a desk in the sight of everybody. The officer, after reflection, seemed 
convinced. " That is true," he said, and added, " Don't worry about it. I'll see to it." He 
kept his word, for during the inquiry the cartridges were not mentioned. After a search of 
two hours, during which that portion of the community who were not engaged in removing the 
wounded, had to remain motionless in the street under the guard of soldiers, they were ordered 
to go to their rooms, each one being accompanied by a soldier. When they got there, several 
noticed that things such as watches, chains, shoes, money, &c., had been stolen. They were 


told to pack in a bag necessaries for a fortnight, that is, " till the end of the war," said the officer. 
When they weiv ready they were allowed, at the request of the Superior, to eat some food and 
then were taken into the street, the soldiers surrounded them, and they were marched to the 
church. On the way we were continually being insulted by the soldiery. Twenty times at least 
the officer commancQng the escort ordered silence, saying to those who were insulting us : " Die 
Leute haben nichts gemacht, sie haben unsere Verwundeten verpflegt " (" These people have 
done nothing. They have been tending our wounded "). 

II. At Aerschot Church, 28th August to 6th September. 

In the street in front of the church we were searched from head to foot. We had to empty 
our pockets and put everything at our feet. Our razors and pocket knives were taken away. 
Other quite harmless things, such as a crucifix or a nickel statuette, were examined, weighed in 
the hand for a long time, and then put on one side as dangerous articles. All this was deposited 
on the High Altar. There were added by stealth some soldiers' knives of a very respectable size, 
and repeated protests from us to a non-commissioned officer were necessary before they were 
removed. We never recovered our razors and knives. Wlien we had been roughly ordered to 
empty our pockets and place everything on the pavement, several soldiers even took the opportunity, 
without any sense of shame, to pocket anything they fancied, with remarks such as this : " These 
pigs will have no more use for them." 

In front of the church they found on one Brother a box containing a stomachic remedy. 
They did not believe him and they made him take some, remarking that it might be a powder 
for poisoning soldiers. 

During this search of our persons soldiers gathered round and insulted us. The non- 
commissioned officer of the guard several times drove them ofl^. At last, as they kept on coming 
back, he threatened them with his bayonet, saying : " If you don't go away I will use my weapon." 

After the search we were taken into the choir, which we were forbidden to leave, nor were 
we to speak to the men, women and children who filled the church. 

Shortly afterwards the reverend priest of Boisschot and his curate, the reverend priest of 
Tremeloo with his curate, and the priest of Heyst, M. Goor, arrived and shared our misfortunes. 
We were put on bread and water. The first two nights we slept on the stalls. On the third 
we were told to take the altar carpet and he on the pavement. On the last three days we received 
two trusses of straw — there were 29 of us to share them. During the last days some 
charitable persons and the nuns provided food for us. Sometimes they were allowed in, but 
often were sent away. 

On the first two days there were no sanitary conveniences We were obfiged to go to the 
exterior wall of the church. Afterwards they dug a large trench in the old churchyard, about 
20 yards from the church. They nailed a beam and a plank to four stakes. These pubhc 
latrines were made among the graves and bones protruded among the excrements. At night 
they put about 20 buckets in the church. The same buckets were used to provide drinking 
water and water for washing. The air was often unbreathable, and sleep impossible from 
the crjdng of the children who were at first imprisoned with us. The first three days we were 
forbidden to leave the church to get some fresh air, but afterwards we were brought out in 
groups for haH an hour at a time. We had to walk round the old graveyard, keeping 
distance. There were 17 sentries with fixed bayonets over us (and we were only 29 !). 
As a rule the soldiers in the street gathered round and mocked at us. When we reached the 
church we were told that we should be taken to Louvain that day. The next afternoon, as they 
persisted in refusing to let us see the Commandant at Aerschot, we wrote to him to protest against 
our arrest, invoking the provisions of the Geneva Convention, and to demand our release. No 
notice was taken of the letter. Among us were Brother Silvain van Volsem, a naturalised 
American, and Brother Adalbert Graste, a Dutchman. In spite of their protests and repeated 
proffer of their papers for examination, they were only released after two days' detention. Father 
Camille Busard and Brother Willebrord Slaats, both of whom were Dutch, but had no papers 
with them, were only released on the 5th September, after nine days' detention, although they 
frequently asked to be allowed to see a Dutch Consul in order to establish their identity. 

During the first day or two they released all children under 16 and all men over 50. This 
measure was not extended to the priests and monks. One of us. Father Rufin Vreugde, was 75, 
and M. Goor, the priest of Heyst, was 65. When we asked that they too should be released, we 
received the reply : "Sie sind extra " (" They are not included "). 

One evening, several days after we were imprisoned, two officers came to the choir, revolver 
in hand, and asked in a menacing tone which of us had the night before fired shots out of the 
windows of the Convent (of the nuns) ! 

Another day an officer came and gave out in the church that soldiers in the town had again 
been fired at and, if another shot were fired, the order of the Commandant ^^as that the 400 men 
in the church should be shot, the priests first, he added. At that time the Germans had been 
masters of an almost deserted town for a fortnight, and, according to their own account, there 
were 6,000 of them. During our imprisonment in the chiarch an old man burst a blood-vessel 
and died. He had been coughing aU night as he lay on the pavement. Another went mad 
and tried to commit suicide. He made a fair-sized wound in his neck with a piece of broken 
glass. One night our guards got drunk. They had discovered under the sacristy the cellar 


where the Communion wine was kept. We heard a non-commissioned officer say : " He wlio 
does not bring back his two bottles won't get a third." 

About 5 p.m. on the 6th September, the Commandant at Aerschot entered the church, followed 
by several officers. He had it announced that he had just received orders that we were to be 
sent to Germany immediately. We were put in columns of fours and taken to the station. There 
were about 300 of us. As we left the church the Superior went up to an officer and pointed out 
Brother Rufin Vreugde, aged 75, to him, asking as a favour that he might be spared the journey 
and left at the hospital with the nuns. He was refused, and the poor old man, whose legs were 
all swollen through his long detention in the church, had to hobble painfully to the station on the 
arm of another Brother. On our departure we underwent a Calvary of 36 hours, that is, during 
the whole journey to Sennelager Camp. About 100 soldiers accompanied us to the station, 
indulging, without ceasing, in the most gross and ignoble insults against rehgion and priests. They 
belonged to the Landwehr and Landsturm. 

There was a train in the station consisting of two third-class carriages and some goods trucks. 
The Commandant made us enter the carriages to the great disgust of the soldiers, several of whom 
were particularly violent. They wished to take us from the others and execute us on the spot, 
saying that we were not worth the coal of the engine. The Commandant had to exercise all his 
authority to protect us. At one time he turned to a body of officers and men who were more 
violent than the others and said defiantly : " I am master here." Some of the Pathei-s beheve 
that they heard him say, " These Fathers are innocent." 

Later on in Germany, during our examination by the Commission of Inquiry, the fact that 
they had reserved railway carriages for us made a great impression. It was looked upon as a 
confirmation of our innocence. 

This was not the only consideration that Commandant Meime shewed us. On Saturday, 
the 5th September, he came to the church and told us that, as the next day was Sunday, he 
would allow us to celebrate Mass. Seeing our wretched condition, he made the observation ; 
" You would have been spared all these miseries if you had not fired." The Superior at once 
protested that none of us had done so. He received the reply, " No, not you, but at Louvain 
priests shot at and mutilated German soldiers." It is interesting to note that at that time the 
Commandant knew that the charge upon which we had been arrested was unfounded. 

They then made us enter the carriages. In each compartment there were four prisoners 
and a soldier with fixed bayonet. The guards were very decent and talked pohtely to us. They had 
obviously received instructions to do so. At Cologne the guard (Landsturm) was reheved, and 
replaced by soldiers of the first line and Landwehr, who were very surlJ^ Their first care was 
to make us take off our boots to see whether we had concealed knives in them. 

We took 12 hours to reach Liege. During the whole journey the food was insufficient. At 
every station at which the train stopped we were insulted, especially at Tirlemont, Landen and 
Cologne. Once in Germany the train stopped at almost every station. The people had obviously 
been told of the arrival of the train, for everywhere it stopped there was a crowd which grossly 
insulted us. At one station the mob violently shook the door of one compartment (which 
fortunately was locked), and shouted to the soldiers : " Give them to us. We will do for them." 

The Red Cross ladies were particularly violent. They handed food and drink to the soldiers, 
saying, " That's for you only. Don't give anything to those Schweinliunde" 

At Ohligs our Red Cross brassards were rudely taken away and we were told they would be 
returned later. We several times asked for them, saying where they were taken from us, but 
we never saw them again. Later, at Sennelager Camp, our cards of identification and all our 
papers were taken from us, with the same assurance and the same result. 

At 3 a.m. on the 8th September we arrived at Sennelager near Paderborn. 

III. Our Stay at Sennelager and at the Grand Seminary of Munster. 

On our arrival at the camp we had to stand in the open for three hours. Several hundred 
German soldiers gathered round us and made merry about us, until we were taken to a canteen, 
where we were given a piece of bread and some black water, which they called coffee. Next day 
we had to wait until 4 in the afternoon before we got any food. We were then given soup, in 
which a piece of pork, which we had to get with our fingers, was floating. We had no spoons, as 
they said there were none left. Some had to drink from the bowls ; others succeeded in borrowing 
spoons from other prisoners. Suffering acutely from thirst, we were aU day under a hot sun 
about 13 yards from a pump, to which we were not allowed to go for water. 

On the first night we slept in a stable, without straw or bedclothes, on the pavement of the 
horse-boxes. Next night a soldier, indignant at such treatment, took pity on us and of his own 
accord gave us some straw, which he took from a shed. 

Hundreds of soldiers were worse treated than we were. They had to pass the night in the 
open, lying on the gra,ss, exposed to cold and rain. Two hundred English prisoners, who arrived 
about the same time as ourselves, had to %vait half the day mthout food under a burning sun 
before anyone deigned to trouble about them. Several of them, who were wounded, overcome 
by fatigue and exhaustion, lay down in the dust. We heard wounded Frenchmen and Enghshmen 
complain that they had been there for two days and had not yet seen a doctor. 

On our arrival Major Bach began to inveigh against us in French : " Oh ! Here's the Church. 
All of you francs-tirenrs ! You Catholic piiests are the ones who get arms from the Belgian 


Government to hand out to civilians. You are wretches. You fired at our men, didn't you ? " 
And when we vigorously protested : " Oh yes, we know that. They never have done anything ! " 
He went on Hke that for a long time. Then he asked if any of us knew German. The Superior 
came forward Pointing him out to the group of priests and monks, he said : " There's your 
commandant. Anyone who disobeys him will be shot." Then he said to the Superior : " I hope 
you are ashamed of wearing those clothes. Have you any money ? " When told that we had, 
he said that we should have to buy laymen's clothes, which he would have sent. And in the 
afternoon we were taken to a canteen, where we had to put on prison garb, trousers and coat 
of unbleached canvas, with two httle dark blue ribbons on the breast as a distinctive mark. We 
were made to pay for this convict dress three times its value, so the (German) soldiers there 
said. They then made us change our money at 1.50 fr. for each mark. As we protested and 
several did not want to change their money, we were threatened that we should be shot if any 
foreign money were found on us. This measure was only applied to us. When this profitable 
transaction was over we were taken to a shed, where our hair was cut so short as to make us 
ridiculous. They spared us the treatment meted out to other prisoners, with which we were 
also threatened, viz., the cutting of the hair and beard on one side of the head only. Then 
we had to go to the bathroom. We had to strip, and then we and about 30 civihans had to await 
the pleasure of the attendants for about half an hour. We then were examined by a doctor. 
When at last we were put under the douche, instead of giving us a cold and a hot douche Hke the 
rest, we were drenched with boiling water. They said there was no more cold ! In the meantime 
our clerical attire had been baked. When we came out we were forbidden to resume it. We asked 
several times, but our request was not granted. Later on our clothes were eventually sent to us 
at the insistent request of the Sub-Regent of the Grand Seminary of Miinster, but three-quarters 
of them were missing, and those sent were quite unwearable, as they had been cut to pieces and 
pierced by bayonets. 

According to the statement of Major Bach, which was attached to the clothes, they had been 
damaged by being stored. That is the official version, but a Catholic newspaper declares that they 
had been used for parodies of religion and torn out of hatred for religion. Another newspaper 
states that the soldiers on sentry duty used them to keep themselves warm. Other newspapers, 
including the Kolnische Volkszeitung, if our recollection is right, said that we had been made to 
change our clothes to save us from the insults of the Belgian soldiers imprisoned with us. We 
emphatically protest against this suggestion. We were never insulted at the camp by any 
Belgian soldier. We found about 20 whom we had had in our hospital They always expressed 
the greatest sympathy for us. As to the thousands of French and Engfish soldiers whom we 
met in the camp, not one said an uncivil word to us. On the other hand, the German soldiers 
frequently insulted us during our stay in the camp. 

On the first day we consulted as to how we should inform the Bishop of Paderborn that we 
were at the camp. An obhging soldier undertook to bring to the camp the priest of Neuhaus, 
the next village. The priest acceded to our request and undertook to inform his Lordship. He 
also rendered us other services. 

After the comedy of the bath, we had to attend before Major Bach, who made us surrender 
our chaHces. He made a note of them and put them into store. He asked one Father his name 
and who his heirs were, " so as to be able to send it to them when you are shot," he said, sniggering. 
When he was shewn a httle vase for the last unction of the dying, he said : " Ah ! Ah ! You 
brought that for yourselves. You knew that you were guilty and would be shot." " No," 
replied one of the Fathers. " We used it for your wounded." When these formahties were over 
he came back to us and indulged in the pleasure of invective against us, insinuating that we 
should be shot. 

The same day we were made to take up a position under guard near the commandant's 
office, and a general (we beheve. General von Bissing), came towards us, followed by several 
officers. " Who are you ? " he asked. " Belgian priests," we answered. " Ah ! You are 
francs-tireurs then ? " We all protested. " Then why are you here ? What was it you did ? " 
We repHed that we had done no wrong and did not understand why we were arrested. He 
smiled incredulously. Then, turning to one of his officers, he said : " Hold an inquiry and try 
to separate the innocent from the guilty, and then report to me." 

The inquiry began at once. We had to appear before a kind of magistrate, who made us 
relate all that had happened since the day the Germans entered Aerschot. He did not seem 
hostile, and he was even much affected by the sight of our Red Cross identity cards. " They 
could not arrest you," he said to the Superior. He also was very indignant that our brassards 
had been taken, and carefully noted the place where that was done. When all had given evidence 
he drew up a long report in German and, when the Superior asked him what was going to be 
done with us, he rephed : " The matter is quite clear. You will probably be released." Next 
day he told us that we would be sent to the Grand Seminary of Miinster. We asked him for 
our papers, which we had had to hand over. He replied that they would be returned later. We 
are still waiting for them. 

On the 10th September, in spite of our repeated requests, we received no food until 3 p.m. 
It was pure negligence, for they several times promised to attend to us, but nothing came. At 
3 o'clock we were given some soup. We had no bread that day. About 5 o'clock we were sent 
to Paderborn Station. They marched quickly. Old Brother Rufin Vreugde, who was 76, did 
not march quickly enough for the soldiers and was treated to the butt end of a rifle. 


We left Paderborn about 6 p.m. and reached Miinster about 7 the next morning. We were 
taken out of the station by a side entrance and put into a tramcar -with lowered bUnds, which took 
us to the Seminary. We remained there for three months, and were extremely well treated 
by the authorities there. For the first month we were under a mihtary guard. A post was 
stationed in the corridor and the watch was so strict that, for the first fortnight, in spite of our 
requests, we were not allowed to take exercise in the yard. Our first care was to ask for our 
clerical clothes. They promised that steps would be taken. After six weeks' waiting we received 
some rags that could not be worn. We claimed an indemnity of 2,000 fr. This claim was pre- 
sented by the non-commissioned officer, who had himseK valued our clothes at that amount. We 
received no reply. In order to enable us to leave off our convict dress the Seminary authorities 
had to make an appeal to the priests of the diocese, who sent us body linen and clerical garments. 

Two days after our arrival at the Seminary, a fresh inquiry was begun. We had to appear 
in turn before a Kriecjsrat composed of two officers. We were again asked the same question, 
which was so often put to us duriag those four months : " What did you do ? " As one of the 
Fathers remarked to the president, it was curious that he should not have received a report 
about us from the Commandant at Aerschot, setting forth the grounds for our arrest. He agreed 
that it was curious. When we asked why we were arrested and upon what charge, they were 
unable to tell us. They searched in vain and were as much puzzled as we were. Three weeks 
after the inquiry the officer who had presided at our examination came to the Seminary and 
gave us some hope that we would soon be released. He sent for the Superior and said to him, 
almost triumphantly : " Now I know why you were arrested. The report from our forces has 
arrived. Our troops at Aerschot were fired at a good deal, and they therefore arrested the whole 
population and consequently you also." 

There was therefore no charge against us ! That evening the Regent of the Seminary told 
the Superior that the Bishop had heard from General von Bissing himself, then military 
Governor of Miinster, that we were to be released shortly. We remained there for nearly two 
months longer. We were never allowed to receive visits or to go into the town. 

Yet it was officially recognised that no charge was made against us These are the very 
words used by General von Bissing in a letter which he sent to the newspapers which were 
attacking and hbeUing us. Three times, to our knowledge, did General von Bissing defend us 
publicly in the newspapers. We saw the article in which he declared that " the military inquiry 
ordered by him had revealed no charge against us," and in which he threatened those who should 
continue to fibel us. 

But then, the pubfic might ask, why were they arrested ? 

This is the version of the Kolnische Volkszeitung : — 

" When the German forces entered Aerschot on the 19th August, the Belgian soldiers were 
in occupation of the Damien Institute. In spite of the protests of the monks, the Belgians fired 
at the German troops. As there was no time to hold an immediate inquiry the monks were 
arrested and brought to Germany, where their case was considered. The inquiry has not resulted 
in incriminating them. On the contrary, special thanks are due to them for the devoted care 
which they gave to the wounded German soldiers." 

The story is ingenious. It shews a desire to exonerate both the monks and the German 
authorities who arrested and deported them. It was necessary to explain both our arrest and 
our approaching release. 

Now, it proves : — 

(i) That the mihtary authorities are free from blame in arresting the monks of the Damien 
Institute, since the German troops were fired at from their monastery. 

(ii) That the monks deserve no censure, since the inquiry estabhshed that it was the Belgian 
soldiers who fired in spite of the protests of the monks. 

Once more the assertion is made that German troops were fired at from a Red Cross hospital. 

Unfortunately the story is a pure invention and we formally contradict it. 

(i) Belgian soldiers never occupied the monastery. When the Germans entered there were 
only about 20 wounded men there. The Belgian troops had already retreated. 

(n) No shot was fired from the monastery. 

For two days we had a guard of ten men in the house. In conversation with the Superior, 
the non-commissioned officer in command said : "We have a bad Major. Our men have 
made up their minds to give him the first bullet when we go under fire." Does not this explain 
some of the stories about francs-tireurs ? 

On the 19th December, after four months' captivity, we were given our passports. In the 
letter informing the Seminary authorities of the decision. General von Bissing added, or caused 
to be added : "No money will be provided for the journey." 

Again it was the priests of the diocese who found the money to enable us to leave Miinster. 

We reached Holland on the 20th December. 


The .Sack and Massacre at Andenne.* 


Statement of the Facts. 

The town of Andemie is situated on the right bank of the Meuse, between 
Namur and Huy. A bridge connects it with the village of Seilles, which is built along 
the left bank of the river. Before the war it had a population of 7,800. 

On the morning of Wednesday, the 19th August, German troops arrived at 
Andenne and wished to cross to the left side. The advance guard of Uhlans who had 
preceded them reported that the bridge was unusable. A Belgian infantry regiment 
had blown it up about 8 o'clock the same day. The Uhlans retired after seizing 
the communal money chest and ill-treating the Burgomaster, Dr. Camus. For some 
days before this he had taken most minute precautions to prevent the inhabitants from 
participating in the fighting. Notices ordering them to remain quiet had been 
placarded.! All weapons had been deposited at the Town Hall. The authorities had 
taken steps to explain personally to some of the inhabitants what their duties were. 

The main body of the Germans arrived at Andenne in the afternoon. The regi- 
ments Avandered about the town and its neighbourhood while waiting for a bridge 
of boats to be built. It was not completed till the next day. 

The first contact between the troops and the inhabitants was peaceful. The 
troops made requisitions which were satisfied. At first the soldiers paid for their 
purchases and the drinks served to them in the cafes. But towards evening the 
situation became worse. Whether it was that discipline was relaxed or that the 
intoxicants began to have their effect, the soldiers ceased to pay. The inhabitants 
were frightened and dared not object. No dispute occurred, and the night was 

On Thursday, the 20th August, the bridge was finished, and a great number 
of troops defiled through the town on their way to the left bank of the Meuse. The 
inhabitants watched them from indoors. Suddenly, about 6 in the evening, a shot 
was heard in the street, followed by a volley. The troops halted and began to fall 
into disorder. The men lost their heads and fired at random. A machine gun 
was placed at cross roads and began to fire at the houses. A gun from a battery 
sent three shells into the town in three different jalaces. 

At the first shot the residents in the streets through which the troops were 
marching, guessing what would happen, took refuge in their basements, or climbing 
over the garden walls or hedges, went to seek safety in the fields or more distant cellars. 
A certain number of men, who would not or could not flee, were soon killed. 

The sacking and plundering of the hoixses in the principal streets of the town 
at once commenced. Windows, shutters and doors were hacked open and the furniture 
was broken or destroyed. The soldiers rushed into the cellars, got drunk, broke 
the bottles of wine that they were unable to take away, and finally set light to some 
of the hou.ges. During the night the firing began again at intervals. The whole 
terrified population hid in their cellars. 

The next day, Friday, the 21st August, at 4 a.m., the soldiers spread through 
the town, drove all the people into the streets, forcing men, women and children 
to march with their hands above their heads. Those who did not obey quickly 
enough, or did not understand the orders given them in German, were at once 
struck down. Those who tried to fly were shot. It was then that Dr. Camus, against 
whom the Germans appeared to nourish a peculiar hate, was killed. 

A Flemish watchmaker, not long established in the town, came out of his house, 
at the orders of the soldiers, supporting his father-in-law, an old man of over 80. 
Naturally he could not hold his hands up. A soldier rushed at him and struck 
him on the neck with an axe. He fell down dying in front of his house. His wife 

* See also the note of the 31st October, 1915, by Mgr. Heylen, Bishop of Namur, at p. 335 of the 
present volume, and the work of Professor Massart, of Brussels University, entitled : Comment les Beiges 
resistent a la domination allemande (Payot & Co., Paris), in which, on pp. 402-408, numerous 'proclama- 
tions placarded at Andenne during the first days of the Gennan occupation are reproduced. 

tSee also on p. 130, note f, the Notice pubHshed by the Governor of the Province of Namur, on 
August 7th, 1914. 


tried to help him. She was pushed back into the house and had to watch her husband' s 
death agony, helplessly. A soldier threatened to shoot her with a revolver if she crossed 
the threshold. 

In the meantime the people were hustled to the Place des Tilleuls. Old men 
and sick people, and even the paralysed, were taken there on wheelbarrows ; others 
were helped or carried by their relatives. The men were separated from the women 
and children. All were searched, but no weapon was found on them. One poor 
wretch had on him some Belgian and German cartridge cases. He was at once 
seized and placed on one side. The same thing happened to a shoemaker who had 
had a sore on his finger for a month. A mechanic was arrested because he had a 
spanner, which was considered to be a weapon. Another was seized because his 
face seemed to express indifference or disgust at what was occurring. All these poor 
fellows were at once shot in the presence of the crowd, They died bravely. 

Under orders from the officers, the soldiers took 40 or 50 men haphazard 
from the crowd. They were marched away and shot, some by the Meuse and the 
others near the pohce station. 

The men were kept in the square for a long time. Two wounded men were 
brought there, one with a shot wound in the chest and the other with a bayonet 
wound. They lay face downwards on the ground, reddening the dust with their blood, 
begging for water. The officers forbade the people to help them. One soldier was 
reprimanded for attempting to offer his water-bottle to them. They both died 
during the day. 

While this scene was occurring at the Place des Tilleuls, other soldiers were 
going round, continuing their work of sacking, plundering and burning. Seven 
men of one family were taken to a field about 50 yards from the house of one of 
them. Some were shot and the others killed and mutilated with axes. A tall 
red-haired soldier, with a scar across his face, distinguished himself by the ferocity 
with which he mutilated the victims. A child was hacked to death in his mother's 
arms. A boy and a woman were shot. 

About 10 a.m. the officers sent the women away, giving them orders to remove 
the dead and clear up the blood which defiled the streets and houses. About mid- 
day the surviving men, about 800 all told, were imprisoned as hostages in three small 
bouses near the bridge. They were not allowed out on any pretext. They were 
so crowded as to be unable to sit down. Soon these prisons became noisome dens. 
Later on the women were desired to bring food to their relatives. Many of them, 
afraid of being raped, had fled. The hostages were not released until the following 

* After the sack of Andenne the Germans placarded the following notice : — 


By order of the German military authorities in occupation of the town of Andenne : 

AU the men are being kept as hostages. 

For every shot fired at the German troops, at least two hostages will be shot. 

The hostages will be fed by the women, who will bring food to the bridge at 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. 

The women are strictly forbidden to talk to the hostages. 

AU streets and public places in the town will be immediately cleaned by all the women of the 
TOWN under pain of arrest. 

It is formally forbidden to go out after 7 p.m. or before 7 a.m., under pain of severe punishment. 

The dead will be at once buried without any ceremony. 

Young persons over 14 and women must help whenever ordered. 

Looking out of windows is strictly forbidden. 
Andenne. 21st August, 1914. 

By Order of the German Military Authorities. 

The Deputy Burgomaster, The Burgomaster designate. 

Dr. Ledoyen. E. de Jaer. 

The Secretary, Monrique. 

(i) On and after midday on Saturday, the 29th August, 1914, all clocks must be set by German time 
(an hour earUer). 

(ii) More than three people are forbidden to gather together, under pain of fine. 
(iii) The authority of the Commandant is necessary for persons wishing to go out after 8 p.m. 
(iv) Weapons must be dehvered up to the guard at the Casino, by midday the 29th inst. 
If after the time stated any weapon is found in the houses, the occupier will be hanged. 
(v) The German soldiers demanding absolute quiet, workmen may at once return to work. The 
least rising by the inhabitants will result in the complete destruction of the town, and the men 
will be hanged. 

Simons, Lieutenant-Colonel-Commanding-in-Chief. Becker, Captain-Commanding-in-Chief. 
The passages in italics were written by hand in blank spaces. The signature of Simons was struck out. 


The figures relating to the sack of Andenne are as follows : About 300 inhabitants 
were killed at Andenne and Seilles. About 200 houses were set on fire in the two 
places.* Many of the inhabitants have disappeared. Nearly all the houses were 
sacked and plundered. Pillage went on for several days. 

The numerous inhabitants who have been examined unanimously say that the 
troops were not fired at.| Unable to understand the reason for the catastrophe 
which drenched the town with blood, they have formed numerous hypotheses.. 
Many are convinced that Andenne was sacrificed in order to establish a reign of 
terror. They quote words which escaped from officers, tending to shew that the 
sack of the town had been planned beforehand. They report statements made in 
the villages by the troops marching on Andenne to the effect that they were going 
to burn down the town and kill all the inhabitants. They believe that among 
the causes of the massacre were the destruction of the bridge, the blocking of a tunnel 
close by, and the resistance of the Belgian forces. All protest that there was no 
justification or excuse for the behaviour of the German troops. 


Critical Examination of the Report of the German Military 
Commission of Inquiry and its Appendices. 

The small nu^nber of German witnesses on the subject of the m,assacre at Andenne, 
The statement in Section I. has described the sack and massacre at Andenne. The 
pillage, which began on 20th August, 1914, lasted for days. As stated, about 200* 
houses were burned down and about 300 inhabitants were killed or shot dead at 
Andenne and SeiUes, a place on the left bank of the Meuse, opposite Andenne. 

One would naturally expect the German authorities to invoke, in justification 
of the behaviour of their troops, their habitual explanation that there were francs- 
tireurs there. This is not wanting. The " White Book " asserts that at Andenne, 
as at Aerschot, there was a popular rising ( Volksauf stand). This assertion is absolutely 
false. The communal authorities had taken the most minute precautions to prevent 
any participation on the part of the inhabitants in the fighting. All weapons had 
been deposited at the Town Hall. 

One would also expect to see the German theory supported by a large number 
of witnesses, whose evidence, while no doubt not capable of standing a serious 
critical examination, would nevertheless be such as to make an impression on the mind 
of an unsuspicious reader. But on the subject of the massacre at Andenne, in which 

* Thirty-seven were destroyed at Andenne and 153 at SeiUes. (Andenne and Seilles are only 
separated by the Meuse). In tMs connection it is not uninteresting to note that in a notice posted upi 
at Liege on the 22nd August, by way of warning, General von Biilow declared {intei' alia) that it was. 
with his consent that the general in command had caused the whole of Andenne to be set on fire and that 
100 people had been shot. The report of the Mihtary Commission of Berlin relating to this town, while 
stating that about 200 people of Andenne were killed in their hiding places in the houses by the German 
soldiers (p. 107), makes no allusion to houses being burned. As to the inquiry by Sub-Lieutenant Gotze,, 
(App. B. 4), it dealt only with 37 houses burned down in the area of Andenne. Not a word was said, 
about the destruction at Seilles. 

t We may point out in this connection that recommendations to keep calm had not only been 
addressed to the population by the communal authorities of Andenne (see p. 128), but that the Civil 
Governor of the Province of Namur had, on his part, caused the following notice, dated August 7, 1914, 
to be placarded in all the communes. It is countersigned by the Mihtary Governor. 

Provincial Government of Namur. 
Very Important Notice. 
The Civil Governor invites the most serious attention of the inhabitants of the province to the very 
great danger which would result for civilians should they offer armed resistance to the enemy. 
They must refrain absolutely from any action of the sort, as, indeed, it is their duty to do. 
The national forces alone have the right to defend the country. 

Any disregard of this recommendation would be calculated to provoke reprisals, incendiarism, &c. 
Namur, August 7, 1914. Baron de Montpellier. 

Seen and approved, 

Namur, August 7, 1914. 

The Military Governor, 

It was in the Province of Namur, the scene of the hecatombs of Andenne (p. 130), Dinant (p. 204) 
and Tamines (pp. 104, 105) that the number of civilians massacred was highest; it exceeded 1,500 in 
the total of 5,000 civilians killed in Bt>Igium. 


many troops participated*— a massacre which is said to have been justified by 
particularly atrocious behaviour on the part of the civilian population (Diesmal artete 
ihr Treihen zu einer Teufelei ohnegleichen aus, p. 107)— for did not men and women 
throw boiling water on the soldiers !— one finds in the "White Book" only three 
depositions— one by a general, one by a major, and the third by a simple private. 

The report of General von Langermann (App. B 1) is, moreover, mainly based 
on hearsay and not on personal observation {wie mir berichtet wurde : wie uns spiiter 
mitgeteilt wurde, p. 109), and as for App. B4, it contains the report of Sub-Lieutenant 
Gotze, who, on the 5th January, 1915, held an inquiry among the inhabitants of 
Andenne, but was not himself present (at least he does not say so), at the events 
in the town in August, 1914. 

One hundred German soldiers were scalded with boiling water.— According to 
Major von Polentz, commanding a battahon of the 2nd Regiment of Foot Guards, 
one hundred— the word is given in figures and also written in words — of his men were 
scalded with boiling water. It is really extraordinary that none of these hundred 
men were cited to testify on oath to this fact, and that no surgeon or Red Cross 
attendant was called to prove that he attended to wounds caused by burns of this 
nature. Neither Pte. RolefE nor General von Langermann, who was, on the 
20th August, in command of the German forces at Andenne, speaks of boiling water 
being thrown. Nor is there any mention of it in Sub-Lieutenant Gotze's inquiry. 

It can be stated most categorically that the charge made by Major von Polentz 
is an impudent he. Even if this officer was at first so grossly deceived by appearances, 
the most elementary sense of honesty would have forced him to abandon his odious 
imputation. The German Mihtary Commission of Inquiry of Berhn is not less guilty 
in reproducing, on the 29th March, 1915, this infamous charge, the falsity of 
which could not have been unknown to it. Yet it even accentuates the accusation. 
" Among the men under Major Polentz alone,'' it states, " more than one hundred 
were injured by boihng water " {durch Verbriihen, p. 107). 

The signal for attach was the ringing of bells. — Pte. Roleff, of the 11th Company 
of the 2nd Reserve Regiment of the Guard, seems to have been astounded at hearing 
the ringing of bells at the time when his company was in the main street. According 
to Major von Polentz, who is a Protestant (as also is Roleff), these bells rang at 6.30. 
That is, at the time when every day at that period of the year the Angelus is rung 
in Catholic countries. Assuming the statement to be true, there was absolutely 
nothing in the ringing of the bells that could have given the signal for attack. 

The attack was planned in all its details in advance. — What is one to think of 
the allegation of General Baron von Langermann — based upon a communication 
made to him later — that afterwards there was found at the Burgomaster's house 
a written document proving that the attack on the German troops by the population 
had been settled in all its details and was to take place at a time agreed upon ? 

What were the exact contents of this document, from what authority did it 
come, and whose signature did it bear ? There is no information on the point. The 
general, although he uses it as an argument, never saw it. He was told of it ; but 
by whom ? Did his informant understand French and could he trust his judgment 
and memory ? The general is not concerned about that. He was told of it, but 
took no pains to check the statement, or to give such details as would enable it to 
be identified later. It is in truth shameful to see a general adopt such a story, which 
does not even deserve contradiction, and reproduce it in an official document. 

Can one be astonished after this at the light manner in which the inferior 
officers and men accept no matter what rumour, and interpret, in an unfavourable 
manner, no matter what indication, in order to overwhelm the Belgian people, without 
any regard for truth or justice ? Such behaviour, which has caused the death of 
thousands of innocent Belgians, cannot be denounced with too much vehemence. 
It is sufficient, in order to do justice to the allegation of General von Langermaim 
and to that of Major von Polentz (" Almost the whole population of Andenne and 
its suburbs had a hand in this affair," App. B 2), to cite against them this state- 
ment of Lieutenant Colonel von Eulwege, which was sent to the " Pax " Association 
on the 8th December, 1914 : " At Andenne everybody gives a different account 
of the events on the 20th August, which is doubtless explained by the fact that most 
of the people saw little of the fight, properly so-called, for terror-stricken, tliey had 
taken refuge in their cellars." 

* A whole brigade, composed of the 1st and 2nd Reserve Regiments of the Guard and a reserve 
battahon of the Jagers of the Guard, were in Andenne when the first shots were fired in the town, about 
6 o'clock in the evening of the 20th August. 



Pte. RolefE (App. B 3) relies on statements of unnamed German residents 
at Andenne for the suggestion that the attack was pre-arranged and that the clergy- 
had from the pulpit given instructions to the people as to its organisation. 

The inhaUtants used bombs, hand-grenades and machine-gum. — Roleff states that 
bombs and hand-grenades were thrown at the troops and that machine-guns even had 
been used (App. B 3). The value of his evidence as to this receives some hght from 
the fact that a German soldier who was wounded in the leg by a grenade bullet 
also declared that he had been struck by a Belgian grenade. The German surgeon 
who attended to him afterwards acknowledged, when one of his colleagues mentioned 
the fact, that on the contrary it was one from a German grenade, in every respect 
identical with one which a German aeroplane (Taube) had dropped in the neighbour- 
hood shortly before. (See M. Montjoie's Report at p. 134). The story is therefore 
a flight of imagination based on preconceived ideas. 

These preconceived ideas are the more dangerous because they even influenced 
the officers, whose judgment went astray through fear of francs-tireurs. The 
following circumstance shews what grounds there are for this statement : On the 
afternoon of the 19th August, quite near Andenne, a corporal of Uhlans was wounded 
on the Namur road. He was taken to the hospital, where he at once received most 
careful attention. Shortly after he was brought in one of his officers came to see him 
and wanted him to say that he was wounded by a franc-tireur. " No," replied the 
Uhlan, " a Belgian soldier wounded me. He was a good, shot." The attack on the 
Uhlan, and others Hke it, must have been known to the troops who passed through 
Andenne on the 20th August under General von Langermann's command. They 
were certainly represented as the work of francs-tireurs, for RolefE states (App. B 3) 
that the soldiers had been warned and were ready to repel an attack. It can thus be 
understood how, for the moment, it may have occurred to the mind of General von 
Langermann that there had been an attack by francs-tireurs, but one cannot so easily 
understand the lack of sangfroid and judgment of this superior officer. Does he not 
go to the length of writing that not only men, but also — according to reports made to 
him — women, were firing at his troops ? 

Moreover Roleff pretends that the civilians were firing machine-guns because, 
when he was wounded, he distinctly heard the characteristic sound of these weapons. 
But he never saiv them being worked by civilians. There is nothing surprising 
in the fact that he could hear the noise, since it has been proved that the Germans 
used these terrible weapons to fire at the people and the houses. His evidence 
collapses when we consider that, if machine-guns had been concealed in the dweUings, 
they would have been found among the ruins, and the Germans would not have failed 
to utilise such discoveries. As to the charge made by Roleff, who, being 
wounded, may have been somewhat delirious, that the inhabitants made use of 
bombs and hand-grenades, its absurdity is proved beyond all possible doubt by 
the fact that even the Belgian forces in the field did not possess such weapons until 
1915. How could they have been in the possession of civilians in 1914 ? 

It is, moreover, false that the shutters of the houses were lowered when the 
bells rang (p. 107). It is possible that some inhabitants took this precaution when 
they heard the firing, but there is nothing astonishing or suspicious in such an act 
of prudence. 

It is also false that the butchery took place on the 20th in the course of the searches 
for men who had been shooting, made by the soldiers in the houses. There were 
very few victims that evening or the following night. It was on the 21st August 
alone that the great majority of the 200 inhabitants murdered at Andenne, of whom 
the German Military Commission of Inquiry speaks (p. 107), were shot with rifles or 

Once "repression" was began, violence, cruelty and piUage passed all limits. 
The rooted notion in the mind of the German soldier that a town where civilians 
fire at him is his property has probably a great deal to do with the abominable 
deeds of violence committed at Andenne. 

Sub-Lieutenant Ootze's Inquiry. — As to the report of Sub-Lieutenant Gotze, 
who on the 5th January, 1915, went to Andenne at the order of the miUtary governor 
of Namur to hold an inquiry, it is a veritable " Declaration of Insolvency." 

Most of the residents examined replied that they knew nothing about the 
occurrences. They certainly cannot be blamed for this. In a unilateral inquiry it 


would have been imprudent to complain to one German officer of acts of violence 
committed under the orders of other German officers. 

An inquiry held under such conditions is entirely valueless. 

It may be noticed that the witnesses did not deny the facts charged against 
the German troops by the Belgian Commission of Inquiry ; they contented them- 
selves with saying that they hid in their cellars and that they knew nothing about 
such incidents, or only knew of them by hearsay. 

It is, however, interesting to note three things in the depositions of the Gotze 
inquiry. The first is that a witness, Florent Debrun, states that about 7 o'clock 
in the evening of the 20th August he was in his garden when an aeroplane appeared 
very high up, that the German troops at once began to fire at it, and then suddenly 
they opened fire in all parts of the town. 

It is probable, having regard to the nervousness of the German troops and their 
obsession concerning francs-tireurs, that this firing may have given the soldiers in the 
town the impression that they were being attacked, and that they accordingly used 
their arms against the supposed assailants. It is even possible that the bursting of 
shrapnel or the sound of the shots fired at the aeroplane may have produced such 
an effect on their terrified minds. Had not the soldiers before they entered Andenne 
been warned to be prudent, and be ready for an attack by the inhabitants ? 

The second point is that according to M. Cartiaux, the priest, the German 
authorities in September, 1914, held an inquiry, and that three suspected persons 
were arrested. There is not a word in the " White Book " about the result of this 
inquiry. The reason is explained by this very silence. 

The third point that deserves attention is a statement by Georges Belin, a 
schoolmaster, according to whom there was an opinion at Andenne that a Belgian 
soldier of the 8th Line Regiment, in civilian clothes, had fired at the German troops. 
Another soldier, also in mufti, was with him. (The text does not state if he also 
fired.) The deposition of Belin is not given in oratio recta,* and, moreover, he seems 
to have made the statement attributed to him under extreme pressure from the 
German investigator {auf eindringlichen Vorhalt). According to the witness they 
were deserters. Can it be reasonably supposed that men who fled like cowards 
from the ranks would have fired on their own account when in civilian clothes, which 
would have exposed them to much greater risk, instead of securing the safety they were 
seeking by mixing with the people where no one would have noticed them, as Belgium 
is a country where military service is restricted ? And even if this deserter — or 
two deserters — in fact did fixe at the German troops, would this act give the German 
army the right to murder 200 innocent inhabitants, including the venerable Burgo- 
master ? 

The inquiry of Gotze did not even, it seems, deal with the events as a whole 
nor with their cause. The examination was directed to points of minor importance, 
as was pointed out above (see p. 68 of this volume). Set up to collect proofs of the 
pretended atrocities at Andenne, the Gotze inquiry was a farce. 

The documents relating to the massacre at Andenne, pubHshed in the " White 
Book," do not prove that the German troops in the city were the victims of treacherous 
assaults from the inhabitants. The conduct of these troops and their officers is 
all the more abominable seeing that even if there were such assaults they had scarcely 
any result. " By a miracle," writes General von Langermann, " our losses were 
small [gering). The francs-tireurs aimed very badly" (App. B 1). The Report 
of the Military Commission of Inquiry recognises (p. 107) that 200 inhabitants 
were killed — in the course of the fighting in the houses, j Admitting — as a supposi- 
tion — that repression was justifiable, who can defend what was done at Andenne ? 
These proceedings, however, appear to be in perfect conformity with the principles 
laid down in " Kriegsbrauch in Landkriege."J 

* According to Mgr. Heylen's note of the 31st October, 1915, the schoolmaster to whom Gotze refers 
has protested against some at least of the statements attributed to him. (See p, 337 of the present 


t In fact, the great majority of the inhabitants of Andenne were not killed in the houses. There 
was no fighting either in the streets or houses of Andenne. (See also p. 336 of the present volume.) 

+ The Proclamation reproduced at the end of note on p. 129 fully confirms this appreciation. 



Belgian Documents and Witnesses.* 

1. Report by M. Montjoie, Advocate, of Andenne. 

Andenne, a small town between Namur and Huy, suffered very grievously from the German 
invasion. Out of a population of about 8,000, 250 to 300 men were shot by drunken savages 
for no reason whatever. 

About 8.30 on the morning of the 19th August the 8th Line Regiment, before retiring, blew 
up the bridge over the Meuse. Barely an hour had elapsed when the Prussian advance guard 
arrived. The cavalry went straight to the bridge, and seemed to be greatly disconcerted at 
seeing their advance obstructed. Soon afterwards they went up towards Le Condroz. They 
had come straight from Elsenborn by Stavelot, Louveigne and Obey. The infantry remained in 
the town and seized the various public moneys, destroyed the post office telephones, and took 
possession of the correspondence. In the afternoon there came uninterrupted columns of troops, 
both by the Le Condroz and by the Liege roads. It was a formidable swarm of spiked helmets. 
The soldiers spread through the town and indulged in copious potations. I then saw the smoke of a 
fire in the direction of Couthuin, and a house in flames on the Ciney road. But in the town every- 
thing was comparatively quiet. They billeted on me a captain and a lieutenant of pioneers, whose 
first task was to restore the bridge. 

The first night and the day of the 20th were calm. The troops were marching through in 
unending columns. About 6 p.m. I heard a sudden vigorous firing from the Seilles bank, and 
almost at once the whole district between the Meuse and the station was in flames. It was Uke 
a vision of hell. I beheve I saw, in the light of the flames, soldiers pushing back with their bayonets 
people who were trying to escape from their burning houses. The firing was answered from 
the Andenne bank. To the whistling of the rifle shots were added the rattle of the machine- 
guns and the muffled explosions of grenades. A machine-gun was put in a shop in the main street, 
and thence the Germans fired at the houses opposite. I am told that a bullet passed through 
Delhaize's shop and fell in a neighbouring cafe. We passed the night in cellars. About 5 a.m. 
the filing ceased and we heard the sound of doors and windows being hacked and burst open. 
From time to time there were sharp volleys. No mistake was possible. It was the end. 
Civilians were being shot dead in their houses and gardens. 

About 6 o'clock a body of about ten men broke into my garden. I shewed myself. The 
soldiers aimed at me and made me hold up my hands. After I and the other people at my house 
had been searched we were taken, stiU holding up our hands, to Bertrand's factory, near Guilette's 
pharmacy. I nearly tripped over a body lying on the pavement. I recognised that it was the 
Burgomaster, M. Camus. 

At this moment a long artillery convoy was passing. The artillerymen looked at us and jeered 
and pointed at us. " Vous fousiUe, fousille vous " (" You shot "). The captain billeted with me 
came out of the Kommandantur as we arrived. He stopped us, went and spoke to the 
officers, and then, without a word, took us to the bottom of the garden. At this moment I 
suddenly heard a chok of weapons behind me. I turned sharply and saw six Jagers in a fine fixing 
bayonets. I asked the officer, " Are we going to be shot 1 " " No. You are free," he replied. 

When I got home I saw one of the rearmost artillerymen of the convoy, urged on by his 
comrades, aiming very carefully in the direction of Liege. I also looked in that direction and 
saw that his mark was a Httle girl of about 12, who had run away and was for the moment 
standing still at the intersection of two roads. I shouted, " No, no ! Don't do that." He 
looked at me furiously, but at last lowered his weapon. 

It was a touching sight to see all the old men, women and children forced to march towards 
the Place des TiUeuls, where the inhabitants were being collected. A paraljrtic was brought on 
a wheeled chair, and others were carried there. The women and children were parted from 
the men. There was some talk of turning a machine-gun on the latter in a body, and then of 
kiUing several at a time by placing them one behind the other in three ranks. At last three 
were selected and executed by the houses in the Square in the sight of everybody. The men 
were di-vided into groups, and some were taken towards the Meuse to be shot, and the others 
kept as hostages. The first day the latter were kept without food. Afterwards they were 
supphed by the people. Captain Scheunemann turned to the women and said to them, slowly 
and in a cynical manner : " Mesdames, go home. Go and bury your dead." This man had 
passed ten years in the Cameroons. 

The captain returned to my house about 8 o'clock. I asked him to get certain hostages 
released,. He said that would not be easy, as he had very httle authority, and that he would 
speak about it again at midday. It was impossible, in spite of all I oould do, to obtain more. 

* The evidence published in the Appendix to the Report of the British Commission of Inquiry into 
the German atrocities, under the chairmanship of Lord Bryce, will also be read with interest. 


The time seemed frightfulJ}- long, for every moment one heard explosions. At last, at mid- 
day, he consented to go and see where the hostages were. By the wall of Godin's paper 
mill there were 30 or 40 bodies lying side by side and unrecognisable. Most had been hit in 
the head, which was sometimes half blown off. It was horrible. There were other groups who 
had been shot in other places. The captain said : " I don't like this. It isn't war." We set 
out to find the Uving ; everywhere on all the pavements were corpses and pools of blood. 
Through the windows and doors the soldiers could be seen drinking, singing, playing the piano 
or gramophone, and plundering. Moreover, regiments were marching through with their fifes 
playing, helmets, horses and carts decorated with leaves : what a shocking festival in a city of 
mourning ! 

About 5 o'clock two hostages obtained leave to say good-bye to their families before setting 
out for Germany, where there was talk of sending them. The pass given to them only allowed 
them to be absent for one hour. The soldiers, on the other hand, said that they need only come 
back at 7 o'clock. I went with the hostages to the guardroom to learn which was correct. The 
officer, whom I was lodging, altered the passes to 7 o'clock, but I was kept in sight to secure the 
return of the two hostages. At 7 o'clock I had the satisfaction of obtaining the release of my 
two friends. 

It was not until next day that we learned the number of victims. 

MM. Gillet and Dozin, who had taken refuge with their father-in-law, were killed at close 
quarters in the garden. One of them had hardly time to say : " We could not have fired. 
We had no arms." 

M. K , an old man who had lost the power of speech through a stroke, was killed in his 

garden while his wife and daughter were being thrust into the street. There were seven killed 
in the D. — family. In one cellar a dozen corpses of relatives and friends were found. A 
contractor and his son were killed in a cistern which they had dug in their cellar. G. — , the 
chemist, and his son and his brother, were killed in their cellar. A plasterer was killed in his house, 
and I have been told that his body was tossed into the burning house. One or two women were 
shot dead. 

About 25 inhabitants of Seilles were also shot. I have been told that inhabitants were 
hanged at the slaughter house after being cruelly tortured, but I don't know if that is true. 

All this on the usual false pretext that there had been firing. It is soon said, and imagination 
does much. This is shewn by the fact that on a subsequent day, when I was at the Town HaU, 
the Commandant came and said : " Another shot was fired yesterday evening. It must have 
been a revolver, and I can teU approximately the house whence it was fired." On investigation 
it was a revolver cartridge which had been lost in a pile of rags that were set on fire. 
The soldiers found it to their advantage to say that they were fired at. In such cases orgies 
and looting were permitted, and, moreo\'er, it afforded them an excellent opportunity to pay 
their officers out for their brutality. 

The looting was organised. The soldiers stole wine, linen, clothing, cigars, jewellery — m 
short, everything they liked. The more expensive furniture was sent to Germany, and the house 
was generally emptied before it was set on fire. 

Another story. On the evening of the 20th, Dr. L. was called to the bedside of a sick 

woman. The firing began, and he took refuge in the cellar with his patient. Towards morning, 
during a lull, he ventured out. He met a German officer and shewed him his medical 
pass, issued by the Belgian communal authorities. The officer examined it and said, " Ah ! 

You too have a pass from that of a mayor. Your case is clear." His wrists were bound 

so tightly that the marks were visible on them for days, and he was taken towards the Meuse 
to be shot. Happily a German doctor happened to be there whom he had assisted in attending to 

the German wounded at the hospital, and who secured his release. Dr. L. afterwards attended 

a German soldier who had been wounded in the leg by a grenade bullet. The surgeon at once 
affirmed that it was a Belgian grenade thrown by the people. Dr. L. — happened at the time 
to have in his pocket some bullets of a German grenade that had been thrown from a Taube 
on some clay sheds, which the aviator had mistaken for a camp. These bullets and that extracted 
from the soldier's leg were identical. It was again a German doctor who had to be called to save 
the School of the Brethren from fire and slaughter. This building was flying the Red Cross 
flag and German wounded were being tended in it. The soldiers declared that their comrades 
had been fired at from inside it. Several proclamations were published. One signed by Scheune- 
mann, the Commandant, was to the effect that Andenne was a den of brigands and assassins. 
According to another, at the first shot all the inhabitants would be hanged and the town set on 
fire and rased to the ground. Yet these gentlemen amused themselves by constantly firing off 
our sporting guns, which we had deposited at the communal school before they arrived. 

2. Report of M. D., Merchant, of Andenne. 

The first Uhlans arrived about 10.30 on the morning of Wednesday, the 19th August. There 
were about 30 of them. The main body, about 4,000 or 5,000 men, mostly of the 28th Pioneer 
Regiment, entered the town about 3 o'clock from the direction of Obey. 

They arrived singing and marching their parade step, sending everybody indoors and 
threatening to kill anyone who remained in the streets or who watched them pass from the 


They made eight persons go on to the part of the bridge on the Andenne side that remained 
intact, and made them lie down with their heads towards the broken part and remained about 
half an hour behind them, aiming at them and threatening them with death if the Belgian soldiers 
fired at the Germans from the other bank of the Meuse. 

The evening passed in comparative quiet, no one daring to go out 

Next day, Thursday, all the shops were pillaged. Jewellery, groceries, meat, bread, cigars, 
and especially liquor, were stolen. There were continual threats to shoot people for trifles 
and also especially if they were found in possession of arms or ammunition. Fortunately, 
the Burgomaster had had all such things deposited at the communal school by the 14th August, 
as the following receipt proves, and no townsman had any in his possession. 


Received in deposit from M. D. — 

2 boxes of ammunition. 
1 rifle. 
1 carbine. 

Andenne. 14/8/1914. 

Dr. J. Camus, 


In the evening the German soldiers, most of whom were drunk, quarrelled with one another 
and fired rifles and revolvers. About 20 of them were killed or seriously wounded. 

The pretext was now found : civilians had been shooting at the soldiers, so next day the 
inhabitants were expelled from their houses and taken to the Place des Tilleuls. 

The men who did not understand or who from fear hid in cellars and yards were killed with 
axes, revolvers and bayonets. Those who tried to run away were shot in the street, some even 
by machine-guns. 

Civilians who were only wounded, whether in the streets or elsewhere, were killed without 

In the Square the people were kept for three or four hours with their hands in the air, while 
the officers were discussing the method of killing them. Some thought the crowd should be 
fired into. When the discussion was concluded some of the men were taken ten by ten near 
the town slaughter-house and there shot. Those whom chance had spared were taken as hostages 
and shut up in some houses for 48 hours without anything to eat or drink. 

In the meantime the Germans had taken about ten persons to dig a large hole by the side of 
the Meuse near the slaughter-house and forced them to bury at least 15 of their fellow townsmen 
in it. The Burgomaster was wounded in the street and finished off in a pharmacy to which he had 
been taken. Several women and children were also killed in the street. 

Each family with dead people in the house had to put them on the pavement, where they 
were loaded on to tumbrils and taken either to the general grave or to the cemetery. 

During and after these massacres the German soldiers kept on singing and playing in some 
of the houses. 

After 48 hours' captivity the oldest of the men taken as hostages were liberated and next 
day the others were released on parole. 

The station of Andenne and about 100 houses were set on fire, and several others damaged 
by machine-gun fire. 

Before the principal houses were set alight the best of the furniture, antiques, &c., were 
loaded on to wagons (as well as the more valuable weapons among those at the school) and 
taken to Germany. 

Many young girls and women were raped, and I am told that in a vlUage of Andenne a farmer's 
wife was violated by five or six men one after the other, in the presence of her husband, whom they 
had tied up. 

In another house where the husband was killed, his wife was forced to wait on the German 
soldiers, and to step over her husband's body several times. 

3. Deposition of M. X., an Official at Andenne. 

About 8 in the morning on the l^th August, before retiring to the fortress of Namur, the 
Belgian engineers blew up the fine bridge at Andenne to impede the German troops crossing 
the Meuse. The explosion was shortly before the Germans entered. The first of the cavalry 
came on the Ciney road and fell back on the main body of the force, which was arriving from 
Germany by this and other roads leading to Andenne. As they left they stopped at the Town 
Hall and^ took M. Camus, the Burgomaster, before the Staff. M. Camus was questioned about 
the positions of the Belgian troops, and about the people of Andenne, his intentions, &c. He 
stated that the people had surrendered all their arms, which was true, and that he had pubhshed 
notices calUng upon them to remain quiet and to respect the invading troops. 

He assured the commanding officer that the townsfolk were peaceably inclined. 

After this interview he was taken under an armed escort to the town treasurer's office. An 
officer demanded the immediate handing over of the town safe, which contained about 3,000 francs. 
He objected that this amount was not proportionate to the size of the town, called for the account 
books, and announced his intention of returning. 


In the afternoon a body of cavalry reconnoitred in the direction of Namur, where the rear- 
guard of our 8th of the Line was in retreat. As they were retiring they fired at the cavalry, and 
one of them came back severely wounded in the arm. 

On the morning of the 20th August requisitioning began, and the demands of the invaders 
became extortionate. Fresh troops kept on arriving, and soon the town was full of soldiers 
demanding wine, spirits, champagne, tobacco, coffee, &c. Some paid in notes redeemable by 
France, others, after being served, left the houses without making any explanation. This was 
the beginning of systematic pillage, for which the officers gave the example. The people, terrified 
by the threats of death, remained indoors, and in the streets there was nothing to be seen but 
grey uniforms. In the meantime the Germans had built a bridge of boats above the one 
which had been blown up, and in the afternoon the troops began to cross from the right to the 
left bank. The building of this bridge had taken twenty-four hours. 

Between 4 and 5 o'clock I went along the principal streets. The cafes were full to over- 
flowing. A great number of the soldiers were quite drunk At L. — Cafe I noticed one of them 
make the motion of firing at a passing officer. 

About 6.15 heavy firing began. Everybody thought it was a.n attack by the Belgian forces, 
and took refuge in the cellars. The sky was soon Ut up by burning houses. 

Germans were then seen to be firing at one another across the Meuse. After three-quarters 
of an hour of this terrible fusillade the " Cease fire " was sounded and the fighting ceased. 

From my position I could clearly see the soldiers huddled under the houses — the middle 
of the street being quite empty — to escape as far as possible from the buUets coming from the 
troops on the other side of the Meuse. 

About 8 o'clock the firing began again in full force. 

This time it was directed against the houses amidst frightful shouts and howls. 
The firing lasted all night, and became terrible between midnight and one in the morning. 
Machine and field guns were used. Volleys were fired at windows and the lights of the cellars. 
The soldiers were heard shouting in the streets, breaking the shop windows and taking what 
was left in them. About 4 o'clock a body of cavalry shouted out : " People of Andenne, come 
out. The French cavalry has come to help you." The few poor creatures who believed this 
were shot, but very few were deceived. 

At daybreak on the 2lst August the soldiers entered the houses, breaking open doors and 
windows, and forced the people out by threats of violence, saying, " Commandant's orders. Every- 
body is to go to the Grand' Place." This was in the outlying streets, for in the central streets 
the men were shot at close range before their wives and famiues. The inhabitants, thus collected, 
were obliged to hold up their hands, and all, without exception, men, women, children and old 
men, sick or well, were taken to the Place des Tilleuls, the women being placed opposite to the 
men. While passing through the streets the poor creatures saw the bodies of their fellow towns- 
folk lying face downwards in all directions. 

When the Germans had thus assembled the people of Andenne, about 850 being men, 
a German colonel sent the women home, saying, "Go and clean your houses andburyyour dead." 
Most of them took good care not to go indoors, fortunately, for more than one who did had to 
undergo unspeakable outrages. It was then about 9.30 a.m. The colonel announced that there 
were numerous /rowcs-itVewrs in Andenne, and in consequence he had to punish the town and make 
an example of it. He made three men step out of the ranks and stand by a house and these were 
shot on the spot. Officers and men examined the others. Those who had black hands, including 
a cobbler, whose fingers were blackened by cobbler's wax, and those who had scratches, were 
placed on' one side. About 40 were thus collected, put up against a wall and shot. These pro- 
ceedings were accompanied by blows from rifles and fists, and vile insults, in which a colonel 
and a captain distinguished themselves by their ferocity. The rest of the men were kept as 
hostages and imprisoned in some houses, where the German orgy had been given free rein for 24 hours. 
For two days and nights they were kept there while the German forces gave themselves up to 
every excess— looting, burning, outraging defenceless women, and destroying furniture. To 
crown their misdeeds they published on the walls of Andenne a notice that they had known for 
a long time that Andenne was a nest of bandits. 

A summary investigation established that about 250 people of Andenne were murdered ; 
some were killed with axes and frightfully mutilated, among others Joseph Walgraffe, Leon 
Genicot and J. AnceUn. An absolutely trustworthy informant certifies that the head of the 
last-named was struck off and his body placed in the gutter as a stepping stone for the soldiers, 
who were getting drunk in his cafe. M. Walgraffe was trying to escape through a ventilator of 
his burning house, but was thrust back into the fire by axes. 

Many other atrocities have been related to me, but I do not know enough about my informants 
to mention them here, and I therefore say nothing about them. 

About 100 of the people of Andenne (not including here the people of Seilles, opposite 
Andenne), were kept as prisoners until the end of September. 

The pen is powerless to describe the spectacle that the town displayed after the Germans 
had passed through. Murder and pillage went on until the 23rd August. The town was in- 
cumbered by debris of every kind. All the cellars had been emptied and the bottles broken 
or left about in the streets and houses. About 30 houses were burnt down. 


It is unnecessary to say that at Andenne, as in so many other places, not a single shot was 
fired by civilians. They had all been disarmed before the Germans came. An inquiry would 
not only prove this, but also establish that these atrocities were planned beforehand. Soldiers 
were seen to go into S.'s house, and descend into the cellars, fire into the air through the 
ventilators and then return to the street calUng out that there were francs-tireurs in that house. 

Numerous witnesses prove positively that the sack and massacre at Andenne were 
premeditated. Several German officers and men had foretold it both in the neighbouring villages 
and in the town itself. 

One officer told Mme. S.— , on whom he was biUeted, not to go to Andenne, where terrible 
things were to occur. (Mme. S.'s house is about 6 kilometres from Anderme.) 

Another officer, before he died at the hospital at Huy, told a trustworthy individual (whose 
name I will communicate) that not a tenth of what the General Staff had designed and planned 
had occurred at Andenne. 

A child a few months old was killed in his mother's arms. Five women were killed, one 
about 14 or 15 years old, after being violated, it is said, by 17 soldiers. 

Numerous rapes are talked about, but the unfortunate victims naturally keep silence. 

The truth as to this will never be known, nor can I relate all that I have been told about it. 

The looting was methodically carried out. Groups of soldiers under the orders of officers 
broke and destroyed doors and windows. 

Other groups, also under the orders of officers, carried off all movables and merchandise of 
every description, M'hich were at once taken away. 

Looting went on in the more important streets to the exclusion of the working class districts, 

4. Deposition of M. X. : — Magistrate. 

I went to Andenne on the 27th May to spend my leave with my parents-in-law, M. and 
Mme. X., manufacturers, of Andenne. 

The town was at first occupied by detachments of lancers and infantry and the artillery of 
the Civic Guard of Tournai. 

The S3 troops displayed much activity and encountered patrols of the advance guard of Uhlans, 
killing some and taking others prisoners. 

On Wednesday, the 19th August, the town was evacuated by the Belgian troops, who blew 
\\\) the bridge between 8 and 9 o'clock in the morning, and the 8th Line Regiment retired along 
the railway towards Namur. A detachment was unable to cross the bridge and remained behind. 
It retired along the other bank to Maizeret Fort. The men of this detachment while on the way 
fired at some Uhlan patrols some distance from the town and hit some men and horses* At 
this time some Uhlans had already entered the town, and I saw a wounded man and a wounded 
horse brought back. 

I saw the detachment of Uhlans who entered the town about 10 a.m. go by. They went as 
far as the bridge, which had been destroyed, and then to the Town Hall, while some went to 
the hospital. I went home, and shortly afterwards some German pontoon hands came to the 
house to ask for iron casks to act as floaters for a bridge that was to be thrown across the river. 
We were forced to supply about 20 casks without any receipts. My father-in-law marked them 
and helped to load them on his own cart. 

They then asked for coffee. My mother-in-law supplied them. They were also allowed 
to wash their hands, &c. 

In the evening sentries were posted in the streets. The night was quiet. Opposite to us the 
Germans had, also without giving receipts, taken about 10,000 francs worth of wood. 

Next day, the bridge being ready, the troops began to cross by thousands. 

About 4 o'clock I went to M. Vivier, the hairdresser's. While I was there two men of a 
Uhlan squadron halted in front of the door and came in. One put his flask on the table and 
asked for it to be filled with gin. The other did the same. The hairdresser complied. The 
two soldiers appeared to be greatly excited. I departed and went towards the Place des TiUeuls, 
near M. Phihppart's house. Foot soldiers were halted there. The men made signs that they 
wanted drink. They were asked whether they would have coffee or beer, and rephed, " Chocolate 
and red wine." 

I went to the Four Corners, where the main road from Namur to Liege crosses the chief 
street, which leads to the bridge. I sat on the window-sill of M. Dandois' provision shop. My 
father-m-law was on the edge of the pavement watching the soldiers pass. A superior officer 
came up, with a revolver in his hand, and as M. Couderchet, not seeing him, did not give way, 
he apostrophised him, putting his revolver to his breast. We remained there watching the 
troops gomg along the way to the tow-path, a narrow aUey, by Pastur and Bertrand's factory, 
on their way to the bridge of boats. At a particular moment there was a kind of movement. 
An order seemed to pass along the ranks, and the soldiers put their rifles under their arms. Not 
a single shot had then been heard. Nine or ten minutes later I heard several shots from the 
other side of the Mouse. 

Soon there came a series of shots, still from the other bank, but the soldiers by us 
began to fire at SeiUes. We fled along the houses under a hail of buUets, and took refuge in 
the cellars of my brother-in-law's house. The bullets hit the bars of the fences opposite. It 
seemed to us that they came from the heights of SeiUes. 


At this time we believed tluit regular fighting was going on. There was a veritable panic 
among the troops at Andenne. L heard the ringing of bells and the shouts of officers rallying 
their men. Soldiers hid themselves in if, Terrasse's stables by his house. ^Ye heard carts hurrying 
back to^yards Hautebise, in the direction from which they had come. Sometimes the firing ceased 
for awhile. All this took some time. During a we were able to return to my parents-in-law 
through the garden. My father-in-law came in later. He told us that he had been held up at 
Vivicr's, the hairdresser's, whose house had been riddled with bullets. 

We went into the factory cellar. We saw the flames of burning houses in all directions. 
The night fell. We prepared a hasty meal. The night was calm, though there was firing at 

About 3.30 a.m. my brother-in-law went out as far as the main road and returned, saying, 
" It's all over. The soldiers are asleep on their carts." He went to take two or three chairs 
belonging to him. 

An hour afterwards we heard a noise. ]\Iy brother-in-law went outside with his father. He 
saw the soldiers breaking doors and ^\indows. The soldiers caught sight of him, and seized 
and took him away. My father-in-law came back and shut the door. He came to tell us what 
had happened. As we heard loud knocking my other brother-in-law said to his father, " We 
must open the door to the soldiers." My father-m-law went out, closed the cellar flap and rolled 
a large cask of gin on top of it. He then went to open the door of the d\velhng-house. 

Shortly afterwards we heard my father-in-law come back, followed by soldiers. He came 
into the yard, and we heard him go towards the main door of the factory.' I don't know what 
happened. We heard, " Oh ! Oh ! " and three detonations. At the first I rushed to the stair. 
My wife clung to me, imploring me not to speak. I held my peace and at that moment my 
httle boy began to cry bitterly. I was on the stair, and through an opening in the flap I could 
see the soldiers. One was opposite me, crouching down with his rifle at his shoulder. He was 
a fusiher, probably of the Reserve Guards. The soldiers went away, and we at once heard the 
sound of breaking crockery and window panes. The house was ransacked. 

We no longer heard anything in the house. About 10 o'clock we were able to go 
out, and I found my father-in-law on the ground inside the house, about a yard from 
the main door. Part of his head was blown off. He was 65 years old. I put a rug over him 
and we all went out. Everywhere we heard women waiUng. We went by the garden to the 
main road. We saw three bodies in the garden next door, M. Crossard, his son-in-law, and M. 
Terrasse. We saw a soldier on the steps of the house opposite, and we returned to go to our 
own door. Women warned us to hide, as all the men were being killed. My brother-in-law 
and I hid in an outhouse. I heard a noise as if someone were being brought along, ily wife told 
me afterwards that it was a little boy, 14 years old, who had dragged himself towards us, his body 
pierced by bullets. It was httle Damoiseau. He was put on a table in our house. They wanted 
to fetch a priest and a doctor, but the soldiers posted outside prevented the Momen from going 
out. The child died. 

Other women came, crjdng out that they were setting the town on fire. Overcome with 
terror, my wife and mother-in-law with our httle boy took refuge with an aunt at Ben-Ahin, six 
kilometres away. On the way they saw corpses everywhere, in particular the Davin family 
in a field. We remained in hiding until Sunday, almost without food or water. The soldiers came 
several times to continue their robbery. They broke open the doors of the warehouses, but took 
nothing. They came to take the horses, but did not succeed, as the horses were restive. They 
took a cart, which we afterwards found in the open fields. 

On Saturday my father and my brother-in-law, who were hostages, came to the house and 
gave us an account of the massacres at the Place des TiUeuls and by the Meuse. On Sunday my 
brother-in-law came to fetch me, and we went to ask for a pass at the Kommandatur, which 
had been established at the house of M. Dubois, the manager of Pastur and Bertrand's factory. 
On the way I noticed more than one shop window without a pane of glass left whole, and the 
street was full of goods and debris. (On the Friday when the men were taken prisoners there 
was a Belgian flag on the ground and the soldiers ostentatiously trampled on it.) We got a pass to 
go into the streets and profited by it to go to our aunt's at Ben-Ahin. 

On the Friday, after my brother-in-law had gone and my father-in-law was murdered, I 
heard volleys and reahsed that massacres were taking place. 

On Sunday I was able to go into the house and note the damage and thefts. This is 
what I noted. All the glass of the mirrors was broken or pierced by bullets, the glass of the front 
door, the large glass over the dining-room chimney-piece, an alabaster clock, the gas fittings, 
the piano — everything was broken. A mahogany escritoire in the drawing room was broken and 
forced, and jewellery had been taken. The fireplace, the mirror and the ornaments in the drawing 
room were broken, and generally everything within reach was smashed. The linen was taken, 
the curtains pulled down, and everything of value removed. 

Several weeks later we returned to Andenne. A strong force of the Landsturm was quartered 
there for two or three days. They sacked M. Brosse's house and stole things from Mme. Carelle, 
whose husband, an old man, had been killed. They stole Mme. Bacu's wine. 

About 6 o'clock one Sunday evening, as the tram came along, a soldier attempted violence 
to a lady who lives next door to us, and who was on her doorstep with her httle boy. 

One day, towards the end of August, I was at Give when the Germans set M. Duisberg's 
house on fire on the pretext that he was a Frenchman. At Ben-Ahin one day the soldiers 


fired near the Co-operative Stores, pretending that the people living there had sheltered 

I know in London some of the witnesses of the murders at Andenne, in particular 
M. Adolphe Diet, his wife and daughter. 

5. Deposition of M. Theophile Davin, of Andenne. 

On the 20th August, 1914, I was with my father and other workmen in the foundry belonging 
to my father, a manufacturer and sheriff of the town. The Belgian soldiers had blown up the 
bridge over the Meuse and we went to see it. At this moment seven German soldiers came up. 
They shouted after us and we re-entered the house at the side through the works. In the evening 
a great number of Germans arrived and collected all the men to fill up the trenches dug by the 
Belgian soldiers. I hid myseU, but one of my cousins and his father were taken. They were 
able to come back about 8 p.m. My father fled into the house. My aunt and grandmother 
and all our relations came to take refuge in our house, and we passed the night in the cellar. 

At that time I went to the attics, whence I saw the flames of burning houses. About 
5 a.m. the Germans began to smash in the doors of the houses near by. We had opened ours. 
But one of my cousins had wished to return to his house and, having been seen by the Germans, 
had come back and shut our door. 

As the Germans were outside I went up with two of my cousins and another boy. The 
Germans put aside another of my cousins and a small boy, saying, " Too young." Then they 
made us hold our hands up, and led us to the next field, shouting at and insulting us. There 
were four of us. We had to jump over the wires of the fence. There were several corpses 
there and also some wounded, one of whom, Louis Latine, was calling out, " Mamma, Mamma." 
We had hardly got into the field before one of my cousins fell, then the other and the third boy, 
all shot. I also fell and pretended to be dead. Other men were also brought there, including 
my father, who were killed in the same way. One man had his head smashed in with an axe. 
A wounded man was also finished off with an axe. Another man who was brought there was 
killed in the same way. A man named Barsy, brother-in-law to Emile Losson, had his wrist 
chopped with an axe and was finished off in the middle of the field by a revolver shot. 

There were about 80 Germans in the road by the field, but only four were shooting. Two 
officers were in command. Two soldiers were armed with axes. The number on their shoulders 
was " 83." 

When I thought it was all over I raised my head, but at once a number of bullets were fired 
at me. Two or three soldiers came into the field, but no one came near me. I then waited until 
7.30 a.m. I rose, but got down at once, as two Germans were passing. I was then able to escape, 
and went and hid in a phenic acid barrel in Eugene Losson's fire-proof goods factory. I remained 
there for an hour. Hearing my mother weeping I came out. She was imploring the Germans, 
who laughed at her. 

The same day we went to Give, but as the Germans were also collecting the men there, several 
of us went and hid in a coal-pit. 

In the field at Andenne, 17 were killed and one man was wounded. He died two hours after. 
I alone escaped. 

6. Report of Abbe Bobon, Professor of St. Joseph's College at Virion. 

IQth August, 1914. At 8.40 the Belgian Engineers blew up the bridge. 

In the afternoon a corporal of Uhlans was wounded on the Namur road. He was taken 
to the hospital, where he was visited by his officer, who suggested that he had been wounded by 
a franc-tireur. " No," repHed the man with emphasis. " I was wounded by a Belgian soldier. 
He was a good shot." 

The Colonel of the Jagers of the Guard took up quarters with his Staff at the Red Cross, 
where there were several wounded. The leads formed an observation post under the shelter 
of the Red Cross flag. 

The occupation of the town was completed. 

20th August, 1914. Construction of a wooden bridge and passage of the troops, especially 
in the afternoon. The crowd silently watched them march past. About 6.15 p.m. the first 
shots seemed to come from Seilles, and to be answered from Andenne. The town was entered 
on all sides by troops firing in all directions. The Rue Bertrand, the Namur road and the district 
round the station were the prey of flames. Everyone took refuge in their cellars. 

The men of the hamlet of Hautebise had been taken away in a body in the evening. Some 
were killed, and so were several women and a nine months' old child. The others were taken 
to the left bank, with several of the townsfolk who were taken on the way. Some were taken 
as far as Eghezee and released after some days. The others, 44 in number, were taken, ill-treated 
and faint with hunger, to the Chartreuse at Liege, where they were detained as prisoners 
for over a month. 

2lst August, 1914. At 4 o'clock a.m. the soldiers began to enter the houses, riddfing them 
with bullets before venturing inside. No doubt a risky business, since all weapons had been 
handed to the communal authorities a fortnight before ! Inhabitants were assassinated in their 
houses, yards and gardens, while the women were shut up or hustled to the Place des Tilleuls. 
Others were killed in the streets, at the Square, or in groups by the Meuse. As for the reason given 
for ordering the IdUing, it was always the same : Francs-tireurs. The German inquiries were 


never able to prove it. The soldiers had been drinking for 24 hours, and had orders to kill and 
plunder at the first shot. 

Those arrested but not massacred, about 900, were taken to three small houses opposite the 
remaining arch of the bridge — a splendid living target for the shells of Maizeret and Marchovelette ! 
On this shaking arch they placed unfortunate prisoners opposite to some machine guns, with 
which they were threatened to increase their terror. The gestures of the soldiers did not need 
the support of vocal threats. Many of the unfortvuiate prisoners got ready to jump into the 
yawning gulf of the Meuse. 

At the request of the communal authorities ajjpointed by the Germans, the prisoners were 
released in groups on various pretexts — the interment of the dead, the cleansing of the streets, &c. 
About 20 of the principal inhabitants v,'ere detained as hostages for a week Among the prisoners 
were the Dean of Andenne and two old retired priests, both ill. It is enough to say that one 
of the prisoners who returned from Liege at the end of September was 80 years old. 

The methodical plunder of the shops and houses lasted for several days and nights. Food, 
drink, hnen, wine, cigars, jewellery and furniture, all was systematically stolen or destroyed, 
and for five weeks the most extortionate requisitions were put upon the poor httle town, to such 
an extent that on the 1st October, Von der Goltz, the Governor-General, forbade any further 
requisition upon Andenne. 

The successive inquiries of the Germans have never proved any attack on the troops by the 
people of Andenne. 

Several months afterwards an officer said: "The tragedy of Andenne is a mystery. It is 
certain that three people fired at our men, but it can't be proved they belonged to Andenne." 
I conclude from this that the town was pitilessly condemned without serious inquiry, if, indeed, 
there was any inquiry at all. 

Administration of the Toiun. — The Burgomaster and a sheriff were among the first victims. 
" The communal authorities and the poHce have failed in their duty. If I held them I would shoot 
them all," shouted the German colonel at the Place des Tilleuls. I do not know what he meant 
by our duty towards his troops. An. inquiry will establish this point of history. 

The German authorities nominated a communal council of four members. M. E. de Jaer, 
the registrar, first condemned to be shot as a franc -tireur, in spite of his 70 years, then held as a 
hostage, was finally nominated as mayor. 

Dr. Ch. Ledoyen, who for some time believed that his last hour had come, was nominated 
deputy mayor. 

M. Ch. Lahaye, veterinary surgeon, was named a member of the council, as also was M. Jcs. 
Monvique, a notary (not yet admitted) ; the latter was made communal secretary an hour after. 

These gentlemen and some hospital attendants had passes which they had to shew to the 
plunderers whom they met in the streets, with bayonets red with the blood of their victims. 

This administration, set up in five minutes at the Place des Tilleuls, had to comply with 
the demands and the exorbitant requisitions of the Prussians. The order was given after the 
men were interned that the women were to cleanse the streets and bury the dead. (This order 
was not persisted in.) 

The members forced to undertake the administration did everything in their power to satisfy 
the demands of the Germans and to save the poor prisoners. 

Andenne has a working-class population. The administration had at once to feed the starving 
people. And in proportion to the release of the inhabitants who had been made prisoners, there 
were thousands to feed at the public expense every day, work halving completely ceased in the 
factories. All these were employed on the public service. 

The problem of revictualHng the plundered and ruined town was solved by the devotion 
of these emergency administrators, with the help of all the well disposed men. The Prussians 
would not hsten to any mention of the former council. Its members saw that good could only 
be done by a prompt response to the appeal of the provisional administration and by assisting 
them. In November the two councils were united, to the great benefit of the commune. 

One word as to the fete at Andenne. The commandant, Becker, who suspected dangerous 
assemblies when he saw more than three people talking together, and who threatened to destroy 
the whole town, in^ated the communal authorities and some people on whom the officers were 
quartered to be present at a " feu de bivouac " at the Place des Tilleuls. This was a little enter- 
tainment, during which the soldiers sang serious songs, and there were speeches with cheers 
for Andenne. Those invited endured this little military entertainment with resignation. 


Sack and Massacre at Dinant.* 


Statement op the Facts. 

IM. Tschoffen, the Public Prosecutor of Dinant, who was in the town when the 
Germans entered, has in a letter to the Minister of Justice made a detailed report 
of the occurrence. Arrested on the evening of the 23rd August, with some hundreds 
of the inhabitants, the magistrate also gives an account of the detention of himself 
and his companions in the prison of Cassel (Germany). His account, which is based 
on his own observations and personal investigations, has already been published 
in the 20th Report of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry.! With the omission of 
a few pages it is reprinted below : — 

A. Sack and Massacre at Dinant. 


I have the honour to forward you the report you requested me to make on the events which 
occurred in the course of the mihtary operations at and near Dinant, and on the detention in 
Germany of many of the citizens of Dinant and Anseremme. 

On the 6th August, that is to say, before the arrival of the first French troops who came 
from Givet, German cavaky appeared at Dinant and Anseremme. These patrols sometimes came 
as far as the houses, and were fired at whenever they came into touch with the Belgian troops, 
who then held both banks of the Meuse. 

I give herewith the sequence of incidents. I detail them merely to shew that the populace 
absolutely refrained from any attack on the enemy cavalry. 

On the 6th August, at Anseremme (Dinant and Anseremme, although two separate communes 
for local government, are really one town), Belgian Engineers fired at a Hussar patrol and wounded 
a horse. At Furfooz the dismounted man saw a farmer and took his horse in exchange for 
the wounded mount. 

On the same or the next day three Hussars appeared in the Rue Saint- Jacques (Ciney road). 
Belgian Carabineers or Chasseurs wounded one and took him prisoner, and also one of his comrades, 
whose horse had been hit. The third escaped. These men belonged to a Hanoverian regiment. 

On the 12th at " Les Rivages " (Dinant) a detachment of the 148th French Infantry destroyed 
a cavalry patrol. Only one man escaped. About the same date a detachment of the same 
regiment was in action at " Fonds de Leffe." Two German cavalrymen were killed. 

On the 15th August the Germans attempted to force the passage of the Meuse at Anseremme, 
Dinant, and Bouvignes. They were repulsed. During the day several German detachments 
came into the town. They in no way molested the people. 

The town and its inhabitants had httle to suffer in the course of this affair, which, however, 
was very warm and lasted all day. A M. Moussoux was kiUed while assisting the wounded, and 
a woman was sUghtly wounded. On the right bank a French shell fell on a house, and a German 
shell on the post office. On the left bank several houses were struck by German shells. At 
the commencement of the action the German artillery fired on the hospital, although it was 
in full view and flew the Red Cross flag. In a few minutes six projectiles had struck the building. 
One penetrated the chapel_as the_children of the orphanage were coming from Mass, but there 
were no victims. 

On the 17th or 18th the French ceased to hold the right bank in force. They merely sent 
patrols there. Every day there was an exchange of rifle and artillery fire between the two banks. 
German cavalry again began to come to the town, where they rode about with impunity. For 
example : about midday on the 19th a Ulilan coming from the direction of Rocher-Bayard 
returned by the Ciney road without molestation. He had crossed almost the entire length of 
the town. The same day, at nightfall, another horseman followed the same route and went 
away in the same safety. 

On the night between the 21st and 22nd brisk firing suddenly began in the Rue Saint Jacques 
(Ciney road). It was some Germans who had come in motors and were firing at houses where 
the inmates were peacefully sleeping. They burst open the doors, severely wounded three 
people, one at least with the bayonet, and went away after setting on fire 15 or 20 houses by means 
of bombs. They left behind a certain number of these, which the inhabitants put into water- 
They declare that these were incendiary bombs. 

* See also Monseigneur Heylen's Note of October 31st, 1915, pp. 337 et seq. of present volume. 
t M. Tschoffen is further preparing a detailed reply to the assertions contained in the portion of 
the " White Book " which relates to Dinant. 


The people did not understand this attack. The newspapers had indeed pubhshed accounts 
of the atrocities in the neighbourhood of Vise, but no one believed in them. Finally it was 
currently believed that the aggression was the exploit of some drunken men, and the course of 
events was awaited without excessive fear. 

On the 23rd August the battle between the French and German armies began early with 
an artillery duel. The first rifle shots were fired by the Germans at two girls, who were looking 
for a better shelter than the one they had. 

All the inhabitants took refuge in their cellars. 

* * 


It was by four principal ways that the Germans came to Dinant on the 23rd August, all 

about the same time, about 6 in the morning. 

_ The roads were : from Lisogne to Dinant ; from Ciney to Dinant ; Mount St. Nicholas, down 

which came the troops on a part of the Herbuchenne plateau ; and, lastly, the Froidvau road. 

running from Boisselles to Dinant. 

I. The first of these roads enters the district known as " Fonds de Lefie." 

On their arrival the soldiers entered the houses, drove out the inmates, Idlled the men and 
set the houses on fire. 

M. Victor Poncelet was killed in his house before his wife and childi-en. M. Himmer, 
manager of the factory of Leffe, and vice-consul of the Argentine Repubhc, was shot, with a number 
of his workmen. One hundred and fifty-two of the staff of this factory were assassinated. 

The church of the Premonstrants was, I am informed, entered while mass \vas being said.* 
The men were taken out and shot on the spot. One of the Fathers was also murdered. 

Why give more detaUs ? A single fact will be sufficient. Of the whole population of this 
district there only remain nine men alive (except old men). The women and children were shut 
up in the Premonstrant Abbey, which was afterwards plundered. Soldiers were seen to walk 
about the town in the monks' vestments. 

II. The same scenes of massacre and arson were witnessed in the Rue St. Jacques, which forms 
the end of the Ciney road. The victims were, however, not so numerous. The residents in 
this district, more impressed than the rest of the town by the nocturnal event on the 21st, had 
mostly left their houses. 

From the Rue St. Jacques the Germans spread over the whole district. They continued 
to murder, but not to the same extent as at Leffe. The people were shut up in the Premon- 
strant Abbey. Everything was set alight. They burned the tower and the roof of our beautiful 
ancient Gothic church. They also set fire to the doors, but did not manage to destroy them 

Further on, the Grande Place and the Rue Grande as far as the Rue du Tribunal were saved 
for the moment. The Germans did not go so far. It was only the next day that the inhabitants 
there were interned. 

On the evening of the 24th and on the 25th they set this part of the town on fire. Only 
one building remains — the Hotel des Families. 

III. From the Rue du Tribunal to the other side of the prison the crimes \^'ere the work 
of the troops coming down the Mount St. Nicholas. I noted the numbers of the 100th and 
101st Infantry (Saxons). 

On this route, as the troops arrived, they behaved in the same way as at the Rue St. Jacques 
and Fonds de Leffe. Murder of part of the men. Arrest of the women and children. 

As to the remainder of the district, the inhabitants had varying fortune. 

Having been collected together and kept for a time in a street, where they \\'ere sheltered 
from the risks of the battle, numerous people (men, women and children) were taken to a jalace 
where the road is only built upon on one side, the other side running along the Meuse. The 
prisoners were fined up in a long row as a shield against the fire of the French, Avhile the Germans 
passed behind this hving rampart. The French ceased fire as soon as they perceived what victims 
were offered to them. Mile. Marsigny, aged 20, was, however, killed before her parents' eyes. 
She received a French buUet in her head. Among the persons thus exposed I mention M. Charlier, 
my deputy, M. Brichet, inspector of forests, M. Dinmont, the road surveyor, and their wives 
and children. The captives were exposed thus for two hours and then taken to prison. 

The same thing happened to a group of citizens exposed to French fire in the Place de la 
Prison. They were forced to keep their hands above their heads. Among them was M. Laurent, 
aged 80, honorary President of the Tribunal, his son-in-law, M. Laurent, the judge, and the 
latter 's v.iie and children. There were no victims. The French ceased fire and the Germans 
were able to pass in safety. After two hours the citizens were put into the prison. I mention 
some names because they are those of magistrates and officials whom I know intimately, but the 
number of persons subjected to this treatment may be taken as at least 150. 

The other inhabitants of the district were, like my family and myself, taken to M. Bouille's 
house. We were massed in the house, the stable and the forge, and even overflowed into the street . 

The people put in the forge, among whom I was, were, as I have said, taken away about 
2 o'clock and put in the prison. 

About 6 o'clock the others were taken in front of my house, not far from the prison. 

* Several people told me this. I left Dinant without hearing the account of the Premonstrant 


There the able-bodied men were taken out and lined up against the wall of my garden 'ii 
four ranks. An officer addressed them in German, and then in the presence of the women and 
children gave the order to fire. They all fell. Soldiers who were looking on from the top of the 
terrace which is formed by the garden of M. Tranquinet, the architect, burst into shouts of 
laughter. Surrounded by the flames which were devouring almost the whole district, those whose 
age or sex had saved them from massacre were set at liberty. 

I believe that the exact number of victims killed there was 129. 

The volley which struck them down was the one that we heard when we were lined up in the 
prison yard to be led to death. Thank God we were late. One hundred and twenty-nine men, 
I repeat, were murdered at this place. The number of those condemned was greater. Several 
dropped down when the order to fire was given, and others were only slightly wounded. They 
succeeded in escaping during the night. All those whose corpses were removed had not been 
killed on the spot. Some of those who escaped told me that at the beginning of the night they 
heard M. Wasseige, the banker, saj^ to a wounded man : " Don't move or say a word." A 
passing soldier at once finished him off. 

It was not till Wednesday that anyone could attend to these victims, as no one was allowed 
out before. On the Monday and Tuesday wounded were heard to cry out and groan. They 
died from lack of care. 

IV. The troops who came by the Froidvau road occupied the " Penant " district. The 
inhabitants were arrested on the arrival of the Germans, and kept under observation near Rocher- 
Bayard. The fire of the French having slackened, the Germans began to build a bridge. But 
a few bullets still annoyed them. As they were not very numerous the Germans came to the 
conclusion — honestly or otherwise — that they were fired by /rancs-iirewrs. They sent M. Bourdon, 
the assistant registrar of the Tribunal, over to the left bank to announce that if the firing continued 
the inhabitants who were prisoners would be executed. He carried out his mission, and 
then recrossed the Meuse and surrendered, informing the German officers that he had been able 
to satisfy himself that French soldiers alone were firing. A few French bullets stiU came, and 
then a monstrous thing occurred, which the mind would refuse to believe did not witnesses 
survive to testify to it, and did not the gaping wounds of the corpses furnish the most irrefutable 
evidence. The group of prisoners, men, women and children, were thrust against a wall and 

Eighty victims fell at that moment. 

Was it there or at the Aqueduct of Neffe, which I mention later, that a three months' old 
child was killed ? I no longer remember. 

In the evening the Germans searched among the dead. Under the heap of bodies some 
poor creatures were still alive. They were taken out, added to some prisoners brought from 
elsewhere, and set to dig a pit for the dead. They were deported to Germany. Among them 
was a 15-year-old boy, son of M. Bourdon, the registrar, found under the bodies of his father, 
mother, brother and sister, all shot dead. 

Among those buried was a woman who was still alive. She groaned. No matter. Her 
body was flung into the pit with the others. 

Left bank of the Meuse. The Germans crossed the river. 

The St. Medard district suffered relatively little. There were not many killed, and it is 
here that most of the houses remain standing. 

Neffe suburb. The Germans searched the houses, burning a large number and leaving others 
untouched. Some inhabitants were left at Kberty, others were driven out of the houses and 
shot on the road, others, again, were arrested and sent to Germany. Elsewhere whole famihes were 
murdered without distinction of age or sex (in particular the Guerys and the Morelles). The 
fire spread to one house where a woman with a broken leg was alone. Some inhabitants asked 
leave from the soldiers to go and rescue her. They were refused, and the poor woman was 
burnt alive. 

In an aqueduct under the railway line about 40 people had taken refuge. They were &ed 
at and bombs were thrown at them. The survivors decided to come out, and the men were 
arrested to be taken to Germany. 

On Monday, 24th August, the Germans arrested the inhabitants of that part of the Grande 
Rue which had been spared the night before. They were imprisoned in the Premonstrant Abbey. 

The few people who risked leaving the houses which were spared by the flames in the other 
districts were either arrested or flred at. Some were killed, in some instances by soldiers firing 
across the Meuse. 

The heights which dominate the town were watched. Of the inhabitants who tried to escape 
by them, some succeeded, others were either arrested or killed. 

Priests and monks, Professors at Belle Vue CoUege, Brothers of the Christian Doctrine and 
Oblates were arrested and interned in a convent at Marche. About mid-September General 
von Longchamp, miUtary governor of the province of Namur, came and released them with 
apologies from the German army ! 

All day on Monday and Tuesday the troops were looting and completing the task of burning the 

Altogether in this town of over 1,400 dwelling-houses and 7,000 inhabitants, from 630 to 650 
were killed, more than 100 of whom were women, children under 15, or old men. Only 300 houses 
remain standing. 


Were any women outraged ? 

Only one circumstance came under my direct notice. A very honourable citizen has stated 
to me that on the pretext of searching for arms they searched under his wife's body linen. 

Dr. X. told me that there were numerous rapes. In his own circle of patients he knew of 
three indisputable cases. 

Looting went on openly. At my house three days in succession men came with carts to remove 
my plate, bedding, of which none remains, furniture, male and female clothing, linen, chimney 
ornaments, a collection of weapons from the Congo, pictures, wines, and even the decorations 
of my grandfather, my father and myseK. The mirrors were broken and the crockery smashed 
to atoms. 

Sixty thousand bottles were stolen from the cellars of M. Pnet, the wine merchant. 

To my own knowledge there is not a single safe in the houses which remain standing which 
has not been forced or does not bear obvious marks of criminal attempts. 

But what good will be served by prolonging this report, by relating the individual misfortunes 
of the number of citizens who have told me their harrowing stories 1 Their general bearing is 
the same, and I have stated enough to prove that murder, arson and robbery were systematically 
organised, and carried out in cold blood, even after the battle was over. 

These crimes were without justification. They were also predetermined. 

I will prove this. 

I. Crimes without justification, (i) The communal authorities had done their duty. They 
pubhshed and placarded a notice calling the attention of the citizens to the necessity of abstaining 
from any attack whatsoever, whether with or without arms, or from any threat towards the 
German soldiers. 

Moreover they had commanded all weapons and ammunition to be deposited at the Town 
Hall. Their directions were scrupulously obeyed by everybody. 

(ii) I mentioned at the beginning of this report the attacks on enemy patrols. I believe 
the list to be complete. If not, the reason is that after the lapse of ten months my memory is at 
fault, but I know that in August I knew every incident of that kind that had occurred in the 
district. On each occasion the enemy was attacked by regulars, either French or Belgian. 

(iii) Did any of the people of Dinant fire at the German troops either on the night of the 21st or 
during the fighting on the 15th and 23rd ? 

A direct answer is manifestly impossible. During the night of the 21st the people were 
asleep. On the 15th and 23rd they were in their cellars. 

But it is highly improbable that people who respected patrols and single horsemen should 
have attacked the enemy when he was in force. 

Moreover many trustworthy persons and I myself questioned a large number of people, 
who all stated not only that they did not fire, but they did not know and had never heard of 
anyone at all who had. The unanimous evidence of a whole population has certainly some 

(iv) Did the Germans catch in the act a single civilian who had fired at them ? Did they 
surprise a single person bearing arms, and were the facts established by a serious inquiry ? Not 
as far as I know. 

But at Dinant an officer was seen trying to hide a revolver which he held in his hand, then 
to put that hand in the coat pocket of M. Pecasse, to draw the revolver out ostentatiously, shew 
it to his men, and have the unhappy victim of this infamous trickery taken away and shot. 

(v) The Germans admit that there were no francs-tireurs at Dinant. 

At Cassel the prison governor said to me : " The military authorities at Berhn are now 
convinced that no one fired at Dinant." Naturally I do not know what enabled him to make 
the statement. 

Second admission. General von Longchamp, military Governor of the Province of Namur, 
speaking to me about the events at Dinant, said these very words to me : " It appears from an 
inquiry I have made that no civiUan fired at Dinant. But there may have been French 
soldiers, disguised as civilians, who fired. And then in the heat of battle sometimes one goes 
further than is necessary. 

I add that I have found no one at Dinant who gave me the smallest indication that this 
hypothesis as to the French soldiers had any foundation whatever. 

II. Premeditation. The immediate and simultaneous attack on the people living on each 
one of the roads by which the German army entered Dinant in itself forms a serious presumption. 
It must be admitted either that orders were given beforehand or that francs-tireurs were acting 
on each and every one of the different points of entry. But no one was firing anywhere. 

Therefore ! , , . ^ . , „ . 

But weighty as this presumption is, it cannot serve as the basis of a categorical affirmation. 
But what a confirmation it offers of the trustworthiness of the evidence which forms the direct 

proof ! 

Many residents in villages occupied before the 23rd August have declared that they were 
told beforehand that Dinant would be destroyed. 

I mention one such piece of evidence because it derives peculiar importance from the 
personality of the narrator on the one hand and from the authority conferred on the author 
of the threats by his rank in the German army on the other hand. 


M. X., of Dinant, at the time of the invasion was in another commune of the district. He 
made the acquaintance of a German ofificer, either a major or a colonel. On the 19th, 20th or 21st 
August (it is my memory that is in fault, for I was given the exact details), this ofificer said to 
M. X., " You belong to Dinant ? Don't go back there. It is a wicked town and will be destroyed." 
At the same time he asked M. X. for information as to his house at Dinant. He went away, but 
returned on the 23rd August, and, taking a statuette from his luggage, shewed it to M. X., saying, 
" Do you recognise this ? " " Yes. It comes from my house ! " " Then I was right. I saved 
your house. It is not burnt." 

These are the facts that I know concerning Dinant. 

I have not sufficient documentary evidence to give a detailed report as to the neighbourhood. 
I have heard many accounts, but as I was afraid of being searched I refrained from taking 
notes. Their discovery would have compromised not only my own safety but also that of my 

The close watch kept upon one in Belgium, moreover, prevented me from making a systematic 
investigation, which alone could have served as a check on the accounts I heard. I can therefore 
only state what I saw myseK and some facts within common knowledge. I moved about the 
arrondissement somewhat and noticed the following : — 

On the road from Dinant to Namm- (right bank of the Meuse), the village of Houx is destroyed. 
Many houses have been destroyed at Yvoir. I went no farther in that direction. Houx 
is the only place between Dinant and Yvoir. From Dinant to Namur by the left bank everywhere 
there are numerous houses burnt down. 

Ciney road. The hamlet of Gemmechenne is almost destroyed. At Sorinnes only the church, 
the chdteau and one farm are left. From thence to Ciney no damage. The same to Marche 
by Caijoux and Haversin. 

I had occasion to go to Vierves, a commune in my arrondissement. I went there by the 
Meuse valley and returned by the hills. 

I mention, without a single omission, all the places passed through or seen during this journey 
of nearly 65 kilometres. 

Waulsort, partly burnt. Fifteen to 20 persons killed, including my secretary, who was 
murdered as he was being expelled from his house. 

Hastiere-par-dela. About a dozen of the 90 houses are standing. Many people shot, including 
Abbe Schloegel, the priest of the place, and Dr. Halloy. 
Hasti^re-Lavaux. One or two houses burnt. 

Hermeton-sur-Meuse. Destroyed. Here, again, some people were killed. Among the 
victims was M. Ponthiere, Professor at the University of Louvain. 
Agimont was uninjured. 

The journey took me into France at Givet, where, save at the barracks and fort, I saw no 
traces of destruction, nor at Viveux either. On re-entering Belgium, I found the station at Treignes 
and the neighbouring houses intact ; the same at Vierves. 
Romedenne is simply a heap of ruins. 
Surice is razed to the ground. People were shot here. 

Rosea and Morville, which can be seen from the road, which does not go through them, 
are partly burnt. 

Anth6e is destroyed. Murder was committed here. 

Gerin, on the left of the road, shews the ruins of houses which were burnt. 
Lastly, practically nothing is left of Onhaye. 

In the Valley of the Lesse, the stations at Gendron and Houyet and the houses near them 
are burnt down. From thence to Rochefort (by rail) the villages are unharmed. 
I made no other journeys in the arrondissement. 

In order to compile this report and to estimate the worth of the evidence of which I have 
made use, I have employed all the prudence that my career as a magistrate for 19 years has 
taught me to be essential. I have made it with all the sincerity of an honest man. 
I present it to you as a work of loyalty and good faith. 

I have the honour to subscribe myself, M. le Ministre, 


Public Prosecutor of Dinant. 

B. Deportation and Detention in Germany of 416 residents of Dinant. 
M. LB Ministre, 

I have the honour to forward you the second part of the report you requested me to make. 

It deals with the deportation to Germany and the detention in the prison of Cassel of 416 
persons who were arrested at Dinant, on the 23rd and 24th August. 

As I was one of the captives I can testify to the accuracy of the details which follow. 

Almost all of us were arrested on the 23rd and taken in the evening to the plateau of 
Herbuchenne on the hiUs of Dinant. We were made to camp out in the open without food or 
drink. We had been in the hands of the Germans since the morning and nothing had been given us. 

Some of the soldiers guarding us said that we would be shot at dawn ; others that we would 
be taken to Goblentz ; others, again, that we would be taken to Marche, where the German Staff 
would decide our fate. 

We were given trusses of straw to lie on, and then silence was ordered. 


When day broke no one was shot, but we were detained. 

Two German officers were in command of the escort. They were unapproachable. Those 
who wished to address them were threatened with revolvers. 

Near me a working man complained to his companions of the hunger that was torturing 
everybody, yet, said he, " I never had so costly a supper as I did last night." " What did you 
eat then ? " "I had three 100 fr. notes, but when they searched us I swallowed them. They 
did not get them ! " 

At last they decided to send some of the prisoners, heavily guarded, to get water at a farm ] 
near by. On their return they told us that they had seen the corpses of the male inhabitants 
of the farm. 

To enable us to drink we were made to coUect empty tins. These were our dri nkin g cups 
as far as Cassel. 

The Captain of the 100th Infantry Regiment, who commanded our escort — of whom I spoke 
in my former report — saw a superb stallion in an enclosed paddock He called it, and when 
the horse came to him, without any reason save the pleasure of evil doing, he killed it at close 
range with his revolver. Shortly afterwards (I did not see it, but many eye-witnesses told me 
about it) he also killed a mare and foal. 

About 10 o'clock we were given a little soup. 

They began to search us again and to take the money some of us had managed to hide 
the night before. These searches were made by the order and under the supervision of the captain, 
who went round, and never ceased threatening us with his revolver. The other officer, a lieutenant 
or sub-Ueutenant, deemed it essential to wave both his arms, a revolver in one hand and a drawn 
sword in the other. 

At last they marched us along the Ciney road. We passed the hamlet of Gemmechenne. 
It was almost completely burned down; then on to Sorinnes, which, save the chateau and a farm, 
was reduced to ashes. 

All along the road troops and wagons were passing or in camps. 

Everyivhere we were subjected to insults and threats. We were told by signs that we were 
going to be shot, to be beheaded, to be hanged. Filth was thrown at our heads. Our faces were 
spat into. Yet we kept oxir heads high. It was not we who were debased by these things. An 
officer who watched us march by struck those passing near him with a whip. Others passed in 
numerous motors, shouting and brandishing revolvers at us. Until we got on to the train the 
same thing occurred whenever we met troops. 

Our captain on horseback stopped from time to time and watched us pass by and sometimes 
addressed us. His conversation was monotonous and wanting in charm : " You are beasts. . . . 
You have behaved like beasts. . . ." 

Halted at Achene. There we found French soldiers prisoners. All intercourse with them 
was forbidden. 

Arrival of another group of prisoners from Dinant. They too had been robbed. 

Second distribution of soup and departure for Conjoux. We had nearly reached the village 
when night fell. For some time we could only converse in whispers. In a damp field a camp 
was arranged under strict watch. We were ranged in a circle four ranks deep. In front and 
behind were numerous sentries. 

We had to lie down closely packed together. We were forbidden to get up or speak on any 
pretext. Those who infringed this order would be shot, we were told. 

About the middle of the night there were heartrending cries of " Help ! Help ! " We 
heard soldiers saying, " He's mad. Don't fire." Then a heavy sound of blows, and the fallj 
of a body. The cries diminished and died away. '-^ 

Next morning about 20 yards from the camp there was a body lying, the hand of which 
was slowly moving. It was one of the prisoners, a poor wretch of weak intellect. His father 
was with us. He was forbidden to go near his son. No attention was given to him and we 
were taken away, leaving him on the ground. He was, however, able to get up and reach Dinant. 

Four children from 12 to 14 years of age, who were arrested when we were, were released. 

After a distribution of a handful of biscuits to each of us, we set off again and were taken to 
Haversinby bye-roads. The order for the journey was : " If you hear shots, lie down. If any- 
one tries to escape he will be shot." 

Instead of surrounding us, as on the evening before, the soldiers marched in file in the middle 
of the prisoners, who were in fours. 

This precaution was due, so we learned later, to the fact that a body of French soldiers was 
still in the neighbourhood. They kept the field for a long time, and then nearly aU succeeded 
in escaping to HoUand in civiUan clothes. 

Cyclists preceded the column and cleared the inhabitants from our road. 

At Haversin only the inhabitants were allowed to give us a little water. 

Many suffered by the march. Some had sabots, but many had only slippers on. These 
were evidently very dangerous francs-tireurs ! 

During a halt a little soup was distributed. 

At last Marche was reached. We had been nine hours on the way. 

There were people in the streets. Those who had friends there tried to see, and especially 
to be seen. They would thus hear of us at Dinant, where our famihes must be devoured by 
anxiety. And they, the women and children, what fate was in store for them ? 



We were crowded into a room, which a notice over the door said would contain 100 soldiers. 
We numbered over 400 ! The Frenchmen were taken elsewhere. 

The inhabitants sent us boots, hats and caps (most of us were bareheaded). They also sent 
us coffee and sandwiches. The German soldiers ate them. 

Our captain appeared. " Those who still have money must hand it over, otherwise triey 
will be shot. You will be searched down to your boots." The soldiers commenced another 
search, but, being tired, soon left off. 

Some had picked up bottles on the way to fill with water if opportunity offered. This 
brought about a fresh visit from our amiable captain. " Drop those bottles. If a man is found 
with a bottle after this he will be shot." 

No word from the Staff. Soldiers were asked if we might speak to an officer. They laughed 
and shrugged their shoulders. The Germans distributed crusts of bread to us. The crowding 
was abominable. Some managed to lie down, but the air there was so foul that they could not 
stay in that position. A companion in misery and I had a chair between us. We were among 
the fortunate ones. It was a relief when late next morning we were taken out of our prison. 
We took the Melreux road. On the way bread was handed round. 

At the station at Melreux we were again counted and changed our guard. It was no 
advantage. A train made up of cattle trucks was in the station. We were hustled, punched 
and kicked into it and locked in. Cattle had been in the carriages before us. The dung had been 
hastily taken away. There were no seats and no straw. 

After two hours waiting three soldiers got into our truck, and we left by the Ambleve fine. 

Each time we stopped we were insulted by the soldiers on guard at the stations. Once 
in Germany it was worse still. If the platform was not on the side where the door was open they 
shut that at once and opened the other. If there were two platforms they opened the doors 
alternately so as the better to rejoice German hearts. We were treated hke animals in a menagerie. 
Officers and soldiers — who were everywhere^ — gave the example to the civil population. The 
women and children were not behindhand with their insults and threatening gestures. 

Our guards were welcomed as if they were doing a heroic deed. 

At one station, I don't know which, we saw a woman cheering from her window. She tore 
open her bodice, shewed her breasts, and made the gesture of offering them to the soldiers. 

The journey lasted 35 hours, during which we were only once given food and drink. Then 
we owed it to the Red Cross. 

During the journey a prisoner who tried to escape from the moving train was killed by a 

About 3 a.m. on the 28th August we alighted at Wilhelmshohe station (Cassel). We were 
lined up, counted, and handed over to a fresh body of soldiers, and we were marched at a rapid 
pace through the streets of the town. Our arrival must have been announced beforehand, for, in 
spite of the early hour, a hostile, insulting, and threatening crowd lined the streets. There were 
women and even children there. 

At the pace we went the old men and the halt could not follow. Their companions held 
them up and dragged them along, while the soldiers stimulated their flagging energies with 
rifle butts. 

We reached the prison and were put into the cells, three or four together. M. Brichet, the 
forest inspector, when he was shut up, wished to take his son (14 or 15 years old) with him. " No 
father with his son," said a gaoler. M. Herbecq, the judge, was also separated from his son 
(16 years old). After two or three days, however, these two boys obtained leave to join their 

Many others were not so fortunate. 

I will not stop to relate the mental suffering that our captivity entailed — suffering 
which resulted from anxiety about our families and our country, and also from the uncertainty 
of the length of our detention, and from our isolation and want of occupation. 

The day but one after our arrival we were taken to the bath and each one was given a pair 
of socks and a shirt. A comb was put in each cell. 

We were made to fill up a form stating our identity. The prison authorities manifested 
their astonishment at seeing the kind of criminals brought to them. The majority were artisans 
and shop-keepers. With them were the Burgomaster of Dinant and a sheriff, professors at the 
Athenaeum, the Receiver -General of Posts, the Forests Inspector, all the gaolers of Dinant (arrested 
at the prison itself with one of their prisoners), advocates, three assistant judges, two judges of 
the Tribunal, the Public Prosecutor and one of his assistants. There was one madman, about 
a dozen boys from 13 to 16 years old, and some old men, one of whom was 81. 

After a week we were assembled in a courtyard and informed that we were not convicted, 
but detained for purposes of pubhc safety and could write home. After another week each one 
was given a postcard. A fortnight later several received a sheet of notepaper and an envelope. 
Towards the end of our detention everyone could write almost as he pleased. It was almost 
useless. About a dozen letters at the outside reached Dinant before our return. It was not 
until mid-October that we could get permission to send to Belgium a list of those detained. Some 
of the letters sent to us reached Cassel. 

[^ Our prison was a very large one. There were 400 or 500 ordinary criminals, including some 
robbers condemned to penal servitude for life. They were under a more favourable regime than 


Our cells, shared by three and four persons, were 27 feet square, and contained about 32 cubic 
yards. They were lighted and ventilated by windows with ground glass panes, placed above 
the height of a man. The upper part could be half lowered to allow fresh air to enter. There 
was also a movable pane. By climbing on a box this pane could be opened, and one could see 
a courtyard of the prison and a little of tlxe country. This was permitted to the ordinary 
criminals, but strictly forbidden to us. 

Our furniture : a radiator, a table, some clothes pegs, a very small cupboard, a box of clothes 
brushes and shoe-brushes, a china mug, a stoneware pitcher, four tin bowls and four spoons, a little 
zinc washing basin, two hand towels, out out of old prison clothes and never renewed, a bucket and 
a chamber. No seat, the frame of an iron bedstead, — of no use as the mattresses were removed — 
and two trusses of straw and four blankets. The straw was soon reduced to powder, but we had 
to wait nearly two months for another supply. 

When we asked for more they put us off. It had been raining ; the peasants had not yet 
threshed their harvest, or there were no horses to bring the straw, &c. More often they simply 
shrugged their shoulders. 

About eight or ten days before we left they put one or two chairs in each cell. 

The ordinary criminals each had a chair and a bed. 

Some ceUs were underground and were lighted by a window on a level with the courtyard. 
They were cold, damp and dark. 

One day a week we were taken to the exercise yard for an hour. Under the guard of soldiers 
with fixed bayonets we walked in single file round the yard. We were forbidden- to walk in 
pairs. Towards the middle of October the number of walks was increased, and made three, 
and then five, every week. They lasted not more than three-quarters of an hour. Except on 
Sundays, the German prisoners went out every day. 

They were all set to work. As for us, at the end of a fortnight or three weeks some of us were 
put to gardening, path-making or washing. The choice of gangs was left to the gaolers. At 
first there seemed some desire to have a rotation, but the gaolers preferred to have the same men 
always, and soon it was always the same men who went. 

Later there was some amelioration ; the tailors and shoemakers were found work. The 
Burgomaster of Dinant and six or seven others peeled potatoes. Towards the end of October 
an attempt was made to find work for a larger number of prisoners. The governor of the prison 
delegated everything concerning us to the CathoUc schoolmaster attached to the prison, and 
he sought to relieve our ennui. The number allowed to work in the yards was increased. We 
were set to make door-mats and to stuff mattresses. I was one of about 30 who made bags. 
The work was done out of the cells. It was a double rehef to escape the feeling of oppression of 
the walls and to have a change of companions. A large number of us could never get leave to go 
out of their cells for a moment or to get any employment of any kind. 

To combat the universal boredom the prisoners made sets of dominoes drawn on paper, packs 
of cards and even chessmen, the pawns being made of bread. They were very tiny, as bread 
was scarce. A few packs of cards were also handed to us. 

The food was quite insufficient. We received each day 450 grammes of sour black bread. 
In the morning a pint of tepid fluid, which may have been coffee. At midday, three-quarters 
of a litre of thick soup and in the evening half a htre of thin soup. Three times we had potatoes, 
never any meat. Turnip and cabbage soup was the usual fare. But after a time the latter kind 
became nauseating and unhealthy. Some of the prisoners were employed in cutting up cabbages 
for sauerkraut. They had to keep the damaged leaves carefully, and it was from those that our 
soup was made twice a week. 

The German prisoners received bacon, herrings and perhaps meat, for once or twice one of us 
found in his soup a piece of meat smaller than a nut. I suppose that these accidents occurred 
through emptying into our soup what was left of that prepared for the Germans. They also 
had enough bread, for at the beginning of our detention they several times threw some to us 
in the yard through the windows of their cells. 

This unlawful distribution was stopped by curtailing the circle of our promenade, and the 
bread no longer reached us. 

In short, we were always hungry. Towards the end of October those of us who had 
acquaintances in Germany were able to receive money. We could then buy bread and sausage. 
Some bought as much as a poimd of bread a day. 

On our return the doctors at Dinant found that several of us had illnesses due to want of 

Tobacco was always forbidden. 

There was a doctor attached to the prison. After some time we were allowed free access 
to him. It was not so at first. 

A man named Croibien was slightly wounded by a bullet in the forearm at Dinant. The 
wound, which received little or no attention during the journey, became inflamed. In spite of 
his sufferings he was refused treatment at Cassel. It was only after some days that he was taken 
to the infirmary. They had to amputate his arm, and he died a day or two later. Neither during 
his life nor after his death were his father and brothers, who were also interned, allowed to see him- 

According to those who went there, the infirmary was a miracle of dirtiness. 


Medicines were given out with extreme parsimony. For example, M. C. asked the doctor 
for an arsenical medicine which he used at Dinant. " Have you any money ? " said the doctor. 
" Yes." " Then you shall have the arsenic," and it cost 2 marks. 

The rehgious services were the only things decently done, save that mass was said on Fridays 
instead of Sundays. 

There was no reason for arresting us. I don't know those which induced them to release us. 

One fine day we were told that we were going. Our return was carried out in four parties. 
The first left on the 18th November. The others left at intervals of a few days. 

It would be unjust not to mention the courage with which every one bore his captivity. 
" Let them keep us as long as they like, provided that they are driven out and that we are masters 
of our own house when we get back," said a workman to me. He thus translated a desire which 
I know we all felt. " Liberty for us, yes, but for our country first of all." 


Public Prosecutor o/ Dinant* 


Criticai. Examination of the Report of the German Miijtaky Commission 

OF Inquiry and of its Appendices. 

Wlien one reads the depositions and extracts from field diaries reproduced, to 
the number of 87, in the " White Book," in order to justify the massacres of Dinant, 
what immediately strikes one is the unanimity with which they assert that the 
German Army was the victim of the most abominable treachery in Dinant and its 

The "story, related in the General Report of the German Mihtary Commission 
and its annexed documents, is not one of isolated shots, not even of an ambush in the 
streets of the town, but of a veritable battle, in which the whole populace were seen 
to take part and large German forces were engaged and held up. The Report 
mentions {inter alia) among the forces concerned in the action the 100th, 101st, 103rd, 
108th, 177th, 178th and 182nd Infantry Regiments, the 11th Jager Battalion, some 
cavalry, the 12th and 48th Field Artillery Regiments, and Engineers belonging to 
the 12th Army Corps (1st Saxon Corps). 

The question arises whether it is possible that the statements contained in these 
documents were dictated by the single motive of saving the reputation of the 
German Army, or whether many of these witnesses, who include a certain number of 
officials and surgeons, a merchant, an engineer, etc., have stated in all sincerity 
what they believed they saw, and repeated what they were told, without any other 
thought than regard for the truth. 

• M. Tschoffen's two reports are printed in full at pp. 86 to 105 of the second volume of Reports 
on the Violation of International Law in Belgium ; Rapports sur la Violation du Droit des Gens en 
Belgique (Berger-Levrault, publishers, Paris-Nancy, 'l915). 

Ihe Note of Mgr. Heylen, Bishop of Namur, of 31st October, 1915, has a special chapter devoted 
to the events at Dinant (see p. 337 of the present volume). 


After analysing these documents and comparing them and looking at the 
reasoning of one in the light of the facts stated in another of them, it may be admitted 
that many of the \vitnesses really believed that they had to deal with francs-tireurs. 
Their minda had been so imbued with the legend that they mahesitatingly attributed 
any occurrence which they could not understand to the intervention oi francs-tireurs. 

The Reconnaissance of the evening of the 2\st August. {Night of the 21 /22 August.) 
The statement of what happened on the evening of the 21st August and the con- 
clusions drawn therefrom form a very striking example of this. 

Wlien the rear ranks of the 2nd Battalion of the 108th Regiment of Saxon 
Fusiliers, which was preceded by a section of Engineers, reached the first houses of 
Dinant, the troops were assailed on all sides ; they were fired at from the houses 
and the hills, in the slopes of which there were caves and vaults (Gewolbe). When 
they tried to enter the houses, they found that the entrances were barricaded. 
Machine guns were posted in a corner house. The houses were set on fire, but there 
is no mention of any civilians being seized with arms in their hands. These are 
the statements in App. C 2. In App. C 3 it is also said that stones were thrown 
at the soldiers and that, when Lieutenant Brink entered the first side street on the 
left, he noticed that it was blocked by wires. An important point ; when the troops 
reached the first houses of the town the public lighting was destroyed. In neither 
of these appended documents is there any mention of francs-tireurs ; and from this 
silence one may safely assume that none were seen. Nor is there any question of 
wounds caused by small shot, although care is taken to mention that the section of the 
Engineers had 15 men slightly, and one man severely, wounded. 

It ]uay be noted that the statements in App. C 2 and C 3 are taken from the 
Journal* of the 108th Infantry Regiment and from that of the 1st Field Company 
of the 12th Battalion of Engineers, and were apparently written on the 22nd 

Rost, a non-commissioned officer of the Army Medical Service, when questioned 
on the 6th March, 1915, six months afterwards, alleged, however, that on the 
21st August, 1914, he saw women's heads behind the men, some of them in shirt 
sleeves, who were firing from the windows (App. C 59). A Reservist of the 108th 
Regiment, Emil Bruno Lange, who was also examined on the 6th March, declared 
that he saw an elderly woman fire from a house, which was lit up by a lamp burning 
in the street (App. C 60). Another man of the same regiment, Vorwieger, also 
stated, on the 6th March, 1915, that he had seen in a house, when he was about 
to enter it, a woman of about 30 years of age, who was standing up, revolver in 
hand, ready to shoot (App. C 61). A Reservist of the 12th Battalion of Engineers, 
Kurt Biichner, examined on the 6th November, 1914, stated that the persons who 
fired were civihans without any mihtary insignia (App. C 4). Lieutenant Brink, 
who was in command of the section of Engineers, stated on the contrary, when 
examined on 20th February, 1915, that he did not see those who fired {Die Schutzen 
habe ich nicht gesehen), but adds that they were certainly not soldiers, because the 
wounded had numerous wounds caused by small shot (App. C 5). Lastly, Dr. 
Kockeritz, while stating, on the 2nd February, 1915, that the inhabitants fired from 
their houses with sporting guns, does not say that he himself saw civihans do so, 
but seems, at least on this point, to be narrating what he had been told (App. C 67). 

We therefore find that the assertions are contradictory. Must reUance be 
placed upon the statements of the war journals,t which were entered a very short 
time, perhaps only a few hours, after these events, or upon isolated depositions, 
which moreover do not agree with one another, obtained long afterwards ? (Accord- 
ing to the German non-commissioned ofdcer Peisker, who was taken prisoner on the 
17th September, 1914, the fire directed at the houses was for preventive purposes, 
see p. 177). 

How could the witnesses have noticed that civihans were concerned, seeing 
that it was pitch dark, the public Ughting having been destroyed when the German 
troops reached the first houses of Dinant ? 

* To be quite exact, these statements are taken from the reports of fighting (Ge/echtsbericht) of 
the two units in question " on the battk at Dinant during the night of the 21st /22nd August, 1914." 
•(■ See note above. 

H, therefore, the German troops making the reconnaissance really met with 
resistance,* they have not been able to ascertain definitely whether the resistance 
came from soldiers or civilians. But the obsession concerning francs-tireurs has so 
powerful an influence on the minds of officers that the "White Book" declares: 
" after this experience it must be admitted that the civilian population also took 
part in the struggle during the later operations" (p. 118). It was with this pre- 
conception that the German Army was to descend upon Dinant on the 23rd August. 

Did French patrols meet the German forces on the night of the 21st August ? 

The " White Book '' recognises the possibility of this, for it states that on that 
day the German troops found the bridge occupied by the enemy (p. 117). The 
French mihtary authorities declare that from the 16th August the French troops 
were putting the town of Dinant into a state of defence, notably on the banks of the 
river, that the bridge itself was barred by wire entanglements, and that on the right 
bank of the Meuse there were some barricades of paving stones and some barbed 
wire entanglements in front of the piles of the bridge and near the church (see p. 167 
of the present volume). But they make no allusion to engagements between French 
patrols and the Germans on this night. The Germans being drunk must have 
fought one another (see p. 168). 

The sequence of presumptions in the minds of the German Commanders.— Wh&t 
did really occur at Dinant, a little town built along the Meuse and lying on both 
banks of the river, united by a fine bridge situated about the middle of the collection 
of houses ? 

A first engagement between the French and German forces took place on the 
15th August ; after succeeding in obtaining a footing on the right bank and even in 
crossing to the left bank, the Germans were in the afternoon driven back to the right 
bank and had also to evacuate the old citadel which dominates the town. They 
halted a few kilometres east of Dinant. 

The Report of the German Military Commission affirms, however, that two days 
later " on the 17th August the enemy retired to the left bank of the Meuse. At 
this time," it continues, " Dinant, Leffe, and Les Rivages (suburbs of Dinant) were 
free of regular enemy troops." 

That is inaccurate ; the Report itself states, a few lines lower down, that a 
German reconnaissance which penetrated to the heart of Dinant during the evening 
of the 21st August found " the bridge occupied by the enemy army " (p. 117). f 

This mistake of the German commanders is of extreme importance, for on it 
is based the argument which incriminates the civilian population. 

This, as we have seen, is the case with regard to the reconnaissance of the 21st 
August. Although the identity of the persons responsible for the firing on that 
night was not established and the Journals of the 108th Regiment and of the 1st 
Company of the 12th Battalion of Engineers refrain from making a formal accusation 
against the population, the Report of the Berlin Military Commission declares that 
after this it was to be expected that the civihan population would also take part 
in the fighting during subsequent operations (p. 118). 

Once on this descent there is no stopping, and prejudice develops all its force. In 
the preparations for defence made by the French Army and observed during the 
reconnaissance of the 21st August, the Report sees the proof that there was a 
premeditated plan ior francs-tireurs. " It was clear," it says, " that this attack of the 
populace on the detachment sent out to reconnoitre (on the 21st) was carried out 
in accordance with a plan, that the people at Dinant were informed of the projected 
operation, and that advantage was taken of dispositions made long before for this 
purpose. The preparation consisted notably in making loopholes, with which a large 
number of houses and walls were provided " (p. 117 of the " White Book "). 

It is presumed without any proof or inquiry that these loopholes were made by the 

* There is no mention of this either in M. Tschoffen's Report (p. 142) or in Mgr. Heylen's note (p. 338). 

t We may also cite the extract, dated 22nd August, 1914, of the War Journal of the " General 
Command " of the 12th Army Corps, where it is stated that by a night attack the 2nd Battalion of the 
108th Fusilier Regiment had, on the night before, near (bei) Dinant, driven the enemy back to the right 
bank of the Meuse (App. C 1). This, no doubt, also refers to the reconnaissance made on the evening 
of the 21st August by that battalion and a section of Engineers. The information seems to be erroneous, 
in this sense at least, that the reconnaissance did not have the result indicated. 


It was with this pre-estabhshed conviction that the Germans on the 23rd August 
again presented themselves in strength at Dinant to force the passage of the jMeuse. 
On that day the French troops were occupjdng the town in the same way as on the 
previous days, holding the left bank strongly and observing the right bank. They 
were posted in the houses, in the gardens which run in terraces up the slope, behind 
walls in which they had made loopholes ; machine guns had been set up in several 
places, in particular so as to command the approaches to the bridge. That part 
of the town built on the right bank had since the 16th August been traversed only by 
patrols, and weak reconnoitring detachments. But on the 22nd August Leffe was the 
scene of a little operation, carried out by a detachment of French engineers under 
the protection of a section of the 273rd. About 1 p.m. this detachment blew up a 
house, opposite the Rue St. Jacques, which prevented the French machine guns from 
enfilading this street in which the Grermans would have to debouch as they came out 
of the citadel. 

The able resistance put up by the French troops on the 23rd August is apparenth^ 
attributed by the German Report mainly to the civilian population of Dinant. To 
read the German account the civilians sustained the combat alone, or practically alone. 

One fact in any case appears from the German version itself, viz., that the 
prejudice, the existence of which in the minds of the German officers after the 17th 
and 21st August is recognised by the Report, coloured the conception which the German 
leaders had formed of the situation even before their arrival at Dinant on the 23rd 
August. From the 17th to the 23rd, the idea oi francs-tireurs had continued to excite the 
already feverish imaginations of the invading troops, and on the 23rd, it would seem 
from the Report, it had become a veritable obsession of the German leaders. It 
may be taken for granted that their orders for that day reflected this obsession. 

If such was the state of mind of the leaders after the 21st August, is it not 
evident that the image of everything that the common soldier saw, or thought he 
saw, on the 23rd vrould be fatally refracted and distorted by this formidable prejudice, 
under the mental oppression of which he was led to the fight ? Imagine this com- 
batant, as the depositions in the " White Book " enable us to see him, coming along 
over-excited by the false alarms of previous reconnaissances, and scared to death 
at the prospect of street fighting in a hostile town, in narrow alleys, shut in between 
the river and the hills, and exposed to the fire of the French guns on the other bank. 
His power of observation while fighting, which his leaders had already concentrated 
upon one form of peril only, must have been wholly merged in his nervous 
excitement and anxiety and reduced to a kind of collective hallucination. 

The authors of the Report are merely consistent with the premisses they have 
enunciated when they hold the entire civilian population of Dinant responsible for 
the acts of war of which their town was the scene. " They fired from the loopholes," 
says the German Report, " in an artful and treacherous manner, so as to be invisible 
from outside." {Se&st unsicMbar nach aussen.) The firearms were not only sporting 
guns and revolvers, but also Belgian machine guns and army rifles. After the affair 
of the evening of the 21st August, wires had been stretched across the streets (p. 122). 

Faced with a defensive scheme of such elaboration, any other commander, who 
reasoned calmly and vdth full mastery of his nerves, would have come to the 
conclusion, at least in the first instance, that this was due to the enemy's regular 
forces. Here it was the exact reverse ; in the fact that the defenders were skilfully 
hidden the German leaders found confirmation of their fixed idea that the civihan 
population was concerned. 

Again prejudice breeds prejudice; in the very perfection of the defensive scheme 
which the assailants encountered, the Report finds proof of the support of the Belgian 
Government (p. 122 of the " White Book "). 

Such is the conclusion at which the MiUtary Commission of Inquiry finally 
arrives by a series of deductions. 

Even if simple soldiers might be excused for allowing themselves to be led 
astray by their obsession concerning francs-tireurs, what must be thought of the 
state of mind of the German leaders ? 

It is to their want of perception and coolness, or rather to their obstinacy in 
insisting, in defiance of all appearances, on attributing to /r-aTics-iirewrs the resistance 
they met with at Dinant that the unhappy people of this town owe their decimation 
(see the deposition of the German soldier prisoner, Breitschneider, at p. 177). 


The question that every unbiassed person will ask is : Up to what point can 
reliance be placed upon the sincerity of the German defence ?* 

The events of the 23rd August.— At the very beginning of the morning of the 23rd 
August, the 178th Infantry Regiment coming down towards the Meuse by the suburb 
of Lfcff e was forced to pass a building, which is sometimes called the Paper Mills and 
sometimes the Factory. 

Several witnesses describe what occurred there. 

Major Franzel, of the 2nd BattaUon of the 178th Infantry Regiment, two 
depositions by whom figure in the " White Book " (App. C 26 and 30), declares 
that they came imder the fire of francs-tireurs in the factory. He ordered it to be 
searched, and, in spite of a minute search, nobody was found there except about a score 
of men in civilian clothes and a few women. He does not mention whether there were 
discovered, either upon them or in the factory, any kind of weapon whatsoever or 
any cartridges, but, as no Belgian or French soldiers were seen near and he does not 
believe that any soldiers would have been able to escape from the building (App. C 
30), the Major, under orders from the Colonel, had all the men who were found inside 
shot (App. C 25). 

Yet it is known that at this date the French still had patrols operating on the 
right bank of the Meuse. 

The first executions were to be followed by sad consequences to others besides 
the victims. Paul Otto Macher, a non-commissioned officer of the 8th Company 
of the 178th Infantry Regiment (App. C 29), when examined on the 14th F'ebruary, 
1915, stated that, on entering Leffe on the morning of the 23rd August, he saw lying 
there the bodies of some civilians who had been killed ; he noticed that the houses 
were shut and the ventilators of the cellars barricaded. Some soldiers told him to 
be on his guard as there had been firing from the houses. Rifle shots were heard ; 
searches were being made in the housesf. Civilians were dragged out, but no weapons 
were found ; at least Macher does not say they were. If it had been so, it is certain, 
having regard to the care of the investigators to demonstrate that the troops were 
attacked by francs-tireurs, that the fact would have been mentioned. 

No material proof is given, and the witness is obliged to base his conviction 
as to the presence of francs-tireurs upon a process of reasoning : " The shots fired 
about 10 p.m. must in my opinion, have been fired by civilians, as our troops were 
already in possession of the left bank." 

This fact is not established. According to the reports of the French military 
authorities (see below p. 167), the Germans who crossed to the left bank on the 23rd 
August were counter-attacked that evening by the reserves of the 1st French Army 
Corps and driven into the Meuse. It was not until the night of the 23rd /24th August 
that the French troops retired to the South. 

In his Note of the 31st October, ] 915, Mgr. Heylen, Bishop of Namur, states that 
there was no street fighting whatever at Dinant, and that no civilian was taken or found 
carrying arms. (See p. 339.) M. Tschoffen in his Report certifies that the people 
unanimously declared that no inhabitant of Dinant fired at the German troops 
(p. 145). 

The Executions of the 24:th and 25th August. The 23rd August was the most 
bloody day, but many civilians were also killed on the 24th and 25th August. To 
justify these outrages, it is suggested that the francs-tireurs did not abandon the 
struggle on the 23rd August, and that during the two days following the German 
columns, and also individuals, were still subjected to sniping from the hills and the 
houses. This, says the Report of the Military Commission of Inquiry, necessitated 
reprisals (p. 121). Inhabitants taken in the act were shot in every part of the town on 
the 24th and 25th August, and on the 24th August some houses of LefEe and St. 
Medard, which were occupied hy francs-tireurs, were bombarded. How are these acts 
of francs-tireurs proved ? 

In the first place, by an extract from the War Journal of the 1st Battalion of the 
19th Field Artillery Regiment, which states that on the 24th August, 1914, the road 

* According to the Report of M. Tschoffen, the Pubhc Prosecutor (see p. 145), and the Note of Mgr. 
Heylen, Bishop of Namur (p. 346), the destruction of Dinant was premeditated. 

f Macher relates that some of these searches were carried out under the direction of Sergeant Schuster. 
In one house, as the door of a cellar was not voluntarily opened by the inmates — at least according to 
Schuster — the latter, instead of breaking the door open with a hatchet, fired a shot through it and 
mortally wounded a woman who had taken refuge there. There is no mention of arms seized in this 
cellar or of arrests of the people found there. 


of the Meuse valley between Dinant and Leffe was not practicable owing to destroyed 
houses, fires, and to the fact that the inhabitants were firing front their houses. These 
last words are printed in spaced letters in the German text (App. C 21). 

This is not a positive statement. The assertion is noted in the Journal on the 
report of a mere reconnaissance ; the battalion itself remained some distance off. 

Something more definite than this was necessary ; the German Report has reaUsed 
this and refers in express terms (p. 121) only to the depositions in App. C 49 and 
50, thus completely ignoring the assertion in the report of the artillery battahon. 
These depositions- are the only ones which relate to the 24th August. In one of 
them, a chaplain on the afternoon of the 24th August, while in a courtyard \vith a 
captain eating a plate of soup, was subjected to several shots (App. C 50) ; the other 
deposition mentions shots coming from several places. These alleged attacks cannot 
have been serious, for the witnesses do not even take the trouble to say whether 
the houses were set on fire ; they only state that two civihans were shot. 

These facts do not really seem to justify — even if they are accurate — the assertion 

in the Report of the battahon of Field Artillery that the road of the Meuse Valley was 

not practicable by reason of firing by inhabitants. How is it possible to believe iu 

firing on the 24th August after the frightful massacres of the day before ? 

* * 

The shooting of hostages at Les Rivages {Rocher Bayard).* Special mention must 

be made of a tragedy of surpassing horror which took place at the suburb of Les 

Rivages (Rocher-Bayard). 

According to the Report of the Berlin Military Commission, German troops, 
in particular the 101st Grenadier Regiment and the 3rd Company of Field Pioneers, 
reached Les Rivages during the afternoon of the 23rd August (p. 120 and App. C 39). 
The building of a bridge over the Meuse was at once begun ; the soldiers at work 
were the target for shots which the German authorities attribute, at least in part, 
to civilians. The material fact is that near the place where the pioneers had begun 
the bridge there was found on the evening of the 23rd August an enormous heap of 
corpses of townsfolk who had been shot. Some of them had a short time before 
been taken as hostages (p. 121). In this heap were found some poor creatures who 
were only wounded, including a httle girl of eight, an aged woman (Deposition of Baron 
von Rochow, Lieutenant of Reserve, App. C 47), a little girl of five, who was 
unwounded, and another little girl of about ten, who had a wound on the lower part 
of the thighf (Deposition of Dr. Petrenz, App. C 51). 

The recognition of this brutal fact by the German authorities does not prevent 
Major Paazig, who apparently shrinks from the horror of such an avowal, from 
declaring that the wounds on the corpses were in some cases very serious and appeared 
to have been caused by artillery fiie. (App. C 49). 

This supposition is quite incorrect, for Dr. Petrenz acknowledges that this butchery 
was the result of an execution carried out by the lOlst Infantry Regiment (App. C 
51), and another witness, Carl Ermisch, Captain of Reserve, says that the hostages 
were shot on the orders of an elderly officer of the 101st Grenadier Regiment, whom 
he does not name (App. C 46). 

The " White Book " has the audacity to justify this abominable execution by 
the military objective (Kriegszweck) to be attained (the rapid crossing to the left 
bank of the Meuse) and by the perilous situation of the troops, who are alleged to have 
been treacherously attacked in the rear by the people (p. 123). This is how the 
Report of the Mihtary Commission of Inquiry deals with the matter : — 

"It is important to bear in mind, when forming an opinion on the attitude of 
the troops of the 12th Army Corps towards the extremely hostile behaviour of the 
civiUan population, who were using most objectionable methods, that the tactical 
object of the 12th Army Corps was to cross the Meuse rapidly and to drive the 
enemy from the left bank of the river. To put an immediate end to the resistance 
of the inhabitants opposing the accomphshment of this object constituted a necessity 
of war {Kriegsnotwendigkeit), and it was necessary to bring it about by all possible 
means. From this point of view alone there is sufficient justification for the bom- 
bardment of the town, which was taking an active part in the combat, the burning 
of houses occupied by francs-tireurs and the shooting of inhabitants taken with weapons 
in their hands. 

* Hostages were shot in several parts of the town. 

t This cannot have been the same child as the one of whom Lieutenant von Rochow speaks, for he 
says that the little girl had a face wound, whilst the one found by Dr. Petrenz was wounded in the 
lower part of the thigh. 


" Moreover, the shooting of hostages, which took place in several parts of the 
town, was also in accordance with the law. The troops fighting in the town were in 
a situation of extreme and pressing danger by reason of the fact that, while under 
the fire of the artillery and machine guns and of the infantry of the regular forces of 
the enemy posted on the left bank of the Meuse, they also at the same time were 
subjected to fire from behind and in flank from the inhabitants. Hostages Avere taken 
to put an end to these operations of francs-tireurs (Franktireurwesen). As the in- 
habitants, in spite of this, continued as before to inflict losses on the troops who were 
fighting, the hostages were executed. Otherwise the taking of hostages would be 
merely an empty threat. Their execution is all the more justifiable in that, owing 
to the general participation of the inhabitants in the fighting, it would have been 
difficult to find any innocent persons. This measure was unavoidable, having regard 
to the miUtary objective (Kriegszweck) to be attained, and the dangers of the situation 
for the troops, who were treacherously attacked in the rear " (p. 123). 

It will be seen that the execution of hostages in a body without any inquiry becomes 
lawful whenever it may assist to accomplish a military objective. It does not seem to 
be established in any way that the shots fired at the pioneers building the bridge were 
fired by civihans. At 6 p.m. on the same day Major Karl Adolph Heinrich von 
Zeschau,* adjutant of the General commanding the 12th Army Corps, arrived at the 
Meuse at Les Rivages, He states that the Grenadiers of the 101st Regiment were in 
order of march and only awaited the completion of the bridge to cross over to the left 
bank. The houses were closed, and all seemed quiet (pp. 120 and 184). Nevertheless 
he inquired whether the houses near by had been searched, and, as this precaution had 
been neglected, it was immediately begun, and a sergeant came and reported to 
the Major that the houses were empty. 

Shortly afterwards, when the bridge was half finished, the Major returned to 
the General to report to him (App. C 45). 

To ensure safety, even before the arrival of Major K. A. H. von Zeschau, the 
Grenadiers had already taken a large number of inhabitants as hostages (p. 121 and 
App. C 39). Moreover, a man, whom the German documents caU the Burgo- 
master of Les Rivages, had come and given an assurance that the inhabitants, who 
were indeed without weapons, meditated no attack on the troops (App. C 43 and 
44, and p. 121). This man, who was not Burgomaster of Les Rivages (for this place 
is not a separate commune), was sent by the German authorities over to the left 
bank of the Meuse " to counsel the people of NefEe to remain quiet " (p. 121). 

But when the German troops reached Les Rivages and began to build the bridge, 
there were still detachments of the French Army on the other bank : the War 
Journal of the 3rd Field Company of Engineers notes this, stating that the enemy 
fire from the left bank at this time was very weak (App. C 39). 

Some time after the work was begun, a violent fusillade began (App. C 39 and 
43). The War Journal of the 101st Grenadier Regiment contains the following 
passage : " The pioneers began to build a bridge over the Meuse ; but violent enemy 
firing coming partly from infantry and partly from the inhabitants of the further bank 
{auf dem jenseitigen Ufer) pierced the pontoons and rendered it impossible to continue 
the construction of the bridge " (App. C 43). 

What does this mean ? Simply that the French troops, who had units and 
patrols on the left bank of the Meuse, slackened their fire at first so as to give the 
workmen confidence (App. C 39), and then began again as soon as the pontoon 
builders became an easy target. 

The report of the 101st Regiment, it is true, adds the statement that inhabitants 
were also firing from the right bank ; but this cannot be reconciled with Major von 
Zeschau's personal observation, with the searches which he caused to be made in the 
houses, or with the fact that the Grenadiers had seized hostages on their arrival at 
Les Rivages. It is only upon hearsay that Von Zeschau reports at the end of his 
deposition (App. C 45) that shortly after his departure shots were fired from some 
houses which were apparently empty. On questions of time alone, several of the 
depositions and reports seem quite irreconcilable with Major K. A. H. von Zeschau's 
personal observation. 

This officer, adjutant of the General in command of the 12th Army Corps, and 
therefore offering special guarantees of intelligence and accuracy in his reports, states 
that when he arrived at Les Rivages at 6 p.m. on the 23rd August, all was quiet. The 
Grenadiers of the 101st Regiment were peacefully waiting to pass over the bridge ; 
and the pontoon men had already half finished their work when Major von Zeschau 

* Not to be confused with Major Arnd Maximilian Ernst von Zeschau (App. C 40). 


left this place, about 6.30 p.m. apparently. He makes not the slightest allusion to 
fighting with civilians having taken place an hour earlier. 

However, the " Wliite Book " adopts the statements of Sergeant (and acting 
officer) Ebert, of the 11th Company of the 101st Regiment, according to whom at 
this very place he and his comrades were at 5 o'clock the object of a violent fusillade, 
shots being fired on all sides (App. C 58)*, and the deposition of Reserve Captain Carl 
Ermisch to the effect that about 4 or 5 o'clock in the afternoon a fairly violent fire 
was directed at the bridge which Avas being built ; Ermisch distinctly observed that 
the firing came from the right bank of the Meuse, in particular from a red house 
near Rocher-Bayard. (App. C 46.) 

How can one accept without distrust these depositions which are formally con- 
tradicted by Major von Zeschau and clearly show that their authors were under 
the influence of their continual dread of francs-tireurs. Captain Ermisch had, in 
fact, noticed, an hour before, that there were no troops in the neighbourhood {Es 
war en weder franzosische noch deutsche Soldaten zu sehen) ; in his opinion, therefore, 
it follows that francs-tireurs must have fired these shots. But it is known that 
French troops were in ambush on the left bank of the stream right opposite Les 
Rivages (App. C 46). 

It is important to set out here the passage from the Report of the Public Prose- 
cutor of Dinant (See Section I. of this Chapter), which relates to the execution of 
hostages near the fioating bridge thrown over the Meuse at Les Rivages by the 
Germans. M. Tschoffen says (p. 144) : — 

" The troops who came by the Froidvau road occupied the ' Penant ' district. 
The inhabitants were arrested when the Germans arrived and kept under observation 
near Rocher-Bayard. The fire of the French having slackened, the Germans began 
to build a bridge. But a few bullets still annoyed them. As they were not numerous 
the Germans came to the conclusion — honestly or otherwise — ^that they were fixed by 
francs-tireurs. They sent M. Bourdon, assistant Registrar of the Tribunal, over to 
the left bank to announce that if the firing continued the inhabitants who were 
prisoners would be executed. He carried out his mission and then re-crossed the 
Meuse, and surrendered, informing the German officers that he had been able to 
satisfy himself that French soldiers alone were firing. A few French bullets still 
came, and then a monstrous thing occurred, which the mind would refuse to believe 
did not witnesses survive to testify to it and did not the gaping wounds of the corpses 
furnish the most irrefutable evidence; the group of prisoners, men, women and 
children, were hustled against a wall and shot ! 

" 80 victims fell at that moment."! 

This account by M. Tschoffen is not only confirmed, but exact details are given 
on a point of capital importance by Private Schonherr, of the 101st Grenadier 
Regiment, who was taken prisoner at Ch^lons-sur-Marne on the 8th September, and 
when examined by the French authorities on the 5th June, 1915, at the dep6t at 
Blaye, made the follo\ving statement : — 

" On the 23rd August we arrived at Dinant and I was detached with the corps 
of pioneers occupied in throwing a bridge ; I did not in consequence pass through 
the town, where a number of houses were on fire. As we were bringing along the 
pontoons and just as we had piled arms so as to be more comfortable, we were fired 
at. A section and an officer were ordered to ascertain where the firing came from. 
They captured some French and Belgian soldiers ; the latter were elderly men. The 
firing could not have been by civilians, as it was volley firing. Near the rock I saw 
a large building where there were collected under military guard 200 women and 
children. Having left Dinant, etc " 

No more than the Belgian magistrate does the German soldier admit that shots 
were fired by civiUans at the soldiers constructing the bridge. Schoenherr is very 
exact : " The firing could not have been by civiUans, as it was volley firing " (See 
the complete deposition of Schonherr, p. 183). 

The officer who gave the order to shoot the hostages at Les Rivages will bear 
a terrible responsibility in history. The German military authorities seem to reahse 
this, for, though it is said in App. C 46 that he was an elderly man, his name, 
contrary to the usual practice, is not mentioned. 

The anxiety to present the German Army as the victim of attacks by francs- 
tireurs and the care to justify at all costs its attitude towards the civilian population 
appear even in the exaggerated character of the defence which certain of the wit- 
nesses un dertake. 

* The results of this violent fusillade were not serious Ebert merely mentions that some pellets 
were lodged in the stock of the rifle of one of his comrades. 

+ Among the victims were M. Bourdon, his wife, one of his sons, and his daughter. 


In this connection the assertions of Major Schhck, commanding the 1st Battalion 
of the 101st Grenadier Regiment, with regard to the events at Les Rivages deserve 
special attention (App. C 44). Is it not with the intention of justifying the slaying 
of women and children that this officer writes on two occasions that men of all ages, 
innumerable {unzdhlige) women, and even ten-year-old girls took part in the struggle ? 
During the street fighting, about a score of inhabitants, including several women, 
who were firing like maniacs and behaving in a particiilarly vile and perfidious 
manner, were shot dead, " so as to defend ourselves against them (says Schlick), and 
also to deter {abschrecken) the inhabitants from committing fresh atrocities." The 
street fighting lasted until night and the burning of the whole district at last put an 
end to the base behaviour of the inhabitants. The Major can swear that the measures 
taken were merely acts of legitimate defence. He adds that the situation of the 
troops, particularly at the place where the bridge was built, deserved the name, 
in the true sense of the word, of a witches' Sabbath (Hexenkessel), performed by an 
army (Heer) of men and female furies ( Weiber) and was as bad as could possibly be 
imagined. Schlick has ever since, in spite of the terrible impressions of this combat, 
admired the calmness of the German soldiers in the presence of such brutes (Bestien), 
and the fact that they never gave way to cruelty even when themselves exposed to the 
worst forms of it. This officer relates that about 100 to 150 men, women, and children 
were taken to the left bank of the Meuse on the first pontoons thrown across the 
stream " as much to prevent them committing fresh crimes as to remove them from 
the fearful combat " (App. C 44). It would appear, though, that at this time 
the left bank was still held by the French, who were attempting by their fire to 
prohibit access to it by the Germans. Major Schlick does not mention that there 
was a single German soldier killed or wounded in the course of this terrible combat. 

* * 

In the suburb of Neffe inhabitants who had taken refuge under an aqueduct were 
fired upon. — Some of the facts related in the " White Book " are explained in the 
most natural manner, without in any way proving the existence of francS'tireurs 

This is the case with regard to the following incident which is related by the 
PubUc Prosecutor of Dinant and also in various depositions inserted in the " White 

The magistrate relates that at Neffe " about 40 people had taken refuge in an 
aqueduct under the railway line. They were fired at and hand grenades were thrown 
at them. The survivors decided to come out, and the men were arrested, to be taken 
!to Germany." 

It was extremely natural that people should take refuge under this aqueduct 
to escape from the fire of the combat, which was about to take place or had already 
begun, between the French and German forces ; Major Arnd Maximilian Ernst von 
Zeschau, a major of the 101st Grenadier Regiment, says in fact that 200 yards away 
his men were fighting the French infantry (App. C 40). 

This major had ten or a dozen shots fired into the aqueduct, on the pretext that 
shots had been fired from this retreat and that arms were found there. 

The explanation of this abominable act must be accepted with great caution, 
when the mild treatment of the survivors is borne in mind. According to orders 
given at Dinant any person whatsoever firing or being taken with weapons was 
to be shot. The haste and levity with which these superior orders were executed, 
especially by the 101st Grenadier Regiment, detachments from which were operating 
in this place, are known. Can it therefore be supposed that civilians found in 
possession of 8 or 10 carbines {karabinerartige Waffen)would have merely been handed 
over by these same Grenadiers to the care of other soldiers ? Moreover, does not the 
mad imprudence of the conduct attributed to these civilians constitute in itself 
an argument in favour of their innocence ? 

Apparently, in order to justify this abominable act, our enemies were driven to 
diminish the horror of it by putting forward, as always, the excuse that these poor 
creatures had behaved as francs-tireurs. 

* * 

Want of coolness on the part of the German troops. — A very characteristic fact, 
which illustrates the morbid nervousness of the German soldiers and the ease with 
which they lost their heads, is related in App. C 14. 

Two corporals of the 12th Company of the 108th Infantry Regiment relate there 
that on the afternoon of the 23rd August some infantry were called to the help of a 


field artillery train which was attacked near the fort of Dinant by eight civihans 
armed with rifles. 

There were, therefore, at least a score of soldiers calling for the assistance of 
infantry to fight eight civilians ! 

Another fact. Lieutenant Schreyer, seeing from the right slope of " Fonds de 
LefEe " some suspicious rascals {verdachtiges Oesindel) on the opposite slope, fired 
at the group without any provocation, simply because these people, seen from 
a distance, appeared to him to be suspicious characters (App. C 26, p. 157). 

Yet another fact, Major-General Francke, commanding the 182nd Infantry 
Regiment, relates that — doubtless on the 23rd August, though the date is not given — 
there was brought to him a man wearing a Red Cross brassard, whom the soldiers for 
some vague and improbable reasons suspected of firing at the German troops. 

This man declared that he was a doctor and had not fired a shot, so the General 
ordered him to attend to the wounded ; as he had nothing with him for this purpose 
the General sent him to find material in a chemist's shop near by. 

When he got there, the doctor tried to escape, and the conclusion they draw from 
this attempt is that the man was a franc-tireur (App. C 16), and only wore the 
Red Cross brassard to enable him under its protection to do harm to the Germans 
with less risk (p. 122 of the " White Book "). 

Is not the conduct of this man explicable if one assumes that he had witnessed 

the acts of the German soldiers and had reason to fear that, as he was under suspicion 

of having fired, he would — as were the hostages of Les Rivages, the people in the 

Factory at Leffe and so many others — be handed over to a firing party ? Having 

failed in his attempt to escape, he was shot out of hand by the corporal and private 

who went to the chemist's shop with him. General Francke, who tells the story, has 

not a single word to say against this act of summary justice. 

* * 

The treatment of old men, women and children. — Certain improbabihties have 
already been noted in the depositions reproduced in the " White Book." There are 
also statements which are directly contrary to clear and indisputable facts. This is 
particularly the case with regard to the treatment meted out to women, children 
and old men, who were spared except where they were taken red-handed or where 
measures of legitimate defence had to be taken against them (p. 123). 

Thus Captain von Montbe makes the general statement that the German troops 
did not ill-treat the people of Dinant (App. C 8). Dr. Sorge, Reserve assistant 
surgeon of the 1st Battalion of the 108th Fusilier Regiment, says that women, old men, 
and children were always spared (App. C 5). Captain Wilke, of the 6th Company of 
the 178th Infantry Regiment, says that he received orders to that effect (App. C 
26). Oswald Gopfert, drummer in the 3rd Battalion of the 178th Infantry Regiment, 
affirms that only the men were shot, and that the women and children were taken 
in safety to a convent (App. C 79). The War Journal of the 100th Grenadier 
Regiment states that the inhabitants without weapons were taken to prison, and 
that the old men, women and children were released (App. C 6). Walter Loser, 
Reserve lieutenant of the 5th Company of the 100th Grenadier Regiment assures us 
that only those civilians who fired at the troops were shot, that the soldiers were 
not guilty of any cruelty, and that they carried, even past rows of burning houses, 
infirm old men and children (App. C 80). Non-commissioned officer Teubner and 
Sergeant Bartsch, both of the Machine Gun Company of the 103rd Infantry Regiment, 
both saved and saw other soldiers save, sometimes at the risk of their fives, men, 
women and children from the cellars of burning houses (App. C 53 and 81). 
George von Liider, Captain of the 2nd BattaUon of the 103rd Infantry Regiment, 
also observed much kindness on the part of the soldiers towards the people of Dinant 
(App. C 85). Severin Schroder, Captain of the 6th Company of the 103rd Infantry 
Regiment, relates that on the night of the 23rd August he caused to be given to some 
civilians, about 150 to 200 in number, including many women and children, who 
had been detained as prisoners in some houses, bread, rice and sausages out of the 
provisions which by his orders his men had gone to take for their own needs from 
some partly destroyed houses (App. C 84). Dr. Marx, chief surgeon of Reserve of 
the 2nd Battalion of the 100th Grenadier Regiment, on the 23rd August attended 
wounded inhabitants of Dinant, and during the whole day noticed no excesses on 
the part of the German soldiers (App. C 87). George Bartusch, sergeant in the 
1st Battalion of the 100th Grenadier Regiment, believes that the ^0 or 100 people 
shot by order of Lieutenant- Colonel Kielmansegg were all men, but he admits the 
possibility that some of the women and children, sheltering behind the wall against 


which the guilty persons were placed, may have been killed either by bullets which 
went through the wall or by the fire of the enemy from the left bank (App. C 10). 
Franz Schlosser, a private in the 10th Company of the 101st Grenadier Regiment, 
asserts that, when he was on the left bank of the Meuse, he saw several women 
fire from a house at himself and his comrades. The houses were searched, and he 
beheves that only women and children were found in them. There is no mention in 
the deposition of arms or ammunition which logically should have been found there. 
However, the houses were set on fire, and the women and children taken away as 
prisoners (App. C 42). Lastly, Lieutenant Lemke, of the 6th Company of the 103rd 
Infantry Regiment, during several days following the burning of Dinant, provided a 
certain number of inhabitants with food and clothing. He specially mentions that he 
had flour served out to the Red Cross hospital set up at Bouvignes. The Burgo- 
master and the " chatelain " of Bouvignes, and also a certain M. van Willmart seem on 
this occasion to have formed a high opinion of Germany* (App. C 83). 

Even admitting that all these witnesses tell the truth, which the statements of 
several German prisoners (see pp. 168-203) make it impossible to do unreservedly, how 
is the considerable number of old men, women and children killed at Dinant on the 
23rd and 24th August to be accounted for ? The list of bodies identified contains the 
names of 71 females, of 34 persons over 70 years of age, and 39 children or young 
persons under 16 years of age, the youngest of whom was 3 weeks old ! 

Who will believe that all these old men, women and children were either caught 
with weapons or were struck by French or German bullets, or, again, that at Les 
Rivages they left the place assigned to them to rejoin the group of male hostages ? 
Were the latter killed with such haste that it was not even noticed that there 
were women and children among them ? (p. 144, para. 5). 

Moreover, even if, particularly after the abominations of the 23rd August, 
German doctors attended to wounded civilians, if food was given to persons detained 
as prisoners, if soldiers behaved properly towards the inhabitants, and if some of 
them even took old men and children out of burning houses, none of this in any 
way lessens the responsibility of the military leaders who ordered the murder of over 
600 persons and the burning of 1,263 houses in this town of 7,700 inhabitants and 
1,653 houses. Those doctors and soldiers who behaved as alleged merely fulfilled the 
most stringent of duties. To mention with such insistence acts so natural as these is 
a clear mark of a disturbed and uneasy conscience. 

TM people of Dinant took no part in the battle. — One is amazed when, considering 
the charges formulated in the " White Book " against the people of Dinant, one 
recalls the statements made to the Public Prosecutor of this town by the German 
Governor of the Province of Namur and by the Governor of Cassel prison. The 
latter said to him : " The military authorities at Berlin are now convinced that no 
one at Dinant took part in the firing." General von Lonchamp stated : "It appears 
from an inquiry that I have made that no civihan fired at Dinant. But there may 
have been French soldiers disguised as civilians who did. And then in the heat of 
battle sometimes one goes further than is necessary." M. Tschoffen adds that he 
found nobody at Dinant to give him the slightest indication that there was any 
foundation at all for the hypothesis as to the French soldiers. 

M. Tschoffen thus states his own personal opinion on the question of the alleged 
participation of the people of Dinant in the fighting ; — 

" Did any of the people of Dinant fire at the German troops, either on the night 
of the 21st August or during the days of fighting between the 15th and the 23rd ? 
A direct answer is manifestly impossible. On the night of the 21st the inhabitants 
were asleep. Between the 15th and the 23rd they were in their cellars. But it is 
highly improbable that people who respected patrols and single horsemen should have 
attacked the enemy when he was in force. Moreover, many trustworthy persons and 
I myself questioned many people who all stated, not only that they did not fire, but 
that they did not know, and had never heard of, anyone who did. The unanimous 
evidence of a whole population has certainly some weight." 

The account of the Belgian magistrate, which is reproduced in full {ante at pp. 142 
et seq.), confirms the statements collected by the Belgian Commission and the English 
Committee of Inquiry on the subject of the events of which Dinant was the scene.f 

* And yet they had witnessed the massacres and burning of Dinant ! 

t Mgr. Heylen, Bishop of Namur, has made similar statements as to the attitude of the people of 
Dinant (see pp. 338 and 339). 


One may be permitted to think that the measured tone of the account which 
M. TschofEen gives, for example, of the events at Les Rivages (Rocher-Bayard), is 
more convincing than the passionate rhetoric of Major Schlick's special pleading.* 

Besides, the communal administration of Dinant on the 6th August, as the 
German miUtary authorities have indeed stated, caused these two notices signed 
by the Burgomaster, M. Defoin, to be posted up. (See also p. 129, note *, the Notice 
of the Governor of the Province of Namur, 7th August, 1914). Their text was as 
follows : — 

" I. Notice to the Inhabitants of the Town of Dinant. 
" Notice is given to the inhabitants, under pain of immediate arrest, that they 
must bring to the Police Office all apparatus for transmitting or receiving messages 
by wireless telegraphy, and all firearms and munitions that they may possess." 

" II. Notice to the Inhabitants. 

" Formal notice is hereby given to the inhabitants that civilians must not attack 
or do any violence by means of firearms or otherwise to the enemy forces. 

" Such attacks are forbidden by International Law and wiU expose the guilty 
parties, and perhaps even the town, to very grave consequences." 

The orders of the communal authorities were strictly carried out and understood 
by the inhabitants, who were already aware of what the German Army had done 
in the towns and villages in the north of the Province of Liege. 


Francs-tireurs fired at a convoy of Belgian prisoners. — Some idea may be formed 
of the power of the dread of francs-tireurs over the mind of German officers from 
the statement of Sub-Lieutenant Lemke that some shots, fired at Dinant-Bouvignes 
one night between the 23rd and 26th August, were fired by francs-tireurs 
(App. C 83). 

There could hardly have been many other German troops at Dinant-Bouvignes 
at the date when this fusillade occurred besides a section of the 6th Company of the 
103rd Infantry Regiment.f There was, on the other hand, a convoy of 3,700 Belgian 
soldiers, prisoners, halted on the railway near Dinant Station. About 3 a.m. shots 
were fired, a panic among the prisoners then followed, and two Belgian soldiers were 
kiUed by sentries. Another Belgian was wounded by small-shot. Can it be supposed 
that Belgian francs-tireurs fired in the darkness at a column of compatriots ? 

Sub-Lieutenant Lemke adds that Belgian officer prisoners and the Burgomaster 
of Bouvignes, to whom he explained the circumstance, expressed themselves in 
severe terms on the subject of francs-tireurs.^ Neither the evidence of the Burgo- 
master of Bouvignes nor that of the Belgian officers is to be found in the " White 

Dr. Petrenz declares that at Dinant he had under treatment a civilian who told 
certain officers of the Grenadier Regiment that he was shot by some francs-tireurs 
because he would not let them hide in his house. The evidence of this civilian does not 
appear in the " White Book " and his name is not given. 

Shots fired from a field hospital. — A large house on the left bank of the Meuse 
had been eqmpped as a Red Cross Hospital. The Geneva flag was flying on the house. 

When the attack of the Germans developed on the 23rd August and they fired 
cannon and machine guns at the left bank, naturally the protection of the wounded 
in this building was considered. The windows were barricaded with mattresses, 
blankets, planks, &c. 

This was enough to justify the assertion that the house, though flying the Red 
Cross flag, had been put into a state of defence. 

Bruno Esche, a non-commissioned officer of the 100th Grenadier Regiment, 
who was on the right bank on the afternoon of the 23rd August, inspected this house 
through his field glasses and noticed the material fact that the openings were blocked. 
He alleges that he also saw loopholes at the height of a man (App. C 70). Esche 

* See p. 221. 

t This section was commanded by Lemke, who, although only a Reserve sub-lieutenant, was, at the 
date he mentions, commandant at Dinant-Bouvignes. The Belgian prisoners certainly did not pass 
through before the night of the 24th August. 

+ According to the Note of Mgr. Heylen, Bishop of Namur, dated 31st August, 1915, the Burgo- 
master of Bouvignes denies Sub-Lieutenant Lemke's statement (see p. 339). 


is certainly mistaken. The supposed loopholes were probably holes made in the 
rooms at the floor level for purposes of ventilation in accordance with the usual 
practice in some parts of Belgium. ^ -d . i. t, . , • .. • 

A Reserve officer of the same regiment, Jirnest Kudoli Pnetzel, had his attention 
attracted by the same building. He examined it, and the sole thing he mentions is 
that the boundary walls of the property* were pierced by loopholes ; he therefore 
concludes that the place was organised for defence (App. C 9). 

One point to be noted is that neither of these officers states that any shots were 

fired from this building. ■ Z+t, ina,u n a- 

However that may be, an officer of the same regiment, the 100th Grenadiers, 
Captain Zeidler, asserts that there was vigorous firing from this building (App. C 
69) • Lauterbach. a non-commissioned officer of the 108th Fusilier Regiment, declares 
that rifle volleys were fired from the hospital (App. C 56). Dr. Kockeritz (App. C 
67) gives similar evidence.! ^ ^ 


Acts of Cruelty. — The Report of the German Military Commission of Inquiry 
as to the events at Dinant states that the fanaticism of the civihan population was 
exhibited in a revolting manner ; soldiers were murdered in their sleep, dead bodies 
were profaned, wounded prisoners were first bound with wire and then burned alive 
(p. 122). This indictment is supported by the depositions given in App. C 56, 
59 61 67, and 73 to 78. It appears to refer to a large number of different acts. 
But as a fact, all these depositions, it seems, merely refer to a Saxon Jiiger found 
burned close to Dinant, near the Sorinnes road, and, perhaps, to another who met 
a similar fate, to one Fusiher who had his eyes gouged out, and, in addition, to some 
German soldiers found dead in a house at Dinant. 

A. The Burnt Saxon Jdger. 

The different observations seem all, or nearly all, to have been made on the 
23rd August near the road from Dinant to Sorinnes, not far from a place where 
a first aid station ( Verbandplatz) liad been established in an isolated property, which is 
passed on the way to Dinant. { Seven of the witnesses, including Dr. Holey 
(App. C 74) belong to the 108th Fusilier Regiment, another to the 12th Field Artillery 
Regiment, which had jointly established this post, and the ninth witness^ Dr. 
Kockeritz, seems to have been attached to the ambulance. 

The atrocities of this kind alleged against the people of Dinant and neighbour- 
hood are thus reduced to the case of a single soldier treated inhumanly by an isolated 
group ; there may have been another similar case, but this is very doubtful, as only 
one of the nine witnesses speaks of a second soldier having been burned, and he again, 
when giving evidence on the 6th March, 1915, relied on hearsay (App. C 69). 

Except one deposition, which is undated, and the date of which cannot be 
deduced, the evidence was taken in February and March, 1915, that is about 
six months after the event. It seems strange that the abominable and quite ex- 
ceptional act or acts in question are not apparently mentioned in the War Journal 
of any of the numerous regiments at Dinant at the time when the soldier or 
soldiers were found burned. There is only the recollection of soldiers, whose 
experiences of six months' warfare are well calculated to impair their accuracy. 
It would have been interesting to learn what the inhabitants of the property 
near which the burned soldier was lying knew about the affair. The "White 
Book " is quite silent on this point. 

However this may be, the observations made by the various witnesses are very 
divergent. One says that only the victim's feet were bound by wire (App. C 56), 
whilst others noticed that both his feet and hands were thus bound together (App. G 75 
and 76), and yet another had observed nothing as to this (App. C 77). One saw the 
soldier lying on his back with his arms outstretched (App. C 61), whilst another 
noticed that his feet and hands were bound to a stake driven into the ground (App. 
C 74), and a third that he was tied to the grating of a furnace (App. C 67) ;§ one 
thought that he had probably been shot (abgeschossen) (App. C 67), whilst another 
thought from the marks that he had been burned ahve (App. C 74). One witness saw 
the body under a heap of burnt straw (App. C 59), whilst another declares that he 

* Die Einjriedungsmauern dieses Gehcmdes hattcn Schiessscharfen. 

fSee Mgr. Heylen's Note (p. 342). ,, ^ 

X Dr. Kockeritz is no doubt mistaken in placing the ambulance to the west of Dinant (App. t- 
59, 67. and 76). 

§ This witness says that the victim was a cavalryjna-"- 


and his comrades threw straw over the body to cover it (App. C. 76). Some say 
that the body was almost entirely consumed (App. C 74 and 75), whilst another 
that only the face was burned (App. C 77). 

Lastly, one witness states, as has been mentioned above, that he saw one Jager 
who had been burned, and had heard that another had been found near Dinant with 
his face burned (App. C 59). 

B. The Fusilier with Eyes Gouged Out. 

One witness says that on the 23rd, the day of the principal engagement, he saw, 
behind the position of the 2nd Section of the 12th Field Artillery Regiment, the body 
of a Fusilier whose eyes had been gouged out (App. T' 78). One may remark that 
this witness. Captain Franz von Lippe, is the only officer of the German Army who 
gives evidence in the " White Book " that he saw a soldier with his eyes gouged 
out. None of the eight other witnesses, mentioned above, noticed anything of the 
sort, nor did any other soldier of the 12th Army Corps concentrated near Dinant. 

C. The Officer and Soldiers Killed while Asleep. 

The only deposition as to this is in App. C 73. 

On the afternoon of the 25th August Emil Erwin Mliller, a Reservist of the 2nd 
Company of the 12th Engineer Battalion (Field Pioneers), found in a house at Dinant 
an oflficer lying dead on the floor with a sofa cushion under his head, while three dead 
soldiers lay at his side. In the next room there were a non-commissioned oflficer and 
five men, also dead. The rifles were in a; corner. 

All these dead men struck the imagination of the witness ; he had the impression 
that they were all killed in their sleep. He bases this impression on the fact that 
they each had a cushion, a haversack or a blanket under their heads. As if, when 
one is wounded and seeking a restful position, it is not quite the most natural thing 
to place under one's head some object, if possible a soft one ! These are the only 
facts which led this soldier, who was accompanied by a non-commissioned oflficer and 
another man, to believe that his comrades were murdered in their sleep. Is it not 
unheard of that accusations so grave should be based on proofs so unconvincing and 
irrelevant ? When the circumstances are examined, one arrives at the conclusion, 
not merely that the accusation is improbable, but that it is quite impossible. The 
facts were observed on the afternoon of the 25th August, that is, after, according to 
the German version, terrible street fighting had occurred at Dinant in which the whole 
fanatical population had joined ; cannon had had to be turned on to the town, which 
had to be set on fire because francs-tireurs were impeding the forward march of the 
infantry (App. C 19). Under these circumstances, or immediately after these events, 
it was that eight men, a non-commissioned officer and an officer went to sleep in two 
rooms, surrounded by hostile and suspected civiHans, without even taking the 
precaution to put one of their number on guard while the others slept. 

Two of the men had their trousers unbuttoned, showing wounds in the 
pit of their stomachs. The wound of one seemed to have been caused by a pointed 
or cutting instrument, the other had a bullet wound in the stomach and a cut on the 
throat. The other soldiers had only bullet wounds, and their clothes were not dis- 
arranged. Mliller, therefore, comes to the conclusion that they were all attacked 
by civilians while they were asleep. Would not these soldiers have waked up while the 
pretended assassins were opening their breeches and would they not have struggled ? 
Were they not awakened by the noise of the shots fired at the other soldiers in the 
room ? Surely, all this enterprise, evidently undertaken by several persons, could 
not have been effected without some noise and without some reason to fear that an 
alarm would be given by one or other of the soldiers ! 

In this deposition one can see the work of imaginations tortured to justify the 
acts of the German troops. The facts can be explained without incriminating the 
civilian population. In the course of the fighting at Dinant men were wounded ; 
they sought a refuge in the houses and settled there as best they could. They found 
cushions and blankets to put under their heads, and used their haversacks for the same 
purpose. A white sheet had even been laid over the oflficer's head and chest. Was 
that the act of assassins in a hurry to be off ? 

Reservist MuUer also noticed several bodies of civiUans lying in the road in front 
of the house. Is there anything wonderful in that, seeing that there were such 
corpses in every street in Dinant ? If it is meant by this to insinuate that these 
civiUans were the assassins of the soldiers found dead inside the house and that they 



had been punished by the German troops, it would have been better to have produced 
depositions from those who were the instruments of justice. Certainly, the authorities 
would not have failed to do so, having regard to the extreme gravity of the offence, 
if such had really been the case. What is the object of formulating this vile in- 
sinuation ? 

Number of Victims of the " Civilians' Warfare " ( Volkskampf) at Dinant. — 
According to the " White Book " the fighting at Dinant was terrible. From all 
the dwelhng houses, and even from the Cathedral tower, a fire was directed at the 
troops so murderous that it was necessary to use artillery to end it (App. C 12) ; 
for instance, two artillery trains were brought into play at Herbuchenne (App. C 
19 and 20). 

There must have been a large number of men wounded in the street fighting, 
the more so as it is alleged that Belgian soldiers in civilian clothes had joined 
the francs-tireurs. 

According to the Report of the Mlitary Commission, the 178th Regiment on 
the 23rd August — the day of a general action — engaged in fighting, which resulted in 
heavy losses {verlustreich), with the people of Lefie (p. 119). App. C 25 and 26, which 
are cited to support this statement, do not, however, do so ; no doubt there is 
a question of seven men killed and a fair number of wounded, but chiefly of many 
executions and shootings of civilians. App. C 30 and 68 also mention the same 
seven men killed. 

How many German soldiers were wounded at Dinant ? Dr. Lange states that 
at 11 p.m. on the 23rd August the number of German soldiers in the dressing station 
of the 2nd Army Medical Company was about 80. Was this, apart from the dead, the 
formidable hecatomb of victims of attacks hj francs-tireurs, so terrible that for several 
days they held a whole Army Corps at bay and rendered it necessary to bombard 
an open town ? Such a supposition would be incorrect, for Dr. Lange does not 
state that the 80 wounded men were all victims of the francs-tireurs, nor does such 
a conclusion follow from the wording of his declaration (App. C 71). 

In the 116 pages of the " White Book " dealing with Dinant there is no total given, 
not even an approximate one, of the number of German soldiers killed at Dinant. 
Nor is there any as to the number of civilians massacred* or houses burned. The 
Report of the Military Commission of Inquiry merely says that a great part of the town 
was burned and destroyed and that many human lives were lost. As has already 
been stated above. Major Schlick, the author of the account of the frightful street 
and house-to-house fighting at Les Rivages, does not mention that any German 
soldier was either killed or wounded during that fighting (App. C 44). The 
Report of the Military Commission of Inquiry which alludes to the same fighting 
(p. 121) is equally discreet. As to Captain Ermisch, who declares that in con- 
sequence of firing by inhabitants at this place the order was given to shoot the 
hostages, he also does not mention whether any German soldiers were hit by the 
bullets of the francs-tireurs (App. C 46). 

* * 


The Mentality of the Leaders. — The mentahty of the German mihtary leaders 
who ordered the fires and massacres of Dinant will remain an insoluble mystery for 
any person who believes in the moral obligations of mankind. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Count Kielmansegg says plainly that, in accordance with 
orders received, he had about 100 male inhabitants shot ; his deposition does not 
contain a single word of regret (App. C 7). Nowhere in any deposition, indeed, 
is there a word which shows that the witnesses felt any repugnance before proceeding 
to the executions, nor any feeling of compassion whatever for the innocent who 
suffered with the " guilty." It seems that the task entrusted to them was an 
entirely natural one or a matter of indifference to them. 

The Report on the events of Dinant drawn up by the Military Commission of 
Inquiry limits itself to a cold declaration (p. 124) that " no doubt it is very regrettable 
that, as a result of the events of the 23rd and 24th August, the flourishing town of 
Dinant with its suburbs was for the most part burned down and destroyed and that 
a great many human lives were lost. If the inhabitants had refrained from 
committing hostile acts, they would have suffered hardly at all in spite of their 
exposed situation." 

* Major Franzel writes in his report, dated 14th February, 1915, that he is unable to state the 
number of civilians shot during the fighting in the streets of Leffe on the 23rd August (App. C 25). 
yhere is a simije^r statement in his deposition of the 17th December, 1914 (App. C 30). 


That the persons responsible for the massacres, in spite of their preconceived 
notions, have some doubt whether the victims did not mclude many poor creatures 
whose guUt could not have been proved at a trial before a Court Martial is expressly 
acknowledged in two places by the Report of the Mihtary Commission in the passage 
cited, above (p. 218). " This alone {ohne weiteres)," says the Report, " is sulBBcient 
justification for the bombardment of the town . . . the burning of houses 
occupied by francs-tireurs, and the shooting of inhabitants taken with weapons in 
their hands." " Alone,'^ that is, without troubling to make any preliminary inquiry. 
It does not shrink also from declaring the shooting of hostages which occurred in 
several parts of the town to be " in accordance with the law," alleging mihtary 
reasons ; it even finds in this execution, not an excuse, but a supplementary 
" justification," by remarking that it would have been difficult to find innocent persons 
" having regard to the general participation of the people in the fighting" (p. 123). 

Captain Wilke (App. C 26, pp. 158-159) states that he acted on the orders, 
repeated formally three times, of his superiors, the Major, the Brigade Commander 
and the Divisional Commander, who all three impressed on him (einscharften) succes- 
sively the order to act without mercy {riicksichtlos). The last, Edler von der Planitz, 
even strongly accentuated this injunction, ordering him " to act with the utmost 
rigour and energy against the iatxyaAical francs-tireurs " {mit der grossten Riichsichtlosig- 
keit und den energischsten Mitteln). Wilke deemed that his task was done when 
about fifty men had been shot. 

Count Kielmansegg, who, we have seen, caused 100 civilians to be shot, neverthe- 
less declares formally that " no transgressions of the orders which he gave were in 
any way reported to him." 

The " White Book " does not contain a word as to the general pillage nor as to 
the burning, house by house, of the town of Dinant.* 

* * 

Statements by German Prisoners. — German prisoners, examined in France, 
have revealed some of the devices to which the officers had recourse in order to rouse 
the fury of the troops against the people of Dinant, and have made known the orders 
given and the means adopted. Some of these examinations are reproduced at 
pp. 175 et seq. of this volume. 

It is sufficient for the present to cite the following : — 

" Certainly I did not myself see the atrocities about which I am telhng you, 
they were described to us by our officers to incite us to distrust the inhabitants." 
(Alfred Jager, private in the 3rd Company of the 103rd Infantry Regiment, see 
p. 193). 

" On the 22nd August the Lieutenant-Colonel of our Regiment had brought in 
front of our regiment a carriage, in which he told us there were two German Sisters 
whose hands had been cut off by civilians. I must confess that I saw the carriage, 
but I did not see the Sisters nor the cut-off hands." (Alfred Delling, private in the 
11th Company of the 103rd Infantry Regiment, see p. 198.) 

" We were ordered to be on our guard, as the 1st Company of the 1st Battalion 
had been attacked, and the captain wounded by a girl. Our captain told us this." 
(Paul Jahn, non-commissioned officer in the 100th Infantry Regiment ; see also 
the evidence of Max Brendel, private in the same Regiment, see pp. 192 and 201.) 

" On the formal orders of General von Elsa, who had said that every time anyone 
was suspected of firing at us we ought to shoot him and burn his house, we went as 
if to parade under the orders of and led by our officers and non-commissioned 
officers." (Arthur Dietrich, private in the 12th Company of the 108th Infantry 
Regiment, see p. 199.) 

" I ought to add that the civilians whom I spoke of were killed in the Square 
by a machine gun." (Rudolf Grimmer, private in the 1st Company of the 108th 
Infantry Regiment, see p. 176.) 

" I know that women and children were taken from the civilian population 
of Dinant by my own regiment and the 182nd, and placed before them during the 
fighting that followed; these hostages fell under the fire of the French. My 
company did not do this." (Johannes Peisker, non-commissioned officer in the 
108th Infantry Regiment, p. 177). 

" Our captain told us officially that because of the cruelties inflicted on the 
German troops all those at whose houses arms were found were to be shot without 
mercy by order of the Kaiser." (Willy Materne, p. 188.) 

* See on this M. Tschoffen's, the PubUc Prosecutor's, Report, p. 143. 


" I do not believe that any civilians fired at our troops at Dinant, but believe it 
was regulars. I found some corpses of French soldiers in the streets." (Emil 
Arnold, private in the 2nd Company of the 108th Infantry Regiment, see p. 202.) 

The accusations formulated against the proceedings of the German. armies could 
not receive more overwhelming confirmation.* 



4 . Information given by the French Military Authorities on the Subject of the Operations 

round Dinant in August, 1914.| 

I. — Operations round Dinant up to 15th August, 1914. 

The French troops sent to the region of Dinant had as their mission " to prevent 
the enemy gaining access to the left bank of the river above Namur, while refraining 
from action on the right bank." 

The French Command was, however, forced by circumstances to throw some 
part of its forces on to the right bank. 

Thus, Hastiere-par-dela, situated on the right bank of the Meuse, south of Dinant, 
was held continuously from the 15th to the 23rd August, 1914, by French troops 
(a company of the 384th Regiment). 

Anseremme, immediately south of Dinant, was attacked on the 15th August at 
the same time as Dinant, but the Germans did not cross the Meuse, and contented 
themselves witli driving back the French advanced guards. After mid-day on the 
15th the French occupation was here limited to the defence of the immediate 
approaches of the bridge and railway station. 

On the side of the French the situation at Dinant at 6 o'clock on the 15th August, 
the day when the Germans attacked, was as follows : Half a battalion of the 148th 
Regiment, one battalion of the 33rd and a machine gun section held, on the right 
bank, the citadel (two companies) and, by simple detached posts, the roads out of 
Dinant towards the suburbs of St. Nicholas and Leffe. The main body of the infantry 
was on the left bank along the canal and near the cemetery. 

On the morning of the 15th, the detachment of the 33rd in the citadel of Dinant 
was attacked, and the whole detachment retired to the left bank by mid-day. 
Parts of two battalions of Saxon Jagers followed them over the bridge of Dinant. 

There remained on the right bank two sections of the 148th only, and they, 
being cut off in the suburbs of Lefife and St. Nicholas, did not recross the river until 
night, by which time the enemy had been driven out of the town by a counter-attack. 

That afternoon the 8th and 73rd Infantry had by a vigorous counter-attack 
driven the Saxons back to the right bank and had re-occupied the citadel (about 
5 p.m.). A squadron of the 6th (mounted) Chasseurs even followed the Germans in 
their retreat on the right bank. 

The 8th and 73rd, after clearing the Germans out of the town, retired during 
the night to the left bank, and contented themselves with occupying the bridge and 
the houses along this bank. 

On that day, therefore, the operations on the right bank were the defence of the 
above mentioned positions in front of Hastiere-par-dela, Anseremme and Dinant, 
and the sending out of infantry and cavalry reconnoitring detachments and patrols. 

* See in particular as to the execution and murder of civilians, depositions Nos. 1 (i), 5, 10, 12, 27 
and 29 ; as to arson, Nos. 1 (ii), 2, .3, 8, 9, 24, 25, 27 and 28 ; as to pillage, Nos. 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 16, 27 
and 28 (pp. 175 to 203). 

t The Report of the Public Prosecutor of Dinant, reproduced at pp. 142 et seq., is a detailed narration 
of the facts. It is the result of the personal investigations of this magistrate and of inquiries which 
he made in Belgium. It is corroborated by the Note of Mgr. Heylen, Bishop of Namur (p. 337). 

The publication of the evidence collected by the Belgian Commission of Inquiry would seem, therefore, 
superfluous. But it is interesting to reproduce a series of documents emanating from the French 
military authorities on the subject of the operations near Dinant in August, 1914, and the evidence of 
German prisoners belonging to the Army Corps which destroyed the town of Dinant. 

X The defence of Dinant was undertaken by the French troops. 


II. — Defence Measures after 15th Augmt, 1914. 

After this time the French no longer held Dinant on the right bank in. permanent 
force, but merely sent out patrols and small reconnoitring detachments. 

The French at once undertook measures for defence against the anticipalL'd 
counter-attack of the Germans. 

After the 16th August, it was the French army that organised Dinant on the 
left bank for defence, in particular by the riverside. 

The bridge itself was closed by wire entanglements ; barricades ^vere built in tiie 
streets running down to the Meuse, and the railway station and the level crossing 
on the Dinant-Onhaye main road were organised for defence. 

The Hotel de la Poste and the houses built along the Meuse were loopholed so as 
to cover the banks of the river, particularly the bridge and its approaches. 

On the right hank, the French confined themselves to building a few barricades 
of paving stones and a few wire barriers in front of the bridge piles and near the 

At Anseremme, before the evacuation of the right bank, which took place on 
the 15th, the French had dug a few trenches and built some barriers across the 
approaches to the bridge. 

At Hastiere, the preparations on the right bank included holes dug across the 
roads and ways coming from the east, some abattis and some wire entanglements ; 
two machine guns were placed on the abutments of the bridge on the left bank. 

North of Dinant, at Bouvignes, the defence had works only on the left bank ; 
only the abutments of the bridge on the right hank were, as at Dinant, protected by 
wire entanglements. 

At Houx, on the right bank, the Belgian engineers had constructed abattis on the 
hill east of the village. 

III. — Rhume of the. Operations after the I5th August, 1914. 

From the 15th to the 22nd there were only insignificant skirmishes. On the 
22nd August the 51st Reserve Division relieved the 1st Army Corps in its task of 
acting as a covering force on the Meuse. 

On the 23rd it was vigorously attacked by the 12th Saxon Army Corps, some 
units of which had crossed to the left bank above Dinant and reached Onhaye. 

They were vigorously counter-attacked in the evening by the reserves of the 
1st Army Corps and driven into the Meuse. 

During the night of the 23rd August the 1st Army Corps and the units attached 
to it had to retire southwards, in obedience to army orders caused by events which 
had occurred further West. 

IV. — Detailed Information as to the Operations from the 22nd to the 24:th August, 1914. 

Hastiere. At daybreak, on the 23rd, two and a half sections of the 348th were 
defending the village of Hastiere-par-dela (right bank), but by 4.30 a.m. had 
fallen back to the left bank. 

The defence of Hastiere-Lavaux, on the left bank, was entrvisted to a company 
of the 208th, supported by a machine gun section. The company was also to ensure 
the destruction of the bridge in certain events, which occurred at 10 a.m. At 1, 
under the protection of some units of the 348th Regiment, it retired to a position on 
the wooded slopes to the east of Insemont where the resistance was prolonged until 
8 p.m. 

North of Hastiere, the Germans had in the morning begun to cross the Meuse near 
Waulsort in small numbers, driving back two sections of the 208th, the one posted 
at Waulsort and the other at the neighbouring lock. 

Anseremme. About 6 p.m. on the 22nd the French Engineers blew up the bridge 
at Anseremme, but the destruction was not complete, and the Germans were able 
on the morning of the 23rd to pass some infantry over to the left bank. Anseremme 
was defended by a company of the 208th, who, seeing themselves outflanked, 
evacuated the place about 3.30 p.m. 

Dinant. After the 16th the part of the town built on the right bank was merely 
patrolled by the French. On the 22nd, however, Leff e was the scene of a minor opera- 
tion carried out by a detachment of French Engineers under the cover of a section of 
the 273rd : a house, opposite Rue St. Jacques, which prevented the French machine 
guns from enfilading this street, by which the Germans had to debouch on their way 
from the citadel, was blown up by this detachment about 1 p.m. 


On the 24th there were no longer any French troops in the Meuse Valley below 

V. — Supplementary Information as to the Conduct of the Germans and the Attitude 

of Belgian Civilians. 

Between the 15th and 23rd August, apart from the attack on Dinant and 
Anseremme on the 15th, the Germans contented themselves with crowning the crests 
on the right bank. 

At night they sent out reconnaissances to the crossings ; detachments came into 
the groups of houses in the valley, in particular at Dinant, Leffe and Houx. Some 
of these detachments were in motors with machine guns. 

During the night of the 16th the Germans sacked Houx, and during the two 
nights following they burned the village ; three of the principal inhabitants were 
hanged in the basement of one of the largest houses. 

Deposition of the French Engineer Captain, detailed to remain at Dinant Bridge 
to blow it up when the order was given. 

The Germans came several times to Dinant (right bank) to requisition flour and 
provisions. They got drunk and ill-treated the inhabitants. (One woman, who 
crossed to the left bank to buy flour, said that the Germans had seized her husband 
as hostage and would shoot him if she did not bring back the flour demanded.) 

During the nigbt of the 21st, a small force of infantry and pioneers, in motors 
armed with machine guns, came along Rue St. Jacques, firing at the inhabitants 
who appeared at their windows, systematically aiming at the first floor of the houses, 
and thereby killing several persons, including a butcher. 

During this exploit the Germans got drunk and fought one another. Next 
morning, there were found in the street two non-commissioned ofiicers' helmets 
bespattered with cerebral matter, some pamphlets on the technical training of pioneers, 
incendiary bombs and explosive bombs. 

These detachments retired rapidly before our patrols and showed no fight. 

At Hastiere, after the evacuation of the village on the right bank by the French 
on the morning of the 23rd, the Germans set nearly all the houses on fire by means 
of incendiary grenades. Some of the inhabitants were burned alive and many others 
shot. Loud cries of children and women were heard during the night by the men 
defending the left bank. 

At the moment when the order was given to blow up the bridge, the Germans 
were preparing to cross, driving some inhabitants in front of them. 

Nowhere did the inhabitants take any part with the French troops in the defence. 

Even the Civic Guards took no part in the fighting. One regiment only notes that 
at Hastiere bridge, but only during the first days, two unarmed Civic Guards were 
added to the guards at the end of the bridge to identify the inhabitants who asked 
to be allowed to cross. 

Deposition of the General Commanding the 5th French Army. 

Having been on the Meuse, at the head' of the 1st Army Corps, from the 11th 
to the 26th August I can make the general statement that I never saw or heard of 
Belgian civihans assisting in the defence of their country. 

In the district where the 1st Army Corps was, the Civic Guards, though regularly 
organised and provided with uniforms, never took part in the fighting, and I had 
to take special measures to free my men from the numerous sightseers who, from the 
1 5th to the 20th August, came on bicycles to see the French fight on the Meuse. 

B. Inquiry made by the French Military Authorities among German prisoners 
belonging to the 12th Army Corps {1st Saxon Corps) as to the crimes committed 

at Dinant by this Corps. 

The town of Dinant was, at the end of August, 1914, sacked by the 12th German 
Army Corps (1st Saxon Corps) under the command of Cavalry General von Elsa. 

Nearly 1,100 men of the 100th, 101st, 102nd, 103rd, 177th, 178th, and 182nd 
Infantry Regiments, 102nd and 103rd Reserve Regiments, 11th, 12th and 13th 
Battalions of Foot Jagers, and the 1st Engineers Battalion, which units constituted 
the 12th Army Corps, were taken prisoners by the French Army, most of them during 
the Battle of the Marne. 


They were examined on oath by members of the mihtary tribunals. Their 
depositions form a voluminous dossier ; they are interesting, as they clearly show 
the system of terrorisation which governed the systematically thought-out devastation 
of the places where the German armies met with military resistance, and also the 
massacres of civilians which took place there. 

Four hundred and fourteen of these prisoners were examined by Lieutenant 
Loustalot, Deputy Prosecuting Counsel of the Court Martial of Bordeaux. M. 
Loustalot, when sending the transcription of the depositions to the Minister of War, 
set out his conclusions in a very complete report. 

Here are the chief passages, followed by some of the statements taken by 
Lieutenant Loustalot* and by some of his colleagues. 

I. — Report on the Inquiry held in pursuance of the Minister's Circular of 
9th April, 1915, in the Prisoners of War Dep6ts of the 18th District, 
ON the Atrocities committed by the 12th Saxon Corps, by Lieutenant 
Loustalot, Deputy Prosecutor of the Court Martial of Bordeaux, 
AND Sergeant Laborderie, Registrar. 

I have the honour to send you herewith the transcript of the 414 statements of 
prisoners of war, which I have taken in the various depots in the 18th District, on the 
atrocities committed by the 12th Saxon Corps. 

I have thought it best to arrange them by regiments, and in each regiment by 
companies, so as to facihtate the study of the facts and the conduct of each unit, and 
when possible to enable the responsibihty incurred by the command of each unit 
to be ascertained. . . , 

To facihtate the investigation I have thought it best to adopt a uniform system 
throughout. Above aU, it seemed to me that my first care must be to keep separate 
as much as possible the men to be examined, as is recommended by the Circular, 
so as to avoid replies being agreed upon. . . , 

Under these conditions I had to appeal to the sincerity and good faith of the 
Saxons who were the subject of this inquiry. The results, though satisfactory, 
might have been better. It is clear that there is too much reticence in the state- 
ments obtained. There has been a great deal of variation due to erasures and 
additions in some of the statements and the refusal of witnesses to sign. In fact, 
in many cases the uneasiness of an accomphce who is afraid that he may accuse 
himself and that he has said too much is evident. Lastly, in many cases again the 
influence of the non-commissioned officer over his men, which still exists after more 
than eight months of imprisonment, is traced in the watchword of silence. " It is 
by speaking too freely that one gets oneself into a fortress," objected one of them 
(Zimmermann, 108th Regiment, 3rd Company, Statement No. 252). " By signing 
my name to this deposition in an enemy country, I am running the risk of being 
court-martiaUed on my return home," declared several others (Statement No. 281). 

Nevertheless, with this reservation, the statements enable one to answer fairly 
satisfactorily the questions which this inquiry was intended to elucidate. By 
getting each man to explain for himself, if need be by the help of a map, the part that 
he took in the war from the day that he left the garrison until the day he was made 
prisoner, I have been able to obtain, not a view of the main points of the campaign 
according to German ideas — which matters very httle to us — but a vast number 
of details, the grouping of which throws a flood of light on the whole of the barbarities 
of the German Army during this period. 

As to the 12th Saxon Corps, which was the sole object of our investigations, 
the culminating point was Dinant, a vision of horror which terrified some of the 
invaders themselves. 

The Atrocities of Dinant. 

Many tongues have been loosed on the atrocities committed at Dinant. Though 
none would consent to accept any part but that of an unimportant onlooker, yet all 
agreed in acknowledging that, after the 23rd August, the town was simply an 
enormous brazier, which shone over the whole district and Ut up the march of the 
troops in the middle of the night. On the foUowing days entire districts continued 
to burn, and Private Degelmann, of the 13th Jager Battahon, tells us that there 

* In the course of his report M. Loustalot refers to a great many of the statements. It is not possible 
to print them all. The names mentioned in the report of the persons making statements which are 
reprinted in this volume are in italics. 


were many houses still burning at tlie end of August (Statement No. 335). " The 
stench from this enormous charnel-house was unbreathable," says Private Baumann 
(Statement No. 328), "and we had to hasten our march, but not without noticing many 
corpses lying on the ground." In fact, the most striking feature of this sad picture 
is, not so much the pillage and destruction of a town given up to sack, as the hecatomb 
of inhabitants of all ages (old men, women and children), whose bodies lay thick on 
the ground, some killed by the bombardment, but many more shot dead by the 
infuriated soldiery. 

As to the number put to death, opinions differ according to the days, and the 
districts which one or the other went through, and also according to the candour 
of the men examined. But it is clear that the corpses were mostly in heaps along 
and at the corners of the streets, and that they were particularly numerous at certain 
places, for instance, along the Meuse and near the cHff that overhangs the town. 

What is most striking is the savagery displayed towards the feeble, defenceless 
people who were among the first victims. Thus one Kiesslich of the i78th (Statement 
No. 297) told us that he had heard that many civilians, men, women and children, 
had been shot. Patzscke, of the 182nd, 2nd Company (Statement No. 333), saw 
many corpses in the streets, including several women, whose bodies were reduced to 
ashes. Mliller, of the 182nd, 12th Company (Statement No. 366), says that he 
saw heaps of corpses in the streets. Schilian, of the 100th (Statement No. 8) saw 
about thirty bodies of civilians near the Rocher. WoUand, of the 100th (Statement 
No. 21), saw the corpses of 25 women and children at the same place. Orosse,* of 
the 177th (Statement No. 280), says that on the 24th he saw near the great rock, 
which still haunts Teutonic imaginations, heaps of corpses in which he discerned 
piled up in confusion the bodies of soldiers, civilians, women and children, who 
had all been shot. A non-commissioned ofificer named Adler, of the 101st (Statement 
No. 51), says that he himself saw 200 to 300 corpses of men, women and children 
heaped together along a wall. Lehmann,-\ of the 103rd (Statement No. 186) 
declares that he saw in the church square about 200 bodies, but, as it was dark, and 
probably also because details might embarrass him, he says that he could not 
tell whether there were women or children among them. Guslet, of the 108th 
(Statem_ent No. 254), while the town was in flames, saw in the streets about 100 
corpses of civilians, some of them by themselves, others in heaps of about ten ; from 
their wounds they appeared to have been shot. 

At Leffe (a suburb of Dinant) a large number of soldiers also saw hundreds of 
corpses. See the depositions of Hanse, of the 178th (Statement No. 320), Arnold,^ 
of the 108th (Statement No. 243), Mader, of the 108th (Statement No. 245), Kaden, 
of the 100th (Statement No. 44), Kressle, of the 108th (Statement No. 269), (children 
and old men killed), Henrich, of the 108th (Statement No. 271), who says that on 
the 27th August there were still corpses in the streets and 200 or 300 civihans were 
still held as prisoners in the town ; and Winck (Statement No. 21), etc. 

We will close our enumeration at this point; it might be made much longer, 
but it is already convincing enough. From all these accounts it is clear that the 
town was delivered up to fire and sword. The better to ensure this, the authorities 
went to the length of telling the men that the people were shooting at the troops 
and cutting off the eai-s of the wounded. (Statement No. 367, Statement of Erlneier, 
182nd Regiment, 10th Company.) . . . 

Now upon which Corps does the responsibility for these unspeakable atrocities 
rest ? Each defends himself from the charge of being concerned, but a comparison 
of the depositions taken permits of an almost absolute identification. 

The 178th, as has already been stated, seems to have taken the leading part in 
these atrocities. We find the 2nd Company (Captain Weiss) taking part in an 
execution on the 23rd August (Kiesshch of the 178th, Statement No. 298) ; the 3rd 
Company (Captain Heidrich) and the 11th Company (Captain Franz), (Statement 
No. 320, Hauf of the 178th, and Statement No. 323, Cadet von Unlaub), who in 
the presence of the witness Hanse of the 178th (whose deposition is No. 320 above 
cited), shot about twenty inhabitants in the suburb of Leffe, who were piled up in a 
heap near the bridge over the Meuse. Several depositions (such as No. 321 ) also relate 
to arson and pillage committed outside Dinant by the 2nd Battalion of this regiment. 

Immediately after the 178th, a special place is due to the 182nd Guards Regiment. 
At the earliest moment an order was issued to this regiment to collect the 

* See p. 195. 
t See p. 191. 
+ See p. 202. 


inhabitants A\itliout distinction of age or sex and send them to the rear (Berthel, 
of the 182nd, Statement No. 332 ; Brunner, Statement No. 336), and wo know what 
that means. Brunner, on his side, has tokl us quite coolly how tliej' broke open the 
doors of houses Avith the butt-ends of their rifles, how they dragged out men, women 
and children, though as a rule these offered no resistance, and how they afterwards 
handed them over to the Grenadiers. . . . " I don't know if they were shot," he 
adds, " for my part, I did not hear any volley fired." The 2nd Company, under 
Captain Kuntze, seems to deserve special mention in this connection. (See State- 
ments Nos. 338, 339, 340, also Statement No. 387, on the barbarous execution of an 
inhabitant by Colonel Francke.) 

The 100th Regiment of Grenadiers, which was also at Dinant when these 
revolting scenes took place, must be that famous regiment of grenadiers referred 
to by one Pahelke (Statement No. 333), when he says: "The Grenadiers had 
passed," and also by the above-mentioned Brunner, when he says that persons 
were handed over to the Grenadiers. Indeed, the non-commissioned Officer Jahn* 
of the 12th Company (Statement 41), declares : " Our regiment received orders 
to collect all the people together and bring them into some houses on the bank of 
the Meuse, near the Grand Rocher ; there were many women and children among 
them. They kept on arriving in groups every minute, about 200 persons in all 
arrived at the convent." And a little further on : " Our captain had ordered us 
to be on our guard, for the 1st Company had been attacked, and the captain had 
been wounded by a young girl of fourteen." He further mentions, in passing, that 
he saw corpses of civilians pell-mell with wounded soldiers, heaped up against the 

The 108th Regiment is perhaps pre-eminent among those units whose ferocity 
throughout the campaign has been most clearly established. . . . 

The 102nd Regiment of the Saxon Guard was also at Dinant (see for its participa- 
tion in the atrocities Statement No. 87, by non-commissioned officer Kramspe, of 
the 102nd, No. 93 by Frode, of the 102nd, and No. 121 by Techier, who acknowledges 
that by order of Captain Krxill, of the 6th Company, the soldiers entered the houses 
and shot the inhabitants suspected of hostility). 

Nevertheless, its share in the cruelties already noted seems from the evidence 
collected during our inquiry to have been less than that of the preceding units. 

The 103rd Regiment was also at Dinant, and also took part in the savage acts 
of the Saxon soldiery (Statement No. 170, by Specht, of the 103rd, 4th Company ; 
Statement No. 186, by Lehmann,-\ of the 103rd, 7th Company ; Statement No. 187, 
by Sturm, of the 103rd, 7th Company, this last relating especially to the proceedings 
of the 6th Company, outside Dinant ; Statement No. 213, by Delluy, of the 108th, 
11th Company). 

The 177th Infantry Regiment appears to have played a very minor part at 
Dinant, where it seems only to have passed through, at least if we can believe the 
statements made by the Saxons who were interrogated, and who, indeed, belonged, 
for the most part, to the Reserve Corps. 

The 101st Regiment of Saxon Grenadiers was also at Dinant on the evening of 
August 23rd, and it seems to have taken an active part in the dreadful incidents that 
occurred there (see the deposition by Schonherr,X of the 101st, 4th Company, State- 
ment No. 49 ; and the deposition by Rossberg, of the 101st, 3rd Company, Statement 
No. 50, on the subject of the corpses of women and children lying in heaps, or scattered 
along the streets, and on the subject of the siege of a house, the inhabitants of which 
were to be executed). See also the deposition of the non-commissioned officer Adler, 
Statement No. 51, already quoted; that of Schiiffer (Statement No. 56) on the 
subject of the sack of the town and various executions of men and women ; the 
deposition of Heberlein (Statement No. 76), which describes the execution of three 
civiUans ; and that of Meissnerl (Statement No. 77), on the subject of the execution 
or arrest of various inhabitants, men, women and children. 

The 12th BattaUon of Foot Jagers was among the vanguard troops, as they 
were within sight of Dinant on August 15th ; but they do not seem to have taken 
part in the dreadful events of August 23rd and 24th. (See as to their activities 
during the campaign Statement No. 389, Hakenbriick ; Statement No. 394; 
Statement No. 396 of Private Miihle, on the subject of the execution of civihans 

* See p. 192. 

t See p. 191. 

t See pp. 157 and 183. 

§ See p, II'O. 


carried out by the Reserve Battalion of the 12th Jagers, which started rather 
late from Freiburg. 

* * 

But though Dinant remains the eternal monument of Saxon barbarity, it would 
be illusory to believe that outside Dinant this cruelty was not manifested with 
equal intensity. There are numerous declarations to show that the road taken by 
the Xllth Corps, from the frontier of Luxemburg to the Marne, and especially up 
to the French frontier, was marked by the corpses of inhabitants, by devastated 
villages and burnt houses (see Statement No. 404, Lankisch, 13th Battalion of 
Jagers, etc.). With the exception of certain individuals belonging to crack 
regiments whose participation in these crimes is only too patent, all the men 
interrogated admit that the villages were burnt entirely, so to speak. The only 
difference between these declarations is that the men belonging to the Reserves 
assert that everything was already destroyed, annihilated, and in ashes when they 
passed (see Bohme, of the 103rd, Statement No. 230), whereas the men of the active 
corps admit that the villages were blazing when they passed through them. " Some 
comrades of the active corps told me," said Bohme, " that a general, whose name 
ends in ki, had ordered the troops who preceded us to ' make a clean sweep of every- 
thing. . . .' I may add that the active corps had passed that way ; we saw as 
we went by that they had done their work well." (Statement No. 230, Id. Jensch, 
of the 182nd Regiment ; Statement No. 330 : " The Pioneers had passed through 
. . . everything was burnt.") 

True, some of the Saxons interrogated try to refer this systematic destruction 
of a hitherto flourishing region to the effects of the bombardment ; others, overcome 
by the evidence, confess that the fires were generally kindled by the Pioneers with 
their special apparatus (in those round or square boxes described by PoUner, State- 
ment No. 202 ; Weigelt, Statement No. 385 ; Dittrich* Statement No. 2), or, again, 
by the artillery which accompanied each unit, and took up its position to destroy 
the villages directly a shot was heard in the neighbourhood. From time to time 
the infantry itself undertook to kindle fires with such combustibles as they found 
on the spot, piling up the furniture in the centre of a room (see Statement No. 56, 
Schaffer ; Statement No. 389, Hakenbriick ; Statement No. 62, Miiller). 

Finally, it would certainly seem, if we can believe the declarations of one Gretschel 
(Statement No. 394), that the first crimes must be attributed to the cavalry patrols, 
which as early as the beginning of the month of August began to notify their 
appearance by deahng death and destruction around them. 

Gretschel, indeed, belongs to the 12th Battalion of Jagers, which seems 
to have been among the first troops which invaded Belgium, since this battahon 
was already just below Dinant on August 15th. Now on this very day he saw a 
burnt village not far from Dinant ; according to him it had been fired by the cavalry, 
and this cavalry was Prussian cavalry (Dragoons, Uhlans and Hussars). It is true 
that other Saxons interrogated blame the Bavarians, whose reputation, they say, 
is well known, for the worst atrocities of this campaign. The truth seems to be 
that there is very little to choose between them in the matter of barbarity and " 
ferocity (see also the manner in which they behaved to mayors and hostages, 
Statements Nos. 328 and 332). 

Throughout the march the executions of civiUans increased in numbers, as 
also the burning and destruction of houses and villages. There are many depositions 
which allude to these occurrences, though nearly all in a timid and embarrassed 
manner, especially when women and children are in question. These inevitable 
reticences are especially noticeable when the witnesses have to explain what became 
of the inhabitants after they were arrested. When pressed, they all give the same 
convenient answer : they were sent to the rear, for the rearguard companies in 
each unit are the ones who have to carry out rigorous measures (see Biebi, 12th 
Jagers, Statement No. 390). CiviUans were sent to them and never reappeared 
(Statement No. 391). Or else, they say, the inhabitants who were made prisoners 
were handed over to the Grenadiers ; taking into account the mildness of these 
latter, the euphemism will deceive no one ! They, too, w^re never seen again ! 

* * 

Such, in their main outlines, are the statements we have been able to gather 
from the lips of the invaders themselves. 

* See p. 200. 


Obliged to admit the reality of the atrocities committed by their troops, though 
they have done their best to minimise them, the intellectuals (those who have 
constituted themselves the champions of German culture in all the depots) have 
their justification ready. In every line of their depositions it reappears, always 
in the same form. It was the inhabitants who began. And each one quotes, 
amplifying or distorting them, the cases favourable to his theory, which have been 
reported to him, or which — ^in very rare instances — he himself witnessed. Both 
are very interesting to study, for German mentality is fully revealed in them. 

In the first place, the collation of their own statements enables us of itself to 
establish the falsity of the system thus evolved. Indeed, I felt bound to ask each 
of the Saxons interrogated the same question bearing on the attitude of the Belgian 
population towards them, in spite of the irksomeness of this repetition ; I asked each 
one of them in particular whether civilians had fired on his company — for this is 
the formation as to the life of which they are best informed — and I have recorded 
their answers in each one of the statements. 

Now the immense majority of the men who gave evidence were obliged to 
admit that the inhabitants behaved in a perfectly correct manner — ^irreproachablj', 
says one witness, in the beginning almost cordially. They declare it was only later, 
from August 22nd, onwards, as they gradually advanced towards Dinant, and more 
especially after the massacres of Dinant, that they found the people excited and openly 
hostile. It was then also that the inhabitants, seized with terror, abandoned their 
houses and fled in every direction, blocking the roads with their pitiful processions. 

All this seems to bear little resemblance to a levee en masse of francs-tireurs ; 
moreover, the Reserve troops, who did not pass through these same districts till 
a little later, confirm this impression of the resignation of the invaded regions, which 
sufficiently proves, if proof were needed, that the hostihty alleged to have been 
shown by the inhabitants from the outset was nothing but a pretext designed to 
mask outrages coldly conceived and ferociously perpetrated. 

Further, among the Saxon soldiers who persist in maintaining that the 
inhabitants were the aggressors, men belonging to the same regiment and the same 
company often give contradictory replies. Whereas some (only a small number 
indeed) assert that civilians fired on their company, although they are generally 
unable to give date and place, for they are above all anxious to avoid precision and 
to escape cross-examination, others declare on oath that nothing of the sort happened. 
The interest of the former in lying is manifest, for they are concerned to minimise 
their collective and often individual crimes at all costs. The second, on the other 
hand, have no sort of interest in speaking as they have done. They are the ones 
most worthy of belief ; moreover, they also appear to be the ones less completely 
subjugated by their non-commissioned officers in the domestic life of the depots. 

But in reality, save in a few exceptional cases,* the story of civilian attacks on 
the troops belongs to the domain of fable. It is easy to become convinced of this 
by reading through the statements of the Saxons who gave evidence, for nearly 
all of them were finally obhged to admit that they had not personally witnessed 
these attacks, but merely repeated rumours spread by their comrades or propagated 
by their officers. 

It is now fully established, as a result of the present inquiry, that this false 
report was throughout invented by the German mihtary authorities for a purpose 
that may be readily divined. . . . 

A certain Gessler, of the 178th Regiment (Statement No. 300) — who was never- 
theless a schoolmaster — declares when they were in Belgian territory, they stiU 
honestly believed that Belgium was their ally. It was, therefore, imperative to excite 
the natural ferocity of the soldiers by arguments calculated to rouse them. Very 
soon rumours of the savage aggressions committed by civihans upon solitary German 
soldiers and stories of mutilations and tortures began to circulate in each regiment, 
by order. " As soon as we arrived in Belgium," says the soldier Hakenbriick 
(Statement No. 389), "our commanders warned us to be on our guard, for the 
inhabitants had fired upon the German troops that preceded us. I must say, 
however, that, as far as I am concerned, no civiUan ever attacked us (12th Battahon 
of Foot Jagers)." 

Soon commanding officers did not stop here. It was reported that entire patrols 
had been massacred. Thus the odious fable of the mutilated patrol of Hussars recounted 

* Not a single incident of the kind has been estabUshed. (See the Reports of the Belgian Commission 
of Inquiry and the protests of the Bishops, Appendix, Documents VI, IX and X, pp. 308, 322 and 349 
[Note of the Belgian Commission of Inquiry]), 


at second hand by one Jdger* of the 103rd Infantry (Statement No. 164), passed 
from mouth to mouth. At this point of our summary we may be allowed to say 
that this invention has been absolutely annihilated by the declaration of one Grosse,-\ 
of the 102nd Army Medical Corps, 1st Company (Statement No. 41 1 ). This ambulance 
orderly, who never left the medical section of the Xllth Corps, affirms that he never 
tended any mutilated soldiers, and never even heard that there had been any 
throughout the campaign. . . . 

It was under the influence of these sanguinary ideas and also of alcohol that 
those unspeakable atrocities were committed, as to which the Saxons who gave 
evidence maintained, for the most part, a discreet silence, but of which we get a 
terrible idea from the depositions of the two Poles, Kurasinski % and Konieczng 
(Statement No. 414). Women burnt ahve, women, leading a child by the hand, 
shot down with revolvers by officers, women thrust through with bayonets by 
the Jagers when they attempted to fly from the furnace that was waiting to 
devour them, etc. It is true that in presence of these atrocities a Saxon proudly 
declared to us that he had helped to rescue a " German " family at Dinant about 
to perish in a burning house (see Statement No. 346). 

Those who committed these atrocities were not, it is true, all Saxons of the 
Xllth Corps, but their crimes at Mons, Louvain and Herve form a worthy pendant 
to the massacres at Dinant, in which the 100th, 102nd, 108th, 178th and 182nd 
Regiments gained an infamous renown for all time. 

Fortunately, although the interested parties were careful not to incriminate 
each other, we know by the itinerary of the troops, the order of their march, the 
names of the superior officers and the commanders of companies, all that is essential 
to fix the responsibilities that weigh upon them. 

The responsibility of the commanders is, in fact, most clearly demonstrated 
by these declarations. Not, indeed, that any soldier or non-commissioned officer 
dreamt for a moment of denouncing the true authors of the crimes of which they 
were but the anonymous and brutal executants. It would show very little knowledge 
of German mentality to imagine that a single one of them, confronted with these 
horrors, felt any revulsion of conscience or any sentiment of revolt against officers 
so unworthy to be leaders. Not one among them had any thought of attacking 
or exposing his officer. But they very naturally excused themselves by pleading 
strict execution of the orders given to them in conformity with what the German 
considers the law of war. Indeed, a little pocket dictionary for the use of non- 
commissioned officers (which we took from one of them in hospital at Rochefort; 
see Statement No. 393), proclaims in a trenchant formula, as an argument admitting 
of no discussion, that every leader of a patrol is entitled to destroy a village and 
shoot the Mayor and the inhabitants on the pretext that there are francs-tireurs 
in the district. The non-commissioned officer draws inspiration from this, and 
the soldier after him. 

The commanders also ordered, and even traced, with their own hands (Statement 
No. 328), the inscriptions chalked on the doors of houses : " Shots were fired from 
here." (We know what this meant for the rearguard companies or the columns 
that were to follow.) Or else : " To be spared ; good people." These were generally 
Germans domiciled in the country or spies who had given information to the 
troops (Statements Nos. 391, 396, 401). 

Another measure ordered by the chiefs v/as organised pillage, which they 
re-christened requisition. In this connection the principle was laid down in masterly 
fashion by officers themselves : Lieutenant Giirlitt, at Boyardville (100th Grenadiers, 
Statement No. 1), Von Rochow, of the 100th Grenadiers, at Aix (Statement No. 35), 
and the Cadet von Larisch, of the 178th Regiment (Statement No. 323). All 
make subtle distinctions between pillage properly so-called and requisitions under 
arms. According to them, only the former is reprehensible, for it is the satisfaction 
of individual instincts in conflict with social order ; thus the pillager who leaves 
the ranks to sack a house with the sole object of satisfying his senses deserves punish- 
ment and will be tied to the post ; but, on the other hand, the officer or the non- 
commissioned officer who, at the head of a few men, armed to the teeth, breaks in 
the doors and windows of a forsaken house (and houses were very soon all abandoned 
by their owners in anticipation of the fate that was in store for those who remained), 
using for this burglar's job the jemmy, Avhich his men carry thrust into their belts, 

* See p. 165 
t See p. 91. 
'I See p. 170. 


who afterwards clears off the provisions from the larder, the linen from the presses, 
the wine from the cellars, in short, everything he may consider necessary for his troops, 
and finally leaves the gutted furniture in the middle of the courtyard, with a van 
for the transport of valuable articles — this person will be exercising a social right 
in all its rigour. Lieutenant von Larisch, moreover, does not hesitate to declare 
deserted houses " the property of the State," and it is in the name of the German 
State (that State he so nobly typifies) that he claims to confiscate the goods of the 
vanquished, which later he will divide among his men. Lieutenant GiirUtt, though 
he does not venture so far as to pronounce them State property, concurs in these 
opinions. He is a doctor of letters, an assistant at the University of Leipzig, the 
son of a learned historian. In all this he remains conscious of his origin, for it is a 
revival in the twentieth century of the ancient booty of his German ancestors. It 
is hardly astonishing that when the legitimacy of collective plunder is thus pro- 
claimed and exalted, the soldiers should no longer trouble themselves much about 
the rights of property, and that a large number of depositions should prove how, 
from Dinant to the Marne, houses were pillaged, doors broken in, cellars plundered, 
and how the roads were strewn with bottles, or with various articles that provoked 
their greed (see Statements Nos. 382, 389, 391, 394, 331, 350, 401, 404, 406, 409, 
carrying off of furniture, provisions, etc. ; No. 199, Futze, 103rd Regiment, 8th 
Company, who declares he saw a wool factory, Avhence the troops had brought the 
wool and the plant into the street, no doubt for the purpose of sending them to the 
rear ; see further. Statements Nos. 413 and 414, where the Poles describe the orgieo 
they Avitnessed). 

The majority of those who make such confessions admit the extent of these 
robberies without any sort of shame. Indeed, are there not houses at long intervals 
on which is written by the hands of the chiefs themselves this paternal recommenda- 
tion : Nicht zu pl/indern (Not to be plundered) ? We can imagine what was the 
fate of those which did not bear this protective inscription. 

But on this point an answer is given by all the men of the Reserve Corps. When 
interrogated as to whether they had seen or shared in scenes of pillage, a number 
of them answered with disarming candour : "It was no longer possible, the active 
corps had been before us." Or again : " Everything had been cleared off, and 
we searched these houses with shattered doors in vain ; there was nothing left to 
take " (Statements Nos. 363 and 383). 

The secondary excuse which many of them attempt to make for their acts 
of pillage belongs to the same order of ideas : " We had been marching day and 
night like machines," said Schuricht (Statement No. 405), " doing from 60 to 70 
kilometres a day," say others ; "hence the commissariat transport had been unable 
to keep up with us, and in the latter part of the time, when we had been without 
bread for three days, and other units had had none for eleven days (see Statement 
No. 138, Ufer, of the 102nd Regiment, 11th Company), we were obliged to get food 
as best we could. In some cases numbers of us had to dig up beetroot and other 
vegetables in the field. Necessity has no law" (Statements Nos. 381 and 383). 

It seems true, indeed, that just when the great battle of the Marne was about 
to take place, the German troops, exhausted by prolonged effort, were disorganised 
as regards the carriage of supplies from the base. Their medical and ambulance 
services seem Hkewise to have acquired an evil celebrity among their own troops 
at this period. We have only to turn to the complaints of prisoners still under 
treatment at the infirmary of Saint-Martin-de-Re to recognise the shameless neglect 
of which they were the victims on the part of the staff of their ambulances, and 
to understand the debt of gratitude they declare they owe to the French Medical 
Service which saved them (Statement No. 169, Possell, of the 103rd Regiment ; 
Statement No. 202, PoUner, of the 103rd Regiment). 

Bordeaux, June 16th, 1915. 

(Signed) J. Loustalot, 

Lieutenant, Deputy Prosecutor. 

II. — Statements. 

No. 1. 

March 15th of the year nineteen hundred and fifteen. 

We, Andre Robert, Inspector of Mobile Police attached to the General Control 
of judicial inquiry (Directory of PubHc Safety), Paris, Judicial Police Officer and 
Assistant to the Pubhc Prosecutor of the Republic ; 


Acting under instructions from the Minister for War, given in Paris on the 
4th of March current, 

Proceeded on that day to Toulouse, where, assisted by M. Leplant, mihtary inter- 
preter to the Idth Regiment of Infantry, after he had solemnly sworn to translate 
questions and answers faithfully, we took the depositions of the German military 
prisoners hereafter named : — 

1. Grimmer, Rudolf, born March 19th, 1893, at Potschappel (Saxony), son 
of the late Heinrich and Paidine Pf orter ; bachelor, commercial clerk : 

I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I am 
a private of the active army in the 108th Infantry Regiment, 1st Company, 
garrisoned at Dresden. I was made prisoner on September 11th at Sommepuis, 
after having taken part in several fights in the north. 

Interrogated : My regiment entered Dinant on August 23rd about 5 a.m. ; we 
remained there on that Sunday until about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, at which 
hour my regiment took up its position on a height overlooking the town. 

We had received orders to kill any civilians who fired at us, but as a fact I and 
the other men of my regiment fired at all the civilians we found in the houses from 
which it was supposed a shot had been fired ; thus we killed women and even children. 
We did not do it wantonly, but we had been ordered to act in this way by our superior 
officers, and there is not a soldier in the active army who would dare to contravene 
an order emanating, like this, from the Higher Command. My company did not 
kill more than thirty civilians under the conditions I have described. My company 
did not receive orders to fire upon a group of civilians collected together to be shot, 
but on that August 23rd I saw heaped up on one side of a little square at Dinant 
a group of corpses, containing the bodies of about sixty civihans, among them 
several women and young children, who had been shot in a mass ; I cannot say 
whether this fusillade was the work of my regiment ; the 182nd Infantry Regiment 
and the 100th Grenadiers were at Dinant at the same time with us. I must add 
that the civilians I have just mentioned were killed in the square by a machine gun. 
Orders to fire upon all the civilians were given by the commandant of our company, 
Captain Baron von Schaumberg. . 

The above was read over to the witness, who confirms it and signs it together 
with us. 

Inspector of Mobile Police, 

Henri Leplant. A. Robert, 

Rudolf Grimmer. 

2. Lehmann, Walter, born January 23rd, 1891, at Buhlau, son of Arno and 
Ida Gottlober ; bachelor, schoolmaster at Freiburg (Saxony) : 

I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

I am a non-commissioned officer of the active army in the 182nd Infantry 
Regiment. I was taken prisoner at Letre. 

Interrogated : We entered Dinant on the morning of August 23rd, and we 
were told off in parties to make perquisitions in the houses of the town and find 
any weapons that might be concealed in them. We had orders to kill any civihans 
who should threaten us. My party did not kill any civilians. I did not see any 
civilians shot at Dinant. On the Sunday morning my captain, Adler, transmitted 
to me an order from the Higher Command to set fire to the houses in the town. To 
be quite exact, this order was given me by Lieutenant Hartung, who received it 
from the captain. I was obliged to obey, and accompanied by eight men, I set 
fire to an entire quarter. We entered the houses and set fire with matches to the 
curtains and everything specially combustible. 

The above was read over to the witness, who confirmed it, but did not sign, 
with us, declaring he did not wish to. 

Inspector of Mobile Police, 

Henri Leplant. A. Robert. 

After again swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the 
truth, Lehmann asked to add : — 

I expressed myself badly ; perhaps some of the soldiers of my party did kill 
civihans, but not to my knowledge. 


Further, at the time when the houses were set on fire, I was detailed to keep 
guard outside, while another party kindled the fires inside. I only saw one house 
set on fire. 

The above was read over to the witness, who confirms it, and signs together 
with us. 

Inspector of Mobile Police, 
Walter Lehmann. A. Robert 

Henri Lbplant. 

3. Peisker, Johannes, born June 11th, 1895, at Grossportau, (Saxony), son of 
Paul and Anna Peisker ; bachelor, gardener : 

I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

I am a non-commissioned officer of the active army in the 108th Infantry Regi- 
ment, 7th Company. I was taken prisoner on September 17th at La Ville-au-Bois. 

Interrogated : We entered Dinant on August 21st about 9 p.m., and we fired 
at the windows of the houses to protect ourselves from the enemies who might have 
been hidden there. At 11 p.m. we fell back upon the environs of the town, where 
we stayed all the following day. We re-entered Dinant on Sunday, August 23rd, 
about 10 in the morning. Orders were given to all the companies of my regiment 
to kill the civilians. This order was transmitted to me by Lieutenant Harich. My 
company had no occasion to obey this order, for it was specially told off to cover 
the artillery. I saw in several parts of the town that day groups of civihans who 
had been shot. There were women and children among them, but I cannot tell 
you which of the companies of my regiment carried out these executions. The 
whole of my regiment had received orders from Major Kirchbach to set fire to all 
the houses of Dinant. The order was obeyed, but my company took no part in the 
business, for the reasons stated above. 

Interrogated : I know that women and children from among the civil population 
of Dinant were taken prisoners by my regiment and the 182nd Infantry Regiment, 
who placed them in front of themselves in the fighting that followed ; these hostages 
were killed by French bullets. My company did not adopt this method. 

The above was read over to the witness, who confirms it and signs it with us. 

Inspector of Mobile Police, 
Johannes Peisker. A. Robert. 

Henri Leplant. 

4 Breitschneider, Ewald, born October 26th, 1891, at Kleinthimmiger (Saxony), 
son of Ernest and Theresa Winkler ; married, tramway ticket clerk at Dresden, 
father of one child : 

I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

I am a Reservist of the 108th Infantry Regiment, 5tli Company. I was taken 
prisoner near Chalons on September 11th. 

Interrogated : On Friday, August 21st last, in the evening, our Lieutenant 
SchultZj acting in place of our company commander, who was wounded, informed 
us that our orders were to massacre all civihans in Dinant. This was an Army 
Corps order. My company only came to Dinant on Monday, August 24th, when 
everything had already been burnt. I saw in the streets of the town civihans who 
had been shot, and in particular a heap of about 90 corpses on one side of the square. 
I cannot tell you who carried out these executions. I know that the 178th, 108th, 
and 182nd Infantry Regiments and the 100th Grenadiers were at Dinant at the 


The above was read over to the witness, who confirms it and signs it with us. 

Inspector of Mobile Police, 

Henri Leplant. A. Robert. 

Ewald Breitschneider. 

No. 2. 

Interrogatory under oath, on May 7th, 1915, by M. Cruveille, Captain, Prose- 
cuting Counsel to the Court-Martial of the 16th Army Corps District, assisted by the 
Territorial Mazot, registrar's clerk to the said Court, of Philipp, Emil, German prisoner 
at Cette (Herault), aged twenty-six, married, chimney repairer, living at Gross- 


Roehrsdorf (Saxony), who deposed as follows through the medium of Corporal Fer- 
nand Dorion, aged twenty-eight, of the 9th Artillery, Interpreter of the German 
language at the depot for prisoners of war at Cette (H6rault), who has taken the oath 
prescribed by Article 332 of the Code of Criminal Instruction, that he will faithfully 
translate the speeches to be transmitted between persons speaking different languages : 

I belong to the 12th Company of the 101st Infantry Regiment of the Saxon 
Reserve, Colonel Meister, Captain Hauth. I am a soldier of the first class. 

Q. — Tell us on what date you entered Belgium, on what date you subsequently 
entered France, and what itinerary you followed ? 

A. — We entered Belgium about August 20th by Ulfflingen and Marche. We 
made our way towards France by roads I do not know and caimot indicate ; finally, 
we crossed the frontier at Rethel at the end of August, or the beginning of September. 
Wounded on September 7th, I was made prisoner on the 13th at Mourmelon. 

Q. — Did you not notice that both in Belgium and France the majority of the 
villages, towns and farms had been burnt or destroyed ? Why were those fires 
kindled, and did you help to light them ? 

A. — Dinant was completely burnt out. We passed through the town very 
quickly, because the ruined houses were a constant danger to the soldiers. In the other 
districts we passed through, the spectacle presented was much the same : everything 
was in ruins, and everything had been burnt by the troops who had passed before 
us. The doors of the houses were broken in. I cannot say why or how these fires 
had been kindled ; I supposed it was by artillery fire. 

Q. — Had you not received orders to burn everything and to set fire to all the 
houses from which shots had been fired, or appeared to have been fired, at the troops ? 

A. — We had received no general orders to burn the houses, but it was often 
done. On the other hand, we had official orders to burn all the houses if a shot 
were fired from any one of them at the troops. At the beginning of September, 
in the first days of the month, the 3rd Battalion of my regiment, 9th, 10th, 11th 
and 12th Companies, had been sent out to reconnoitre. The 9th Company was 
scouting. When they arrived in a certain village a shot, and indeed several shots, 
were fired at them ; they fell back, and the officer in command of the detachment 
brought forward the artillery, which fired incendiary bombs and destroyed the 
village, till there was nothing of it left. Not one of the inhabitants reappeared. 

Q. — Were not houses pillaged, and were you not present at, and did you not 
participate in scenes of pillage ? 

A. — We were forbidden to go into the houses. I do not know what was done 
in other regiments, or even in my own. I neither was present at nor did I participate 
in any scene of pillage. 

Q. — Did you not receive orders to treat the civil population with the utmost 
severity, and were you not present at executions or shootings of civilians ? 

A. — We received no orders to this effect, and I did not see any civilians shot. 
The day we entered France we took away with us a priest and an old man. We 
kept them two days, then we handed them over to another company, and I do not 
know what became of them. 

Q. — Were you not ordered to finish off the wounded ? 

A. — No. We were only cautioned to be careful, because sometimes the 
wounded fibred at us. 

Q. Do you not know that women and children were tortured and martyred ? 

A. — Passing through Dinant I saw in a street a woman who had been killed 
and whose face was all battered. The same day I saw the corpse of a woman on 
a staircase. Just as we crossed the frontier I saw an officer who, on the grounds 
that a shot had been fired, climbed up to a window and killed an elderly man who 
was standing near it by firing his revolver at him. 

Q. — At Mourmelon did you not hear some of your comrades who were prisoners 
like yourself stating that they had fired or robbed houses, maltreated women and 
mutilated children ? Did they not also say that they had finished off the wounded ? 

A.— No. 

The above having been read over and translated by the Interpreter, the present 
report was signed by us, the Registrar, the Interpreter and the witness, who 
declared that his answers had been faithfully transcribed, that they contained the 
truth, and that he confirmed them. 

J. Mazot, F. Dorion, Emil Philipp, Cruveill^. 


No. 3. 

Interrogatory under oath, on April 30th, 1916, by M. Cruveille, Captain, Prose- 
cuting Counsel to the Court-Martial of the 16th Army Corps District, of one Walther, 
Arthur, German prisoner of war, aged twenty-nine, married, hotel waiter, domiciled at 
Dresden, who deposed as follows : — • 

I belong to the 6th Company of the 101st Infantry Regiment of the Saxon 

Q. — At what date did you enter Belgium first, and subsequently France, and 
what itinerary did you follow ? 

A. — We entered Belgium on the 17th or 18th of August ; we did not go through 
either Dinant or Namur, and we marched very rapidly through Belgium to reach 
the French frontier, which we passed by crossing the Meuse on August 28th. I 
do not know where we passed. I made some notes in my diary, which was taken 
from me when I was captured at Chalons on September 26th. 

Q. — Did you not take part in executions, pillage, the destruction or the burning 
of buildings ? did you not receive orders on these points from your commanders ? 
If so, tell us the names of these officers, and the nature of the orders that were 
given you. 

A. — ^No executions were ordered by the officers of my regiment, and not a single 
civiUan was shot by us. I do not know if any were shot by other regiments. Nor 
do I know more concerning the women and children. No order was ever given 
to us about the wounded, and, as far as I know, they were not finished off. 

Though I cannot give you any information as to the matters of which you 
have just spoken, I can declare, on the other hand, that in all the villages through 
which I passed with my regiment all the houses had been burnt or were stUl burning. 
These fires had been kindled by the troops which had preceded us, and, in my opinion, 
quite without reason, for there were no signs of destruction by artillery, and there 
seemed to have been no fighting in the neighbourhood. Wherever v/e passed every- 
thing had been cleared out, and I never entered any house. 

Q. — Then you know nothing, you saw nothing, and heard nothing said ? You 
do not know that houses were sacked, that men, women and children were put to 
death, that the wounded were finished off ? It is not possible that you can be 
telling the truth. 

A. — I did not concern myself with anything ; we marched very rapidly, and 
I never fired a single shot throughout the campaign. The only thing I did note 
was that all the fires had been kindled by troops who preceded us. 

The above having been read over to the witness, he declared that it contained 
the truth, confirmed it and signed it together with us, the Interpreter and the 

J. Mazot. G. Pringue. D. Cruveillp:. Arthur Walther. 

No. 4. 

Interrogatory under oath, on May 20th, 1915, by M. Laurent, Captain, Prose- 
cuting Counsel of the Court-Martial of Algiers, of Tschame, Hermann, a Saxon, made 
prisoner near Chalons-siir-Marne on September 11th, 1914, private of the Landwehr : 
in the 103rd Infantry Regiment of Saxon Reserve, 2nd Battalion, 8th Company, bom "j 
May 13th, 1884, at Kottmarsdorf (Saxony), baker, bachelor. 

Interrogated : At Mariembourg, some houses were fired by order of the Captain, 
because, it seems, civilians had fired upon us. Moreover, subsequently I often 
saw heaps of civilians who had been shot. 

Interrogated : We who came on behind the others saw these heaps everywhere. 

Interrogated : I never saw any shots fired at us, but I saw civilians shot, and 
I myseK received orders to burn some houses at Mariembourg. 

Interrogated: In Belgium I saw there were often women among the dead 

bodies, .„ , 

Interrogated : At Sommesous and at Sommepy I was present at the pillage ot 
houses. Indeed, it was my Colonel, Freiherr von Ompteda, who had given orders 
for the pillage. Further, this was what happened. The troops would take possession 
of a town and pursue the enemy ; then, when the Reserves arrived, they piUaged the 
houses, taking Unen, silver, jewellery, provisions, drink, etc. I saw all this. Nay, 



more ; when they pillaged they piled the goods in heaps ; the adjutants made a 
selection from these, keeping the best for the Colonel and the Major, and others for 
the other officers. 

Interrogated : I also noticed that many of my comrades, when they came back 
from the battlefield, brought with them objects they had stolen from the dead and 
the wounded. These men belonged to my regiment. 

Interrogated : How can I give you the name of any particular officer ? All of 
them — I do not hesitate to say so — profited by the pillage they prescribed. 

The above having been read over to the witness, he confirms it and signs with 
the Interpreter and the Registrar. 

Laurent. Chagot. Pluhb. Hermann Tschaene. 

Session of May 22nd. 

Interrogatory under oath of Eichhorn, Paul, Saxon, taken prisoner near Tahure, 
March 6th, 1915, a private of the Landwehr, in the 101st Infantry Regiment of the 
Saxon Reserve, born April 29th, 1883, at Klein-Scherma (Saxony). 

Interrogated : I often heard it said that the officers sent home boxes, valises and 
large trunks full of valuables regularly. It is true that I never saw what was in 
these boxes, but the orderlies who took them to the station told me so. Such 
incidents took place more especially at Moronvillers, but it was above all at Dinant 
and Rethel that these parcels were despatched. The officers often had leave when 
they were at the front. They spent this leave in the chateaux at the rear of the 
army. And it was during these holidays and their sojourn in the chateaux that 
they made their little profits. 

Interrogated : I have nothing more to tell you. The first troops who entered 
France committed such depredations that we Reservists were strictly forbidden 
to sack and steal. These injunctions were superfluous, however, for there was 
nothing left, everything was devastated. 

The above having been read over to the witness, he confirms it and signs with 
the Registrar and the Interpreter. 

Laurent. Chagot. Pluhr. Paul Robert Eichhorn. 

No. 5. 

Interrogatory under oath, on April 22nd, 1916, by M. Gavillot, Lieutenant, 
Deputy Prosecutor to the Court-Martial of the 12th Army Corps District, of Tietze, 
Richard, who deposed as follows : — 

Surname and Christian name : Tietze, Richard. 

Age : 35 years ; condition : married. May 3rd, 1914, at Kamenz. 

Profession : soldier. 

Domicile : Kamenz, Saxony. 

At present Vize-Feldwebel (Sergeant-Major) in the 178th Infantry Regiment, 
7th Company, Xllth Saxon Corps. 

At the beginning of the mobilisation I was instructed to accompany some artillery 
batteries from Winterspelt to Burgreuland, the point of concentration. 

Then, on August 6th, I went to Steinweiler with my regiment, where it was 
our duty to await hostile aviators, and where the division was concentrated. 

As far as to the Mouse we did no real fighting, but we had numerous scraps 
with the civil population, who received us very badly. 

I remember that a soldier in the last company of my battalion got a large round 
buUet in the arm ; a civilian had fired at him. 

I do not actually know what happened after this incident, but I can guess ; we 
were obliged to shoot a few civilians. 

Interrogated : It was the Colonel of the regiment which had been fired on who 
ordered the executions. 

When the 1st battalion of my regiment approached the village of LefEe, not 
far from the Mouse, shots were fired and fifteen men were killed. 

Every time a shot was fired we were ordered to go into the houses, but we 
never found any soldie?^ there. Then wf nj^de the civilians come out. 


We collected them together in a square ; Major Franzel questioned them, and 
the majority of these ci\'ilians v.'ove shot two hours later. 

The firing party was taken from the men of the 3rd battalion ; I know that 
each squad consisted of eight men selected by the commandants of the units. 

The women were separated from the men, and sent to a convent at Leffe. I 
know that some of my comrades declared that a good number of them had been 
violated ; personally, I saw nothing of the sort. 

Q. — Wliat steps were taken to discover which of the civilians had fired on your 
troops ? 

A. — All the civilians were ranged in a row, and the soldiers belonging to units 
which had suffered losses from the shots of individuals passed along in front of them. 
They pointed out the persons they recognised, and Major Franzel at once ordered 
that these should be executed. 

Interrogated : We always bivouacked when we halted ; we were never in billets. 

During the halts in the day-time near villages or hamlets, several of our men 
would slip away and go into the houses, where they took chains, crosses, and gold 
or silver lockets, things made of precious metal, in any case. 

I did my best to suppress these irregularities, and I caused the jewels thus 
stolen to be taken to the Major. He punished the offenders severely and had them 
tied up to trees for hours. 

I was never present at any scene of pillage ... or rather, yes, I remember 
very distinctly that the Sub-Lieutenant of the 1st Company of the 1st Battalion 
of my regiment went into a house at Laroche or at Marche (Belgium), and came 
out with a large sum of money, several thousands of francs, which he paid in to 
the regimental fund. 

I may also say that at Rethel I went with some of my men into a creche ; we 
took some silver and copper money from a drawer, and this was handed over to the 
regimental fund. 

I am also able to tell you that as soon as we entered French territory, where 
we passed through Signy-l'Abbaye, Launoy and Chalons, we carried out no measures 
of reprisal towards the civil population, who behaved very properly to us. 

I know there were a great many fires as we passed, but our infantry soldiers 
had nothing to do with these ; they were the work of the Uhlans, who preceded us. 
I have heard it stated that if they kindled all these fires it was because German 
soldiers had been killed, and in such cases our orders were to execute the inhabitants 
and burn the houses. 

Interrogated : The houses were set on fire with straw, hay and petroleum. 

I heard some of the cavalrymen say that corpses of Belgian civilians had been 
found mutilated (feet and hands cut off) ; from what I was told it would seem to 
have been the Uhlans who did this. 

The incidents in question were said to have taken place between August 18th 
and September 4th. I was surprised to hear this. 

Interrogated : I have also heard that in Belgium little children were mutilated 
by our soldiers ; if this is true they can only have done such things in moments 
of aberration. 

I cannot believe that such orders were given by superior officers. 

Q. — Tell us the names of the officers of your company and of the 8th Company. 

The Colonel was Herr von Reyter, the Captain Herr John, the active Lieutenant 
Herr Pietzschke, the Reserve Lieutenants, Herr Wendt and Herr Eichler. 

In the 8th Company Herr Umlauff, 1st Lieutenant, was acting as Captain. 
In civil life this officer was a professor in a college ; he was beloved by his men. . . . 
I do not know the names of other officers in this company. 

The deposition having been read to the witness, he agrees that it is correctly 
transcribed, confirms it, and signs with us, the Registrar and the Interpreter, 
approving the erasure of thirty-three unimportant words. 

We note that before signing, the witness urges that his name should not be 

Robert Sezille. Gavillot. Max Jaunez. Richard Tietze. 

Vize-Feldwebel 7 /178. 

No. 6. 

Interrogatory under oath, May 6th, 1915, by M. Cruveille, Captain, Prosecuting 
Counsel to the Court-Martial of the 16th Army Corps District, of : — 

Schheder, Kurt, a German prisoner at Agde, aged twenty-four, bachelor, book- 
seller, domiciled at Dresden, who deposed as follows : — 

I belong to the 12th Company, Captain Martini, Lieutenant Schmidt, Aster, 
of the 108th Infantry Regiment, Colonel Count von Witztum von Eckstadt. I 
was wounded on September 3rd, and taken prisoner on the 13th at Mourmelon. 
We entered Belgium on August 18th or 19th by way of Luxemburg. We went 
through Dinant, Cherain, Achene, Onhaye and other places which I do not know, 
entering France at Givet about the 24th or 25th of August. 

Q. — Did you not notice that in Belgium, as also in France, the majority of the 
towns or villages, and also of the farms, had been burnt or destroyed ? Do you 
not know why these fires were kindled, and did you not help to kindle them ? 

A. — I did, indeed, remark that everything had been systematically burnt, and 
that the town of Dinant in particular had been completely destroyed by fire. I 
asked the reason of this severity, and I was told that we must show no mercy because 
the inhabitants were hostile to our troops, and some of them even fired upon us. 

When a shot was fired from a house the whole quarter was surrounded, the 
men were arrested and shot, and the houses were reduced to ashes. These operations 
were carried out sometimes by the artillery and sometinaes by the infantry. The 
artillery used incendiary bombs and the infantry hand-grenades, which they had 
at their disposal. 

Q. — Had you not received orders to burn everything in Belgium ? 

A. — ^No, but it was done all the same. 

Q. — Were you not present at and did you not participate in scenes of pillage ? 
Were you not authorised to go into the houses to take what you required, and if 
the inmates refused to give it to you, did you not ill-treat them ? 

A. — I noticed on several occasions that houses were given up to pillage, and 
I was present as an onlooker at scenes of this description. We were authorised to 
go into the houses and take what we needed, but it was more especially the deserted 
houses that were pillaged. Incidents of this kind occurred almost daily. In 
France, about the 25th or 26th of August, that is to say almost immediately after 
having crossed the frontier, I saw soldiers searching and pillaging houses and taking 
away all the linen. It was the infantry more especially who indulged in these 

Q. — Did you not receive orders to treat the civihan population with extreme 
severity, and were you not present at executions and the shooting of civihans ? 

A. — I do not know if such orders were given, and for my part I never committed 
acts of this nature, but I know that such things happened. I did not see any civihans 
shot as we went through Dinant, but I saw some executed in other places the names 
of which I do not know. The reason given for these shootings was that civilians 
had fired on the soldiers. 

On August 23rd or 24th I saw three civilians shot in a ditch close to Givet. 

Q. — Do you not know that women and children were brutally treated and 
tortured ? 

A. — I heard some of my comrades tell how they had violated women in Belgium 
and killed them afterwards. I don't know anjrthing about the children. 

Q. — Were you not ordered to finish off the wounded ? 

A.— No. 

Q. — While you were in hospital at Mourmelon did you not hear your comrades 
boast of having biirnt and pillaged houses, shot civihans, maltreated women and 
children, and finished off the wounded ? 

A. — No, I did not hear such things related. 

The above having been read over and the translation given by the Interpreter, 
the present statement was signed by us, the Registrar, the Interpreter and the 
witness, who declared that his answers had been faithfully transcribed, that they 
contained the truth, and that he confirmed them. 

J. Mazot. D. Massuque. Cruvbill^. Sohliedeb. 


No. 7. 

Interrogatory under oath on June 5th, 1915, by M. Loustalot, Lieutenant, Deputy 
Prosecuting Counsel to the Court-Martial of the 18th Army Corps District, of 
Schonherr, Alfred Bruno, born at Groitzsch, near Leipzig, on May 31st, 1891, the son 
of Ludwig and Selma Botzsch, following the trade of carpenter, soldier of the first 
class, 101st Grenadiers, Xllth Saxon Corps, at present interned in the depot for 
prisoners of war at Blaye, who deposed as follows : — 

I was taken prisoner September 9th, 1914, at Chalons. I belong to the 101st 
Grenadiers (4th Company, Captain von Brosek, Major SchUck, Colonel Meister). 
We left Dresden on August 8th for Luxemburg and Belgium. I noticed nothing 
concerning the attitude of the Belgian population, as the villages were nearly all 
abandoned and the roads encumbered with fugitives. On August 23rd we arrived 
at Dinant, and I was detached to join the Corps of Pioneers, who were engaged 
in throwing a bridge across the river. Consequently, I did not pass through the 
town, where a certain number of the houses were in flames. While we were bringing 
along the pontoons, having laid down our rifles in order to be more at our ease, 
we were fired upon. A section and an officer received orders to find out where 
the volley came from. They caught some French and Belgian soldiers ; the latter 
were elderly men. Those who had flred could not have been civilians, for the shots 
were in volleys. Near the rock I saw a large building in which two hundred women 
and children were collected and guarded by soldiers. After leaving Dinant we 
continued our march towards the frontier. In the villages we found notices on 
which was written : " Do not attack our troops if you want to live in peace." In 
one especially I noticed a placard with these words : Nicht pliindern. Gute Leute. 
(Not to be plundered. Good people.) I was specially told off to act with patrols ; 
I never met any armed civilians. Neither did I ever witness any arrest of civilian 
prisoners, nor was I present at executions. I was, however, present at the discovery 
of fifty shot-guns in a country house near Dinant, where the Staff was quartered. 
The owner of the house was arrested in consequence of this discovery. Requisitions 
were made under the direction of an officer or a non-commissioned officer ; the 
doors were broken open and we took linen, which was distributed to the men when 
they had stated what they required. In like manner we also took wine from the 
cellars, but the officers saw that this was diluted with water. 

The above having been read over to the witness, he confirms his statements, 
declares that he has told the truth and signs with us, the Interpreter and the 

Labobderie. M. Fttischs. Loustalot. Schonherr. 

No. 8. 

Interrogatory under oath, May 4th, 1916, by M, Bonnemaison, Captain of 
Constabulary, commanding the district of Tunis, of Schlechte, Fritz, born June 5th, 
1889, at Bitterfeld, mason, Reservist of the 103rd active Regiment, 11th Company. 

I joined at Bautzen. We went by train to Ehrdorf, marched through Ehlenz, 
Steinbach (Belgium), passed through Laroche, Ciney, Dinant, Rocroy, Rethel, 
Ambonnay, Chalons, La Marne and Lenharre, where I was taken prisoner. 

I can declare on oath that my company never was fired upon by the inhabitants 
and never had to set fire to a house or a village. I saw that the artillery set fire 
to villages by order, and as a punishment. This happened at Sorinne, on August 2l8t. 
On August 23rd, at Dinant, aU males from 17 to 40 years old were shot by the Marburg 
Jagers, and thirteen men were shot by our 1st Company, by order of the 
commandant of the division. As the inhabitants had taken refuge in a forest right 
and left of the town, the active battalion of the Marburg Jagers divided 
into two companies on the right and two on the left, formed in open order and shot 
everyone they encountered. The women and children were spared and shut up 
in a convent. Nothing was done to the women. The men who were found in the 
town were shot on the Place du Marche by the 102nd (active) and the 103rd 
(active) Saxon Regiments. The Marburg Jagers are Prussians — they have an M 
on their shoulder-straps. They had been placed at the disposal of our Army Corps 
and under the command of General Freiherr von der Goltz. 

I saw thirteen men shot who had, it was said, fired upon the 3rd Company. 
The 1st Company took them into a meadow in front of the town ; the Colonel came 
and announced that they were to be shot by order of the Division ; their hands 


were tied behind their backs. The platoon shot first one, then a second, then a third. 
The Colonel noticed this, and then gave orders that the last ten should be shot all 
at once. It was the Captain of the 1st Company who gave orders to shoot them 
one by one. I do not know his name. 

The shops were pillaged by the soldiers without orders. 

I shall never be able to forget the sight of Dinant. There were about fifty 
corpses of civilians in the Place du Marche. 

All the shops were plundered ; boots and shoes, linen and cloth were thrown 
out into the street ; all the houses were burning. 

On the 25th all the villages we passed were blazing like torches. 

The witness signed with us, after his statement had been duly read over and 

Campana. Bonnemaison; Adolf Fritz Schlechte. 

No. 9. 

Interrogatory under oath, on May 5th, 1915, by M. Cruveille, Captain, Prose- 
cuting Counsel to the Court-Martial of the 16th Army Corps District, of Petzold, Bruno, 
German prisoner at Agde (Herault), aged twenty-six, bachelor, gardener, domiciled at 
Loschwitz (Dresden), who deposed as follows : — 

I belong to the 3rd Company of the 103rd (active) Saxon Infantry Regiment, 
Colonel Hoch, Captain E-och. 

Q. — What part of Belgium did you go through to reach the French frontier ? 
On your march through the country did you not notice that all the houses had been 
set on fire, that the majority of them had been sacked, and that the inhabitants 
had been shot ? Did not your regiment take part in these proceedings ? 

A. — We entered Belgium about August 20th ; we passed near Dinant, whence 
we could see that the town was on fire. I went into it the next day, and I noticed 
that the majority, not to say all, of the houses had been burnt and destroyed or 
were still burning. I also noticed in the same quarters and outside the doors a great 
number of civilians who had been shot and left there. I asked what was the meaning 
of this, and some soldiers told me that these people had been shot because they 
were suspected of having fired upon our troops. The persons shot were all men. 
I also saw at one end of the town a house in which a great many women and children 
had been imprisoned ; I do not know what became of them, but I was told they 
were to be taken to Germany and interned there. These civilians were collected 
in groups of about twenty persons. I cannot tell you the route we took after leaving 
Dinant on the side nearest the French frontier. I made some notes on this subject 
in my diary, but this was taken from me at Mourmelon. The majority of the villages 
through which we passed were completely destroyed, burnt, and even in ruins, the 
doors wrenched off and the windows shattered. We saw a great many houses that 
had been plundered. The soldiers went into these houses on the pretext of looking 
for inhabitants who had fired on the troops, and they took advantage of this to 
plunder them and then set them on fire. I do not know with what materials these 
fires were kindled, but it was certainly not by artillery, and one could see at once 
on looking at the houses that they had been fixed with combustible matter. I can 
personally declare that in Belgium, on August 27th, in villages and farms the names 
of which are unknown to me, I saw houses invaded by soldiers, who took what they 
wanted by force, and who, after devastating everything, came out of the houses 
carrying articles of every kind. There were no oflficers with them, but there were 
non-commissioned officers who marched in front of them. As we were in want of 
clean body-linen in our company at this time, our non-commissioned officers went 
and fetched some from the houses, and distributed it to us. This happened pretty 
often, and they generally chose houses of the better sort for these visits. Our 
supply service was very irregular, and so we were sent into the houses to take 
everything we needed. 

Q. — Were you not ordered to set fire to the houses when you entered Belgium ? 

A. — Yes ; we were ordered to set fire without mercy to any house when the 
inhabitants refused to submit to requisitions. We had no special material for the 
purpose, but we were told that in the case of ordinary houses we could just fetch 
straw, or set fire to the bed and window curtains with matches. In farms we were 
ordered to go up into the lofts and to set fire to the crops. 


Q. — Did you obey these orders and did you not realise that, in acting as you 
were doing, you were committing a crime ? 

A. — It was an order, we had to obey it, and it was because we had received 
this order that during our march through Belgium and towards the French frontier 
my regiment performed the acts I have described under the direction of our non- 
commissioned officers. 

Q. — And how did you treat the inhabitants ? 

A. — When they offered resistance we beat them and forced them to bring out 
themselves the things we wanted, and we made them do all the heavy work we 
should otherwise have had to do ourselves. 

Q. — Was this too by order ? 

A. — Yes, it was an official order, and our non-commissioned officers superin- 
tended the operations. 

Q. — Did you not also receive orders to treat the civil population severely and 
mercilessly ? 

A. — No, but when civilians were suspected of having fired upon us we were 
instructed to arrest them and shoot them. I saw executions of this kind carried 
out by the 178th Saxon Regiment ; there were only men, and these were shot forty 
at a time. The women and children were meanwhile shut up in the churches and 
afterwards taken away, I know not whither. 

Q.— Were not machine-guns used ? 

A. — Yes, they were shot with machine-guns. I saw this twice, once at Dinant, 
about August 26th, and a few hours after, in a village near Dinant, and each time 
it was done by the 178th Regiment. Passing through the villages I saw other 
victims who had been shot by the troops who had preceded us. 

Q. — Did you never seize inhabitants who were suspected of having fired upon 
you and shoot them ? 

A. — This did not happen in our regiment, but it did in others. 

Q. — Were you not ordered to finish off the wounded you might encounter on 
your route ? 

A. — ^No. Besides, I was wounded and taken prisoner on September 7th, near 
Chalons, and so I was only a very short time with my regiment. 

Q. — At Mourmelon, when you were in hospital, did you not hear your comrades 
say that they had burnt, pillaged, and devastated houses, that they had murdered 
women and children, shot civiUans without any reason, and finished off the 
wounded ? 

A. — They told us they had sacked, burnt and destroyed houses, and shot 
civilians who had fired upon them, but I did not hear them say that they had 
murdered women and children and finished off the wounded. 

The above having been read over and a translation given by the Interpreter, 
the , present statement was signed by us, the Registrar, the Interpreter, and the 
witness, who declared that his answers had been faithfully transcribed, that they 
contained the truth, and that he confirmed them. 

J. Mazot. D. Massuque. D. Cruveelle. Petzold. 

No. 10. 

Interrogatory under oath on May 5th, 1915, by M. CruveiUe, Captain, Prose- 
cuting Counsel to the Court-Martial of the 16th Army Corps District, of Pflock, Carl, 
German prisoner at Agde, aged twenty-three, bachelor, mason, domiciled at Halle- 
on-Salle, who deposed as follows through the medium of Massuque, Donat, of the 121st 
Territorial Regiment, aged forty-three. Interpreter of the German language at the 
depot for prisoners of war at Agde, who took the oath prescribed by Article 332 
of the Code of Criminal Instruction, swearing that he would faithfully translate the 
speeches to be transmitted between persons speaking different languages. 

I belong to the 3rd Company of the 182nd Infantry Regiment of the Saxon 
Reserve, Colonel Francke, Captain Pechwell, Lieutenant Albert. 

Q. — On what date did you enter Belgium and subsequently France, and what 
itinerary did you foUow ? 

A. We entered Belgium on August 18th, and France on the 28th of the same 

month, after following an itinerary I cannot give. I had noted it on my diary, 
which was taken from me at Mourmelon, on September 13th, when I was made 
prisoner. I was wounded on September 3rd. 


Q.— In the course of your march did you not notice that houses had been burnt, 
plundered and set on fire ? Did you not yourself take part in this pillage and arson ? 

A. — I noticed it, but I do not know what caused these fires, and I took no part 
in kindhng them. I was in charge of the baggage, and therefore I always preceded 
or followed the troops. We went through Dinant without stopping, then we 
returned next day, and I observed that nearly the whole of the town was burnt. 
Nearly all the villages we went through afterwards were burnt or still burning, but 
as we generally passed at night I was not able to see whether these villages had 
been set on fire by artillery or by the troops. 

Q. — Did you not notice that in the villages you passed through the majority 
of the houses had been plundered and stripped ? 

A. — I did indeed note that many houses and farms had been plundered by the 
troops who had gone on in front of us, and when we passed through in our turn 
we found there was nothing left. In my regiment we never committed such acts. 

Q. — Did you not receive orders to treat the civil population with the utmost 
severity ? Were not men, women and children shot for no reason whatever ? 

A. — The day after that on which we had passed through Dinant we camped 
upon a small knoll, not far from which was a little solitary house. The battle was 
over, and as a shot had been fired from this direction the men of my company were 
ordered by the leader of the convoy to surround this farm, to take the inhabitants 
out, and to shoot them. This was immediately done, and the two men who were 
found in the house were put to death there and then. A little later, in France, 
as we were passing through a village, civiUans were suspected of having fired upon 
us. The artillery accordingly fired on the village ; the artillerymen then went 
into it, entered the houses, seized all the persons they found there, and brought 
them out on to the road.- Among them there were old men who could scarcely 
drag themselves along, who were already wounded, and who could not have fired 
out of the windows. AH these people were ranged along a wall, and the artillerymen 
began by shooting them down with revolvers ;• then they had machine-guns brought 
up and fuiished them off. 

Q. — Can you fix the date of these occurrences and the number of the artillery 
regiment which carried out these fusillades ? 

A. — We entered France on August 28th. I was wounded on September 3rd; 
so it must have happened on August 29th or 30th. I cannot tell the name of the 
place, but it was quite close to the frontier. 

Q' — Did you not receive orders, as soon as you entered Belgium, to set fire 
to the houses ? 

A. — ^No, but I know that when civiUans had fired, or were suspected of having 
fixed, upon us, the houses were burnt and the inhabitants were shot. We had no 
inflammable material at our disposal, but the Engineers were amply provided with 
it. They had more especially grenades which they used for this purpose. 

Q. — Were you never present at the burning of a house, and did you never take 
part in such an act by order of your chiefs ? 

A. — I was with the baggage, so I could not do anything of the sort, but I know 
what the methods were, because in the evening at our bivouac, the soldiers who 
kindled these fires told us about them. When a house was condemned the Captain 
ordered eight or ten men to stay behind and they collected straw, to which they 
set fire before they withdrew. 

Q.— Did you not also receive orders to finish off the wounded ? 

A.— No. 

Q. — Did you not at Mourmelon hear men boasting of having committed such 
crimes ? 

A. — No. If I knew anything more I would tell it, for I am very sensible of the 
devotion with which I have been tended by the French doctors, who have spared 
no pains on my behalf, and thanks to whom I am almost cured. 

The above having been read over and a translation made by the Interpreter, 
the present statement was signed by us, the Registrar, the Interpreter and the 
witness, who declared that his answers had been faithfully transcribed, that they 
contained the truth, and that he confirmed them, 

J. Mazot. Massuque. CRUVEiLLi. Carl Pflock. 


No. 11. 

Interrogatory under oath on May 4th, 1915, by M. Cruveille, Captain, Prose- 
cuting Counsel to the Court-Martial of the 16th Army Corps District, assisted by the 
territorial soldier, Mazot, Registrar's Clerk to the said Court, of Pfeifer, Paul, German 
prisoner at Agde (Herault), aged twenty-one, bachelor, labourer, domiciled at 
Rothenbach (Saxony), who deposed as follows by the medium of Sergeant Massuque, 
Donat, of the 121st Territorial Regiment, Interpreter of the German language at 
the dep6t for prisoners of war at Agde, who took the oath prescribed by Article 332 
of the Code of Criminal Instruction, to translate faithfully the speeches to be 
transmitted between persons speaking different languages. 

I belong to the 100th (active) Regiment, Major in command of the battalion, 
von Witzleben; Captain, von Romer. 

I was wounded on September 3rd, and taken prisoner at Mourmelon on the 
13th of the same month. 

Q. — On what date did you enter Belgium first, and then France, and what 
itinerary did you follow ? 

A. — We entered Belgium about August 7th near Dinant, but I cannot give 
the itinerary we followed, for I am an illiterate, and I have no recollection of the 
towns and villages we passed through. We entered France on September 1st. 
As I was wounded on the 3rd, I know nothing of what happened. 

Q. — Were you not present at or did you not take part in the burning or 
destruction of houses ? 

A. — We spent two nights at Dinant, from August 23rd to August 25th. When 
we entered the town it was all in flames or entirely burnt. It was nothing but a heap 
of smoking ruins. I did not see any soldiers kindhng fires, and I personally took 
no part in such acts. Outside Dinant, and especially right up to the French 
frontier, everything was devastated and burnt ; in my opinion this had been done 
systematically by the troops, in pursuance of orders given by the chiefs ; or perhaps 
the latter merely closed their eyes and allowed the soldiers to do as they would. 

Q. — When you entered Belgium did you not receive orders to set fire to the 
houses ? 

A. — No. No order was given us, and for my part I never burned anything. 

Q. — ^Were you not authorised to go into the houses to take what you required ? 
Did you not enter any yourself, and were you not present at the pillage of houses ? 

A. — Our officers left us free to do as we liked, but as the houses were all burnt 
and in ruins it would have been useless for us to go into them, for there was nothing 
left in them. We received bread regularly from Germany, but as to meat, wine 
and other drinks, I always thought these were taken from the plundered houses. 

Q. — When you passed through villages or near isolated farms did you not notice 
that the buildings had been pillaged and that the greater part of the objects they 
had contained had been carried off ? 

A. — We often passed in villages and in the open country houses that had been 
pillaged, and in which there was hardly anything left. The doors were broken in, 
the windows demolished, and one could see from outside that there was hardly 
anything left in them. These ravages could only have been committed by the troops 
who passed before us. 

Q. — Do you not know that the soldiers went into the houses, and when the 
inhabitants refused to give them what they asked, set fire to the building ? 

A. — No. I cannot tell you about that. I know nothing about it. 

Q.— Had you not received orders to treat the civil population with the utmost 
severity ? 

A. — No, but before the war we had been told that civilians were to be treated 
rigorously, and when I went through Dinant I saw along the streets and in one of 
the squares groups of civilians, men and women, who had been shot, and who were 
left there unburied till the evening of the following day. 

Q. — Had you not been told more especially that when a shot was fired, or 
appeared to have been fired, from a house, you were to surround it, and seizing 
all the inhabitants you might find in it, without exception, were to put them to 

death ? ' 

A. — Yes, we had been ordered to seize all the inhabitants of a house from which 
a shot should be fired at us, to shoot them, and to destroy the house with an incendiary 


Q. — Did you not personally witness acts of this nature and take part in them ? 

A. — No, but as we passed through the villages I saw a great many hand grenades 
which had not burst and were lying in the streets, and others, on the contrary, 
which had exploded in the houses ; I saw the fragments of these. 

Q. — So you had inflammable substances specially designed for kindling fires 
at your disposal ? 

A. — The ordinary soldiers had not, but the Engineers or Pioneers had them 
at their disposal. 

Q. — Did you not receive orders to fire upon the wounded you found on your way ? 

A. — No, and I do not know whether this was done. 

Q. — You were in hospital at Mourmelon from September 3rd to 13th. During 
this period there were with you in hospital soldiers belonging to Saxon regiments 
who boasted of having plundered and burnt houses, shot civihans, maltreated 
women and children, and murdered the wounded. You must certainly have heard 
specific incidents described. Let us hear some of these. 

A. — I was so very ill, having been wounded in the lung, that I heard none of 
these stories. 

The above having been read over and the translation given by the Interpreter, 
the present statement was signed by us, the Registrar, the Interpreter and the 
witness, who declared that his answers were faithfully transcribed, that they 
contained the truth, and that he confirmed them. 

J. Mazot. Massuque. D, Critveille. Paul Pfeiper. 

No. 12. 

Interrogatory on April 22nd, 1915, by M. GaviUot, Lieutenant, Deputy Prosecutor 
to the Court-Martial of the 12th Army Corps District, of Materne, WiUy, private 
in the 178th Infantry Regiment, 1st Company, Xllth Saxon Corps, aged nineteen, 
bachelor, musician by profession, domiciled at Dresden-Plauen, who deposed as 
follows : — 

I enlisted as a volunteer on April 1st, 1914, in the capacity of mihtary musician. 

I have passed my preHminary examinations. 

My regiment is garrisoned at Kamenz (Saxony). I started for the front on 
Sunday, August 2nd. We detrained at Burgrenland ; we left the railway shortly 
before we entered Belgium. 

On the march through Belgium I remember more particularly the unfriendly 
attitude of the civil population ; but before we came to Dinant I did not see the 
inhabitants firing upon us, nor executions carried out by us. 

Nevertheless, I was greatly struck by seeing the large number of houses in 
flames along the road sides ; sometimes they were blazing on either side of the road, 
and the heat was so intense that we were obliged to hurry past in fear of suffocation. 

It is quite certain that these fires had been kindled by order, because persons 
had concealed themselves in these houses to fire on our troops. 

I have no doubt that all the inhabitants were brought out before the houses 
were fired. 

At Dinant I saw thirteen persons shot who had been arrested shortly before. 
Among them there was a youth of from seventeen to eighteen years old ; the others 
were men verging upon fifty. 

I suppose it was the officers who gave orders for these executions, but I do not 
know which. 

Only six soldiers were told off to put these thirteen civihans to death. 

I was about fifty yards from the place of execution, and I trembled as I 
watched it. 

They began by tying a man to a tree ; a single soldier fired at him and only 
wounded him ; but as the man was bound he did not fall, he merely moved his 
head backwards and forwards. Then all the six soldiers fired upon him in turn 
to finish him off. 

The other civilians who were waiting for execution witnessed this scene, and 
embraced, bidding each other farewell. 

I repeat that I trembled, for I had never seen anything of the sort before. 

After this first man, three others were shot by six soldiers firing all together. 
Finally these six soldiers opened fire for the last time upon the nine civihans who 
remained, and who fell one after the other. 


An officer, a captain, whose name I never heard, and who did not belong to 
my regiment, approached the victims and fired his revolver at the heads of those 
who seemed to be still alive. 

This scene lasted about a quarter of an hour. 

The six soldiers who carried out the execution belonged to the 103rd Saxon 

Interrogated : It was certainly a captain who finished off the civilians who had 
been shot, but he was accompanied by several doctors, who no doubt pointed out 
those who were still living. 

The firing squad had already retired when this took place. 

Only the troops who were halted close to the field where the executions took 
place could have seen all the details. 

There were a great many other executions at Dinant. 

In a square which I will call the Market Place, I saw from fifty to sixty corpses 
of civilians who had been shot. As an auxihary stretcher-bearer I had to cross 
this square twice to bring in our wounded. I stumbled against these corpses 
accidentally ; they were already stiff. 

I am sure there were no women among them. 

I often saw houses that had been burnt, but personally I was never present 
Avhen any were set on fire, or, rather, I never saw the fire kindled, so that I cannot 
say what the process was in these cases. 

I know nothing of mutilations inflicted by our soldiers on children and women. 
I heard, on the other hand, that German patrols were very brutally treated and 
that on this account there was to be no more quarter, that every person found with 
arms in his possession was to be shot. 

Our Captain told us officially that on account of the cruelties practised upon 
the German troops all those in whose houses weapons were found were to be shot 
without mercy by order of the Emperor. 

Pillage was strictly forbidden, but in the houses we found unoccupied we naturally 
took away anything we wanted. 

Personally, however, I never made requisitions of this kind. 

Since I have been in captivity I have heard from prisoners who arrived at the 
camp after me that our troops had violated a few women. 

I cannot remember which of my comrades told me this ; it was those who 
were in the dormitory with me at Saint-Yrieix. 

Interrogated : I can only remember the name of my Captain, who was called 

The deposition having been read over to the witness, he declared it to be 
accurate, and signed it with us, the Registrar and Interpreter. 

Rob. S]fiziLLE. Gavillot. Max Jaunez. Willy Materne. 

No. 13. 

Interrogatory on April 24th, 1915, by M. Lamothe, Deputy Attorney-General 
of the Court of Appeal of Bordeaux, at present administrative officer of the 2nd class 
of the 13th Army Corps District, assisted by Sergeant Dugay, of the 102nd Infantry 
Regiment (Territorials), Sergeant Etienne acting as Registrar, and Corporal Thevenot, 
of the 11th Regiment of Mounted Chasseurs, Interpreter of the German language, who 
swore to translate well and truly the verbal answers hereinafter set down, of Miiller, 
Oscar Arthur, born October 4th, 1891, at Meissen (Saxony), private in the 103rd 
Saxon Infantry Regiment, Xllth Army Corps, at present a prisoner of war. 
Questioned, he replied as foUows : — 

I entered Belgium after crossing the Meuse. I passed through Dinant, and 
from Dinant I came on foot as far as ChS,lons. I do not know the names of the 
small towns through which I passed. I was taken prisoner at Mourmelon. Every- 
thing was rased to the ground at Dinant when I arrived. The Germans had shut 
up some civilians in a convent. Searches were made in the houses. I do not 
know what became of these civiUans, among whom there were nuns and priests. 
The detachment to which I belonged entered Dinant without fighting. The 
11th BattaUon of Jagers and the 177th Infantry Regiment of Dresden were 
before us at Dinant, where they were quartered. Everything was in flames. The 
Artillery had set fire to the place with their shells. The 48th Regiment of Field 
Artillery, of Dresden, was the unit which carried out the incendiary bombardment. 


I know that the Colonel of my regiment gave orders to companies other 
than mine to go into the houses and bring out the soldiers and civilians who might 
be within, but he did not instruct them to break open the doors ; besides, all the 
doors were open. No orders were given to my company on this point. Moreover, 
we stayed where we were, waiting for the reconstruction of a bridge. When the 
soldiers went into the houses at Dinant there was no fighting in the streets of the 
town. The fighting was going on in advanced positions outside. I must tell you 
that the Captain of my company informed us that as we entered Dinant an old 
woman posted at a window had killed the Major by firing at him with a revolver. 
This Major belonged to one of the active regiments. I do not know his name. As 
to the old woman, I cannot say what was done to her. I think it was because of 
this incident that orders were given to go into the houses. I did not hear anything 
more on the subject of alleged attacks made by civilians. I never saw any corpses 
of civilians during the march. I was never present at any scenes of violence offered 
to the population. I saw a great many burning houses on the way, but it did not 
come to my knowledge that they were kindled intentionally by German soldiers. 
I saw many French wounded ; no one did them any harm as we passed. When 
we arrived in villages and small towns the inhabitants had all fled from their houses. 
We took any bread we found, but if by chance some inhabitant had remained he 
was given a warrant in payment. 

The above having been read over, the witness confirms it and signs with us, 
the Interpreter, and the Sergeant who transcribes. 

Thevbnot. Dtjgay. Lamothe. Arthur Muller. 

No. 14. 

Interrogatory under oath, June 8th, 1915, by M, Loustalot, Deputy Prosecuting 
Counsel to the Court-Martial of the 18th Army Corps District, of Meissner, Paul, born 
at Roitzsch, August 27th, 1893, son of Oscar and Ernestine Boschen, by profession 
a teacher, private in the 101st Grenadiers, 11th Company, Xllth Saxon Corps, at 
present interned in the d^pot for prisoners of war at Blaye (No. 2456), who deposed 
as follows : — 

I was taken prisoner on September 11th, 1914, at Chalons. I belong to the 
101st Grenadiers (11th Company, Captain von Zeschau, Major von Abeken, Colonel 
Meister). We left Dresden on August 7th for Luxemburg and Belgium. Wherever 
we passed the behaviour of the Belgian population was irreproachable, and we 
refrained from molesting them. When we were to be billeted in a village we sent 
a patrol to the Mayor, to inform him that the troops would be passing through 
and that he must have all weapons given up, while he himself and three notables 
were to place themselves at the disposal of the commandant. After the troops 
had passed the Mayor and his companions were set at liberty ; the weapons were 
broken up. This, at least, was what happened on the only occasion when I saw 
the process carried out, for we were never attacked by civiHans. We arrived at 
Dinant on August 23rd. We received orders to march through the town rapidly, 
for we were wanted on the height on the further side of the Meuse. Our Captain 
told us that civilians were attacking our troops and that it was necessary to take 
precautions. As a fact, shots were fired at us from the windows along the streets 
through which we passed, but we had hardly time to retaliate. Finally, we crossed 
the Meuse on boats, and we went to take part in the battle against the French troops. 
On the further side of the Meuse we found a priest with a revolver in his hand ; of 
course he was shot before he had time to fire on us. Personally, I had to return 
with my unit, to search the houses at Dinant and fetch out the inhabitants by way 
of precaution, in accordance with orders I had just received. I found it extremely 
difficult to carry out this mission, for the inhabitants were for the most part hidden 
in their cellars ; but I must say that they did not fire on us. When we had at last 
captured our prisoners we took them all (men, women and children) to a place on 
the further side of the Meuse, where they were collected ; as far as I can remember 
it was a country-house {chateau). After leaving Dinant we came upon a great many 
villages that were partially burnt ; the first place after Dinant was entirely destroyed. 
As regards requisitions in the deserted houses, we took everything the soldiers needed 
— provisions, body linen, but not often wine ; before conaing away, we left a note 
specifying what we had taken, even when there was no one in the house ; we were 


forbidden to take the linen individually, the company undertook to distribute it 
among the men. In France I saw a certain number of houses with inscriptions 
on them ("To be spared"), but I do not know what was the nationality of their owners. 
I noticed them more particularly at Chg,lons. 

The above having been read over, the witness confirms his statements, declares 
that he has told the truth, and signs with us, the Interpreter and the Registrar, 
approving the erasure of eleven unimportant words. 

Laborderie. Loustalot. Fuischs. Meissner. 

No. 15. 

Interrogatory under oath, on April 26th, 1916, by M. Cruveille, Captain, Prose- 
cuting Counsel to the Court-Martial of the 16th Army Corps District, of Lobmann, 
Johann Emil, German prisoner, aged twenty-seven, bachelor, cashier, domiciled at 
Leipzig, who deposed as follows : — 

I belong to the 11th Company, Captain Freiherr von Gregory, of the 182nd 
Infantry Regiment of the Saxon Reserve. I do not know the name of the Colonel, 
nor that of the Major. I left my depot on August 11th with my regiment ; after 
passing through Luxemburg we entered Belgium on August 19th or 20th. The 
first fighting in which we were engaged took place at Dinant. Immediately after- 
wards I went on the sick list, and I remained with the convoys until September 4th. 
On that day I was wounded between Mourmelon and Chalons by a bomb dropped 
on the convoy by an aviator. In consequence of this wound I was transferred to 
the German ambulance of Mourmelon, where I was on September 13th, when we 
were obliged to retreat hurriedly. I was taken prisoner on that day. I remained 
only such a short time in my company that I do not know what took place in it, 
and I cannot say whether executions, pillage and the burning of houses were carried 
out by men or by oflficers. However, I did see our soldiers setting fire to houses, 
and one day, as we were passing through the streets of Dinant, I saw an adjutant 
himself kindling a fire by setting light to a bundle of curtains. I do not know the 
name of this adjutant, who belonged to my regiment, but as he was in my battaUon 
he must have been in the 9th, 10th or 12th company. I saw many civiUans shot, 
and on two occasions in groups of tAventy persons, but it was not my regiment 
which carried out these executions. We only shot two men, who were accused 
of having killed a Major. 

Q. — Your regiment has been notified as having distinguished itself by acts 
of cruelty, summary executions, and pillage. It is very surprising that you should 
know nothing of these occurrences. 

A. — That may be, but I know nothing because I was only a very short time 
with my regiment. I never saw anything in the baggage which looked like the 
proceeds of plunder. 

The above having been read over to the witness, he declared that his answers 
had been faithfully transcribed, and that they contained the truth ; he confirmed 
them, and signed with us, the Interpreter and the Registrar. 

J. Mazot. M. Cassaignes. D. Cruveille. Emil Lobmann. 

No. 16. 

Interrogatory under oath, on June 4th, by M. Loustalot, Deputy Prosecuting 
Counsel to the Court-Martial of the 18th Army Corps District, of Lehmann, Arno Paul, 
born at Leisnig (Saxony), July 18th, 1890, son of Ehregoff and Augusta Kern; 
workman by calling, private in the 103rd Infantry Regiment, 7th Company, Xllth 
Saxon Corps, at present interned at the depot for prisoners of war at Blaye (No, 2276), 
who deposed as follows : — 

I was taken prisoner on September 10th, 1914. I belong to the 103rd Infantry 
Regiment (7th Company, Captain Seyler). 

We left Bautzen on August 7th for Belgium. Personally, I have never had 
any complaint to make, against the Belgian population and our company was never 
attacked by civilians. Once, however, when we were about to take up our quarters 
in a village, we had a few shots fired at us. We received orders to go into the houses, 


and we took some fifteen men, women and children prisoners. The 5th Company, 
for its part, was exposed to the fire of a machine-gun which was concealed in a house. 
They besieged the house and took possession of the machine gun. They also set 
fire to the house, which we saw in flames. Passing through the villages I saw the 
dead bodies of civilians who appeared to have been shot. I also saw immense numbers 
of houses that had been plundered, the furniture of which was Ij^ng in the streets 
in heaps. I had no bread to eat for a fortnight ; there was nothing left in the houses ; 
we searched in vain, everything had been cleared out. We were obliged to feed 
on rice and roots, carrots, in short anything we could find to put in our mouths. 
At Dinant, when we passed through on August 23rd, I saw in the square near the 
church about two hundred civilian corpses. It looked to me as if they were all men, 
but it was already dark, and perhaps I did not distinguish them very well. The women 
and children had taken refuge in the church. My company was put on guard in 
some old barracks, where the civilian prisoners had been placed ; among them 
there were some women, but I know that these were released on the 24th. 

The above having been read over to the witness, he confirmed his statements, 
declared he had spoken the truth, and signed together with us, the Interpreter and 
the Registrar. 

R. Laborderie. Fuischs. J. Loustalot. A. Lehmann. 

No. 17. 

Interrogatory under oath, June 3rd, 1915, by M. Loustalot, Deputy Prosecuting 
Counsel to the Court-Martial of the 18th Army Corps District, of Jahn, Paul, born at 
Elsterwerda, November 23rd, 1888, son of the late Karl Paul, and of Kratzschmar, 
Amalia; fireman by calUng, non-commissioned officer in the 100th Infantry Regiment 
(Grenadiers), 12th Company, Xllth Corps, at present interned in the depot for 
prisoners of war at Blaye (No. 569), who deposed as follows : — 

I was taken prisoner on September 8th, 1914, near Sompuis. I belong to the 
100th Infantry Regiment (Grenadiers), 12th Company (Lieutenant von Andersten, 
commanding the Company from the time when Captain von Romer was wounded, 
Lieutenant-Colonel von Witzleben). We left Dresden on the night of August 6th 
to 7th for Belgium. We had no intercourse with the Belgian population till we 
got to Dinant, for a great many troops had preceded us, and we found the villages 
deserted. We arrived at Dinant on August 23rd ; we were supporting the artillery 
when the bombardment began. At about 8 o'clock in the evening we passed 
through the town. We arrived at a big square, where there was a large building 
which looked like a convent. Inside this building there were a certain number 
of the inhabitants under military guard. Our company commander explained 
to us that these were some of the townspeople whom it was necessary to protect. . . . 
I do not know against whom, indeed. Our company received orders to collect 
all these people and take them to the houses on the banks of the Meuse near the 
Grand Rocher. There were many women and children among them. Every 
moment prisoners arrived in groups ; there were altogether about 200 persons in 
the convent. As they had had nothing to eat, I asked our company commander 
what was to be done to prevent them from djdng of starvation, and if it would not 
be possible to take something for them from the mess of our company ; but he 
said he had no time to trouble about it, and that we must just go and take food 
for them from the houses. This I did, and thanks to the provisions I found in the 
neighbouring houses it was possible to feed them. Our company was on guard for 
two days, and was charged with the surveillance of the civil population ; we carried 
out this task, and I merely saw the dead bodies of some civilians, pell-mell with 
wounded, lying in heaps in the squares ; there were women and children among 
them, but as we passed rapidly, it is impossible for me to say if they were dead or 
only wounded ; they were all mixed up together. The town was all in flames at 
the time. We had been ordered to be on our guard, for it was said that the 1st 
company of the 1st Battalion, which had preceded us, had been attacked and the 
captain wounded by a young girl of fourteen ; our captain gave us these details. 
As to us, our company was never attacked by civihans ; however, I must note that 
when we began to arrest the inhabitants in accordance with the orders we had 
received, a few shots were fired at us, but I cannot say whether these came from 
the inhabitants or were the result of a confusion among oiir own troops. We 


subsequently continued our march through the Belgian country, and we marched 
uninterruptedly to catch up our regiment. The majority of the villages were still 
intact. After Mariembourg we were certainly attacked, but I do not know whether 
it was the inhabitants or the regular troops who fired at us (perhaps it was Turcos, 
for one of our men who had fallen out to satisfy a natural want saw a Turco rushing 
at him armed with a pitchfork). The village from which the firing had proceeded 
(about 3 kilometres from Mariembourg on the main road), was surrounded by our 
troops and bombarded. I do not know what was done to the inhabitants. In 
France I did not notice anything unusual. It was at Rethel our company succeeded 
in rejoining the regiment, by dint of forced marches. Requisitions were made 
regularly by our company (but I did not take part in any of them). I was never 
present at any scene of plunder. It was only at Dinant I noticed that many houses 
had been plundered, and that the beds were lying in the middle of the street. 

The above having been read over to the witness, he confirms his statements, 
declares that he has spoken the truth, and signs together with us, the Interpreter and 
the Registrar. 

Laborderib. Fuischs. Paul Jahn, Loustalot. 

12/100 Unteroffizier 
der Reserve. 

No. 18. 

Interrogatory under oath. May 22nd, 1915, by M. Loustalot, Deputy Prosecuting 
Counsel to the Court-Martial of the 18th Army Corps District, of Jager, Alfred, born at 
Hertigswalde, October 12th, 1893, son of Karl August and Mina Hoffmann; a factory 
hand by calling, private in the 103rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Company, Xllth Corps, 
at present interned in the depot for prisoners of war at Rochefort, who deposed 
as follows : — 

I was made prisoner on September 10th, 1914, near Chalons. I belong to 
the 103rd Infantry Regiment (3rd Company, Major Teichgraber (dead). Colonel 
Hoch). We left Bautzen on August 6th for Belgium. The Belgian population 
received us well, even seUing us bread and milk and everything we needed. None 
of the inhabitants ever fired on us ; I certainly heard that civilians had fired on 
the German troops, but personally I never experienced anything of the sort. We 
passed through Dinant on August 23rd ; the town was on fire, but as we only went 
through a suburb in the night, I did not notice any dead bodies of civilians. We 
afterwards crossed the Meuse, and we took the road that led towards France. Nearly 
all the villages were burnt. I heard it said that a patrol of Hussars had been attacked 
by civilians in one of the villages where we afterwards passed. Now, according 
to the story we were told, eleven of these Hussars had been wounded, and these 
same civihans were said to have cut off their hands. The leader of the patrol in 
question was even supposed to have had his arms and legs cut off. You must 
understand that I did not see the atrocities I report with my own eyes, but they were 
related to us by our officers, to incite us to distrust the inhabitants. The next 
day, or the day after that, the houses of these civihans had been bombarded by 
way of example. In such cases it was generally the Artillery which set fire to the 
houses ; as to the Engineers, I know that they too had sometimes to carry out 
operations of this kind, but as we had very little to do with them I have no knowledge 
of the material they may have used for the purpose. We got into deserted houses 
by using jemmies to break open the fastenings if the doors were closed ; this was 
done by order of and under the leadership of an officer. I myself took part in 
some of these expeditions, but only under orders. We took the provisions we 
needed, which were distributed among the men, and if there was any body linen 
we took that too, to replace the worn linen that had been in use since the beginning 

of the campaign. 

The above having been read over to the witness, he confirms his statements, 
declares that he has told the truth, and has signed with us, the Interpreter and the 

R. Laborderib. Vallade. J. Loustalot. Alfred Jager. 


No. 19. 

Interrogatory under oath, on May 28th, 1915, by M. Loustalot, Lieutenant, 
Deputy Prosecuting Counsel to the Court-Martial of the 18th Army Corps District, 
assisted by Sergeant Laborderie, Registrar to the said Court-Martial, of Hilse, 
Arthur, born at Lobtau on January 27th, 1883, son of August and Augustine Rohl; 
a commercial clerk by profession, private in the 100th Infantry Regiment, 3rd 
Company, Xllth Saxon Corps, at present interned and in hospital at the depot for 
prisoners of war at Rochefort, who deposed as follows : — 

I was taken prisoner on September 11th, 1914. I belong to the 100th Infantry 
Regiment (3rd Company, Captain von Loben, Major Kielmansegg, Colonel von der 
Decken). We left Dresden on August 6th for Luxemburg and Belgium. Throughout 
our passage in Belgium and in France we never had the sHghtest friction with the 
population, who, moreover, never fired upon our company. Just before we reached 
Dinant an order appeared in the bulletin, enjoining us to be careful, as the cavalry 
had been attacked by civilians in the town itself. We had orders, when the company 
was on the march, to detail troops of armed men, whose duty it was to enter houses 
from which shots were fired, and seize the men who had fired them ; these were 
then conducted to the Staff, who pronounced sentence upon them. For my part, 
I was never present at an execution of civilian prisoners. After traversing Dinant, 
which was partially in flames, we continued our march towards France, through 
villages, some of which had been burnt, as fighting had taken place in them. I 
shared in a search in a deserted house, where by order of our officers we took 
the provisions we found there ; the house was already open when we came to it. 

The above having been read over to the witness, he confirms his statements, 
declares he has told the truth, and signs with us, the Interpreter and the Registrar. 

R. Labobderie. Arthur Hilse. Pierre Atjstier. Loustalot. 

No. 20. 

Interrogatory under oath, on June 11th, 1915, by M. Loustalot, Lieutenant, 
Deputy Prosecuting Counsel to the Court-Martial of the 18th Army Corps District, of 
Hansel, Hermann, born at Ochsensaal, June 1st, 1881, son of Karl and Amalie Hase ; a 
mason by calling, private in the 103rd Infantry Regiment (7th Company) Xllth 
Saxon Corps, at present interned in the depot for prisoners of war at Trompeloup 
(No. 41), who deposed as follows : — 

I was taken prisoner on September 11th at Sommesous. I belong to the 103rd 
Infantry Regiment (Reserve). I do not know the names of my officers. We left 
Dresden on August 14th for Belgium. The behaviour of the population was 
always quite irreproachable and the inhabitants never fired on us. We were at 
Dinant on August 23rd ; the whole town was burning. I was never present at 
any execution of civilians. After crossing the Meuse we found villages in flames. 
The houses had been burnt or pillaged ; the doors were broken in, and in some cases 
the furniture was thrown into the street. There was nothing left in the deserted 
houses, whose inhabitants had fled before the troops, and it was useless to try to 
take anything out of them, for many others had passed through before us. We 
had had no bread ration for several days, so we went into the fields to get something 
to satisfy our hunger. I encountered convoys of civil prisoners who were being 
sent to Germany on a good many occasions. At Dinant more especially I noticed 
over a hundred who were guarded by soldiers. 

The above having been read over to the witness, he confirms his statements, 
declares that he has told the truth, and signs with us, the Interpreter and the 

Labobdeeie. Hermann Hansel. Ch. de Stotjtz. Loustalot. 

No. 21. 

Interrogatory under oath, on April 28th, 1915, in the presence of M. CaviUot, 
Lieutenant, Deputy Prosecuting Counsel to the Court-Martial of the 12th Army Corps 
District, assisted by M. SeziUe, Robert, Sergeant, Registrar to the said Court, 
and M. Jaunez, Max, auxiliary Interpreter, aged forty -two, appointed to carry out the 
duties ef Interpreter pf the Qerma^ l6\,n|uage, who has taken the oath prescribed 


by Article 332 of the Code of Criminal Instruction, of Glaser, Arthur, Corporal in 
the 100th Infantry Regiment, who, interrogated as to his surname. Christian name, 
age, condition, profession and domicile. 

Answered : — 

Surname and Christian name : Glaser, Arthur ; age, twenty-six ; condition, 
bachelor ; profession, draughtsman ; domiciled at Erlbach, at present Corporal 
(Gefreiter) in the 100th Infantry Regiment of the Reserve, Xllth Saxon Corps, who 
repUed as follows to our various interpellations : — 

I was mobilised at Dresden with the 100th Regiment of the Reserve. We 
left on August 13th or 14th by train by way of Coblentz ; we arrived in Belgium 
about the 19th or 20th of August ; when I arrived in this country, through which 
the troops of the active army had ah-eady passed, I had an impression of great 
desolation ; the inhabitants were fleeing either in carts or on foot in an opposite 

When I saw these unhappy creatures I felt great pity for them, thinking that 
the same calamities might have overtaken our own country. 

I had passed through ruined villages ; it was heartrending ; there were still 
a few of the inhabitants left here and there, mainly women. 

We never had any cause of complaint against the population. 

After crossing the Meuse I saw a large country house (cMteau) in which there 
were civilians who had come in from all sides, especially from the neighbouring 

This chateau had been transformed into an ambulance. 

After a halt of two hours there, we went on, and not very far from this place 
we had an engagement ; we had only two wounded. 

I did not take part in any other fighting till we came to the camp at Chftlons, 
where I was made prisoner. 

I never saw any b\iildings fired ; I never saw any executions, and I do not 
know if any were ordered. 

I never heard that women had been outraged and children mutilated. 

My officers were called : my Major, von Euhtz ; my Lieutenant and acting 
Captain, von Friesen-Miltitz (active); the other Lieutenant, Otto. 

The above having been read over to the witness he declares it to be faithfully 
transcribed, confirms it, and signs together with us, the Registrar and the Interpreter, 
approving the erasure of twenty-three unimportant words. 

Max Jatjnez. Robert Sezille. Arthur Glaser. Cavillot. 

No. 22. 

Interrogatory under oath, on June 11th, 1915, by M. Loustalot, Lieutenant, 
Deputy Prosecutor to the Court-Martial of the 18th Army Corps District, of Grosse, 
Moritz Alfred Hermann, who, questioned as to his surname and Christian name, 
stated that he was born at Kotzschenbroda (Dresden) on August 25th, 1891 ; son 
of Alfred and Alina Pfutze ; by calling a mechanician, private in the 177th Infantry 
Regiment (4th Company, Xllth Saxon Corps), at present interned at the depot 
for prisoners of war at Trompeloup (No. 98), and deposed as foUows : — 

I was taken prisoner on September 9th, 1914, at Lenhare. 

I belong to the 177th Infantry Regiment (4th Company, Captain Eckhardt, 
Major von Heygendorff, Colonel Bucher). We left Dresden on August 2nd for Belgium, 
There were not very many of the inhabitants left in the districts we went through, 
but no one ever fired on us. We passed through Dinant on the morning of August 
24th ; we noticed heaps of corpses, especially near the Grand Rocher ; soldiers 
and civilians were Ijdng pell-mell, together with women and children, though there 
were fewer of these ; they had been shot, I do not know by whom. After crossing 
the Meuse we found villages in flames ; there were many houses with the doors 
broken open ; there were some the furnittire of which was strewn about on the 
ground ; they appeared to have been pillaged ; in one village especially I saw a house 
with the doors and windows broken in, which seemed to have been thoroughly sacked. 
Outside some houses there were furniture vans. I did not take part in the plundering, 
for we were fully occupied in marching all day (we did from 60 to 70 kiloxaetres a 
day, in all 460 kilometres), and we did not pay much attention to anything that 
might have been happening around us. However, I know it was the custom, when 
provisions were running short, to enter the deserted houses, breaking open the 



doors with jemmies ; this, again, I did not do myself, but I know that it was done. 
I saw on certain houses inscriptions which had been put on the doors : " Nicht pliindern, 
gute Leute'' ("Not to be plundered, good people"), . . . On others there was this 
inscription : " No one left here ! " or, " Shots were fired from this house." 

The above having been read over to the witness, he confirms his statements, 
declares that he has told the truth and signs together with us, the Interpreter and 
the Registrar. 

Ch. DE Stoutz, Loustalot. Labordebie. Moritz Grosse. 

No. 23. 

Interrogatory under oath on May 16th, 1915, by M. Loustalot, Lieutenant, 
Deputy Prosecutor to the Court-Martial of the 18th Army Corps District, of one 
Goldammer, Max, born at Leipzig, October 21st, 1893, the son of Max and Anna 
Emienkel, schoolmaster by profession, 182nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Company, 
Xllth Saxon Corps, at present interned in the depot for prisoners of war in Le Chateau, 
who deposed as follows : — 

I was taken prisoner on September 7th, 1914, at Sompuis. My Captain in 
the 3rd Company was Captain Pechwell, my Major, Major Thomas, and my Colonel, 
Colonel H. Francke. My regiment, the 182nd, left Freiburg on August 9th for 
Belgium. At the beginning in Belgium, the population was peaceful enough, but 
when we came near Dinant civilians began to fire on our troops (at least so I was told, 
though I never witnessed this myself). In one village I was told off with a patrol 
to search the houses, in consequence of shots having been fired on our troops. We 
had orders to arrest the inhabitants (men, women and children), as they were not 
to be trusted, and to intern them while the troops passed through ; this we did. 
In this mission we replaced a battalion of Jagers, who had already collected 
the civilians they had found, and we went on with the work ; but there were very 
few left in the houses when we arrived. I do not know what was done afterwards, 
for as soon as our guard was relieved we went forward. On two different occasions, 
once in Belgium and also once in France, I saw a charred corpse among the ruina 
of a house that had been burnt. During the night of August 24th-25th we 
passed through Dinant, which Avas still burning. As we continued our march we 
did not encounter any convoys of civihan prisoners ; we only came upon people 
who were escaping with their furniture in carts. I was not present at any acts 
of pillage ; these may have taken place later, but plundering was always strictly 
forbidden. I did, however, see deserted houses, the doors of which had been forced 
open, but I do not know by whom. I saw cattle requisitioned ; this was done 
under the direction of the officers. Still, when the owner was not on the spot, Ave 
took the animals all the same, by order of our officers. 

The above having been read over to the witness, he confirms his statements, 
declares that he has spoken the truth, and when called upon to sign with us, the 
Interpreter and Registrar, refused to do so. 

Labobderie. Jonquieres, Paul. Loustalot. 

No. 24. 

Interrogatory under oath, on June 2nd, 1915, by M. Loustalot, Deputy Prosecutor 
to the Court-Martial of the 18th Army Corps District, of Giinther, Helmuth, born at 
Adorf-i-V. (Saxony), August 28th, 1893, son of Georg and Martha Arnold, by 
profession a student, non-commissioned officer in the 108th Infantry Regiment, 4th 
Company, Xllth Saxon Corps, at present interned in the dep6t for prisoners of war 
at Blaye, who deposed as follows : — 

I was taken prisoner on September 12th, 1914, at Sompuis. I belonged to 
the 10.8th Infantry Regiment (4th Company, Captain Nicolai, Lieutenant von der 
Deoken, Major Wagner, Colonel Count Witztum von Eckstadt, Brigadier-General 
voB Watzdorf. I left Dresden during the night of August 8th-9th for Belgium, 
going through Luxemburg for two hours. In the beginning the Belgian population 
lieliaved irreproachably towards us ; we were billeted on the inhabitants, and no 
civihan ever fired at us. On August 23rd we came to Dinant ; the bombardment 
had begun in the morning and the town was burning* Corpses of civilians were 


Ijdng in the streets ; personally, I saw about a hundred (I do not remember if there 
were any women and children among them). They were lying in heaps of about ten, 
some singly, at the corner of a house. From the wounds in their heads I concluded 
that they had been shot at Dinant ; I saw some shot myself, but we were not told 
for what reason. We heard that the women and children had been placed in a 
convent at Dinant, and kept at the disposal of the military authorities. But as 
we only passed through the town I do not know what happened afterwards. We 
crossed the Meuse and arrived at a village to the south of Dinant, where I again 
saw in the streets corpses of civilians who had been shot. The village had been 
completely destroyed by our heavy artillery, for I saw oxen lying on the ground, 
struck down by projectiles. I cannot say whether the village had been set on fire ; 
I know, indeed, that the Pioneers are provided with incendiary bombs, which are 
used to set fire to houses from which civilians are supposed to have fired on the troops : 
I also know that in such cases the civilians in question were put to death, but I did 
not see any burnt villages subsequently in the route we followed towards France. 
We arrived at Rocroi ; the last Belgian village through which we passed was Couvin. — 
In France we found a peaceful population and treated them with consideration. 
I was not present at any scenes of pillage, but I saw plundered houses, the doors 
of which had been broken in, and the furniture of which had been thrown out into 
the street in some cases. As to requisitions, our Captain had them made by an 
officer with an escort of a few men, who settled with the inhabitants for what was 
required for the company by means of requisition warrants. In the deserted houses 
we only took provisions ; I never took part in operations of this kind, but I know 
that when the doors were fastened they were forced open by jemmies. When 
cattle were needed they were taken from the fields, or if none were to be found we 
simply took them out of the stalls. I was never present at executions or at acts 
of atrocity. 

The above having been read over to the witness, he confirms his statements, 
declares that he has told the truth, and signs with us, the Interpreter and the 

R. Laborderie. M. Fuischs. Helmuth Gunther. Loustalot. 

No. 25. 

Interrogatory under oath, on April 22nd, 1915, by M. Gavillot, Lieutenant, 
Deputy Prosecutor to the Court-Martial of the 12th Army Corps District, assisted 
by M. Sezille, Robert, Sergeant, Registrar to the said Court, and M. Jaunez, 
Max, aged forty-two, auxiliary Interpreter, appointed to act as Interpreter of the 
German language, who took the oath prescribed by Article 332 of the Code of Criminal 
Instruction, of Flachs, Emil, private in the 100th Infantry Regiment, who, questioned 
as to his surname, Christian name, condition, profession, and domicile. 

Answered : 

Surname and Christian name: Flachs, Emil; age, thirty-four; condition, 
married October 30th, 1905, at Dresden ; profession, restaurant keeper ; domiciled 
at Langburgkersdorf ; at present a private in the 100th Infantry Regiment, 7th 
Company, Xllth Saxon Corps. 

To our various questions Flachs gave the following answers :— 

I was called up on the fourth day of the mobiUsation and joined my regiment 

After remaining a few days at the depot we left for Belgium on August 19th. 
The regiment to which I belonged was a Reserve regiment, composed entirely 
of Reservists, but with a cadre of officers both of the Active Army and of the 

I did not take part in very many engagenients, for we were preceded by active 
troops, who constituted the first Une of invasion. 

Until we got to Mariembourg I saw no fighting. 

When we arrived near this town on August 25th there was an engagement 
between us and the Belgian and French troops. 

The action lasted two hours, after which we entered Mariembourg. 

I know that there the officer who was Adjutant to my Major, an officer who 
held the rank of Lieutenant and whose name I do not know, came and gave orders 
to set fire to some half-dozen houses, from which, he asserted, Belgian or French 
soldiers had fired upon ours. 


The order was executed in the following manner : The officers appointed eight 
men in each of their sections to set fire to the houses in question ; these eight men 
were placed under the direction of a non-commissioned officer, a corporal, or even 
one of themselves. 

They set fire to the houses indicated with matches and straw, and I saw them 

I did not take any personal part in these acts because I was ill with indigestion 
at the time. 

There were no civiUans left in Mariembourg with the exception of a poor old 
woman who was standing on her door-step, and who had a wounded German in 
her house. 

This old woman was crying and guarding the entrance of her home ; I think 
that no one molested her. 

We did not enter any private houses in Mariembourg ; indeed, there was nothing 
more to take, for our active troops had already gone through before us, and we 
were even quite surprised to find French and Belgian troops there ; in short, we 
did not expect to be engaged. 

Interrogated : I was never present at any instruction as to the manner in which 
houses should be set on fire. 

I never heard anything about pastilles designed to spread fire rapidly. 

Any officer may give orders to set fire to a building, but only the commandant 
of a unit may give orders to shoot a civilian who has been caught with arms in his 
hands, firing upon the troops. 

I never had an opportunity of witnessing an execution of this kind ; they must 
have been very rare among the Reserve regiments, which, for the most part, passed 
through districts already scoured by the active troops. 

There is in the camp here a non-commissioned officer called Held, who belonged 
to the 100th Regiment of the active troops ; he may perhaps have seen more 
interesting things than I. 

I believe he would be willing to speak. 

Interrogated : I belong to the 7th Company of the 100th Regiment of Reserves, 
and I can give the names of two officers of my Company : — 

Lieutenant Freund and Hauptmann Ruble von Lilienstern. 

I was taken prisoner at Fere-Champenoise on September 10th, 1914. 

I was in an ambulance at the time under treatment for my digestive trouble, 
and I took no part in the fighting. 

We must mention that this deposition was not spontaneously given, and that 
Fl^chs, who was very distrustful at first, only gained confidence at last from the 
assurances of the Interpreter, who made him understand that his statements, what- 
ever they might be, would not bring any punishment upon him. 

The above having been read over to the witness, he admits it to be accurate, 
confirms it, and signs with us and the Registrar, approving the erasure of sixteen 
unimportant words. 

Rob. Sbzillb. Gavtllot. Jaunez. Emil Flachs. 

No. 26. 

Interrogatory under oath, on May 17th, 1915, by M. Loustalot, Lieutenant, 
Deputy Prosecutor to the Court-Martial of the 18th Army Corps District, of Delling, 
Alfred, born at Augustusburg, January 6th, 1887, son of Emil Heinrich and Zelma 
Richter, by calHng a scene-shifter (103rd Infantry Regiment of the Reserve, 11th 
Company, Xllth Saxon Corps), at present interned in the depot for prisoners of 
war at Le Chateau, who deposed as follows : 

I was taken prisoner on September 12th at Chalons. 

I belong to the 103rd Infantry Regiment (11th Company), which left Bautzen 
on August 14th, to be equipped at Floha. We set out for Belgium, where the 
population behaved irreproachably to us. However, on August 22nd the Lieutenant- 
Colonel of our regiment caused a carriage to pass along the front of otir regiment, 
in which he told us there were two German Sisters of Mercy, whose hands had been 
cut off by civihans. (I must admit that, though I saw the carriage, I saw neither 
the two Sisters nor the mutilated hands.) The Lieutenant-Colonel added that he 
caused this exhibition to be made as a warning to us to be on our guard against 
the population, whose attitude towards us was now revealed. It was at Spontin 
that this incident took place. I think I ought to add that in spite of this I never 


knew of any instance in which a civilian of any kind fired upon us and wounded or 
killed one of us. I saw houses that had been burnt, but I cannot say if the artillery 
ignited them or if they had been set on fire dehberately. I did not go through 
Dinant. Pillage was strictly forbidden, and I seem to remember that a man who 
had plmidered a house was taken to the rear and shot. When we were biUeted 
in a place the Captain came in the evening to inspect the billets and note the state 
they were in, and in the mommg the same Captain, before giving the order to march, 
inspected the billets again to see in what state we had left them. I certainly saw 
houses with the doors and windows broken in, but I do not know who had been guilty 
of these acts of plunder, which had been committed before our arrival. Requisitions 
were carried out under the direction of ofBcers, who superintended them carefully. 
The population in France received us in a much less hostile manner ; they brought us 
water by the roadside as we passed, and we treated the inhabitants with great 

The above having been read over to the mtness, he confirms his statements, 
declares that he has told the truth, and, when called upon to sign with us, the 
Interpreter and Registrar, stated that he was incapable of doing so as his hand 
was paralysed in consequence of a wound. 

Labordbbie. p. Jonquieres. Loustalot, 

No. 27. 

Interrogatory under oath, on August 27th, 1915, by M. Cruveille, Captain, 
Prosecutor to the Court-Martial of the 16th Army Corps District at Montpelher, of 
Dietrich, Arthur, German prisoner, aged twenty-two, bachelor, locksmith, domiciled 
at Dresden. Deposed as follows through the medium of Private Cassaignet, 
Interpreter : — 

I belong to the 12th Company of the 108th active Infantry Regiment, and 
I was taken prisoner at Mourmelon on September 13th, 1914. I was wounded 
on September 3rd. 

Q. — ^Did you not take part in executions, pillage, and the destruction or burning 
of houses ? Did you not receive orders on this head from your officers ? Can 
you tell us the names of these officers and the nature of the orders they gave you ? 

A. — I know that executions and piUage took place in Belgium almost everywhere 
on our route. I did not take any direct part in these, but I took part in the 
destruction and burning of buildings. In acting thus we obeyed the orders given to 
us, which were transmitted to us by Captain Martini, who was commanding our 
company. We were told that the reason for these acts was the attitude of the civil 
popiilation, and that we were to treat them with the utmost severity. We were 
further told that when a shot was fired, or seemed to be fired, from a house, we 
were, imder pain of punishment, to invade the house or any houses from which the 
shot might have been fired, and shoot or massacre everyone we found in them. It 
was in carrying out these orders that my company, as well as the other companies 
of the regiment, destroyed and burned a great many houses in the villages we passed 

I entered Belgium with my regiment about August 20th ; we arrived in Dinant 
on the 23rd. We could not go through on the first day, and it was not until the 
following day, August 24th, that we marched through the town without halting. 
All the houses and entire districts were in flames. On our way we met numerous 
bands of Engineers, who were coming back in groups from the burning quarters. 
There was even an entire company of the 12th Pioneers'among them, and I gathered 
from their attitude that these were the men who had just kindled the fire. On 
the rest of our march through Belgium we passed through many villages, the names 
of which I do not know, and to which we set fire, acting, as I have already stated, 
on formal orders from General Elsa, who had said that, whenever people were 
suspected of firing upon us, we were to shoot them and burn their houses. We set 
to work as if at drill under the orders and leadership of our officers and non- 
commissioned officers. We had no incendiary material, and we used straw, or else 
we set fire to the curtains and hangings. 

Q. — Did you not carry off with you certain articles from the houses you burned ? 

A. — Personally, I took nothing. It was forbidden ; but this was only pro 
forma, for our ofiicers winked at it, and I know that several other soldiers who looted 
freely were not interfered with. 


Q. — Can you name the villages in which you committed the acts of pillage you 
have described ? 

A. — I have forgotten the names. I wrote them down in a diary I have since 
lost. But from August 23rd to September 4th, the date on which I was wounded, 
these scenes took place every day. We were told that our troops had been fixed on, 
and then we invaded the houses, which we set on fire after having put the inhabitants 
to death. In France we did not commit any acts of this kind because we marched 
very rapidly. 

Q. — ^Was it not your custom to enter deserted houses and plunder them ? 

A. — Our officers told us to go into empty houses and take what we required 
to eat, but we only set fire to inhabited houses, the inmates of which refused to give 
us what we asked. 

Q. — ^Were you not present at, or did you not take part in, executions ? 

A. — No, but I know they took place. Thus, at Dinant throughout the evening 
of August 23rd, I heard volleys ; this surprised me, as the town had been evacuated 
by the Belgian troops, and the next day, when going through the town, I encountered 
at various points on the way corpses of civihans piled one iipon the other. Each 
heap consisted of from twenty to thirty bodies. There were no women among them, 
but comrades who had passed through another quarter told me that they too had seen 
persons who had been shot, and that there were women and children in the heap. 

Q. — Did you not receive orders to finish off the wounded ? 

A. — No such order was given to my knowledge, and as far as I know no 
individual in my company finished off a wounded man, but this was done by other 
companies of my regiment and by other regiments. 

The orders were that whenever the wounded were suspected of having fired 
upon our soldiers they were to be finished off. While I was in hospital at Mourmelon 
comrades wounded hke myself said that the orders were to finish ofE the wounded 
so that they might not fire upon our soldiers. 

Q. — What were the names of your Colonel and the officers of your regiment ? 

A. — The Colonel was Count Witztum von Eckstadt ; the Major was called 
Von der Pforte, and the Captain Martini. 

The above having been read over to the witness, he declared that his answers 
had been faithfully transcribed and that they contained the truth. He confirmed 
them and signed together with us, the Interpreter and the Registrar. 

Mazot. Cassaignbt. Cruvbille. Arthur Dietrich. 

No. 28. 

Interrogatory under oath on June Uth, 1915, by M. Loustalot, Lieutenant, 
Deputy Prosecutor to the Court-Martial of the 18th Army Corps District, assisted 
by Sergeant Laborderie, Registrar to the said Court-Martial, of Dittrich, 
Hermann, bom at Hainewalde on March 14th, 1891, son of Heinrich and Minna 
Tannert, by caUing an agriculturist, private in the 100th Infantry Regiment, 
1st Company, Xllth Saxon Corps, at present interned in the depot for prisoners of 
war at Trompeloup (No. 65), who deposed as follows :^ 

I was taken prisoner on September 10th near Sompuis. I belong to the 100th 
Infantry Regiment, 1st Company. The Captain was called Legler, the Major, Kiel- 
mannsegg. We left Dresden on August 3rd for Belgium. As soon as we arrived 
in Belgian territory and as far as Dinant aU the villages we passed through were 
deserted, the houses pillaged and mostly burnt ; no civilian ever fired on our 
company. We arriv:ed. ,at»J3anant on August 23rd ; many houses were already on 
fire ; it was morning when we passed through ; there were a great many corpses ; 
I noticed more especially one heap of about thirty, men, women and children, 
principally men. After the Meuse, which we crossed on August 24th, we marched 
towards France ; the villages we passed through were already in flames, the 
inhabitants had disappeared, and the houses had been thoroughly pillaged ; the 
furniture had been ransacked and then thrown down ; it was lying pell-meU in 
the middle of the rooms. The fires had been kindled either by means of special 
hand-grenades, which the Pioneers take with them on campaigns (I have seen these, 
they are generally round, and they are thrown by hand), or by our artillery. 

We were four days without rations ; we lived on potatoes, beetroot and carrots 
which we pulled up in the fields ; it was useless to look for provisions in the houses, 
even in those that were deserted, for there was nothing left in them. 


The above having been read over to the witness, he confirms his statements, 
declares that he has told the truth, and signs together with us, the Interpreter and 
the Registrar. 

Laborderie. de Stobch. Lotjstalot. Dittrioh. 

No. 29. 

Interrogatory under oath on May 7th, 1915, by M. Bonnemaison, Captain of 
Constabulary, in command of the district of Tunis, of Burgdorf, Gottfried, private 
in the 2nd Battahon of Jagers (Marburg), 4th Company, aged twenty-one, bona at 
Walkenried (Brunswick). 

We came up with the Saxons before Dinant. Throughout almost the whole 
of the campaign we marched in front. 

The 108th Regiment was the first to enter Dinant, and was obhged to fall back 
under the fire of the inhabitants. At the entrance to Dinant there are some saw-mills, 
and there our battahon made a halt in a meadow. The Headquarters Staff of the 
Division was in the mill of the saw-pits. I beheve the 178th Regiment belonged 
to this Division. The 3rd Platoon of the 4th Company, to which I belonged, was 
told off to guard the Headquarters Staff, then in the afternoon our whole battalion 
entered the town. One company had been sent into the wood, I think it was the 
1st. We remained in the town from 5.30 to 7.30 in the evening, then we crossed 
the Meuse. After this we remained in the wood behind Dinant until the afternoon 
of Monday. 'The battahon was employed on Sunday in clearing the forest on the left. 

Interrogated : I know that the male inhabitants of Dinant between the ages 
of seventeen and forty were shot, but I am not aware that it was by our battahon. 

Civilians were brought into the meadow opposite the saw-mills and shot without 
any form of trial. They were civihans who had been seized in the town and brought 
out by the Saxon soldiers. Only a Sergeant-Major was present. I saw others shot 
in the town itself. There may have been about forty in the meadow, and the same 
number in the town. 

As to men, I only saw those who were shot. 

I do not know what was done with the women and children. 

I threw away my note-book as soon as I was wounded. 

I was taken prisoner at Sommesous on September 11th. 

Signed with us, the deposition having been duly read and translated, 

Campana. Bonnemaison. Gottfried Burgdorf. 

No. 30. 

Interrogatory under oath, May 9th, 1915, by M. Guillaud, Prosecutor, of Brendel, 
Max, aged twenty-two ; birthplace, Leipzig ; condition, bachelor ; profession, 
engraver ; domiciled, before joining the army, at Leipzig ; at present a private 
in the 101st Saxon Regiment of Grenadiers which was in garrison at Dresden, who 
deposed as follows : — 

I belong to the active army and I was at Dresden at the time when war was 
declared. We left by train for Luxemburg the very day of the mobihsation. We 
passed through the Grand Duchy and entered Belgium. We saw plenty of isolated 
farms and villages which had been burnt ; but this is what happened to my 
battahon : In a village, the name of which I cannot remember, civihans fired from 
the houses at our troops. The parish priest was taken prisoner, but I think he 
was released shortly afterwards. In one house we foimd a man who had been shot 
there and then, by order of the 1st Lieutenant of my company, who was called 
Koch. Continuing our march, we entered the town of Dinant. There a very 
young girl fired a revolver at the Colonel of my regiment — or, no, I am making a mistake, 
it was at the Major of a battahon of Pioneers,' whose name I do not know, and she 
killed him. Hereupon we received orders to shoot all the civilians we encountered, 
without distinction of age or sex, and the artillery fired upon houses which it set 
on fire, and in which many civihans were killed. 

These orders were transmitted to the troops from guard to guard. The 
Commandant of the column was General von Elsa ; the Colonel of my regiment 


was called Meister ; my Major, von Abeken ; my Captain, von Elsa, son of the 
General above-mentioned ; my Lieutenant, Schurig. I do not know the names 
of the officers of the other companies, except Lieutenant Stark. I believe I may 
declare that no children were mutilated, but I heard later, when I was in France, 
that women had been violated. 

I do not know what you mean by incendiary pastilles, but I admit that in the 
village where the priest was taken prisoner, and in Dinant, we kindled fires by means 
of petroleum. 

I know that civihan prisoners were deported to Germany, but I never saw 
civiUans placed in front of a firing squad to be shot. 

In France I took part in an engagement near Vitry, and I was employed for 
some time in digging trenches. I was taken prisoner on patrol duty on September 11 th. 

I must add that we received orders to shoot the civilians of Dinajit, not only 
because a young girl had killed a Colonel and civihans had fired upon regular troops, 
but also because we had been shown a German soldier with his belly ripped open, 
tied to a tree, after having been sprinkled with burning pitch, because another 
soldier had been found, with his feet burnt and his throat cut, in a bakehouse, and 
because women had thrown burning pitch and boiling water on the soldiers as they 

I saw the soldier tied to the tree when he was shown to the troops, and I personally 
helped to take out the one who was in the bakehouse. 

Read, confirms, signs, and we sign. 

Sebbus. Wintzer. Guilland. Brbndel. 

No. 3L 

Interrogatory under oath, June 7th, 1915, by M. Loustalot, Lieutenant, Deputy 
Prosecutor of the Court-Martial of the 18th Army Corps District, of one Arnold, 
Emil-Camille, son of the late Karl and the late Magdalena Arnold, by calHng an 
artisan, private in the 108th Rifles, Xllth Saxon Corps, at present interned in the 
depot for prisoners of war at Blaye (No. 1261), who deposed as follows : — 

I was taken prisoner on September 10th, 1914, at Sompuis. I belong to the 
108th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Company, Captain Elterlein, Colonel Count Witztum 
von Eckstadt. We left Dresden on August 8th for Belgium, by way of Luxemburg. 
When we arrived in Belgium the villages were completely deserted, and no civUians 
ever fired at us. In the villages we passed through from the very first we often 
found houses that had been burnt down, and in the gardens the corpses of men or 
of youths of from eighteen to twenty. I also saw houses that had been piUaged, 
with the furniture lying pell-mell in the courtyard. On August 24th we were at 
Dinant. The town was in flames. I saw several heaps of corpses (men, women, 
children, and even cattle). I saw a crowd of civiUans of both sexes shut up in a 
convent. I do not think those who fired upon our troops at Dinant were civilians ; 
they were more probably regulars. I found some dead bodies of French soldiers in 
the streets. As we were about to cross the Meuse we passed a convoy of from sixty to 
eighty civihan prisoners who were being sent to the rear. I cannot say whether they 
were to be interned or shot. All the villages we came to after leaving Dinant had 
been pillaged. I never took part in requisitions, for there was nothing to take 

The above having been read over to the witness, he confirms his statements, 
declares that he has told the truth, and signed -with us, the Interpreter and 

Laborderib. Ftjischs, M. Loustalot. Emil Arnold. 

No. 32. 

Interrogatory under oath, on May 27th, 1915, by M. Loustalot, Lieutenant, 
Deputy Prosecutor to the Court-Martial of the 18th Army Corps District, assisted 
by Sergeant Laborderie, Registrar to the said Court, of Grosse, Paul, born 
at Bubendorf (Saxony), March 20th, 1891, railway servant, private in the Ambulance 
Corps (1st Company, Xllth Saxon Corps), assisted by Auscher, Pierre, Mihtary 
Interpreter of the 8th Colonial Regiment, who swore to translate faithfully. 


Deposition ; I was taken prisoner on September 10th, 1914, at Sompuis. I 
belong to the Ambulance Corps (1st Company, Captain Grossmann). We left 
Dresden on August 8th for Belgium. The behaviour of the Belgian population 
to us was always irreproachable. No civihan ever fired at us. When we passed 
through Dinant, on August 25th, I noticed the corpses of civilians lying among 
those of soldiers in the street ; as it was night-time I could not very well distinguish 
whether there were women and children among them. The town looked like a 
town that had been bombarded ; some houses were still burning, but most of the 
fires were extinguished. I also saw a great many villages that were burnt, but I 
thought it must have been the artillery which had reduced them to this state. I 
never passed convoys of civihan prisoners, nor did I ever have to tend civilians, 
women or children. Nor did I ever have to tend soldiers who had been mutilated 
by civihans or others, and as far as I know none of my comrades ever had to do 
so. I was never present at any scenes of pillage, but on two or three occasions I 
happened to go into houses which had obviously been plundered beforehand. I 
was not required to take part in making requisitions because I belong to a special 
service. At Sompuis, where we were taken prisoners in the German ambulance 
we had installed at the railway station, it had been decided by our superior officers 
that a Major, an Adjutant and ten men should remain on the spot, and the others 
went off, beating a retreat with the main body of the column, while we were made 
prisoners with the wounded we were treating. 

The above having been read over to the witness, he confirms his statements, 
declares that he has told the truth, and signs with us, the Interpreter and the 

LoiTSTALOT. R. Laborderie. Pierre Auschbr. Paul Grosse. 



List of Victims in the Massacres at Dinant. 


Surnames and Christian Names. 





15 • 

19 m. 



1 Absil, Joseph _ _ _ _ 

2 Adnet, Ferdinand _ _ _ 

3 Ares, Armand - _ - - 

4 „ Emile _ _ _ - 

5 Alardo, Martin - _ _ _ 

6 „ Marie - _ _ 

7 ,, Isidore - _ _ _ 

8 „ Martin - - _ - 

9 Amiaux-Laverge, Robert 

10 „ M^lanie - 

11 Angot, Emile - _ _ - 

12 Ansotte, Hector - - - - 

13 Balleux-Moulin, Germaine - 

14 „ Felix - _ ~ 

15 BaiUy, F^lix _ _ _ _ 

16 Barse, Gustave - - - - 

17 Baras, Auguste - - - - 

18 Barre, Georges - - _ _ 

19 Barth^lemy, Jean Baptiste - - 

20 Barthelemy-Defagne, Gustave - 

21 Barzin, Leopold - - - - 

22 Bastin, Herman - - - - 

23 Batteux, Marie - - - - 

24 Bauduin, Edouard _ _ _ 

25 Baujot, Alfred - - _ - 

26 Baussart, Dieudonn^e - - - 

27 Beaujot, Marie - - - _ 

28 „ Marthe - _ _ _ 

29 Berqueman, Gustave - - _ 

30 Betemps, Maurice _ _ _ 

31 Betemps-Poncelet, Henriette 

32 Betemps, Auguste _ _ _ 

33 Berthulot, Ernest _ _ _ 

34 Bietlot, Jean - _ _ _ 

35 „ Charles - - - - 

36 Binamd, Alphonse _ _ _ 

37 Blanchart, Henri _ _ _ 

38 Bouchat, Th^ophile - _ _ 

39 Bouche, Gustave - - - - _ 

40 Bouille, Armand - - _ _ 

41 Bon, C^lestin _ _ _ _ 

42 Boug, Jean Antoine - - _ 

43 Bourdon, Joseph Francois - - 

44 „ Henri - - - _ 

45 ,, Jeanne- - _ _ 

46 Bourdon-Baes, Emma - - - 

47 „ Edmond 

48 Bourdon, Jeanne- _ - _ 

49 Bourdon-Bourguignon, Alexandre - 

50 „ C^lestine - 

51 Borgnet, Eug&ne - - - _ 

52 Bourguignon, Jean Baptiste - 

53 Bourguignon-Bultot, Marie - 

54 Bourguignon, Edmond - - _ 

55 Bovy, Constant - - - _ 

56 „ Adele - _ _ _ 

57 Bovy-Defays, Marie _ _ _ 

58 Bovy, Marcel _ - _ _ 

59 Bulince, Martin - - - _ 

60 „ Louis - _ _ __ 

61 „ Alfred - _ _ _ 

62 Bultot, Norbert - - - - 

63 „ Norbert - - _ _ 

64 ,, Joseph - - _ _ 

65 „ Laurent - - - _ 

Factory hand. 



Domestic servant. 


PoUce officer. 




Factory hand. 



Female servant. 


























Lay brother. 


Coffee-house keeper. 



Lawyer's clerk. 




Day labourer. 




Factory hand. 












Surnames and Christian Names. 





66 ' 

Bultot, Jules _____ 





Emile _____ 





Alphonse- _ _ - _ 




Camille - - _ - - 




Bultot-Defrenne, Irenee _ - _ 





B— (?), Ernest _ - - - _ 

. . 



Bralt, Julien _____ 





Brihaye, Alfred - _ - - _ 

Hotel waiter. 



Broutoux, Emmanuel _ _ - _ 




Calson, Alfred _____ 




Capelle, Jean _____ 





Cartigny, Henri _____ 

Day labourer. 




Hubert _ _ _ _ 





Leon _____ 

Factory hand. 



Capelle, Joseph Martin _ _ _ 




Casagny, Auguste _ _ _ _ 

Factory hand. 




Cassart, Hyacinthe - _ _ _ 





Alexis _ _ - - _ 



Chabottier-Delimier, Augustine 




Chabottier, Jean _ - - _ _ 

Factory hand. 




Jules- _ _ _ _ 




Charlier, Louis _____ 





Jules _____ 

Day labourer. 




Saturnin _ _ _ _ 


Neffe- Anseremme. 



Maurice _ _ _ _ 




Anna _ - _ _ - 



Georgette _ _ _ - 




Theodule _ _ _ _ 





Auguste _ _ _ _ 

Day labourer. 




Chariot, Henri _ - _ - _ 





Clette, Leon _____ 




Collard-Burton, Leopold _ _ _ 





CoUard, Euphrasia _ _ _ _ 





Jean Joseph _ _ _ _ 




Noel Emile - _ _ _ 





Florent _ _ _ - - 




Henri _____ 




Colle, Leon ------ 





Henri - _ ^ _ _ 




Camille _____ 





Collignon, Andre _ - - - - 





Louis - _ - _ _ 

Day labourer. 




Xavier _ _ - - 





Arthur _ _ _ _ 





Georges _ _ _ _ 





Victor- _ _ - _ 





Couillard, Armand _ _ _ _ 




Noel Auguste _ _ _ 

Cabinet maker. 



Coupienne, Henri _ _ _ _ 

Factory hand. 




„ Joseph _ _ _ _ 

Day labourer. 




Emile _ _ _ - 




EmUe Nicolas _ - - 

■ Shoemaker. 



Camille _ _ _ _ 

Day labourer. 




Guillaume _ _ _ - 





Corbian, Paul _____ 

Person of 
independent means. 




Corbisier, Frederic _ _ _ - 





Joseph- _ _ - _ 





Culot, Henri _____ 

Factory hand 




Gustave _ - _ _ - 

• — 




Florent _ _ - - - 





„ Joseph _ _ _ _ - 





„ Edouard - _ - - _ 





Croni, Lambert _____ 





Dachelet, Camille _ _ _ _ 

Domestic servant. 




Z^phirin _ - _ - 





Dandois, Gustave _ _ _ _ 

Brewer's workman. 




Daroille, Arthur _ - - - - 





Deaty, Desire Joseph - - _ _ 





Dauphin, Ddsire - - - 





Camille _ - _ _ 





Leopold _ _ _ _ 





Josephine - - - - 

- — 





Surnames and Christian Names. 




Daily worker (female) 








Dealer in early 


1 58 











Spinner's assistant. 






Day labourer. 











Day labourer. 





• 48 




Factory hand 


















Factory hand. 



Day labourer. 



Factory hand. 























Day labourer. 








Day labourer. 

















Day labourer. 







Domestic servant. 


















































Factory hand. 



Day labourer. 









Dauphin-Mouton, Justine - 

Dehez, Sylvain - - _ 

Dehu, Victorien - - - 

Deleet-MerUer, Flore - 

Delay, CamiUe - - _ 

Georges - - - 

Arthur - _ _ 

„ Emile _ _ _ 

,, CamiUe - _ _ 

Ferdinand - - 

Dellot, Jules - _ - 

Deloge, Eugene - - _ 

,, Alphonse - - 

Edmond - - - 

Delot, Charles - - _ 

Delvigne, Jules - - _ 

Demuyter, Constant - - 

Demotte, Modeste - 

,, Elisee - - - 

Defrenne, Jean - - - 

Dessys, Jules _ _ _ 

Denez, Fran9ois - - - 

Disig, Vital _ _ _ 

Georges _ _ _ 

Jacques _ - _ 

Luc - - - - 

„ Julien - _ _ 

Diffrang, Emile - - _ 

Dobbelere, Jules - - - 

D6me, Adolphe - - - 

Domine, Ernest - - _ 

Donne, CamiUe - - _ 

Donnay, Leon _ _ _ 

Dony, AdeUn - _ _ 

Dubois, Xavier - - - 

„ Henri - - _ 

Duchgne, Emile - - _ 

,, Ernest - - _ 

Dujeu, Fran9ois - - - 

Dupont, fils- - _ _ 

„ Leon - - - 

ills - - _ 

Dury, Emile - _ _ 

Eliet, Arthur - - - 

Elvy, Waldor - - - 

Englebert, Alexis - - 

Victor - - 

Etienne, Auguste - - 

Eugene, (Emile) - - - 

Even-Matagne, ClotUde - 

Evrard, Jean Baptiste - 

Fabry, Albert - _ _ 

Fallay, Jacques - - _ 

Fastres, Frangois 

Fauconnier, Auguste - - 

„ Theophile - - 

Fauguet, Louis - - _ 

„ Theophile - - 

„ Antoine - 

FecheuUe, Henri - - _ 

„ Marcel 

„ Henri - - - 


Feret, Alphonse - - _ 

Louis - - - 

Fenier, Georges - - _ 

„ Eugene - - _ 

Fievez-Baudart, Auguste 

Finfe, Julien - - _ 

„ Jean Joseph 

Finfe-Didier, Jean Joseph - 

Firmin, Alexis - _ _ 



Surnames and Christian Names. 



























































Firmin, Leon - - 
,, Joseph - 

,, Leon - - 

Fisette, Auguste - - 

Fivet, Auguste - 

" (-L - - 

Flostroy, Emile - - 

Flassin-Lelong, Marie - 

Fondine, Pauline- ^ 

Marcel - 

Robert - 

Fonder, Jean Baptiste - 

„ Frangois- - 

Fortune, Desire - - 

Gaudinne-Minet, Marie 

Gaudinne, Alphonse - 

„ Florent - 

,, Ren^ - - 

Jules - - 

,, Remade - 

„ fidouard - 

Geline, Gustave - - 

„ Georges - - 

Genette, Alfred - - 

Genon-Fastrds, Odile - 

Genon, Gilda - - 

Genot, Felicien - 

Georges, Alfred - - 

„ Armand - 

Joseph - 

,, Henry - - 

Camille - 
,, Jean Baptiste 

,, Alexandre - 
Adelin - 

Gerard-Bovy, Anna - 

Gerard, Joseph - - 

Gendvert, Albert - 

„ fimile - 

Graux, Victor - - 

GiUain, Charles - - 

,, Robert - - 

Gillet, Jules - - 

Goard, Auguste - - 

Godain, Clement - 

Godinne, Georges - 

Goffaux, Pierre - - 

Marcel - 

Goffin, Eugene - - 

Eugene - - 

Gonge, Francois - - 

,, Leopold - - 

Grand] ean. Desire - 

264 Grenier, Jean 

Grignot, Francois - 

Guerry-Patard (Mrs.) (?) 
Guerry-Wartique, Joseph 
„ Rachel 

Guillaume, Emile 
Guillaume-Melot, Charles 
Guillaume-B^nard, Charles 
Gustin, Marguerite 
Habron, EmUe - 
HaUoy, Gustave - 
Hambl^nne, Hubert - 
Hansens, Alexis - 
Hardy, Edouard - - 
,, Octave - - 
Haustenne. fimile - 
Hautot, fimile - 
Joseph - 


















Neffe- Anseremme . 


. — . 













Coffee-house keeper. 

















Carriage builder. 



































y Carpenter. 


^^r 'Tailor. 




J J 


Factory hand. 



Day labourer. 




















— . 






Day labourer. 

■ )» 







Brewer's workman. 













Day labourer. 













































1 *'■'■ 



No. Surnames and Christian Names. 





Henenne, Rene ----- 




283 Henenne-Menisse, Marceline - - - 




284 Hennuy, Constant _ _ _ _ 



285 ' „ Marcel ----- 




286 „ Alexis ----- 


287 •. „ Jules ----- 





Henrion, Alphonse - - - _ 





Henri, Desire _ - - - _ 



' 27 


Herman, Alphonse - _ - - 




Juliette - - - - 




Joseph ----- 





Hiernaux, Jules ----- 





Himmer, Remy ----- 





Hoprard, fimile ----- 





Hottelet, Jean - _ _ - - 

Factory hand. 




Georges Marie Catherine 




Houbien, Joseph - - - - - 

Factory hand. 




Houbien-Nanquette, Eugene 





Huberland, Camille - - - - 




Hubert, Octave ----- 

Pohce officer. 

, , 



Hubin, Nicolas ----- 





Jacquemin, Auguste - - - - 





Jacquet, Gustave - - _ _ 





Th^ophile - - _ _ 





Alfred ----- 





Louis Joseph - - - - 





,, Gustave - - _ _ 




Victor ----- 




Alexandre - - - _ 

Day labourer. 




Jacquet-Sarrazin, Hortense - - - 





Jacquet, Louis ----- 





Joseph ----- 




314 : „ Pierre ----- 

Commercial traveller. 




Jassogne, Celestin _ _ _ _ 




Thfodonne - - - - 

Factory hand. 




Jaunniaux, Camille - _ - - 





Georges - - _ - 




Jaumot, Alexandre _ - _ - 





Javaux-Polet, Felicite - - - _ 





Joris-Lamard, Marie - - _ - 





Junius, Jean ----- 




Prosper ----- 




Kestemont, Francois - - - - 



325 ' Kinif, Joseph ----- 


f } 


326 ' Kinique, Edmond _ _ _ _ 



327 ! „ Edmond (Mrs.) - - 



328 „ Louise - - - - - 



329 : Laffiit, Isidore ----- 





Laforet, Louis Alphonse _ - _ 





Alphonse _ - _ _ 





Joseph ----- 





CamiUe ----- 

Day labourer. 




Alphonse _ _ - - 




Auguste- - _ - _ 

Factory hand. 




Lagneau, Ernest - - - - - 




Lahaye, Josephine - - - 


■ J 



Joseph ----- 




Joseph Eugene - _ _ 

Day labourer. 




Lambert, Francois - _ _ _ 




„ Victor - - _ - 

Brewer's workman. 



Louis ----- 




Lamour, fimile ----- 

Cabinet maker. 



Lebrun, Alphonse - _ - - 




Henry - - - - - 




Joseph - - - - - 



347 i Leclerc, Olivier ---__. 




348 i „ Pierre ----- 


349 Lecocq, Louis - - - - - 




350 Legros-Thonon, Marie - - - _ 



351 Lejeune, Charles - - - - _ 



352 ' Lemaire, Jean - - _ _ _ 




Lemer, Fran9ois - - - _ - 






Surnames and Christian Names. 




354 ' 

Lemaire, Edmond 






_ _ _ _ 




,, Charles - 

_ _ _ _ 




Lemineur, Jules - 

_ _ _ _ 




358 : 

Lempereur, Jeanne 

_ _ _ _ 



359 '■ 

Lenain, Theodule 

_ _ - _ 






_ _ _ _ 





Lenel, Auguste - 

_- _ _ _ 




Lenoir, Hector - 

— - — — 

Day labourer. 



Lepage, Camille - 

- - - - 

Domestic servant. 



Lupsin, Alphonse 

_ _ _ _ 




Libert, Florent - 

_ _ _ _ 




_ _ _ _ 

Coachman. ^ 




Limet, Alphonse - 

- _ _ _ 





Lion-Lepas - 

_ _ _ _ 




Lion-Naus, Josephine 

_ _ _ _ 





_ _ _ _ 





Lion, Alexis - 

_ _ _ _ 





Arthur - 

_ _ _ _ 




,, Amand - 

_ _ _ _ 




„ Joseph - 

_ _ — _ 




„ Jules 

_ _ _ _ 





Lisoir, Camille - 

_ _ _ _ 





_ _ _ _ 





Longirle, FeHx - 

_ _ _ _ 

Police inspector. 




Louis, Vital - 

_ _ _ _ 

Factory hand. 




„ Desire 

_ _ _ _ 





Frangois - 

_ _ _ _ 




„ Benjamin - 

_ _ _ _ 





,, Xavier - 

_ _ _ _ 



Mouteau, Edmond 

_ _ _ _ 

Coffee-house keeper. 



Marchal, Jules - 

_ _ _ _ 





Henry - 

- - - - 


, J 



Michel - 

_ _ _ _ 





,, Camille - 

_ _ „ _ 





Marchot, Gilda ■ - 

— — — — 





Joseph - 

- - - - 





Marette-Sanglier, Fran9ois - - - 





Marette-Gaudine, Hubert _ - - 



' 38 


Marine, Lambert - 

- - - - 



, 65 


Marsigny, Madeleine 

_ _ _ _ 



1 22 


Martin, Alphonse 

_ _ _ _ 



i 68 


Joseph - 

- - - - 

Factory hand. 




Pierre' - 

_ _ _ - 





Marie - 

- - - - 

Factory hand, 




„ Henriette 

_ _ _ — 

Factory hand, 


1 19 


Masson, Camille - 

_ _ _ _ 





Victor - 

_ _ _ - 





Mateme, Jules - 

_ _ _ - 

Day labourer. 

, , 



Mateme-Taton, Ferdinande - - - 





Mathieux, Franfois 

_ _ _ — 






_ _ - - 






_ _ - - 






- - - - 





Maudoux, Armand 

- - - - 





Mauris, Octvae - 

_ - _ - 

Brewer's workman. 




Maury, Edouard - 

_ _ _ _ 





Masy, Joseph JuHen 

- - - - 





Mazy, Fran9ois - 

- - - - 






_ _ _ _ 






_ _ _ - 





Mena, Charles 

_ _ _ _ 





Mercenier, Nicolas 

_ _ _ _ 

Domestic servant. 




Meurat, fimile - 

_ _ _ _ 






- - - - 





- - - - 





Meurat-Deheux, Marie Therese 





Meurat, Alfred - 

- _ _ _ 





Michat, Andr^e - 

- - - - 

,, i 




Michel, L^on 

- - - - 

Rag-picker. ' 




„ Lambert 

- - - - 






Surnames and Christian Names. 








Michel, L6oa 

Jules - 

„ Emile 

Migeotte, Adolphe 

„ fimile - 


Louis - 

,, CamiUe 

„ Henri - 

Milcamps, Lucien- 

Modave, Nestor - 
Monard, Jules 

Monin, Nicolas - - 

Jean Baptiste - 

Monin-Vanheden, Pauline 

Monin, Alphonse - - 

,, Henri - - 


„ Raphael - - 

„ Eugene - 

Monin-L^go, Arthur - 

Monty, Alexandre - 

Morelle, Joseph - - 
Morelle-PinsmaiUe, Marie 

Morelle, Marguerite - 

Mossiat, Frangois Jules 

,, Frederic -