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Title: German Barbarism - A Neutral's Indictment
Author: Maccas, Léon
Language: English
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                            GERMAN BARBARISM

                        _A NEUTRAL’S INDICTMENT_

                               LÉON MACCAS

                             WITH PREFACE BY
                             M. PAUL GIRARD
                        OF THE INSTITUT DE FRANCE

                          HODDER AND STOUGHTON
                        LONDON  NEW YORK  TORONTO

                       PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY
                      RICHARD CLAY & SONS, LIMITED,
                   BRUNSWICK ST., STAMFORD ST., S.E.,
                          AND BUNGAY, SUFFOLK.


This new volume on Germany’s conception and practice of war is the
work of a neutral, a fact which would alone suffice to secure it our
sympathies. Moreover, it is a book which is systematically arranged,
based on documentary evidence, serious and obviously sincere, qualities
too weighty not to compel the respect not only of the French public, but
of all those, to whatever nationality they may belong, who may care to
read it or merely to glance through it with an unprejudiced eye.

The author is a Greek, who loves France and who knows her. He knows her
because he has lived there; he is not blind to her weak points, but
having been early captured by her, he knows the profound mistake into
which a stranger falls who is content to judge her by appearances: he has
fathomed the depths of her character and discovered the inexhaustible
resources of will and energy concealed beneath an apparent, yet much
exaggerated, levity. It is for this reason that in the dread crisis
through which she is passing, and from which, as he well knows, she will
emerge victorious, he has been willing to fight on our side, at least
with the pen. Let us thank him, and may our gratitude extend beyond him
to his noble country, to that Greece whose feelings have long been known
to us, who has not changed them, notwithstanding the ebb and flow of
her domestic policy or of transitory influences, and who will not change
them, we are convinced: otherwise she would not be Greece.

So much for the author of these pages which we are about to read. When I
add that M. Léon Maccas belongs to the best society in Athens: that while
still very young he won the degree of doctor of law in his own country by
a remarkable thesis; that he came to us with the intention of pursuing
further, thanks to the assistance which we can give him, his studies in
international law and diplomatic history, I shall have concluded a very
inadequate introduction of author to reader.

As for the contents of this volume, what is the good of dwelling upon
them? It is an established fact, at the present moment, that the Germans
have introduced into war a new law, a new morality. This law and this
morality are obviously contrary to the ideas which humanity has hitherto
formed of these great subjects and to the impulses which urged and still
urge humanity to endeavour to mitigate the permissible sufferings and
horrors which war between civilised nations entails. The Germans have
taken quite a different line. They appear to have made it their business
to practise everywhere, in different forms, the abuse of force. It is
a method, and one, too, which has something spacious about it. But a
method is something which confesses or proclaims itself. We do not blush
for a method, we blush for an unpremeditated, precipitate act, not for
conduct coldly calculated with the purpose of attaining a supreme end,
the righteousness of which justifies everything in the thought of those
who aim at it. What is the meaning, then, of all these shufflings, these
denials, disputings or flimsy vindications of facts? Why these shameless
apologies among neutrals? Why these pamphlets, these articles scattered
broadcast over two hemispheres, these idyllic pictures of movements of
German troops to whom the peasants, peasants of France, express (in
a language which betrays clumsy falsehood) their good wishes for a
safe return to their native land. Why all this effort, if not from the
necessity to justify themselves, a necessity which in these souls who
profess to be emancipated from the vain prejudices of the world is even
stronger and more deeply rooted than the desire to compel everything
by force? Is not this necessity the clearest and most invaluable of

But that is not the whole story. By a contradiction which would have
something grotesque about it if the tale of bloodshed and destruction
made such an expression permissible, those who every day shamelessly
violate the law of nations are the first to protest with impassioned
vehemence against what in their opponents they assert to be a violation
of the law of nations, as if the right to trample right under foot was
a privilege of Germany. I am well aware that on that point also we are
critical, but even though there were some motive for being critical, a
thing which is by no means proven, we must admit that a nation which
has signed certain declarations designed to mitigate as far as possible
the severities of war, and which, as soon as it becomes belligerent, no
longer holds itself bound by these same declarations, is not justified in
trying to pose as punctilious in the matter.

The only result of all this is hatred, stubborn invincible hatred,
which neither peace nor victory will destroy. Some Germans, it is
said, are beginning to be anxious about it; others are getting used
to it, provided that with hate they reap the harvest of fear; but it
is a mistaken calculation, because love, or, if you like, a minimum of
sympathy, is necessary for the daily round of that common life which we
call international relations. Force, admitting that those who have it at
their disposal can always count upon it, is powerless to bind nations
together, and by force I understand not merely material force, but a
spiritual force, such as is, for example, science, of which Germany is so
justly proud. If hatred persists, fostered as a religious duty, kindled
in the sacred fire of memory, there is no security possible for him who
is the object of it: it is the flaw which silently threatens with sudden
destruction the steel upon which so much reliance is placed.

Woe to the nation which makes itself hated!

                                                             PAUL GIRARD.


The reader will find in the pages which we herewith offer him a detailed
picture of the cruelties committed by Germany in the war which involves
half the nations of Europe.

In this war, which she let loose upon the world, Germany is not attacking
merely armies and fortresses. She takes her victims even from the civil
population, and systematically harries even the property of private
individuals. She revives under our eyes the times of Attila: to every
soldier whom she dispatches against her enemies she recalls the saying
of the Scourge of God that “wherever he rode there the grass must cease
to grow.” She devotes herself to pillage and destruction; aye, and to
pollution and desecration. From her captains, her leaders, her diplomats
down to her plain citizens and private soldiers she has disclosed her
barbarous spirit, her base instincts; under the blazing light of the
devouring flames which she has kindled she lays broad the infamous
groundwork and shameful foundations of what she dares to call her
civilisation, and which, on the plea of its superiority, she claims to
impose upon the whole universe.

Great towns have perished in the flames by her hands, with all the
treasures of science, art and industry which they contained; innumerable
districts, less populous but no less prosperous, have likewise been
plundered, looted and abandoned to the ravages of fire and sword; whole
regions have been laid waste without a shadow of military necessity;
thousands of peaceful residents, and harmless citizens of these areas,
priests and women, children and old folk, have been shot, killed,
executed, martyred; women and young girls have been violated and
subjected to the most frightful tortures; prisoners have been ill-treated
or even shot; the wounded have been dispatched on the field of battle;
young people below the military age have been carried off to Germany and
treated as prisoners at common law. In the field, the German armies have
been guilty of shameful acts of treachery: weapons forbidden because they
cause horrible wounds have been used without scruple and without shame.
Towns have had monstrous levies imposed upon them, which they had to pay
on penalty of seeing their inhabitants massacred. And these things were
repeated everywhere: in Belgium, in France, in Poland, in Galicia, in
Serbia. Fire, sword, bloodshed, dishonour, slaughter, murder, torture
have been flaunted before the eyes of astonished Europe.

That is the story we are going to tell. And with the evidence in the case
ready to hand, we shall draw a picture of German barbarism. We shall
appeal to the civilised world and ask it to reflect upon the monstrous
exhibition of the instincts, the character and the principles of the
German nation, which claimed to be gifted with fine feelings and to
be punctilious about morals. The facts which will be narrated to the
reader will pass judgment upon this claim. In face of the flattering or
mendacious pleas, circulated for the last fifty years by Germany herself
or by her dupes, this book, the author is fully persuaded, will but
anticipate the verdict of history.


    CHAP.                                                             PAGE

       I THE GERMAN THEORY OF WAR                                        1


     III THE GERMAN TREATMENT OF OFFICIALS                              17

           AGAINST ENEMY SUBJECTS                                       30

       V OUTRAGES ON NEUTRAL SUBJECTS                                   35


     VII GERMAN TREACHERY ON THE BATTLEFIELD                            50

           BOMBARDMENT. DEFINITION OF BOMBARDMENT                       55

      IX KILLING OF THE WOUNDED BY GERMANS                              83

       X ILL-TREATMENT OF PRISONERS OF WAR                              97

           TERRITORY                                                   104




           THE DEAD                                                    185

     XVI DEGREES OF RESPONSIBILITY. CONCLUSION                         216




Eternal peace is a chimera. Whatever pains we may take to avoid war,
there always comes a moment when tradition and interest, passion and
affection clash and bring to pass the shock which we desired to avoid, a
shock which, in the conditions within which civilisation evolves, appears
not merely inevitable, but salutary. So we see that philosophers and
historians have generally spoken of war as a necessary evil.

But just because of the services which war is called upon to render
at certain times, it is important not to keep it apart from all the
wholesome, righteous and moral ideas disseminated by civilisation, some
of which are an age-long gain to society. The evils which war brings
with it must be reduced as much as possible. A state of war, disastrous
in itself, must be made subject to laws, approved by righteousness and
morality, laws which experience has shown to be practicable and salutary.

These laws are in effect the international conscience of civilised
nations. They are the laws of humanity. In every case where military
necessity is not absolutely involved, the nations demand that these laws
should be set in motion. To reduce the enemy to impotence; to make it
impossible for him to resist, is the aim of belligerents: but to attain
that end there is no need to disown humanity. A war humanely conducted
may be speedily brought to an end. Often, even, it attains its end
more quickly by declining to exasperate the enemy and by conciliating
opinion. On the other hand, by resorting to terrorism and attacking the
enemy’s dearest, most cherished and most sacred possessions—the lives of
non-combatants, private property, works of science and art, the good name
of families, religion—you renew his power of resistance, increase his
moral strength, and infuse into him the spirit of hatred and vengeance.


German military writers have paid no attention to that. In the picture
which they have drawn of force, they have left no room for justice
and moderation, which alone make it worthy of respect and bring about
lasting results. The triumph, such as it is, of violence, bounds their
whole horizon. Clausewitz, an author who has the ear of Germany, writes,
“War knows only one means: force. There is no other: it is destruction,
wounds, death, and this resort to brutal force is absolutely imperative.
As for that right of nations, about which its advocates talk so much,
it imposes on the purpose and right of war merely insignificant and, so
to speak, negligible, restrictions. In war every idea of humanity is a
blunder, a dangerous absurdity. The violence and brutality of combat
admit no kind of limitation.”

“Let France reflect upon the words of one who has been called ‘an
immortal teacher,’” says a celebrated commentator of the same
Clausewitz, Baron Bronsard de Schellendorf, a former Prussian Minister
of War, in another work (_France under Arms_). And this author adds,
“If civilised nations do not scalp the vanquished, do not cut their
prisoners’ throats, do not destroy towns and villages, do not set fire
to farms, do not lay waste everything in their path, it is not from
motives of humanity. No, it is because it is better policy to ransom the
vanquished and to make use of productive territories.”

The author does not ask himself if, always from this point of view, no
other limitations to the brutalities of war are imposed upon thoughtful
people, limitations which are in conformity with well-understood
interest, and which at the same time would win the approbation of
righteousness and humanity. Wholly obsessed by the coarse intoxication of
his principle of absolute violence, he adds—

“The style of old Clausewitz is a feeble affair. He was a poet who put
rosewater into his inkpot. But it is only with blood that you can write
about the things of war. _Besides, the next war will be a terrible
business._ Between Germany and France it can only be a question of a duel
to the death. _To be or not to be_: that is the question, and one, too,
which will only be solved by the destruction of one of the combatants.”

Such is the tone of German military authors. Their responsibility is of
the highest importance in the story we have to tell. It is they, it is
their principles disseminated through Germany, which have set up like
a dogma in that country the cult of force in and for itself, divorced
from all the moral elements with which the thought of civilised people
surrounds it. And, having been taught by such masters, the German nation
can in matters of war only thirst for murder and violence.


These principles had their full effect as soon as the Germans thought
that war was inevitable.

Do not let us here discuss the excitement which people naturally feel
under such circumstances, nor the emotions of wild enthusiasm and
patriotic hatred into which the rush of events leads them. If these
emotions lead to excesses, we can neither wonder nor complain at it.
Excess is in the nature of things and is part and parcel of a system
in which material forces work for a just end—namely, the safety of the
country. The general upheaval which accompanied a declaration of war
cannot fail to rouse the masses and to lead to extravagant and blustering
demonstrations. Nevertheless, even in that respect, there are limits
which a nation will never exceed, unless it is being exploited in the
interests of the gospel of frightfulness, unless the love of destruction
for its own sake is the aim of its leaders and its preceptors, and is the
basis of the nation’s conception of war.

That is the case with the Germans. The instincts of blind violence which
men carry naturally within them and which education alone restrains, had
been so carefully fostered by the Clausewitz and Schellendorf schools in
the mind of the German people that, once the restraint of peace has been
removed, we could postulate in them the symptoms of the most dangerous
impulses: symptoms which, in the eyes of every impartial judge, appeared
like the dismal omens of an appalling thirst for blood.

The correspondent of the _Hovedstaden_ (_La Capitale_), a Danish journal,
tells that he heard some women at Berlin uttering impassioned speeches,
shouting that an attempt was being made to annihilate Germany, and urging
the men to the task of destruction by fire and sword in the foreign
countries to which they were going. This same correspondent records
the fact that “men and women speakers followed one another in the Café
Piccadilly belching out curses against Great Britain and her allies.”
Such were the feelings of the public in Germany, different, one might
say, from what one would naturally expect to find in such a case, for,
is it human for a woman to urge on her husband, her father or her son to
a work of cruel destruction? How effective must have been the doctrines
disseminated by German authors like those we have quoted, if they have
been able, as they have been, to destroy absolutely the finer feelings
even of women, and if the thirst for violence has led women to make
public attempts to incite their men-folk?


But let us leave the military writers, and speak of men whose peaceful
profession ought to have the effect of inspiring in them feelings of
moderation. The classes whom we call the intellectuals have been the most
savage of all.

“We are barbarians!” wrote the famous German journalist, Maximilian
Harden, in his paper _Die Zukunft_, at the beginning of the war. “England
is in alliance with yellow apes and rejoices to hear it said that Germans
have been murdered by drunken Cossacks. The English, the Belgians, the
French, the northern and southern Sklavs and the Japanese cannot praise
one another enough, declaring that they are the guardians and purveyors
of the most refined civilisation, and calling us barbarians.

“We should be quite wrong to contradict them. For ancient Rome when it
was sick unto death, the Germans who dug its grave were barbarians. Your
civilisation, friends, wafts to you no fine perfumes! Accustom yourselves
to the idea that on German soil live barbarians and warriors who for the
moment have no time to talk soft nothings. They shall defeat your armies,
overpower your general staffs, and cut your tentacles in the oceans. When
Tangiers and Toulon, Antwerp and Calais are subject to barbaric power,
then sometime we shall have a kindly chat with you.”

It is in this state of mind, the mark of unbridled violence, that
the German people embarked on the war of 1914. A monstrous outburst
followed, the desire and the firm expectation of victory, of which German
patriotism had perhaps the right to be glad. But at the same time the
most brutal and savage instincts of mankind were let loose.

The will to ravage, destroy, pollute everything belonging to the enemy
filled the German armies, and the results of teachings printed in books
could be seen written in letters of blood and fire on the page of
history. The theory of blind violence openly professed in Germany for
half a century, a theory which has been drilled into the very soul of the
nation, and has become a principle of conduct for the individual, has
borne its fruit. We shall tell the story of them.




Violations of the law of nations and, still more, acts of cruelty
committed in war, have almost always escaped punishment properly so
called. The victim usually finds himself powerless to exact retribution
for them. Only one course is permitted to him: that of reprisals, by
which he counters acts of violence with other acts of violence. His aim,
therefore, is not vengeance: the point is to compel the enemy to keep
to what is permissible, through fear of penalties to which he will be
exposed if he persists in wrongdoing. Reprisals may frequently involve
great violence, but one rule is universally admitted—that they never
justify acts of cruelty properly so called. Amongst the latter are the
massacre of women and children, mutilation, cunningly devised torture,
etc. Two other principles are likewise admitted as regards reprisals, to

    (1) that the severity of reprisals must not be out of
    proportion to the gravity of the offence.

    (2) that in cases where the offence has been committed by
    individual non-combatants, reprisals must not be inflicted
    on their fellow-citizens, as the aggrieved army has its
    legitimate remedy under what is called martial law. Now the
    Germans have violated this rule and these principles.


On many occasions the Germans have had recourse to the plea of reprisals
to justify acts of violence committed by them. We shall show that this
plea is a misuse of terms. One of the excuses which they have most
frequently put forward is that civilians have taken part in the war,
in Belgium, in France, in Poland. But the question of the civilian
population taking part in military operations is bound up with the
question of francs-tireurs, which Germany wanted to solve to suit herself
and which will occupy our attention later on. Let us here point out one
thing—that the circumstances under which, even according to the German
version of events, civilians have taken part in the war, are very often
quite enough to condemn Germany. For example, Herr de Bethmann-Hollweg,
the Imperial Chancellor, thought he could persuade the whole world of
the innocence of the German soldiers, whose admitted excesses, so far
as Louvain was concerned, were due, he said, to the fact that the young
girls of the town had gouged out the eyes of the German soldiers. Let us
assume the Chancellor’s good faith in making such a statement. Assuredly
he cannot have supposed that this happened in many instances or that it
went so far as a general execution. It can only have been reported to
him, and he can only have been induced to believe it as an exceptional
act. It is not of the nature of such an act, alike from the cruelty which
it assumes in women and from the difficulty of carrying it out, to be
repeated often, and this is the reason for destroying a town, burning
Louvain and pillaging the whole country. “A plea of self-defence like
this,” said M. Hanotaux, “by itself gives you a picture of the German


All the other excuses of the Germans are of the same kind. Their
very weakness proves that they are slanders. For example, Germany
has endeavoured to spread in foreign countries, and especially in
Switzerland, a rumour to the effect that people on their way back from
enemy countries who had stopped in France, and also Swiss subjects, had
been ill-treated by the French authorities. The object of this grotesque
report was obviously to forestall charges under the same heading which
would fall on Germany, and to prepare the public opinion of the world
to think that charges outstanding against them were cancelled by the
necessity of resorting to reprisals for acts committed in France. The
Swiss newspapers did not fail to denounce the German manœuvre. To show
the extent to which the policy of lying was being carried, the _Journal
de Genève_ published a letter from the Swiss Consul at Besançon, giving
the highest praise to the manner in which Germans and Austrians had been
treated in France.

Moreover, of what value can these slanders be when, on the other hand,
documentary evidence proves that the French authorities have behaved
to the Germans with an excess of indulgence. It is certain, at least,
that nowhere in France has any hatred been shown to the prisoners. Even
prisoners of war have been most energetically protected by the heads of
the army against the passions of crowds. On this head here is a note
which a French general, Commandant at Angers, addressed to the newspapers
of this town—

    “For some days convoys of prisoners of war have been passing
    through the Angers railway station.

    “Part of the civil population, and not always the best part,
    crowds on the bridge above the station and utter cries when
    they think they recognise an enemy uniform on the platform.
    These demonstrations are unbecoming; if the Germans behave like
    brutes to their prisoners, there is no reason why we should
    imitate them. A nation like France, which boasts with good
    right of being the most civilised of all, cannot, by acting
    like them, follow in the footsteps of the barbarians whom we
    are on the way to conquer at our will and pleasure, with arms
    in our hands. I beg, therefore, the staff of the local press to
    be good enough to invite civilians to maintain the calmness and
    dignity which are the qualities of strong races, conscious of
    their place in civilisation.

                                              “GÉNÉRAL D’ORMESSON.”


One of the manœuvres practised by the Germans consists in their firing
some gunshots themselves, at the moment when they were entering a
village evacuated by enemy troops, and pretending that these shots came
from civilians. Consequently they began to resort to what they called
reprisals. All the more did they resort to them when the smallest actual
offence gave them any pretext.

In his book, _German Evidence for German Crimes_, M. Bédier tells how at
Orchies “a woman was shot for not having obeyed the word of command to
halt. The result, the whole district burnt!” The disobedience of this
peasant woman was considered by the German, Major Mehring, the Commandant
at Valenciennes, a “terrible atrocity.” In the belief that other equally
terrible atrocities had been, according to report, committed at Orchies
this Major decided on the destruction of the town. Moreover, he was
extraordinarily proud of it, for he issued a proclamation saying that
“unfortunately” he had been compelled to the most rigorous measures of
martial law against the town of Orchies. “In this locality,” he adds,
“the most terrible atrocities were committed. I have drawn the due
inferences therefrom, and have destroyed the whole town. _The old town of
Orchies, a town of 5000 inhabitants, is no more …_ The dwelling-houses,
town hall and church are annihilated.” As a matter of fact the Germans
directed a furious bombardment against Orchies; incendiary bombs, benzine
sprinklers, every means was employed. For a radius of six leagues the red
lights of the conflagration could be seen rising.


A circumstance quite as trivial as the disobedience of the Orchies
peasant woman was the occasion for the monstrous acts of cruelty and
extortion of which the Germans were guilty at Kalich, in Poland. In that
place, because some one threw a stone at a patrol, Lieutenant-colonel
Prenster, in command of the garrison, caused all the residents in one
house to be shot, and then, thinking that that was not enough, he had all
the people who lived in Rue Vroclavska brought out of their houses and
riddled with grapeshot. About a hundred were killed. Another inhabitant
of Kalich, Sokolof, the treasurer, was shot “for having burnt, the
evening before the Germans entered, the banknotes in the departmental
bank.” Another, named Dernbourg, was hanged on the mere charge of having
“carried a lantern in his hand.” This fact proved him to have been a
spy! The truth is that the unfortunate man had used the lantern only for
the purpose of carrying out certain necessary repairs to his mill. Four
workmen engaged in the mill were also put to death, after some forms of
trial. Four hundred houses were destroyed in this town, representing
a loss of sixty million roubles. The leader of the Germans in this
performance was an individual of German extraction, Michel by name, the
former head of a brothel at Kalich, whom the German Commandant appointed
mayor of the town.


The Germans have been trained in a rigorous school, but they are lacking
in flexibility of mind. Moreover, they were unable to avoid admissions
which confute their falsehoods.

So it happened that when the _Berliner Tageblatt_ recorded acts of
cruelty which it alleged had been committed by the Allies, a refutation
of its charges came from Germany itself. This paper told that in France
cigars and cigarettes filled with powder were given to German prisoners:
_Vorwaerts_ took up the task of replying to this piece of stupidity,
showed that a great number of stories of the same kind had been admitted
to be false, and that in particular the story of the cigarettes was
a mere invention. The legend that German soldiers had had their eyes
gouged out by francs-tireurs was also denounced as a mere imagination.
On this point _Vorwaerts_ wrote: “No proof has been made out on official
authority that German soldiers have had their eyes gouged out by
francs-tireurs. A certain well-known Berlin newspaper declared that there
were at the Grosslichterfeld hospital ten slightly wounded soldiers, who
had had their eyes gouged out by the enemy. When Herr Liebknecht asked
the superintendent of the hospital if the report was correct, the latter
replied, ‘Fortunately, these rumours are devoid of all foundation.’”

_Vorwaerts_ recurred to this same question on the 6th December, 1914,
when it published the results of an inquiry made of the management of the
Hanover hospitals and the grand charity hospital at Berlin.

The management of the Hanover hospitals addressed the following reply to
the Socialist journal. “As a result of inquiry made among the doctors of
the different sections of hospital 3, we are able to inform you that we
have not at present at the hospital a single wounded person whose eyes
have been gouged out. We have never had one.”

Similarly, the management of the charity hospital at Berlin communicated
the following note to _Vorwaerts_: “The charity hospital has admitted no
wounded who have had their eyes gouged out.”

Finally, the great Catholic newspaper, the _Kölnische Volkszeitung_,
having published in the month of November an article in which the same
legend reappeared, Arch-presbyter Kaufmann had a conclusive document
inserted in this paper.

A doctor, M. Saethre, who said he had visited the Cologne hospitals,
had written, “There can be no doubt about the atrocities committed by
francs-tireurs. I myself saw at Aix-la-Chapelle a Red Cross sister whose
breast had been cut off by francs-tireurs, and a Major whose eyes had
been gouged out whilst he lay on the field of battle.” He replied, under
date 26th November, in a letter to the paper from which we make this
extract: “You asked me to write to you what I thought about this report.
I, therefore, applied to the competent military authorities to know if
the statements made by Doctor Saethre were correct. The superintendent of
the hospital writes me under date 25th November, ‘The atrocities of which
you tell me have not been committed, at least as far as Aix-la-Chapelle
is concerned. We have not seen the Red Cross sister referred to nor the
Major either.’

“I do not know,” continued the Arch-presbyter, where the doctor of whom
the _Kölnische Volkszeitung_ speaks has got his information. “I think it
necessary to state here again that in the hospitals of Aix-la-Chapelle
there is not a single wounded man to be found whose eyes have been
gouged out, and no Red Cross sister who has suffered the above-mentioned

In this way was the device foiled. The attempts made to disguise the
German crimes as reprisals led to nothing.


These took place on account of the treatment of German prisoners of war
after their internment. Even on this question complete equality has not
yet been reached, as the Allies did not desire to treat their prisoners
in the least like Germany treats hers.

In their behaviour towards civilians the Allies have always confined
themselves to the limits prescribed by martial law, without having
recourse to the right of reprisals. In Alsace, German immigrants very
nearly gave occasion for reprisals.

At Cernay, a French section which had deployed lost thirty-eight men, who
had all been struck in the back; the shots had been fired in the town,
before any German soldier could have reached there. At Lutran, the German
teacher fired on a cavalry patrol and killed two horses. This attitude of
the Germans of Alsace, as well as the numerous arrests of German spies
caught red-handed in the course of operations in Upper Alsace, brought
several persons before a court-martial. In these citations the procedure
of war was scrupulously observed. This was particularly the case with the
Mayor and the comptroller of the post office of Thann, as also with the
wife of a German forester of Schlierbach, who was condemned to death by
the court-martial for having led several soldiers into an ambuscade.

Only on one occasion did the French speak of reprisals and threaten to
carry them out. This threat was delivered by aeroplanes, which threw down
proclamations declaring “We have many hostages in our hands. For every
Alsatian killed, we shall kill ten Germans; for every Alsatian wounded,
we shall kill a German.” The object was to protect Alsatian civilians,
who had fallen into the hands of the Germans again, against the vengeance
of the latter.


To sum up, while the Allies, in face of the cruelties committed by their
enemies, waived or restricted their right of reprisals; the Germans, on
the contrary, not only exercised it, but boldly exceeded it, using it as
a random excuse to justify a policy of vengeance and terrorisation. Acts
of little importance were repressed by them like outrages. The doings
of a single individual brought about the ruin of a village. Still more,
these doings were invented to justify gratuitous excesses practised for
the mere purpose of terrorisation. These general remarks were necessary
before embarking on the story of the excesses and crimes which Germany
wished to dispute and the details of which we are about to read.




German violence, once it had been let loose by the declaration of war,
forthwith became lost to restraint of every kind. It was not merely in
pitched battles and amongst soldiers that it was displayed, but behind
the lines, and in matters commonly supposed to be subject to diplomatic
regulations. The official representatives of foreign countries had to
suffer the consequences. By their conduct towards these distinguished
people, German ministers and officials by their deliberate action proved
to the civilised world that Germany is the land of cruelty no less
than of insolence and rudeness. The ambassadors, consuls, etc., of the
powers on which Germany had just declared war were exposed to infamous
treatment, perhaps, in its way, worse than the acts of cruelty committed
by the heads of the army and by the soldiers. Even people of royal blood,
members of the Imperial family of Russia, were the victims of these
outbursts of violence.

In making this statement we must not exonerate any section of the
German people. The members of the Government, no less than officials,
are responsible, for none of the latter were censured, and this
responsibility must be traced back to the Emperor. On the other hand,
the German people, without distinction of class, deliberately associated
themselves with these outbursts.


The Dowager Empress of Russia, Marie Feodorovna, mother of the Emperor of
Russia and sister of Queen Alexandra of England, was travelling through
Germany on the day after the declaration of war. She had just left
England and was going back to Russia.

On the order of the German authorities—

    (1) Her Majesty was stopped at Berlin, where she was forbidden
    to continue her journey to Petrograd to meet her family.

    (2) She was given the choice of going to Copenhagen or of
    returning to London.

The Dowager Empress had to obey. She went to Copenhagen and thence
continued her journey.


The Grand Duke Constantin Constantinovitch, grandson of Nicholas I, known
as a patron of arts and letters, who was at the baths of Wildungen,
in Germany, with his family, when war broke out, was stopped two days
after the Empress. At first the Germans thought of detaining him and
making him prisoner, as they had done with Admiral Skridlof, formerly
Admiral-in-Chief of the Russian Black Sea fleet, and several Russian
generals who likewise happened to be in German territory. But they
merely shut him up with his family in a carriage of a frontier train.
In this carriage they made a point of putting some soldiers who were
travelling pipe in mouth, and forbade any one to open the windows. At
different stages in the journey the authorities were guilty of repeated
acts of rudeness to the Prince, and even went so far as to jeer at his
suite. When the Grand Duchess expressed a wish to send a telegram to the
Empress of Germany, who had been her friend from childhood, she found
that she was arrogantly refused.

From the station at Gumbinnen up to the Russian frontier, that is to say
for a distance of three leagues, the Grand Duke and his family had to
complete the journey on foot.


The German authorities behaved in similar fashion to M. Jules Cambon, the
Ambassador of France at Berlin. When, armed with his passports, he asked
to leave by way of Holland, the minister refused his request and sent him
word by M. de Lancken, a former adviser to the German Embassy at Paris,
that he would have to return to France through Austria.

“We should not recommend you,” he said, “to go through Denmark. The
sea may not be safe…” M. Cambon then asked for himself and his staff a
safe-conduct which would guarantee his journey through Austria, where his
official position would be no protection to him. This safe-conduct was
promised him. On the following morning this order was countermanded,
and M. Cambon was informed that he would be brought back again to the
Danish frontier. Whether the sea would be safe or not was no longer taken
into consideration. His departure took place the same day. It took no
less than twenty-four hours to cross the 400 kilometres which separate
Berlin from Denmark. When the train got near the frontier all the blinds
were lowered, and soldiers armed with revolvers beset the doors of each
compartment. The passengers were warned that these soldiers would fire if
they left the carriage, if they put their hands in their pockets, or if
they attempted to touch their luggage.

When they were close to the frontier, a military official, Commandant
de Rheinhaben, came, shamefacedly enough, and asked M. Cambon for the
cost of the train by which he had travelled from Berlin. The ambassador
offered a cheque on the Bleichroeder Bank, which was declined. The total
expense, which amounted to 3600 marks, was demanded in gold. The Embassy
staff was able to scrape together this sum. The passengers then continued
their journey, with the addition to their party of a curious-looking
person who, the Commandant said, was a Scandinavian merchant. M. Cambon
and his companions met this curious merchant again at Copenhagen and in
Norway at the time of their embarkation for England.

Moreover, as they were going through the Kiel Canal, the Germans went so
far as to claim the right to search the ambassador’s luggage. And though,
through the interposition of an official, he was spared this humiliation,
soldiers forced themselves into the carriages and stood on guard facing
the passengers, with their hands on the trigger of their revolvers;
even women and children did not escape this kind of treatment and were
threatened with death if they made the slightest movement.


The French Minister at Munich and his family were notified on the 3rd
August, at 6 p.m., that they must take train the following morning for
Constance, under the supervision of an officer and a Bavarian official.
The Minister asked for an extension of time, which was refused in
accordance with instructions which he was told had been received from
Berlin. On the other hand, the owners of the premises used as offices and
residences by the legation demanded, under threat of distress, immediate
payment for the current quarter.

M. de Nélidof, the Russian Envoy at the Vatican, who was returning to
Russia through Germany with his wife, was kept prisoner for two days in
the Munich railway station, where he and Mme. de Nélidof had to submit to
the worst possible treatment at the hands of soldiers.

The Russian Minister at Dresden was ordered to leave at nine hours’
notice. With great difficulty he had the time extended to twenty-four
hours. He and his staff were put into a carriage with blinds drawn, and
he was kept under observation by two police officials all the way to


We cannot be surprised that the mob shows little self-control in
circumstances so critical as a declaration of war. But what cannot be
permitted is that mob violence should be let loose, and not be forbidden
by the authorities, upon the representatives of foreign powers, whose
mission under such circumstances automatically comes to an end. In
Germany, on certain occasions, the authorities were actually accomplices
of the mob. This was the case as regards the treatment of the French and
Russian diplomatic body as they were leaving Berlin.

When the French diplomatic body was passing through Neumunster, near
Kiel, violent demonstrations were made by a party of ladies of the German
Red Cross. These ladies crowded round the carriage in which were the
staff of the French Embassy, shouting and shaking their fists. As a glass
of water was being brought to a little girl of three years old, who was
travelling with the Embassy, these ladies took hold of it and threw it
to the ground. In some cases the behaviour of the crowd was so shameful
that Commandant de Rheinhaben, who had been instructed to travel with the
Embassy, said that in all his life he had never had so painful a duty to

The demonstrations against the Russian diplomatic body began on the 27th
July, according to a subsequent statement of M. de Sverbeef, Russian
Ambassador to Berlin, to one of the editors of _Novoïé Vrémia_, 29th
August, 1914. A howling mob, he said, filled all the streets round the
Embassy, shouting insults to the Russians. This lasted till two o’clock
in the morning. These demonstrations began again the following day, but,
curious to relate, were at first aimed at Russia and not at France. At
the beginning of the war it was supposed at Berlin that France would not
participate in the struggle.

“I left Berlin,” continued the ambassador, “with the staff of the Embassy
on Sunday, 2nd August, at noon. A mob had gathered in front of the
Embassy in the morning. To avoid unpleasantness, the gate had been shut.
It was only opened at the moment when we were getting into a motor. I
went in front in the motor of the United States Ambassador. The crowd did
not attack me and I heard hardly any hostile cries. On the other hand,
the mob indulged in murderous attacks on the other motors.

“Although at Berlin the fact of these murderous attacks on the members
of the Russian Embassy is denied, they are nevertheless authentic. The
mob wounded not only the men, but also the ladies. It was not merely the
proletariat who gave themselves up to these acts of violence, but people
who appeared to be quite of high position participated.”

Moreover, several official representatives of Russia were arrested in the
street, but were set at liberty again when their papers had been examined.

Crapovitzki, the Chamberlain, formerly Secretary-in-Chief of the Russian
Embassy at Berlin, was struck on the head by blows so violent that his
blood saturated two handkerchiefs, and he had to put himself under
medical care at Copenhagen.

Princess Belosselska, an American citizen, was struck on the back, on the
shoulder, and on the head, by a well-clad man with a white beard, and
some people spat in her face.

Several other people were ill-treated, especially Countess Litke, wife
of the Russian Minister at Stuttgart; Mme. Todleben, wife of the Russian
Minister at Carlsruhe; Mmes. Plantine and Raevska; MM. Diacre and
Chapelle of the Embassy at Berlin, and M. Lopaiko. The children were
stowed away on the floor of the motors to protect them from blows.


Members of the Russian, French and English consular service in Germany
were to have still less favour shown to them than ambassadors and
ministers. The Consul-General of Russia at Leipzig was unexpectedly
summoned to the police station. He was there allowed thirty-five minutes
to go to the station and take the train. His vice-consul, who was of a
lower rank, was allowed only ten minutes, and his pockets were searched
to boot.

The Consul-General of France at Frankfurt got orders to go on the 4th
August, and he immediately obeyed. The German authorities conducted him
to the Belgian frontier, then on the way they changed their minds and
conducted him to Constance. When he reached the station at Offensburg
he was arrested by an officer. With the consular staff he remained shut
up for five hours in the waiting-room, closely watched. Then he was
conducted, with about one hundred French people, men, women and children,
who had left Frankfurt at the same time as their consul-general, to
Donaueschingen. There they were all led under escort in a pelting rain
to the other end of the town into an open station, where their only
opportunity of rest was upon some bundles of straw. On the next morning
it was announced that the French, with their wives and children, would be
detained by the local authorities. A protest by the consul-general was
ineffective. The consul and his staff were unable to resume their journey
to Constance until 5 o’clock.

On the 5th August the German authorities ordered the consuls of France,
Russia and England to leave Danzig within an hour.

The three consuls and their families were brought to Bentheim, on the
Dutch frontier, amid insults and ill-treatment and without being allowed
to take any food. On the 8th August, at Bentheim, the three consuls
were separated from their wives and families, and shut up in a prison
cell, with the sons of the English consul and M. Vassel, of the French
Consulate at Prague.

They were treated like criminals: they had bread and water for food,
straw mattresses and a stone floor for bed; they were compelled to clean
their cells, to take a regular walk of half an hour within the prison
precincts, in the company of men who had been convicted at common law.

The French consul, M. Michel, being ill, asked for a doctor, but was
unable to get one. The superintendent of the prison thought he had
done all that was required by giving him some castor oil. This regimen
lasted several days. Finally, on the 13th August, the English consul
was released and met again his wife and his children, who, unknown to
him, had been shut up in another cell. The other consuls were not set at
liberty until some days afterwards.

M. de France de Tersant, Vice-Consul of France at Frankfurt on the Main,
took thirty-three hours to traverse the 300 kilometres between Frankfurt
and the frontier. He underwent the same annoyances: tedious confinement
in railway stations, perpetual change of route; he was compelled to
travel with blinds drawn and windows shut in a stifling heat, in the
company of an armed official.

The wife of this consul, Mme. de France de Tersant, who left Germany on
the 31st July—that is, before the declaration of war, was arrested at
Metz and her luggage confiscated. In vain she made application to the
military authorities. They refused to receive it and threatened to keep
her in custody. However, she obtained permission to continue her journey
by horse carriage to Novéant. As she was leaving the soldiers hooted her.
At Novéant the driver refused to bring her any further. Then she had to
go on foot as far as Pagny-on-the-Moselle, which is the first French
village. A peasant at Novéant lent her a wheelbarrow, in which she could
put her young child. The peasant consented to push the wheelbarrow.

M. Damier, Russian consul at Frankfurt, was brought by force from his
house to a statue of Germania which he was compelled to salute. A howling
mob kicked him and struck him with their fists. M. Alberic Néton,
Consul-General of France at Düsseldorf, was ordered on the 2nd August
by the Chief of Police to leave the town at once. Two officials were
stationed before his door with orders not to leave it. On the next day,
on his way to the consulate, he could not give them the slip. All the day
they kept near him whether he went on foot or rode.

After interminable negotiations with regard to his departure, the
Consul-General of France finally left Düsseldorf on the 5th August,
bringing with him only a small portmanteau. The destination of the train
was the Dutch frontier (Roermont). But at the first station, which is
Neuss, an officer in a uniform trimmed with lace came and opened the
compartment in which were the consul-general and many other passengers,
and informed them that the Dutch line was cut and that they would have to
go to Cologne and then to Switzerland.

He had to go to Cologne in a train full of soldiers and in a third-class
carriage. During the whole journey the soldiers never ceased to make
insulting remarks about France.

At Cologne, the consul-general’s journey was interrupted by the military
authorities. He underwent a regular search and had to undress to allow
these people to search every bit of his clothing. As he complained of
having to submit to such treatment, the German officer said to him, “You
will see many other people in the same case as yourself.”

And, in fact, when the search was completed he was brought, carefully
escorted, to an hotel of the lowest class, an _annexe_ of the Prefecture
of Police, where police officers searched his luggage. M. Néton was
kept there three days under police supervision. He was forbidden to
communicate with any one outside or to read the newspapers.

“During the third night of our detention,” says the consul-general in
his official report of the 10th August, “on Friday, 7th August, a little
before midnight, there was a violent knocking at the door of my room.
‘Everybody get up,’ cried a voice; ‘you will be off to Holland in ten
minutes.’ Everybody dressed in great haste. We were compelled to get into
two military motors, which brought us with all speed to the station.
There we were brought to a train which was standing ready, and pushed
into a carriage where we were locked in and all the blinds lowered. The
signal for departure was given, but none of us knew where we were going.

“At six o’clock in the morning the train stopped. We had just passed
Clèves and we were a short distance from the Dutch frontier. To get us
over the remaining thirty kilometres the mayor of the place, who had been
notified of our arrival, offered to have us driven across in a light trap.

“When we got down from the carriage he demanded of us 14 marks, _i.e._
about 18 francs.

“We were at Vyler, the last Prussian station from which the boundary,
marking the frontier, could be seen; we thought we were at the end of our
troubles, but we had reckoned without the station officer. ‘Your papers,’
said he. Each of us showed what the official who searched us at Cologne
had left us. ‘Not in order,’ he declared. ‘I shall have to report the
matter. In the meantime you must be searched,’ and for a second time, men
and women, we were obliged to undress completely and to undergo a more
minute search than one could possibly imagine. They even looked between
our toes. The brims of our hats were turned back. The insoles of our
shoes were lifted up. My watch was opened and the glass of it broken.

“Once more I protested. Police officers, revolver in belt and rifle in
hand, surrounded me and commanded me to keep silent. The official came
towards me. My last papers and documents were seized and even my private
letters were taken…

“The official took leave of me, saying, ‘I shall return all this to you
at Düsseldorf when you come back.’

“After a few more minutes waiting we were allowed to cross the frontier.
We were free. On my arrival in Holland I noticed that the soldiers who
had searched me had taken 90 marks in gold which happened to be in my

M. René d’Hennezel, French Vice-Consul at Mannheim, left his post under
similar circumstances. At Immendigen a non-commissioned officer and four
men burst into his carriage. He examined M. d’Hennezel’s passports and
those of M. Lancial, diplomatic attaché, had their luggage carefully
searched, and passed on to them the word to follow him to the captain. On
the platform the crowd shouted angrily and the non-commissioned officer
sneered at them.

The captain questioned them fiercely and declared that their passports
were not in order. He prevented them leaving and had them brought back to
the station-master’s office, where a fresh examination of their luggage
was made in his presence. Finally, he consented to let them travel by
Constance, saying, “Above all things, mind what you are about, and take
very good care that I hear no complaint of you, or you will immediately
be shot. You must get into the luggage van.”

M. Armez, French Consul at Stuttgart, during the last days of his stay
received all his correspondence “unsealed as a military safeguard.”

On the 3rd August he was ordered to leave his post within three hours,
and to bring only hand luggage. He was stopped at the first station as a
spy, and threatened with death by the other passengers, in the presence
of a menacing crowd. It was only after many anxieties of every kind and
not without having received several blows and even having been wounded,
that he succeeded in reaching Constance in Swiss territory.



The most celebrated German writers on international law, Heffter,
Klueber, Geffcken, have taught that the State which declares war can
neither keep enemy subjects who happen to be on its territory nor their
property, for as they came into this territory in reliance upon public
law and have received permission to stay there, they can avail themselves
of the tacit promise made by the State that every freedom and safety
are guaranteed them for their return. If the State wishes them to go,
it must allow them a reasonable time to go away with their property; if
not, enemy subjects, who are subject to the regulations of the police and
of public safety have the right, so long as they respect these laws, to
appeal for protection to them. In any case deliberate ill-treatment of
enemy subjects cannot be permitted.

This principle, by the confession of the Germans themselves, condemns
the methods to which Germany has resorted by empowering her officials
to behave cruelly to French and Russian subjects who happened to be in
Germany on the 3rd August, and by tacitly approving the behaviour of the
mob to them.

The fear of spying, of which it appears that all these people were
suspected, perhaps because of the audacity which the Germans themselves
showed in resorting to it in foreign countries, was invoked by the
Germans as the excuse for all these outrages and the justification for
all these annoyances.


Nevertheless, ill-treatment could not be justified in this way. As a
precaution against spying, foreigners may be compelled to leave a country
_en masse_. A straightforward and honest supervision may be exercised
over them at their departure, but no one has the right to allow them to
be struck, nor to expose them to the clamours of a mob, nor to speak
to them as if they were prisoners in the dock. Only definite suspicion
falling upon individuals would justify such conduct, and by justifying it
would give, in addition, the rights of arrest and cross-examination.

People who are merely being brought back to their own country in case of
war have the right to be shown every consideration by the authorities.

In all the disgraceful situations which German officials and private
citizens brought about in Germany in their dealings with enemy subjects
of Germany, we can, therefore, see merely the expression of a cowardly
hatred of everything that belongs to the powers hostile to Germany,
powers which the Germans think they are hitting when they insult and
ill-treat their peaceful and harmless citizens. The same feeling which
animated German officials against the Dowager Empress of Russia, against
the Grand Duke Constantin, against the ambassadors, ministers and consuls
of Russia and France, could only assert itself with still greater fury,
devoid of all consideration and all scruple, against plain French
citizens or Russian subjects. In this letting loose of evil passions
there were manifested features of grotesque arbitrariness. For example,
such was these people’s whim, every woman who wore spectacles was
subjected to a more minute search than other travellers, on the ground,
it was alleged, that there was more likelihood of her being a spy!


Thirty-two Russians belonging to the highest aristocracy, who were
passing the summer at Baden and other bathing resorts, were arrested at
Hamburg and detained for several days. Thanks to the intervention of the
Spanish consul, M. Veler, they were able eventually to continue their
journey; but at Neumunster, M. Schebeko, on the authority of a telegram
from Berlin, was suddenly arrested in the train, compelled to get out of
the carriage guarded by soldiers with fixed bayonets, in the midst of a
crowd shouting “Shoot him!” He was then dragged off to prison, where he
spent twenty-four hours in a dark cell, in the company of malefactors
under the common law.

The Countess of Vorontsoff, daughter of the Viceroy of the Caucasus,
went so far as to protest. Immediately the soldiers, in a rage, forced
themselves into her carriage, pushed her with the butt-ends of their
rifles on to the platform and began to search her. It was only with
great difficulty that the travellers were able to resume their journey,
which, from Baden to the Danish frontier, lasted seven days. At Reudsburg
station they were again dragged from their carriage and carefully
searched: at the Fleusburg station they were detained for four hours
under a guard of armed soldiers. Other Russian travellers of note were
at first brought to the frontier town of Eydtkuhnen, and then dispatched
again to Mecklenburg, and the Island of Ruegen.

The travellers were fearfully crowded together. Some of them were put
into cattle-trucks and had nothing to eat or drink. Even women were not
spared blows with the fist and with the butt-ends of rifles, nor threats
of death. Several had to make long marches on foot between rows of armed
soldiers, and at stopping-places had no shelter but pig-sties. A large
number of men aged from seventeen to fifty were stopped.

Husbands were taken away from their wives, children were harshly treated,
and left alone at the stopping-places in spite of the cries of their
mothers, who were forced to continue their journey.

In the sanatorium at Frankfurt, which was filled with a large number of
foreigners, especially Russians, several of whom had just been operated
on, shameful behaviour of the same kind took place. The sanatorium was
cleared in twenty-four hours. A woman who had just been confined was sent
to Berne, where she arrived in a dying condition. Her baby died on the

After stories like these, we can easily imagine what bad treatment
travellers of less distinction had to endure. The vicissitudes through
which they passed not merely astound, but revolt, the hearer. The
Russians who were brought to Sasuitz, for the most part robbed of all
that they had, agreed to make the following declaration—

“Those who wish to do so may take the boat to go back to Sweden. Those
who do not wish to return to Sweden _will remain here, as prisoners
of war, until the end of the war_. The women will sew linen for our
soldiers, the men will be employed in making trenches. Whoever departs
from the appointed place where he is to stop will be brought before a
court-martial and will be shot. We do not guarantee regular food.”


The French were no more spared than the Russians. At Kembs, fronting
Istein, the German authorities blew up with dynamite Monsignor
Kannengieser’s dwelling-house. The noble prelate, who was almost blind,
was shamefully ill-treated, because (such is the statement of the
_Liberté de Fribourg_) he had in his possession plans of Istein.

As for French travellers going back to France, their journey was checked
at any moment by the police, who stopped them for long hours, if not
for whole days, at every station. Several found that they were treated
like regular prisoners; on the slightest suspicion they were shut up in
dark cells, and in order to intimidate them or to drag confessions out
of them, they were threatened with death. Those who were not stopped by
the police were unmercifully beaten by the crowd, who loaded them with

At Hanover a child who was wearing the inscription _France_ on the ribbon
of its hat was dragged from its mother and ill-treated.

At Donaueschingen a certain number of women were compelled by the German
military authorities to discontinue their journey, and were brought to a
school, where they had to sleep on straw.

They got the benefit, however, of the sole and only act of charity
which was performed during the whole of this time in Germany towards
an enemy subject, for the Princess of Fürstenberg, whose castle is at
Donaueschingen, hearing of their condition, had beds given them in a
hospital of which she is patroness.



In these acts of unbridled violence due note should be made of the fact
that German officials, officers and private soldiers made no distinction
between individuals who held public offices and mere private citizens.
Still more worthy of note is the fact, which we think is obvious,
that they made no distinction between the subjects of enemy and those
of neutral states. The sacred duty laid upon every State to protect
the life, property and even the interests of neutrals was absolutely
repudiated in Germany, and we think it is our duty to draw the reader’s
attention with special emphasis to outrages of this kind committed by the
Germans both in Germany and in the territories which they invaded.


M. Bernardino del Campo, ex-Minister of Finance of Brazil, ex-President
of Sao-Paolo and leader of the Republican Party of that country, happened
to be on the 3rd August at Bad-Nauheim with his wife, who was taking a
course of treatment there, and his four children. The Germans showed
no consideration either for his nationality, his rank or his age. M.
Bernardino del Campo, although he had reached the age of sixty-two
years, was struck with the butt-end of the rifle by Bavarian soldiers,
robbed of his jewels and left dying at the Swiss frontier.

_The news of this incident caused great indignation in Brazil._

Baroness Karen-Groothe, daughter of the King of Denmark’s Master of the
Hunt, and wife of a Turkish officer, happened to be at Mecklenberg when
war was declared, and was arrested as a spy and treated so brutally that
she had to keep to her bed at Copenhagen, to which she was brought back.

Several Danish subjects resident in Schleswig were treated with the same
kind of brutality. Count de Schack was imprisoned; when, on his release,
he tried to escape across the Danish frontier, he was arrested again and
sent to a fortress in the interior of Germany. The editors of the Danish
papers in Schleswig, and a large number of distinguished people in the
annexed provinces, were also imprisoned.

Americans were no better treated than Danes. The _New York Sun_ (11th
August, 1914) discussed the treatment of Americans in Germany in an
article dealing with the arrest of Mr. Archer Huntington and his wife
on a baseless charge of espionage, and the brutality with which several
young Americans had been treated.

“It would seem that the German authorities” (said the _Sun_) “think that
in war there is no obstacle to their will and no atonement for their
acts. The American Government will speedily have to disabuse them of this
idea. Germany must be made to understand clearly that ample compensation
is due to her victims, and that those who have abused their authority
must be punished.”


The Austrian authorities were as discourteous as the German to
foreigners, subjects of neutral countries. At Carlsbad the famous singer,
Adelina Patti, and her husband, Baron Cederstrom, a Danish subject, were
kept prisoners for several days in their hotel, where the police searched
everything and rummaged through all their trunks and portmanteaus, while
the crowd, who threatened to carry the hotel by assault, raised a hideous
din by way of demonstration against the singer, who is a friend of Russia
and France.

According to the Italian newspaper _Messagero_, an Italian commercial
traveller, M. Ugo Lorenzini, and ten fellow-countrymen were ill-treated
by the Austrians on their return from Berlin to Italy on the outbreak of
hostilities. They were imprisoned at Innsbruck, then shut up in a motor
wagon, which took a day and a half to bring them to Trente. There they
were robbed of everything they had, especially of 2000 crowns, which
was all the money in their possession. For a whole week the Austrians
actually kept them digging trenches for fifteen hours a day: hardly any
food was given them and they were struck with sticks and swords. One
morning, after one of them had killed the guard, they managed to escape.
A Trentino peasant helped them to make good their flight to the Italian
frontier, where they arrived in a state of exhaustion.


The most serious of these crimes was that committed by the soldiers of
Lieutenant-colonel Blegen at Dinant against M. Himmer, Vice-Consul of
the Argentine. This vice-consul, who ought to have been respected not
merely as a non-combatant and a neutral, but because his consular rank
should have protected him, was killed, and the Argentine flag trampled
under foot, with the result that keen indignation was aroused in the

Amongst the many inhabitants at Liège who were shot were _five young
people of Spanish nationality_. They were massacred on the 20th August.
Their names were known and were as follows: the brothers Oliver, Juan and
Antonio, natives of Oller, Jaime Llabres of Majorca, Juan Nora and José

The Consul-General of the Balearic Islands, who had received confirmation
of this report, made an official request to the Spanish Government that
they should protest against these outrages and exact reparation—that
is to say, present a demand for an indemnity for the families of the
murdered men, and in order to make the demand effective, seize all the
German ships which had taken refuge in Spanish ports.

In France, at Jarny, twelve kilometres from Briey, the German soldiers,
not satisfied with other acts of barbarism which they had committed,
shot in addition thirteen Italian subjects. Here is the story of these
murders, given by one of the comrades of the victims, the Italian
Agostino Baccheta de Gattico of Novara, in the _Gazetta del Popolo_ (see
the _Matin_ for 27th August, 1914).

At Jarny, Baccheta ran a small café which was a rendezvous for Italians,
some of whom were his boarders. He returned to Italy, after a long and
painful journey, accompanied by the sister of one of the men who had been

“It was about eight o’clock in the morning, on the 3rd August,” said he,
“when several battalions of the 63rd German infantry regiment, with some
cavalry and artillery, got as far as Jarny, without meeting with much
resistance from the French, who were not in great numbers.

“The Germans lost one man killed and four wounded. They immediately
accused the inhabitants of having fired on their party, and, having
summoned the chief magistrate and the local doctor, ordered them to
assemble the whole male population on the open space of the village.

“Women and children were knocked down. When they wanted to follow their
men-folk they were brutally driven back with the butt-ends of rifles and
several were bayoneted. A woman, named Giuseppa Trolli, tried to prevent
her husband getting out of the bed where he was lying seriously ill, and
called out to the Germans, ‘Savage brutes.’ She, and the child which she
was holding in her arms, were wounded.

“When all the men had assembled, patrols began to search the houses.
In the rooms of my café, which had been let to some Italians, they
found pickaxes and other tools. This was the excuse for arresting and
immediately afterwards shooting the workmen, whose names are as follows:
Gerolamo Bernacchini of Gattico; Giovanni Testa of Bergama; Angelo
Luisetti of Borgomanero; Stefano Piralli of Gattico; Giovani Zoni of

“In the inn kept by a man named Gaggioli Stefano of Serralunga, two rusty
revolvers were found. The proprietor of the inn, a man named Vaglia
Giuseppe of Castelamonte, and Cesaroni Vincenzo of Viterbe, were arrested
and paid with their lives for what this search had yielded.

“Finally, in the Carrera Café, a fowling-piece was found belonging to
Pesenti Luigi, of Milan, who was forthwith shot.”

Bachetta adds that some days afterwards the following were arrested and
shot: Giovanni Tron of Conegliano; Andrew Bisesti of Bologna; a lad of
thirteen years old called Eurigo Maffi of Lugo; Amilcare Zoni of Trevisa,
because, when asking for a passport of repatriation, they had questioned
the German Commandant in a spirited manner.

Italian refugees informed the consular authorities of the tragedy of
which their companions had been the victims. They then went to Gattico to
bring to M. Niccolo Leonardi the material proofs of their story.

_Spanish subjects resident in Reims_ suffered dreadfully during the
German occupation and the famous bombardment, which we describe in detail
further on.

During the occupation, M. Rolland, a Spanish subject, was ill-treated and
fifty German soldiers looted everything in the restaurant of which he was
proprietor, especially his cellar.

Several other houses and shops belonging to Spaniards, over which their
national flag was flying, were systematically pillaged.

The bombardment of September 18-20 had fresh disasters in store for the
Spanish residents of Reims. The Spanish Consulate was bombarded although
the Spanish flag made it conspicuous and all the Spaniards of Reims had
taken refuge there on the advice of a Frenchman, M. Humbert, who, in the
absence of the vice-consul, Cama, had taken charge of Spanish interests.
The house of Narcisso Torres, which also had the Spanish flag upon it,
was struck by two shells. Father Torres, aged seventy-six years and ill,
died of excitement. M. Antonio’s house was set on fire; his daughter,
aged eleven years, was seriously wounded.

In the outskirts of Reims, the premises of the well-known Spanish firm,
Montener & Co., were bombarded four times, and suffered damage which
might be estimated at 500,000 francs.

The Spanish committee of Paris, which had sent a deputation to the
department of the Marne, to report upon the disasters of the war,
protested as soon as they received the report of their deputies against
the crimes committed in defiance of the Spanish flag and of humanity.

Finally, let us add that, at the time of the second bombardment of
Dunkirk, which was carried out by German aeroplanes (22nd January, 1915),
the United States consul, Mr. Benjamin Morel, was wounded by a bursting
bomb. The consulates of the United States, Norway and Uruguay were, in
addition, struck by explosive projectiles thrown by German airmen.



Among savage races, or even nearer home, before certain agreements had
been made between nations, poisoned or barbed arrows, small shot, pounded
glass, and soft-nosed bullets were used to aggravate the condition
of wounded enemies to the worst possible extent. To-day all these
contrivances are prohibited, with the consent of Germany, who signed
the conventions which embodied this prohibition. German jurists like
Bluntschli approved this concurrence of opinion, and the German General
Hartmann declared that for a long time these kinds of projectiles have
gone into the lumber-rooms of arsenals.

This fact, however, did not prevent Germany from resorting in this war to
the use of weapons of the same kind, or even the still more formidable
dum-dum bullets. Moreover, dum-dum bullets are expressly specified among
the list of prohibitions laid down by the Hague Conference, 29th July,
1899, prohibitions signed by Germany and her ally Austria. These declare
that “the contracting parties forbid the use of bullets which expand or
easily get flattened in the human body, such as bullets with a hard outer
case which does not completely cover the core or is notched at the end.”


The report of the military governor of Ghent, Lieutenant-general L.
Clooten, and the results of experiments made by M. V. Rousseaux, armoury
expert at Antwerp, prove indisputably that these bullets were in use
among the Germans. The following is the report—

                    “_Headquarters at Ghent, 26th September, 1914._


    “I have the honour to send herewith some cartridges with
    bullets of the kind called ‘dum-dum,’ seized on the Hanoverian
    Lieutenant von Halden, who was taken prisoner at Ninove, by my
    troops, on the 29th inst.

    “This officer’s pistol, which he threw away shortly before his
    capture, could not be found again.

                                    “LIEUTENANT-GENERAL L. CLOOTEN,
                                          “Military Governor.”

The following is the result of the experiment made by M. V. Rousseaux—

    “The box with green label which you send me (20 cartridges
    for Mauser self-loading pistols of calibre 7·63) must have
    contained full cartridges. It contains three rows of expanding
    dum-dum bullets, taken from the special boxes with yellow
    labels. These bullets were made to expand by the process of
    manufacture, and it is impossible to make them so by hand.

                                                “V. ROUSSEAUX,
                                                   “Armoury Expert.

    “_Antwerp, 28th September, 1914._”


The first instance of the use of dum-dum bullets on French soil goes back
to the early days of the war. It was denounced by the French Government
in the protest which they addressed (21st August, 1914) to the signatory
powers of the Hague Convention.

This protest points out that “on the 10th August, 1914, after an
engagement between French and German troops, a surgeon-major sent to the
general in command of the Infantry Brigade” a case found on the road
to Munster “close to the German Custom-House,” which contained five
cartridges primed with cylindro-conical bullets cut at the end, the
nickel cover of which was incomplete and left bare the upper portion of
the lead slug.

This was not the only instance. On the 14th September, Dr. Chas.
Lavielle, superintendent of the auxiliary hospital of Baignots-à-Dax,
sent to the sub-prefect of the department of Landes a report on the
operations which had been performed on patients, and declared that four
of them had been struck by expanding bullets. Photographs were appended
to the report.

Doctor Napieralski, physician-in-chief of the 7th auxiliary hospital of
the third French army corps à Pont Audemer, noted the case of a foot
soldier wounded in the shoulder with a huge scar as big as an open hand.
It was not an ordinary wound.

The wounded man’s name was Adrien Bousquet, the foreman of some
electricity works at Verdalles. He related (said the report) that on the
2nd November, in a battle to the East of Ypres, he found himself cut off
with his section from the rest of his company.

For three days his comrades and he fired from a trench, but at last,
on the 5th November, they were outnumbered. The majority surrendered.
Bousquet, however, not wishing to be made prisoner, tried to escape
towards the main body of his troop. He was fired at from different sides.
All at once he felt in his shoulder so violent a concussion that it
actually turned him round. Still, it was only a bullet which had struck

Dr. Napieralski noted that there could be no question of a wound caused
by a bursting shell, for the wound showed no trace of powder nor any
blackish stain of metallic oxide.

As the wounded man was carrying his knapsack on his back, Dr. Napieralski
adds that the explosive force of the bullet was increased by the pressure
of the knapsack. The result was that the sinews were torn over a wide
surface and the bone formation of the shoulder-blade was shattered.

The depositions of the other wounded men who took part in the battle in
which Bousquet was wounded confirm all his statements. On that day, at
this point on the front, no artillery battle took place, and the Germans
made use of many explosive bullets; no mistake is possible on this point,
for it is easy to recognise them because as soon as they touch the
ground, or any obstacle whatever, they burst with a dry, crackling noise.
All the wounded who were questioned quote typical examples of deaths and
wounds caused by these bullets; they also mention numerous witnesses,
soldiers, their own comrades, whose evidence it is easy to collect and
who will confirm their statements (_Temps_, 29th December).


German troops have used dum-dum bullets on all fronts and at every point
where military operations were in progress. The fact that they have done
so was proved particularly in the Togoland battles and confirmed by the
English Governor of the Gold Coast in his report to the Colonial Minister
in London (September 1914).


The discovery of these facts could not fail to arouse universal
indignation which Germany tried to forestall by accusing her enemies of
similar acts. The Kaiser used the Wolff Bureau to make this accusation
against France and England, and lodged a complaint against both with the
President of the United States. France immediately issued a denial in
a telegram under date 11th September, 1914. Another denial drawn up on
September 8 had come from England.

The _Lokal-Anzeiger_ and the _Tag_ of Berlin (September 10) published
facsimiles of cartridges, and of pouches of cartridges alleged to be
_dum-dum_, found by German troops at Longwy. Now, the very inscription
on these pouches—“Practice Cartridges”—showed the futility of the
accusation, for it proves that here we have to do merely with ammunition
for use at the rifle-ranges of military training clubs. As these ranges
sometimes had to be prepared in a hurry, it was a case of necessity to
send them cartridges crushed at the end, so that the speed of the bullet
should be reduced and that it should not go right through targets which
were not thick enough.

These cartridges were not even used at the regimental rifle-range, and
the fact that they neutralise the projectile capacity of the French rifle
was a still stronger reason why nobody ever thought of using them in war.

Moreover, the Germans left at Compiègne, and on several battlefields
of France, pouches, carefully put in a conspicuous position, of French
cartridges which they had made into dum-dum bullets by scooping out the
protruding end. The object of this artifice was to give currency to the
belief that these prohibited missiles were used by the French troops.

The following is the reply made by the President of the United States to
the Emperor of Germany. “In reply to your protest, the United States can
do nothing. I do not think your Majesty expects me to say more.”


People who allowed themselves to be deceived by an accusation which had
its origin in Germany soon received proof, and from Germany too, that the
accusation was false.

Professor Straub, of Freiburg in Bresgau, published in a Munich medical
journal the results of his inquiry into the nature of the French bullet.
He admitted that, from the medical point of view, this bullet was
composed of an admirable alloy, which could not poison, and he came to
the conclusion that it was humane. Dr. Haberlin, a Swiss doctor attached
to the hospitals at Arlon and at Louisburg, where he had chiefly German
wounded under his care, declared on his honour that he had never heard
tell of wounds inflicted on Germans by dum-dum bullets.


That the Germans used dum-dum bullets against the Russians was proved in
a hospital at Vilna, where a lieutenant-colonel in the Russian infantry,
wounded in the leg, chanced to be under treatment. The wound, which at
its entrance was smaller than a penny, was as large as a hand where the
bullet left the body.

The photograph of one of the dum-dum bullets used in this way was given
by the _Novoïé Vrémia_ on 17th September, 1914.

Moreover, the German missiles used against the Russian troops often gave
off poisonous gases which caused the death of the wounded, and which were
expressly forbidden by the Hague Conventions (1899) under the category
of “projectiles, the sole purpose of which is to spread asphyxiating or
noxious gases.”


The use of explosive bullets by the German troops was regularly followed
by their allies, the Austrians, both on the Russian front and the Serbian.

The superintendent of the Red Cross at Petrograd was informed at the
beginning of the war by his deputy at the first outpost detachment that,
after Austrian field works had been taken, a large quantity of explosive
bullets in special pouches and in belts for use in machine-guns had been
found, and also many spent cartridges which had been adapted for this
kind of bullet. These bullets bore the date 1914, and were used on every
occasion that the Russians took the offensive.

On the other hand, “The use of explosive bullets by the Austrians,”
declared an official note of the Russian Government, “has been often
proved by medical reports and photographs of wounds.” Cartridges and
bullets which have been captured leave no doubt on that point. The
Russian troops which had succeeded in taking the village of Lajenki,
near Nemirof, found there 10,000 explosive bullets, the place of origin
of which is obvious from the fact that they had the stamp of an Austrian
arsenal upon them.

On the 21st October, near Przemsyl, the Russian troops took some
machine-guns, the belts of which were full of cartridges with explosive

Moreover, all the Serbian generals without exception declared that the
Austrians employed explosive bullets on the whole Serbian front. The
first ten rounds from the machine-guns were always, they said, made
with this kind of bullet, and the Austrian soldiers were provided with
explosive cartridges in the proportion of 20 per cent.

Again, Dr. Reiss, professor at the University of Lausanne, who was sent
to Serbia as a special commissioner of the _Gazette de Lausanne_, and
who returned from his expedition on the 10th December, told of numerous
Austrian bullets which had been found on Balkan battlefields and which
all the marksmen to whom they were shown declared to be explosive.




The following are some examples of this dastardly conduct. At Liège,
the Germans resorted to it against the Commandant of the Bucelles fort,
upon whom they treacherously made a murderous attack. They appeared with
a flag of truce and demanded the surrender of the fort. “I refuse,” he
replied. “Commandant,” was the answer, “come and see the condition of
your defence works. You will agree that they can hold out no longer.”

The Commandant went off with the Germans, intending to show them the
satisfactory condition of the works. Scarcely had he crossed the
threshold when they fired their revolvers at him. The brave officer
received two bullets in the thigh and only by chance got away from this
murderous attack.

A similar case happened during the siege of Liège. On the night of 5-6th
August about a hundred German soldiers came to a point 750 metres from
the Belgian trenches, and, throwing down their arms, held up their hands
and waved white flags. The Belgian Commandant gave the order to cease
firing, and went towards the spot with some men. He had hardly gone more
than about thirty yards when he fell, mortally wounded.

Near Hofstade, in Belgium, on the 26th August, the Germans advanced to
the attack in the same way, preceded by a white flag.

In a battle which took place sixty kilometres from Lemberg, the Austrians
resorted to the same means. The regiment of the Russian Colonel Frolow
having attacked them with the bayonet, they hoisted the white flag. The
colonel immediately gave the order to halt. He himself went alone to the
enemy’s position and gave the order to cease firing. In vain, for as he
was going back to his men he was mortally wounded.


One form of treachery repeated very often by the Germans was to sound
the bugle calls of enemy troops and thus mislead them. In the thick
of the battles round about Mulhausen, in the beginning of August, the
French were not a little surprised to hear the call to cease firing.
Fortunately, one of the superior officers saw through the enemy’s
treachery and immediately ordered the signal to be given for attack,
which sent the Germans flying helter-skelter. As such acts in German eyes
are permissible stratagems, they constantly resorted to them. Another
consisted _in marching civilians of the invaded countries in front of the
German troops_. One of the officers who did this, Lieutenant A. Eberlein,
has with extraordinary composure related in one of the most reputable
German newspapers (_Münchener Neueste Nachrichten_, 7th October, 1914)
how he resorted to this device.

“We stopped three people,” writes this officer, “as we were going into
Saint Dié; and then a fine idea occurred to me. We gave them chairs, and
ordered them to carry these into the middle of the street and sit down.
Entreaties followed on the one side, and some blows with the butt-end of
the rifle on the other. By degrees one gets frightfully harsh. At last
they sat down outside in the street. I do not know what prayers they
said, but their hands were all the time clasped as if they had cramp.
I was sorry for them, but the plan served its purpose and at once the
firing aimed from the houses at our flanks immediately slackened, and we
could now occupy the house opposite and in that way had command of the
principal street. Everybody who showed himself in the street after this
was shot. Moreover, the artillery had been hard at work all this time,
and when, at seven o’clock in the evening, the brigade came up to our
rescue, I was able to report, ‘Saint Dié is cleared of enemies.’

“As I learnt later, the reserve regiment … which entered Saint Dié
further north, had experiences exactly like ours. The four people whom
they also had compelled to sit in the street were killed by French
bullets. I myself saw them lying in the middle of the street near the

According to information which will complete the story and which appeared
two months later in the Saint Dié _Gazette Vosgienne_, the names of the
four people stopped by the reserve regiment “which entered Saint Dié
further north” were Camille Chôtel, carpenter, aged thirty-four years;
Léon George, twenty-seven; Henri Louzy and Georges Visser. They were
compelled, not merely to sit down, but to march in front of the German

The same thing happened elsewhere on other occasions.

_In Belgium_, near Liège, on the 6th August, when two captive Belgian
soldiers who had been forced to march before the German troops met their
death at the hands of their fellow-countrymen. At Dietz, on the 26th
August, several women and children, who had been barbarously compelled to
play the same part, were struck by the fire of the German troops.

At Marchiennes several hundred persons were driven in front of a
German column. At Erpe, on the 12th September, a German column of two
hundred to three hundred men, which had been fired upon by a Belgian
machine-gun, took twenty to twenty-five young men, among whom was a lad
of only thirteen years, and placed them in the middle of the road, with
the result that these young people were in the line of fire. Two were
wounded and the firing was stopped. In the fight at Alost, on the 26th
September, the Germans drove before them several people, whose names are
given by the Belgian Commission of Inquiry in one of their reports. At
Lierre-Sainte-Marie four priests officiating in a church were taken by
the Prussians, because they had not been quick enough in bringing the
service to a close and had thereby delayed the quartering of the troops
in the church. On the following day they were obliged to march in front
of the soldiers and all four were killed.

_In France_ the same crime was repeated twenty times. We shall not record
all the cases. In the battle at Billy, on the 10th August, according
to an official report of the French Commandant, the Germans compelled
several women and children to march in front of them, as a screen for
themselves and to prevent the French firing on them as they were coming
out of the village and filing on to the battlefield.

In the Belfort area the Germans stripped a great number of prisoners,
drove them in front of their line, and exposed them almost naked to the
French bullets.

At Denain, on the 25th August, the German cavalry, at two o’clock in the
morning, compelled women and children to march in front of the column; at
Méry (in the Department of the Oise), during a battle with the French on
the 1st September, the Germans seized the manager of a sugar-refinery,
his family, and the whole staff of the works, and made them march side
by side with them, as a screen against a fusillade on their flank. As a
result, a workwoman, Mlle. Jeansenne, was killed by a French bullet. The
foreman of the works was wounded.



The bombardment of towns, villages, and dwelling-houses is forbidden
when these places have no military defence. If they have, bombardment is
permitted, but under certain conditions. The commander who carries it on
is bound to give notice beforehand to the enemy authorities, or at least
to do everything he can to warn them. In the second place, bombardment
must spare buildings dedicated to religion, science, and philanthropy,
and also hospitals and centres for the sick and wounded, provided, of

    (1) that these buildings have not been used for military

    (2) that they are distinguished by some mark besiegers can see.

Consequently, the crimes which an army may commit, so far as bombardment
is concerned, are as follows—

    (1) bombardment of an undefended town or village.

    (2) bombardment of a town or village without previous notice.

    (3) bombardment of churches, monuments, scientific and
    charitable institutions, hospitals, ambulances.


The Germans committed all these crimes simultaneously, but the least
excusable and most cruel of all was the bombardment of towns which the
enemy had evacuated, and to which, therefore, he could render no further

Three French towns and districts, Pont-à-Mousson, Douai, and Lille, met
with this fate from artillery and aeroplanes.


This began on the 11th August, continued the following day, then on the
14th August and finally became intermittent. The firing on the town was
resumed more than a hundred times. It was an open town, however, and the
French army were not defending it, further than that the bridge over the
Moselle had been put in a state of defence at the outbreak of hostilities
by the 26th light infantry battalion.

Moreover, the bombardment of Pont-à-Mousson took place without previous
warning, and was not preceded by any notice, nor any occupation by the
German troops, who did not even show themselves (on the 11th, 12th and
14th August) before the town. The operation was carried out by means of
guns placed in concealment on the other side of the frontier. The firing
was directed by an airship flying over the batteries.

Acts of this kind are the proof of a deliberate and premeditated desire
to destroy and to terrorise. In this case destruction is here not the
inevitable sequence to attack and defence, but an end pursued for its
own sake in contravention and defiance of established laws. Thanks to
the signals given by the airship, the German batteries were able to
damage the St. Martin quarter, on the right bank of the Moselle, and the
site of the new hospital and the college. The hospital was flying the
Red Cross flag, but was struck precisely for that very reason: a shell
burst near the bed in which a wounded Saxon officer was under treatment.
Fortunately, no one in the hospital was wounded, though not less than
seventy shells struck the building during the 14th August. In the rest of
the town forty people were killed and as many wounded. They were women
and children.


Towards the end of the month of August the town of Douai served as a
storehouse for numerous German troops. It was formerly occupied on the
1st October. The outrages which it suffered from the Germans on the 8th
and 12th October were committed against a town which it was, in fact,
impossible for the French to defend. On the 8th October a Taube bombarded
Douai, throwing two bombs, which did little damage. On the 12th October a
second Taube threw another bomb, which burst behind M. Mathieu’s house,
in the Rue d’Hesdin, and killed a little girl named Briois, aged five
years, who was closing the windows of a house.


On the 10th October, when the French were coming up to Lille, the Germans
forcibly carried off M. Delesalle, mayor of the town; M. Ducastel,
municipal councillor, and several other municipal officials. Then,
when they had almost evacuated the town, they directed against it a
furious bombardment, which began on the evening of the 10th October and
continued, with a short interval, until the 12th October at 9 o’clock in
the morning. The Rue Faidherbe was completely demolished and the end of
the Rue de l’Hôpital Militaire was terribly damaged. Many fires broke
out in the Rues de Paris, du Mélinel and de Béthune. The town hall, the
prefecture, the post office, the Palais des Beaux Arts were injured. The
Kulmann and Wallaert works were burnt down. The _Times_ correspondent
stated that a bomb thrown by a Taube, near the prefecture, wounded a
woman who was walking along, and killed by her side her little son, aged
twelve years.

Let us repeat that this bombardment of Lille took place when the
French were only coming up to the town and that the latter had not
been completely evacuated by the Germans, who were, therefore, guilty
of violation of the laws of war. It was the same with the bombardment
carried on upon the 11th and 12th November. On this occasion also the
allied troops were only coming up. More than 7000 shells fell on the town
during the time the Germans remained there. The presence of the Germans
is proved by one abominable detail. It is a fact that they had cut the
water-pipes in order that the fires kindled by the bombardment could not
be put out. A little later they were compelled to blow up houses with
melinite to stop the fire which was spreading in all directions.

At the beginning of the month of December Lille had a total of 998 burnt
houses. During the bombardment the College Saint-Joseph, which was flying
a white flag as a signal that it should be spared, was struck by two


On account of its geographical situation the capital of Serbia was
evacuated by Serbian troops. Only civilians remained and the Red Cross
flag was hoisted. Consequently the town was entitled to think itself
immune from outrage and bombardment. Nothing of the kind was the case.

Belgrade was bombarded on the 28th and 30th July, then from the 16th to
the 18th August, and finally on the 14th and 15th September. Several
quarters of the town were burnt; many of the inhabitants were killed,
amongst others two mental patients in a private asylum.

As soon as a fire broke out, the places round the burning building were
riddled with bullets, so that the residents could neither put out the
fire nor localise it.

In the midst of all the turmoil the Serbian Government took care to lodge
its complaint with the Powers, through their representatives.


We should not forget that the notice of bombardment required by the laws
of war was impossible in more cases than one. Moreover, it is admitted
that attacking troops are absolved from the charge of breach of these
laws, when they do all they can to give warning. Besides, warning of
bombardment is not always required to make an attacked town expect it. We
could not, therefore, regard as a contravention of law all bombardments,
without exception, which the Germans had made without giving notice.
But, this said, can we allow to pass the circumstance that, of all these
bombardments, only two, those of Antwerp and Reims, were preceded by the
necessary warning? German callousness and cruelty stand self-condemned
by the fact that the proportion is so small. Add that the bombardment of
Reims, started on the pretext that two German bearers of a flag of truce,
who had lost their way in the French lines, were not brought back quickly
enough, was in itself a sheer outrage.


One kind of bombardment for which there is no excuse is that in which
German aircraft engaged over towns and villages behind the enemy lines,
out of the reach of German guns and sometimes even outside the theatre
of war. It is certain that the intention to give oneself up to such acts
absolutely precludes respect for open towns and for preliminary warnings.
It is the proof of an absolute contempt for the laws of war, and of a
fixed determination to act contrary to ordinary good sense.

The bombing of Paris, Antwerp (25th August to 2nd Sept.), Dunkirk,
Warsaw—towns all of which were situated, when the attack took place,
out of the range of German cannon, is an outrage of a special kind. No
military object was in view, but merely a desire to terrorise the civil
population. At Paris six people were killed and about thirty wounded:
at Antwerp there were twelve people killed and twenty-five wounded; at
Dunkirk about fifteen were killed and more than twenty wounded; at Warsaw
106 people were injured. All these victims—except at Warsaw, where among
the people struck were nine soldiers—were civilians, for the most part
women, children and old men. Hence we understand the indignation aroused
among neutrals by these bombardments, and the care which several nations
took to protest against them.

The American Committee, founded by the United States ambassador in Paris,
and consisting of the most influential Americans resident in Paris, was
entrusted with the duty of keeping an eye upon the conduct of Germans on
the outskirts of the French capital and above it. They were indignant
at the deadly acts of the German aeroplanes in Paris, and dispatched
a report on the subject. As for the throwing of bombs on Antwerp, the
American newspapers denounced it and emphatically assigned it to its
category. The _World_ described this kind of attack as “murder, pure
and simple”; “dynamite for children,” said the _New York Herald_; the
_New York Times_ spoke of “crime against humanity”; and the _Tribune_
energetically protested against the repetition of murder so blind, so
purposeless and so unpardonable.


When the Belgians took Malines again, on the 25th August, the Germans
began to bombard it. This act can only be put down to a thirst for
vengeance. They made violent efforts to demolish it quarter by quarter
by bursting shells. One shell struck a bakehouse and killed two workmen
in it. The cathedral, the museum, the town hall, St. Peter’s Church, the
magistrates’ court, and all the buildings round about the “Grand Place”
were badly damaged, and the ministers of State of the Triple Entente,
who visited Malines on the 13th September, saw shells smashing in before
their eyes the pro-cathedral of Saint-Rombaud, full of miracles of art,
where Van Dyck’s “Christ upon the Cross” towered high above the tombs of
the archbishops; they witnessed also the destruction of the famous old
carillon of the pro-cathedral, and the belfries of churches, convents
and seminaries buried beneath the ruins (_vide_ the photograph of one of
the chapels of “Our Lady of Malines” after the Germans had passed by, in
_L’Illustration_ for the 3rd October).

What is left of Malines? A German journalist, war-correspondent of
the _Berliner Tageblatt_, undertook to reply to this question, in a
description, entitled _Malines the Dead_, of the town in the condition in
which the German bombardment left it.

“Life has become extinct. The town is dead. The sixty thousand
inhabitants have fled. The melancholy houses stand open. The streets
are empty. German soldiers go up and down. In the Grand Place, the
wool-market, the Place d’Egmont, at the railway station, soldiers are
working in larger groups, but the ordinary residents are wanting.

“The emptiness and the havoc in these venerable-looking streets are so
awful and so overwhelming that one’s breath is stopped and one recalls
with terror the legend of towns that bore a curse upon them. What no one
has ever seen, what Hoffmann and Edgar Poe have never dreamed of in their
morbid visions, has here become a reality.

“In the midst of the town rises the cathedral, a Gothic building of
gigantic size. The tower, 100 metres high, bounds the horizon on the
west. At the top, at a height which makes the brain reel, four dials,
fourteen metres in diameter, are twisted and riddled with bullets. Shells
have hollowed out seven holes in the wall.”

Lierre, a town of 26,000 inhabitants, was, like Malines, pitilessly
bombarded towards the end of September.

When the cannonade began the inhabitants concealed themselves in
cellars, but shortly afterwards they fled. Several among them took refuge
in Antwerp. Many houses in the town were destroyed and a certain number
of people were wounded. A shell even struck a hospital and killed nine


The village of Mars-la-Tour, in Lorraine, was bombarded by the Germans on
the 16th August, the anniversary of the battle which took place in 1870.
They cannonaded the memorial church, Abbé Faller’s _Musée patriotique_,
and the monument to commemorate the battle of 1870. The bombardment
lasted a full hour, and took place with mathematical regularity. Only one
house was damaged, which proves that the buildings mentioned were the
carefully chosen target of the German guns; two persons, an old mechanic
and a woman, were fatally injured. The other inhabitants took refuge in
the cellars.


On the 24th August, at one o’clock in the afternoon, the bombardment of
Étain began. Suspended for some hours, it began again at nearly eleven
p.m. and lasted until two a.m. The results were frightful. The next
morning half the town was in ashes; the other half was falling into
ruins. The Red Cross hospital in particular was aimed at. The first
shell struck down the white flag, while Dr. Proust was operating on the
wounded: the latter had to be hidden away in the cellars, whence they
were driven to Verdun (Report of Mme. Paul, President of the Committee of
the Association des Dames Françaises at Étain).


The bombardment of Albert took place on the 30th August. We may judge
how violent it was from a photograph of the ruins which appeared in
_L’Illustration_ for the 10th October. Whole streets disappeared, and the
whole Place d’Armes was demolished: the Germans made a target of Notre
Dame de Brébières, the basilica which the inhabitants call the Lourdes
of the North, and to which so many pilgrimages make their way each year.
This church was completely ruined by the sacrilegious fire expressly
aimed at it, and the Statue of the Miraculous Virgin which crowned it is
to-day thrown down and lies upon the ground. All around there is nothing
but building material that has fallen in, half-burnt beams, charred
walls, houses without roofs, broken tiles, doors broken in, cut up by


The French Commission of Inquiry, in its report, published in the
_Journal Officiel_ of the 8th January, 1914, states that the capital of
Lorraine was bombarded “without previous warning during the night of the
9th to 10th September. About sixty shells (continues this report) fell
on the central and southern-cemetery districts—that is to say, on places
where there is no military defence. Three men, a young woman, and a
little girl were killed, thirty people were wounded, and serious damage
was done.”

“Enemy airmen flew over the town twice. On the 4th September one of them
threw two bombs, one of which killed a man and a little girl, and wounded
six people on the ‘Place de la Cathédrale.’ On the 13th October three
bombs were thrown on the goods station. Four employees of the Eastern
Railway Company were wounded.”


The story of the first bombardment of Reims was told in the _Temps_ of
the 26th October by M. Henriot, who had the opportunity of interviewing
an influential resident in the town.

On the 4th September, whilst Zimmer, head of the German Stores
Department, was negotiating the terms of a levy to be paid by the
village, a shell, says M. Henriot, burst hard by.

“What was that explosion?” cried the German. “You know you have no
right to destroy anything.” He thought that the French were blowing up
some outwork. Another shell disabused him. Then he thought the French
had begun to fire on the town in order to drive the Germans. The local
people undeceived him. One of them ran out to the Place and brought back
a fragment of shell, which the commissary was compelled to admit was a
German missile. Then he was seen to grow pale, nor could he understand
how his own troops should engage in such an attack. The white flag
was hoisted on one of the belfries of the cathedral: at the same time
Zimmer sent a motor to give the order to cease firing. In the space of
three-quarters of an hour there fell upon the town 200 shells, which
struck Saint-Remi and Saint-André churches, broke down houses, and killed
sixty people. That was the first bombardment of Reims, due, as was then
believed, to a misunderstanding. Zimmer expressed his regrets for it, and
cried in tones of wonder, “What a fine cathedral you have!”

SECOND BOMBARDMENT OF REIMS (18th to 20th September)

The bombardment of the 4th September took place by order of General
Bülow, as a reprisal for the disappearance of two bearers of a flag of
truce, MM. Armim and Kimmer, who had been sent by him on the evening
before to Reims. On account of these two worthies, who, without
fulfilling their mission, had lost their way in the French lines, the
town found that it was threatened with the execution of ten hostages,
with bombardment, and with a levy of 100 million francs. The second
bombardment took place some days afterwards under circumstances of
barbarism which will hold it up to the execration of the ages. In the
past history of Europe there is nothing to compare with the destruction
of the Cathedral of Reims, save that of the Acropolis of Athens by the
Venetians. This cathedral was pitilessly bombarded for two days (18th
to 20th September): the masterpiece of Gothic art, honoured by the
coronation of the kings of France, where Jeanne d’Arc put the crown upon
Charles VII in 1429, became the target of destructive shells, hurled by
the Vandals.

The following is a faithful account of this event, telegraphed to the
_Daily Mail_ by the special correspondent of that paper—

“By artillery fire deliberately aimed at the Cathedral of Reims, the
Germans set fire to and burnt the magnificent building, which was not
merely the pride of the town, but an historic monument known and admired
by the entire world. Of this jewel of architecture there remains only an
empty shell, burnt and charred walls. The impression left by this act of
hideous vandalism will never leave the memory of those who have had an
opportunity of seeing these ruins.

“The sight of flames devouring a wonder which took not less than 150
years to build, and which was respected throughout numberless wars
which took place in this part of France, was one which both alarms and
haunts the mind. It seemed as if one were present at an attack by some
supernatural power, outside humanity: it was like the vision of a work of

“The fire began between four and five o’clock on Saturday afternoon (19th
September). All day shells fell in the town. A whole district of the
town, 100 metres in extent, was devoured by the fire, and in the majority
of streets only blazing houses and buildings were to be seen.

“Even on the evening before (18th September) some shells had accidentally
struck the cathedral. On Saturday morning the German batteries of Nogent
l’Abbesse, eight kilometres to the east of Reims, started aiming at the
cathedral. Shells discharged regularly and without intermission made a
breach in it. These huge blocks of stone, which had resisted the storms
of several centuries, and might still have braved the assaults of time,
sank with a fearful crash like the roll of thunder.

“At 4.30 the scaffolding on a part of the cathedral where repairs were
going on took fire. In a moment this mass of woodwork and scaffolding
began to blaze like straw. Sparks falling on the roof carried the fire
to the old oak beams which support this part of the building. Soon the
roofs of the naves and the transepts were nothing but a blazing brazier,
and the flames darted out and licked the towers. One of the burning beams
fell on a bed of straw which the Germans, as soon as they occupied the
town, had spread inside the cathedral to lay their wounded on. At once
the confessionals, the chairs, and everything which happened to be inside
the building took fire.

“I had left Paris at midday and I had made a detour round Meaux. I did
not get as far as Reims until sundown. It was too late to enter the town,
but from the hills which surround it, it was possible to get a still more
impressive view of the town than what I should have been able to see in
the streets themselves.

“From the gaping roof rose red fire and black smoke, and the reflection
of the flames glanced upon the glasswork. At last the dead of night came
on, but it was not undisturbed for long. At two o’clock in the morning
the German batteries reopened fire. By day it is the smoke of the shell
which calls attention to the explosion. By night the swift red flashes
make a still more terrible spectacle.

“The dawn came, grey and gloomy with a cold rain, and when the shadows
were dispelled and light at length glimmered through the dismal
leaden-coloured clouds, which rose and brought the plain into view again,
the sight of the ravaged city with its ruined cathedral, the walls of
which smouldered among houses still in flames, was a spectacle so dismal
that the sun in his course can have seen none more wretched in any
quarter of the world.”


According to the report of the Commission of Inquiry, which had as
President the French Under-Secretary for Fine Arts, and whose task was to
prepare official accounts of the damage done to the Reims Cathedral, the
following were the results of the bombardment—

“The cathedral was struck by about thirty projectiles which, by actually
striking the building or by explosion, pulverised the stonework, smashed
the glass, and set fire to everything inflammable.

“Projectiles, fragments of which struck the whole building, for the most
part hit the upper part of the north tower, smashing the corner of a
turret, scraping the face of the tower, and pressing so hard upon the
adjoining masonry as nearly to displace it; one of them carried away the
upper support of a flying buttress; another smashed the stonework of some
bays sloping up to the tower; another broke up a staircase the steps of
which had been cut; still another knocked down part of the balustrade of
the principal façade under the rose-window.

“The fire kindled by the shells caused the most serious damage; no
vestige of roof is to be seen over the nave, the transepts, the choir,
the apse, the aisles: only some chapels kept their covering; but
everything else was reduced to ashes, the woodwork, the slates consumed;
everywhere lead melted and iron twisted.

“All this debris settled down beneath the vaulted roofs, which, although
they evidently suffered by contact with the fire, were not broken in.

“On the other hand, the stonework close to the great gallery at the top
of the walls, and of the circular galleries underneath the great glass
work, was shattered and charred.

“The belfry was devoured by the flames. The bells, which fell on the
lower roof without breaking it in, were partly melted; the louvre-boards
were untouched. The flames started by the conflagration, driven over the
surfaces by the wind, completely defaced the stonework, throwing down not
only some of the statues which decorated the open entrance underneath
this particular tower, but also the copings of the arches which rise
above the door, crowned by a gable containing a representation of the
Crucifixion. The damage extends to the pinnacles that rise above the
buttresses as high as the gallery of kings.

“The right side of this portal was less damaged; the other portals were
struck by fragments of shells.

“In the interior, where German wounded had been laid out on couches of
straw, the fire splintered off the moulding at the bases of the pillars
in the nave, setting fire to the tympana of the gates and even to the
gates themselves. This fire destroyed the statues placed in the niches
of the inner front, right and left of the door of the south entrance.
Finally, all the glasswork was damaged by the explosion of projectiles
and of splinters which passed through them; half of the upper rose-window
and the open-work parts above the north and south entrances were denuded
of their stained glass; the rose-window above the central entrance was
only riddled.

“To sum up, the cathedral was disfigured in its outlines and in the
details of its decoration; if its powerful construction has partly
sustained the shock of the projectiles, its wonderful sculptures can
never be replaced, and it will bear for ever the imprint of a vandalism
beyond all imagination.”

“See also photographs of the burning cathedral in _L’Illustration_ (10th
October, 1914. These photographs are genuine historic documents. See also
M. P. Gsell’s account in the _Liberté_ of the 24th September and Mr.
Bartlett’s in the _Daily Telegraph_, in _L’Illustration_ of the 26th).”


The cathedral was not the only objective of the second bombardment.
Not only were several houses also destroyed and several people killed,
amongst others Dr. Jacquin, who lived next door to the mayor, but the
Spanish consulate was bombarded, with the result that several neutral
subjects met their death, a fact which was noted in a preceding chapter.
The town hall, the musée, the sub-prefecture (historic monuments all of
them) were almost wholly demolished. An auxiliary hospital of the Société
des Sœurs de l’Enfant-Jesus was also cannonaded, and five Red Cross
nurses were killed and two others wounded at the bedside of the wounded
whom they had under their care.


After the 20th September, and in spite of the universal indignation
aroused by the outrage which they had committed, the Germans continued
the bombardment of Reims without intermission. But it was not until the
last days of the month of November that the cathedral suffered fresh

On the 23rd November a shell struck and went right through a bell-turret
in the south tower at the top; on the 27th another shell, falling between
the south buttresses, burst on the vault of the aisle. A third shell
which fell on the vaults above the south apse, brought down a great deal
of plaster in the church. A huge shell, which fell to the right of the
cathedral, a little in front of the façade, damaged three statues over
the small entrance to the right which until then had escaped. It was
but one of many other calamities and one which completed the ruin of
an historic monument. After the 20th November other shells destroyed a
pinnacle, a part of the upper gallery in the apse and a part of this
gallery beside the Salle des Rois.

Of the archbishop’s palace and the musées there remain, in a word, only
the walls.

As for the statues in the cathedral which appear unharmed, they are burnt
right through and crumble away at the touch. The crime of the barbarians
is complete.


In the words of M. Delcassé, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs,
in the protest addressed by him to the governments of neutral states
on the morning after the first bombardment, the Germans committed this
crime “without being able to appeal even to the appearance of military
necessity and for the mere lust of destruction.”

Nevertheless the Germans tried to justify it by alleging—

    (1) That by means of strong entrenchments the French had made
    Reims the chief corner-stone of their defence, and thus forced
    Germans to attack the town by every means.

    (2) That by the order of the German higher command, the
    cathedral was to be spared as long as the enemy did not utilise
    it to his own advantage; but in spite of the white flag which
    had been hoisted upon it from the 20th September, the Germans
    declared that there was on the cathedral towers an observation
    post which assisted the operations of the French artillery.

    (3) That as soon as this post was destroyed the German field
    artillery ceased firing.

    (4) That only the roof of the cathedral was burnt, while the
    towers and the framework of the building were uninjured. (This
    statement goes back to the 21st September and emanates from the
    German chief headquarters.)

    (5) Finally, that the fire was due to the scaffolding erected
    in front of the cathedral to carry out some repairs, and that
    when beams which had caught fire had fallen on the roof, the
    French had done nothing to put out the fire.

These several excuses are worthless—

    (1) General Joffre has formally declared that “at no time did
    the military commandant of Reims place any observation post on
    the towers of the cathedral.”

    (2) It was not on the 20th, but on the 4th September, on the
    day of the first bombardment of Reims by the Germans, that the
    white flag was hoisted on the cathedral.

    (3) One wants to know to what moment the Germans assign the
    destruction of the alleged observation post on the cathedral.
    According to them, if this observation post had been destroyed
    they would have stopped the bombardment. Now, although for a
    long time every observation post had been made impossible, the
    fire still continued.

    (4) The report, quoted above, of the Commission des Beaux Arts,
    refutes the German assertion about the seriousness of the
    damage caused up to the evening of the 21st September.

    (5) Do not let us forget to recall the fact that, ten days
    before the bombardment, the German censorship permitted the
    _Frankfurter Zeitung_ (of the 8th September) to recommend
    respect for French cathedrals, “especially that of Reims,
    which is one of the finest in the world, which, since the
    Middle Ages, has been especially dear to Germans, since the
    master of Bamberg was inspired by the statues on its portals
    to design several of his figures, and which, like the other
    magnificent churches of France, must be respected and treated
    with veneration by the Germans, as was the case with their
    fathers in 1870.” However, the censorship did not prevent the
    appearance of the sinister warning, three days previously, in
    the _Berliner Tageblatt_, in these words: “The western group
    of the Imperial Armies has already passed the second line of
    forts, except Reims, _whose royal splendour, dating from the
    time of the white lily, will surely and soon crumble in the
    dust under the strokes of our 420 howitzers_.”

The criminal responsibility of the commandant of the German forces has,
therefore, been proved in this matter.


It is difficult to describe the indignation roused throughout all
countries of the civilised world by the bombardment of the cathedral of
Reims. The newspapers of the whole planet were its living mouthpieces.

In Italy a number of learned institutions sent protests, either to the
French Embassy at Rome or directly to the German authorities.

The Association of Artists, especially, held a reunion, at which the most
distinguished critics and artists of Italy were present, and which passed
unanimously a resolution of protest.

The _Giornale d’Italia_, echoing the indignation of its country, declared
that “this act destroyed all the ingenious and fertile excuses for
Germany’s methods of war,” and that “no act of reparation could wipe out
this act of purposeless barbarism, a crazy exhibition of wounded vanity
and ruffled pride.”

In Greece the newspapers were unanimous in stigmatising German vandalism.
_Nea Hellas_ wrote: “In the name of art, in the name of the Parthenon
half destroyed by the fire of the Venetian Morosini, Greece, the mother
of civilised nations, appeals to belligerents to respect treasures of
art, and asks the Germans to cease to dishonour their country.”

In Spain the destruction of the cathedral of Reims partly destroyed the
long preparation of Spanish opinion which had been carried on in favour
of Germany. The indignation of Spaniards was faithfully expressed by an
article in the _Libéral_, in which the following words occur: “It seemed
that the universal anathema heaped upon the Germans after the destruction
of Louvain would have restrained their acts of unjustifiable destruction.
The Emperor appeared to feel sorry in his letter of apologies addressed
to the President of the United States; but his soldiers surpassed
themselves, and the appalling barbarism of their achievement is
unexampled in history.”

Finally, in America not only the general public but the Government were
profoundly moved by the news of the bombardment of one of the finest
cathedrals in the world. The American Consul at Lausanne was instructed
by his Government, on the day after the crime, to go to Reims and make
an inquiry on the spot. As for American newspapers, the following are
extracts from them—

The _Tribune_ said: “The destruction of the fine monument of the Middle
Ages is an act of vandalism which puts German military methods on a
level with those of the Goths and the Huns. The crime of destroying this
venerable pile was committed by a nation which claims that its mission
is to impose its civilisation on the rest of the world. By violating the
laws of war, Germany is encouraging other nations to do the same.”

The _World_ said: “Prussian militarism has outdone everything previously
seen in the category of vandalism. Throughout the centuries, since the
destruction of the Parthenon, the world has known no such act.”

The _Sun_ said: “In spite of the regrets which Germany pretends to
express, we cannot fail to draw the conclusion that the cathedral of
Reims was the target of a deliberate attempt to destroy.”


The following are other examples of bombardments at this period, which
were carried out at places less known, but in which the aim to destroy
at any cost, by any means, and in violation of every law stands no
less emphatically self-condemned. Of the picturesque little village of
Gerbeviller there remains only a heap of stones, dust and ashes. The
Germans bombarded it mercilessly in the month of August. Possibly this
bombardment was due to necessity, but the precise aim of the German guns,
posted in the outskirts of the village, reveals the criminal design at
work. The village church was the chief object aimed at: it was burnt down
by shell fire, the pretty palatine chapel demolished, and the château
completely wiped out.


On the 22nd September the Germans forced a way into Dompierre-aux-Bois.
They entered each house with fixed bayonets, made all the men come out,
and then shut them up in the church. On the following day it was the
women’s and children’s turn, and so these poor people found they were
compelled to face the fire of the German artillery which was let loose in
the village. Men, women, children and old folk were, for five long days
without ceasing, exposed to a rain of bombs and shells.

On the 27th September the Germans lay in ambush in the country behind
Troyon so as to be able to fire on the fort from which the French were
bombarding them. During the artillery duel which followed, the Germans
thought it well not to forget the wretched people of Dompierre-aux-Bois,
who were still shut up in the church. About five p.m. they fired at the
church and a shell fell upon it. Forty persons were killed or wounded by
the hand of the same people who forced them to stay in this spot, and
who, from being their gaolers, made themselves their executioners.


According to the evidence of Dr. Barbey (_Echo de Paris_ of the 20th
January), the first German shells fired at Recquignies, in the beginning
of the month of September, were aimed at the brewery, which the Red
Cross flag upon it plainly marked as _a refuge for the wounded_. Four
inhabitants were killed and two others were wounded.


The town of Soissons was bombarded from the 13th to the 17th September
almost without intermission. The post office and the Grand Seminaire are
in ruins. The cemetery quarter of the town was set on fire. Happily the
cathedral suffered little. But the Germans deliberately and with precise
aim fired at the hospital. This bombardment was without any reason
that could be admitted, for the town ought to have been protected from
artillery, as the Germans occupied the hills to the north of the town
when the French troops had taken a position to the south-east and did not
discharge a single shell at it.

From the month of September the bombardment of Soissons was interrupted:
it began again in the month of January. The Germans aimed their fire
on the hospitals, the ambulances, and especially on all places where
the wounded were gathered. During the bombardment, which was carried on
almost every day in the month of January, the cathedral suffered a great
deal; it was reckoned that in eight hours seventy-five shells of large
calibre were fired at the building. The entrance, the pulpit, and one of
the columns of the spire were ruined, and one of the bells broken. On the
15th January a young girl was killed in the Rue de la Barde, and many
children fell victims to German barbarism.


On the 15th September and the 8th October the Germans, with the desire
to wreak revenge, bombarded the private residence of M. Poincaré, the
President of the French Republic. The second bombardment, in the course
of which forty-eight shells were discharged at this residence, brought
about its complete destruction.

It is well to note that this destruction was nevertheless denied by the
Wolff agency, which declared that the story was a myth, and added that if
the site upon which this residence stood had been burned, it could only
have been done by the French artillery itself.


The town of Arras was included, during the month of October, in the
theatre of military operations. The Germans found a pretext for
destroying it by two bombardments, one on the 6th, the other on the 20th
and 21st October, which sowed destruction and death in this town.

The first bombardment of Arras, which may be compared to that at Reims,
was meant to destroy the town hall, a miracle of Flemish art, built at
the beginning of the seventeenth century, one of the finest ornaments of
northern France.

“On the 6th October, at six a.m.,” said the _Liberté_ of the 16th
October, “the first shells fell near the railway station. A little
afterwards a bomb fell on the roof of the town hall. All day long the
guns belched forth death, destruction and terror. The inhabitants took
refuge in the cellars, and even the wretched wounded also had to be
brought down into them, for, disregarding the Red Cross, the Germans
plied with machine-guns all the streets round the town hall, in which
there were several hospitals and ambulances.

“The Hôpital St. Jean was the scene of a frightful accident. A whole
storey collapsed under the shells. A nun and some wounded happened to be
in the storey below, and were buried underneath the ruins. It was not
possible to recover their bodies until the evening, when the assassins of
the Kaiser had ceased bombardment.

“The musée, the cathedral, the Church of St. John the Baptiste, the old
Convent of the Holy Sacrament, with its seventeenth-century campanile,
and the Ursuline belfry (a reproduction of the old reliquary of the Holy
Candle) were damaged. The shells fired at the cathedral pierced its roof
in two places and laid bare the vault.”

The town hall alone was struck by nine-tenths of the explosive shells
thrown at Arras. Finally, the two old towers, so stately and so peculiar
in appearance, which were all that was left of the old abbey founded by
Saint Eloi, in the village of that name near Arras, were demolished by
the Germans, who bombarded them without any excuse, for the mere pleasure
of destruction.

The Germans cannot pretend that they did not know the site of all these
monuments, nor that of the hospitals of Arras, for they had occupied the
town one day in the beginning of September. No more can they allege that
the French had made use of the quarter destroyed by them for attack or
for self-defence, for this part of the town is in a hollow, which an army
would never try to utilise.

As for the second bombardment of Arras (20th to 21st October), it was
aimed at the belfry, the incomparable monument of the town which alone
remained standing above the centre of the town hall. The building fell on
the 21st, at eleven a.m., having been cut off close from the ancient roof
of the structure round about it.


German aeroplanes made frequent moves towards Paris, of which we have
already spoken. The outrage of the 11th October, 1914, deserves special
mention, for this time the machine aimed at the cathedral. An incendiary
bomb was dropped on Notre-Dame. This bomb set fire to one of the inner
beams of the roof, smashed six of the stays of the north transept, and
riddled with grapeshot the glass frame of the clock in the same transept.

This outrage, coming after that at Reims, roused fresh protests from
neutral countries. The _Messagero_ of Rome (13th October) declared, and
with reason, that “the murder of peaceful citizens and the crime of
throwing bombs on Notre-Dame need no comment.” These acts, the paper
added, are a fresh crime against humanity and against art for which the
civilised world will demand an account from the German people.


About the middle of November Hazebrouck suffered bombardment by a German
aeroplane: a bomb killed a railway worker named Georges Demonvaux,
and wounded two other people. The aviator came a second time, an hour
afterwards, and threw three more bombs, aiming at the English and French
Red Cross hospitals, which, fortunately, were only slightly injured.

Finally, to bring to an end the list of cruel bombardments, let us put
on record that of Houplines (15th December), where fifty civilians were
killed and St. Paul’s Church was destroyed; those of Dunkirk (24th
December and 22nd January), where, besides the murder of many civilians,
the United States Consul was wounded, and the consulates of the United
States, Norway and Uruguay were damaged. The hospital was also struck by
bombs. Finally, let us note the bombardment of Béthune, which was carried
on almost without intermission, which caused the death of ten people, and
which was aimed at the hospital, in the court of which a shell had fallen
and burst.

The bombardment of Libau (in Courlande) is to be added to the foregoing.
On the 28th March a German aeroplane caused the death of several persons
and wounded a little girl. Let us add also that of Calais, where,
quite recently, a Zeppelin damaged Notre-Dame Church. A chapel of the
latter, dedicated to the Sacred Heart, had its vault broken in and its
stained-glass windows shattered. These were of great artistic merit and
represented scenes of the Crucifixion.




What is the aim and object of battles between belligerent powers? To put
out of action as large a number as possible of enemy soldiers, and thus,
as much as may be, to break the enemy’s resistance. That, at least, is
the conception of the aim of war entertained by all civilised nations,
since only barbarians, from desire for revenge, from blindness and
brutality, would seek to do injury for its own sake, and to seize the
opportunity of a state of war to gratify their instincts for plunder.
This conception, let us repeat, Germany, like all other nations, has
countersigned in solemn covenants.

Nevertheless, the aims which this war is laying bare in them are contrary
to these pledges.

In fact, we see Germany deliberately killing either those whom she
could prevent from doing her any injury by keeping them as prisoners,
or even those who were non-combatants. Some have thought that the
Germans aimed, in a manner, at the annihilation of the race in nations
hostile to Germany. It would be dreadful if this were the case. As for
ourselves, we shall neither say that this has not been proved nor that it
is impossible. What is certain is that the number of outrages committed
by Germany can only be explained by a deliberate attempt at barbaric

Beyond question they have attempted to damage the property of the enemy.
Pillage in their eyes has not been one of the more or less inevitable
concomitants of war: it has been one of its deliberate aims. Moreover,
the policy of terrorisation is a part of their general plan of action.
In their view fear is a good ally of invasion, and in order to reap all
the advantage of it they have left untried no form of violence or even of

Besides, we are not here concerned with policy shaped from above, by
the Government or the higher command: in the rank and file we may take
everything for granted. “Let us kill them all: there will be so many the
fewer left.” Who knows how often this monstrous thought has entered the
brain of people whose cruelty and violence is a part of their plans of
war? How often has it not been a necessity to kill, as to sack, in order
to overthrow, to reduce, to weaken an enemy nation not merely in war,
but in general, and even as regards the future in which rehabilitation
might be anticipated. But civilised nations look to treaties to prevent
the rehabilitation of the enemy. By looting and robbing industrial
establishments, the property of private individuals, the Germans showed
that their peculiar method was to try to prevent it by war itself, to
draw up a schedule of barbarism which by its very nature endangers life
itself, which includes murder as well as pillage. Thus we understand how
the Germans, both in theory and practice, have violated the most widely
accepted conventions which, in the midst of the havoc of war, limit the
right to kill either civilians or soldiers.

To begin with, the present chapter will be devoted to the complete denial
of the principles of humanity laid down in the Geneva Convention. We
reserve the right of discussion in subsequent chapters of the questions
of the treatment of prisoners, of the massacre of civilians, etc. The
violation of that part of the Convention of Geneva which bears upon the
wounded and the Red Cross is, in fact, a deliberate crime, without any
extenuating circumstances; it is inexcusable and unpardonable.

What are the terms of the Convention of Geneva? That “soldiers and
other persons officially attached to armies shall, when wounded or
sick, _be respected and taken care of_ by the belligerent in whose
power they may be, without distinction of nationality.” The latter,
therefore, must look for and collect the sick and wounded, and prevent
every act by any third party which might do them injury. These sick
and wounded will be prisoners of war, but “prisoners who must be taken
care of.” As for people attached to the Red Cross, it was declared,
and Germany and Austria-Hungary subscribed both to this and to the
preceding stipulations, that “the _personnel_ engaged exclusively in the
collection, transport and treatment of the wounded and sick, as well
as in the administration of medical units and establishments, and the
chaplains attached to armies, _shall be respected and protected under all
circumstances_; if they fall into the hands of the enemy they shall not
be treated as prisoners of war.”


We have already stated in the preceding chapter how seldom the Germans
have carried out these principles, for, contrariwise, they have
deliberately aimed their artillery at establishments for the shelter
of the wounded, the sick, and the hospital services. This fact is not
the only one which shows the contempt displayed by the Germans for
the Geneva Convention. It seems that they have eagerly seized upon
every opportunity which presented itself to violate this convention in
every way. Not only have the wounded who fell into their hands not been
properly treated by them, but in many instances these wounded have been
put to death. Sometimes, before killing them, they treated themselves
to the enjoyment of making them suffer. It is scarcely credible, but it
is true, that in more than one case the killing of the wounded assumed
the form of a command issued by the officers themselves. We have said
that the Germans have also fired on ambulances. They have killed and
ill-treated Red Cross nurses, male and female, and the doctors engaged on
Red Cross work.


The German wounded are many. It followed, therefore, that the German
medical service was disinclined to encumber itself with relays of enemy
wounded. Perhaps this is also the reason why orders were given to the
soldiers to kill the wounded. General Stenger issued, on the 26th August,
an order of the day _giving instructions to make no more prisoners and
to leave no living man behind_. The authenticity of this order, the full
text of which we give in the next chapter, was confirmed by the evidence
of German prisoners.

The prisoners cross-examined, says the _Temps_, which reported the
depositions, belong to the 112th and 142nd infantry regiments. They were
put on oath and signed the report of their examination. A soldier of the
142nd deposed that, on the 26th August, about three o’clock, he was in
the van of his battalion in the forest of Thiaville when _the company
order giving instructions to kill the wounded was sent along the ranks
and repeated from man to man_.

This prisoner added that as soon as this order was passed round, ten
or twelve French wounded who were lying here and there round about the
battalion were dispatched with rifle shots.

Another prisoner in the same regiment deposed that, on the 26th August,
he saw a cavalry officer, unknown to him, _come and give the order in
question as coming from headquarters_. Immediately afterwards rifle shots
were heard coming from the head of the detachment in front of him.

A soldier of the 112th declared that he heard, on the 26th August,
_Captain Curtins, in command of the 3rd Company_, say that henceforth no
more wounded were to be made prisoners. Shortly afterwards he heard rifle
shots fired at the French wounded who happened to be lying along the

Another soldier of the 112th gave evidence that on the same day, between
four and five o’clock, _some French wounded_ who happened to be on the
sides of the road from Thiaville to Saint Benoit, _were killed by order
of the commander of the 1st battalion_.

About twenty German soldiers who were cross-examined admitted that this
order had been given, but without giving details about the manner in
which it had been carried out. Some prisoners, who did not know even in
the field about the company order of the day, declared that they were
subsequently informed of it by their comrades.

Moreover, the German soldier Karl Johannes Kaltenochner (9th company of
the regiment of Count Bülow of Tervuenwist), who deserted and took refuge
in Holland, declared in the _Telegraaf_ of Amsterdam (_Temps_ of 3rd
January, 1915) that when Turcos were made prisoners the German officers
did not take the trouble to send them to any place behind the lines, _and
gave orders to the soldiers to shoot them_. He quoted _Major Botwitz as
having given orders to kill two Turco prisoners_. It is not, then, to be
wondered at that the soldier who made this disclosure accompanied it with
the declaration “that the German soldiers have become like wild animals
and think only of killing and pillaging.”

Finally, in the hospital at Nancy two German soldiers who were under
treatment there made similar confessions. One of them, who had a wound
in the stomach, confided to _Dr. Rohmer that it had been caused by a
revolver-shot from his officer, because he declined to kill a wounded
Frenchman_. The other, who was wounded in the back by a shot fired
point-blank, declared to Dr. Weiss that, _in obedience to the order of
an officer_, a soldier had fired on him to punish him for having carried
several wounded Frenchmen into a village not far from the battlefield.


The number of officers killed by Germans on the different battlefields to
which the war has extended is certainly greater than one would think. The
following are two attested instances—

On the 9th August, at Ormael in Belgium, the Belgian Commandant Knapen,
who was already wounded, was killed.

On the 12th August, after the battle of Haelen in Belgium, the Germans
killed, by a revolver-shot in the mouth, Commandant Van Daume, who had
been seriously wounded.

On the 22nd August, at Gommery (Belgian Luxemburg) M. Charles Deschars,
former commercial attaché of France at Berlin, was killed under the
following disgraceful circumstances. M. Deschars, an interpreter
lieutenant at the headquarters of General Trentinian, had been wounded
at the battle of Elbe, in Belgian Luxemburg, on the 22nd August. On that
day he had to be left at an ambulance in the village of Gommery. In the
evening came a German troop belonging to the 47th infantry regiment,
in command of a non-commissioned officer. The latter pretended that a
shot had been fired at his platoon. He asked for an interpreter, and M.
Ch. Deschars came down, helped by attendants. _He went up to the German
non-commissioned officer, and the latter, after exchanging some words
with him, drew a revolver and blew out his brains._

After this murder the German platoon gave itself up to all sorts of
excesses. Dr. Vaissières, who happened to be in the ambulance, was
killed. Dr. Sedillot, surgeon-major of the 1st class, was wounded. The
majority of the wounded were killed.

A similar crime took place during an engagement between French dragoons
and German light cavalry. A French lieutenant, who afterwards told the
story in the _Matin_ of the 22nd August, finding he was wounded, called
for help. A German came up and, seeing that he had to deal with an
officer, appealed to his commandant, M. de Schaffenberg, of the Trèves
light cavalry. The latter went behind the French lieutenant, took his
cavalry revolver, and at point blank shot him in the stomach. The French
officer’s orderly was spared only because Commandant de Schaffenberg
thought he was dead.


The German crime of killing enemy wounded assumes a still more dreadful
aspect when it is committed only after the victims have suffered cruel
treatment. The tortures inflicted on the wounded argue an exceptional
ferocity in those who are guilty of them, and yet such cases are not rare.

On the 16th August, at Dinant, French soldiers were found with their
heads smashed in by the butt-ends of rifles. On the 25th August, at
Hofstade in Belgium, a soldier who had been slightly wounded was also
killed by blows from the butt-end of a rifle. In a wood not far from the
road to Malines, at Tervueren, eighteen Belgian riflemen were killed by
bayonet thrusts in the head. One of the French wounded, who had been
taken again by the French troops and then left at Besançon, had been
struck on the head and sides with blows from the butt-end of a rifle
and kicked. A German soldier had dragged him along the ground. Beside
him another wounded Frenchman was dispatched with bayonet thrusts. The
Belgian quartermaster Beaudin van de Kerchove (5th lancers), who had
been wounded by two German bullets at the battle of Orsmael, on the 20th
August, was also tortured. The French sergeant Lemerre, who had been
wounded in the leg at Rembercourt by a bursting shell, was left on the
ground for eight days by the German ambulance, who had, however, seen
him. On the fourth day, on the order of an officer who, revolver in hand,
was crossing the field of battle, this non-commissioned officer was
wounded again by a rifle shot fired by a soldier.

The French Commission of Inquiry on their part quote three cases of
torture inflicted on the wounded—

“On the evening of the 25th August,” say the Commission in their report,
the Abbé Denis, Curé of Reméreville, tended Lieutenant Toussaint, who had
only left the forestry school in the previous month of July. As he lay
wounded on the field of battle, this young officer had been bayoneted by
all the Germans who had passed by him. His body was one great wound from
head to foot.

“At the Nancy hospital we saw Private Voger of the infantry regiment, who
was still bearing the marks of German barbarism. Seriously wounded in the
spinal column, in front of the forest of Champenoux, on the 24th August,
and paralysed in both legs as a result of his wound, he had remained
lying on his stomach, when a German soldier brutally turned him over with
his rifle and struck him three times with the butt on the head. Others,
who were passing near him, also struck him with the butt-ends of their
rifles and kicked him.

“Finally, one of them with a single stroke made a wound below and three
or four centimetres from each eye with the help of an instrument which
the victim could not distinguish, but which in the opinion of Dr. Weiss,
chief physician and professor of the faculty of Nancy, must have been a
pair of scissors.”

These facts appear difficult of belief. Nevertheless a confession of
similar deeds has been made by German soldiers; for example, Paul Gloede,
of the 9th battalion of Pioneers (9th corps), actually writes in his
notebook: “Mutilation of the wounded is the order of the day.”


These acts of German troops did not always make Germans ashamed. On the
contrary, in certain cases they even thought it was a clever thing to
boast about it. For instance, a story, which had come from the German
non-commissioned officer Klemt (154th infantry regiment, 1st company),
was published in a newspaper of Jauer in Silesia on the 18th October,
1914. The paper even put as a marginal note the following phrase “_The
24th September, 1914, a day of honour for our troops._” In his pamphlet,
_German Crimes according to German Evidence_, M. Bédier has put on record
the non-commissioned officer’s story.

“We bludgeon and transfix the wounded,” says the wretch, “for we know
that these scoundrels, when we have passed by, would fire at our backs.
There lies at full length a Frenchman, face to the ground, but he is
shamming death. A kick from the foot of a stout fusilier lets him know
that we are there. Turning round, he asks for quarter, but we say to him,
‘That is how, you ⸺, your tools work,’ and we pin him to the ground.
Beside me, I hear strange crashing noises. They are blows from the
butt-end of a rifle which a soldier of the 154th regiment is vigorously
applying to a Frenchman’s bald head: very cleverly he used a French
rifle for his work, lest he should break his own. Men with exceptionally
tender hearts do the French wounded the favour of finishing them off with
a bullet, but others distribute as many cuts and thrusts as they can.
Our opponents had fought bravely: they were picked troops whom we had
in front of us: they let us come as close as thirty and even ten metres
to them: too close. Knapsacks and arms thrown in a heap prove that they
wanted to take to flight, but at sight of the ‘grey phantoms,’ terror
paralysed their limbs, and on the narrow path which they were taking
the German bullet brought them the order to ‘halt.’ At the entrance to
their hiding-place of boughs of trees they lie, groaning and asking
for quarter. But, whether they were lightly or seriously wounded, the
fusiliers spare the fatherland the expensive attentions which would have
to be given to a crowd of enemies.”

The non-commissioned officer adds that Prince Oscar of Prussia, on being
informed of the exploits of the 154th and of the regiment which with
the 154th forms a brigade, declared they were both worthy of the name
“King’s Brigade.” “When evening came,” he continued, “with a prayer of
thanks upon our lips we fell asleep in expectation of the following day.”
Then, having added by way of postscript a little bit of verse, “Return
from Battle,” he brings the whole, prose and verse, to his lieutenant,
who countersigns it, “Certified to be correct, De Niem, lieutenant and
company commander.”


No more than the wounded were people engaged in tending or transporting
the wounded spared by the Germans.

We have said that in bombardments no distinction was made between Red
Cross establishments and the others. But even outside these cases the
Geneva Convention was so frequently violated that we are driven to attach
no credence to the excuses invented in case of bombardment.

Enemy doctors, nurses male and female, ambulance workers have been often
ill-treated, wounded and even killed by the Germans. We have noted one
case, in reporting the murder of the French lieutenant Deschars who had
been previously wounded. It is not the only one.

M. Pierre Nothomb reports several in his pamphlet, _Belgique Martyre_.
We must also remember the testimony given by Dr. Barbey (_Echo de Paris_
of the 20th January, 1915). Speaking of the cruelties committed by the
Germans at Recquignies (Nord), this doctor says—

“On the afternoon of the 6th September German soldiers came to the
ambulance; they were very much excited: two of them caught hold of me
brutally and another presented his rifle at me. I explained to them that
they were in a temporary hospital, where there were no arms, which was
true, and, moreover, all arms had been punctiliously given up by the
civilians at the beginning of the siege. The Boches searched everywhere
without finding anything. Then they went off, leading the eight
attendants and stretcher-bearers, whom, as they pretended, they needed to
bring their wounded to Boussois. The little company set out. As they were
passing before my house, which was still uninjured, the Germans, revolver
in hand, compelled attendant Jus to set fire to it. They did the same
with the mayor’s house, which was next door to mine.

“On the way back from this expedition, as the eight attendants, who all
the time had been surrounded by Boches, were going along the railway-line
from Paris to Cologne, the leader of the detachment suddenly caused a
halt: the French soldiers were lined along the bank: they were ordered to
raise their arms and they obeyed.

“‘Shoot them,’ commanded the leader. A volley rang out. The eight men
fell. Without troubling further about them the bandits went off at once,
shouting, for they were drunk… Fortunately, so drunk, in fact, that their
bullets had nearly all missed. Only four of our attendants were wounded:
Private Hacrien; Private Caudren, who had his leg broken; a private who
was a native of Perenchies, and who had a bullet through his thigh, and a
fourth private who sustained a not very serious wound on the knee. When
the Boches were gone the four attendants, who were unhurt and who had
been shamming death, lifted up their comrades and brought them to the

“On the following day all the wounded under treatment in this ambulance
were brought, without food, to Beaumont in Belgium, where a kindly
major had them collected in a convent which had been transformed into a
hospital. There I left them, as I had been authorised to go back alone to

“I set out on foot, without a copper, on an empty stomach. On the way, I
met with a German patrol; without parley, the savages belaboured me with
the butt-ends of their rifles and left me for dead, having just stripped
me of all I had left—namely, my clothes.”

M. Herriot, Mayor of Lyon, on his part, in a letter to a French minister,
declares that “he knows ten French doctors whose ambulances had been
bombarded and their attendants killed,” and that “_the Chief Rabbi of
Lyon was killed as he was endeavouring to get the wounded out through the
window of an ambulance which had been set on fire by shells_.”

On the other hand, the French Commission of Inquiry states in its report
that, on the 25th August, at Einvaux some Germans had opened fire at 300
metres on Dr. Millet, surgeon-major of the colonial regiment, just when,
with the help of two bearers, he was dressing the wounds of a man who was
lying on a stretcher. As his left side was turned to them they saw his
brassard perfectly. Besides, they could not have been mistaken about the
kind of job on which the three men were engaged.

“At Xivry-Circourt,” writes M. Bonne, senior curé of Étain, in a report
which he drew up, “the Germans seized an ambulance and a convoy of
wounded, only the first carriage of which succeeded in escaping, in a
hail of bullets.”

In a report on the outrages and crimes committed by the Germans at Arras,
M. Briens, prefect of the Department of Pas de Calais, remarks: “The most
painful feelings have been roused by the taking away of all the wounded
under treatment at the hospitals whom it was possible to carry… The
surgeon-majors of the Medical Service and the Red Cross attendants were
attached to this convoy of prisoners.”

Finally, before Lunéville, a French Red Cross nurse, Mme. Prudennec,
while on the look-out for wounded on the battlefields, tended a _German
officer who, to show his gratitude, gave her a sabre thrust in return_.
The nurse was injured in the leg, and for five days remained wounded in
the hands of the Prussians. But when the time came for them to retreat
the Germans left behind the nurse (who was unable to walk), and so it
came to pass that she was saved by French soldiers.



By common consent good treatment of prisoners of war is a law imposed on
civilised nations. American instructions, in their article 56, do but put
into words the feelings of civilised mankind when they say, “A prisoner
of war must suffer no penalty in so far as he is a public enemy; no
suffering, no dishonour will be intentionally imposed upon him by way of
reprisal, neither imprisonment, nor deprivation of food, nor mutilation,
nor death, nor any barbarous treatment.” Such is the line of conduct
which belligerents long have followed in this matter; such is the idea
they entertain of their duty in war.


In the present war, however, we have seen the Germans change all that: in
this respect, as in so many others, they have shown unmitigated contempt
for current conceptions of war. They have been seen to vent their hatred
and desire for vengeance upon a prisoner. Therein is the reaction of
a feeling of cruel pride. Have not the prisoners of war who fall into
German hands committed the crime of offering resistance to the actions of
the first people in the world? Consequently, M. Pierre Nothomb remarks,
in his book, _Belgique Martyre_, “in the hands of the German a prisoner
is not a soldier who has been unlucky, but a victim who is to endure his

Germany took good care not to advertise this principle. It would have
been too open a violation of the law of nations, and, besides, it would
have exposed her to reprisals. Prisoners who surrendered in a body
were spared up to a certain point. But the case was different with
prisoners taken in little groups. Towards them, because their fate was
more obscure, and the manner in which they were treated might appear to
involve less responsibility for the whole system, no ill-treatment and
cruelty, from insults to death, were omitted. They were jeered at, and
from mockery their tormentors went on to blows and wounds.


At Camperhout (in Belgium) the Germans amused themselves with imposing on
the prisoners fatigue-duty, in the course of which the latter were struck
on the slightest pretext. A Greek, who was a volunteer in the French
army, has told what happened, in a letter to the _Nea Himera_ at Athens.
“There were eight hundred prisoners of us, five of whom were Greeks. We
were brought before German officers, who ordered us to undress. Then they
had us tied with ropes and whipped by six German soldiers.”

They were undressed and stripped of what they had. “When I was able to
get my clothes again,” said the same witness, “I found that a sum of 3850
francs and an old gold medal had disappeared.”


At the same time that vengeance was being taken on the prisoners,
attempts were made to extract from them information which would be useful
for carrying on the war. They were questioned as to what they had seen,
as to the enemy forces and the positions occupied by them, and in general
on all military or strategic questions on which they might be supposed
to have knowledge, as an hour previously they had been in the trenches.
Sometimes, in order to obtain information like this, they were content to
resort to a ruse; on other occasions they went as far as threats followed
by actions.

Despicable German officers dared to cross-examine prisoners whom they had
just made. Brought bound before the officers, the prisoners found they
were ordered to reply under penalty of being tortured and killed. Near
Aerschot, a Belgian soldier, who had been made a prisoner, understood
that he was asked in this manner, by an officer and three soldiers,
where were his regiment and the body of his troops. This soldier, who
had refused to reply, was thrown to the ground, kicked, and finally
abandoned, still tied with ropes.

On the 29th March the Germans took prisoner, north of Mychinetz, a
Russian non-commissioned officer, Paphyre Panasiouk, and tortured him in
the presence of ten German officers, who tried to drag information from
him about the positions of the Russian troops. Having refused to act as
a traitor to the advantage of his enemies, the wretched non-commissioned
officer had the lobe of his right ear cut off by a German officer, who
then, in four strokes, cut off the top of the ear, leaving only a piece
of cartilage round the auricular passage. In the meantime, another
officer was mutilating his nose, separating the cartilage from the bone,
and biting him. This torture lasted for a whole hour, and the victim,
who afterwards succeeded in giving his guards the slip, was placed in
hospital at Warsaw, where the doctors photographed his mutilated face.


In other places prisoners were shot. In an official note of the Russian
Government, a German officer was mentioned by name as having formally
given the order to hang all Cossacks who should be made prisoner. This
was Major Modeiski, of the German cuirassiers. In confirmation of the
fact, it was stated that in many places Cossack prisoners had been
hanged, shot or killed by bayonet thrusts; at Radom, in the middle
of October, an officer and four Cossacks; at Ratchki, a Cossack; at
Monastijisk, four Cossacks; at Tapilovka, the Cossack Jidkof, who had
been made prisoner at Souvalki, etc.

At Chabatz, sixty Serbian soldiers, who had been made prisoner, were
massacred, and in the Belfort region a large number of French prisoners
were undressed by the Germans, who exposed them naked to French bullets,
and threw others into the canal, only to take them out again and throw
them in once more.

At Namur, during the retreat, Parfonnery, an infantryman, was made
prisoner with a group of soldiers. “Their hands were tied behind their
backs, they were bound together four by four; they were compelled to
march all day, being struck with the flat of the sword and the butt-end
of the rifle, and finally were thrown into the cellars of the Château
Saint-Gérard.” Elsewhere another Belgian prisoner, who rebelled against
this ill-treatment, had his neck twisted by his guards.

At Dixmude, Lieutenant Poncin (of the 12th Belgian Regiment of the Line)
was shot after having been bound round the middle by a wire tied about
ten times round his legs. On the 6th September a Belgian cavalryman,
who had been made prisoner, was disarmed, then bound and had his bowels
opened with bayonet thrusts. Near Sempst the Germans opened the bowels
of two Belgian carabineers and pulled out their entrails; at Tamine the
Germans tied a French officer to the trunk of a tree and harnessed horses
to each of his legs. By forcing the horses to run, the wretched man was
torn asunder. These latter facts are reported in M. Pierre Nothomb’s
book. At Saenski (in the Souvalki area) a Cossack was burnt alive on the
first of October. Other Russian prisoners also were condemned to die of
hunger. In other places Cossacks were condemned to dig their graves and
were shot.


In September 1914, when the Russians were forced to evacuate eastern
Prussia before the advancing Germans, they had recourse to what was an
indisputable right by making unusable such provisions as they could
not carry away. In this way enormous quantities of bread were wet with
petrol by orders from headquarters, so that the enemy could get no
advantage from it. The _Frankfurter Zeitung_ of the 8th October recorded
this act as a crime which deserved punishment. Under the heading “A
Just Punishment,” this paper had the hardihood to tell of the vengeance
which the Germans enacted for it. The stores were at Insterbourg. The
Russians, wrote the _Frankfurter Zeitung_, had reckoned without General
Hindenburg’s sense of humour. When this general was informed of the
matter, he said, “There is no accounting for tastes. The Russians have
their tastes. _This bread will do to feed Russian prisoners of war until
these provisions are exhausted._” Let us not forget to notice the style
of this article. This expression of the most cruel wrath, and of the
keenest thirst for vengeance, is called “humour.” And in what journal? In
one of the most influential and most moderate organs in Germany. There
can be no more striking admission both of the acts of cruelty and of the
barbaric passion which instigated them.

A perusal of the confession of these abominations, a confession, too,
made in such terms, gives a better idea of the character and aims of this

General Stenger, to whom we have already referred, the commander of the
38th Brigade, gave instructions for the massacre of the wounded in an
order of the day which we reproduce verbatim, and which is so abominable
that it is beyond criticism.

    “_From to-day, there will be no more prisoners made. All
    prisoners will be massacred. Even prisoners who have already
    been arranged in convoys will be massacred. Behind us no enemy
    will be left alive._

    “STOY, Lieutenant and Commander-in-Chief of the Company.

    “NEUBAUER, Colonel in command of the Regiment.

    “STENGER, General in command of the Brigade.”

M. Bédier has reproduced in his book the actual original of this document.


Once they had left the battlefields for the German fortresses, where
they were to be kept under guard, it was inevitable that prisoners of
war should be exposed to the most brutal ill-treatment, death, wounds
and blows. A regular prison regimen following upon possible outrages
on the field of battle would, of course, absolutely prevent that. But
all the penalties which the prisoners could possibly be made to suffer
under these new circumstances were heaped upon them in profusion. They
were not allowed to have their letters; customs duties were imposed on
the packages sent to them from their own country, and the transmission
of these packages was irregular and uncertain; finally, some of these
consignments were constantly and systematically looted.

The French Government complained. In fear of reprisals the Germans had
to alter their ways, though in some respects they continued as before.
They refused to sanction the pay of private soldiers and non-commissioned
officers, who had been taken prisoner; they fixed the pay of inferior and
superior officers at the ridiculous amounts of sixty and a hundred marks;
they refused to serve out allowances of tobacco and cruelly cut short the
supply of food.

These measures are significant. They show Germany’s view of the prisoner
of war. The only favour she allows him is not to kill him, not to beat
him, not to let him die outright of hunger. We speak here of orders given
and measures taken by the higher command, for which no excuse that pleads
the inhumanity of war could be admitted.



The present and following chapters will contain the most abominable part
of this indictment. We shall read the story of outrages of which women
have been made victims by the German scoundrels. Were not these outrages,
established as they are by certain reports, and confirmed by confessions
which the Germans themselves have inadvertently made, the result of the
unbridled instincts of an army in a state of delirium? We should like to
think so, but the details to hand with regard to the circumstances under
which these acts were performed compel us to recognise that something
more is involved in them. They reveal the presence of cruelty and thirst
for innocent blood in the perpetrators of these murders and acts of

Crimes committed against octogenarian old women seem to issue from a
special hatred, directed against those who gave birth to their enemies
of to-day. The number of acts of violation committed by these invaders
proves that there is inherent in the German mind a peculiar contempt for
all human laws, a regular bestiality, a cynical audacity, which, if the
reins are given to it, borders on madness.

In the performance of these abominable acts the Germans showed no trace
of humanity. Their thoughts were incapable of going back to themselves
and their fatherland, to the daughters, the fiancées, the wives, the
mothers whom they themselves had left at home; wholesale murders,
mutilations, tortures, treatment so frightful as to drive the victims
crazy, refinements of cruelty by which the relatives and parents of the
latter were made partners in their punishment, and in which, as we have
seen, neither organisation nor method was wanting—such are the acts of
which we are about to give proofs and examples.


In the story of the murders committed by the Germans, of which women
have been the victims, we see almost always that these were surprised in
the midst of their common daily tasks. The horror of the crime committed
against them is enhanced. It is still worse when the massacred women were
about to perform some act of charity. At Tamines, in Belgium, a woman was
killed in the middle of the street as she was carrying a sick old man.
At Mayen-Multien a woman named Laforest was seriously wounded, in the
beginning of September, by a German horseman to whom she and her husband
had been obliged to give hospitality. His excuse was that they were too
long about serving him. At Hazebrouck, in the middle of the month of
October, a German soldier, who was riding a bicycle, seeing in a corner a
poor mother seated with her child sleeping on her knees, transfixed the
latter with his bayonet, and at the same time wounded the mother in the
thigh, without any of his comrades interfering. At Audun-le-Roman, Mlle.
Tréfel was struck at the very moment when she was giving a drink to a
German soldier.

Examples of such acts are innumerable. The most striking instances
were those which took place at Malines, Gerbeviller, Audun-le-Roman,
Boortmeerbeck, Neuville-en-Artois, Hériménil. At Hériménil, Mme.
Truger, twenty-three years old, was shot by order of an officer. At
Boortemeerbeck, the maid-servant of Mlle. van Hoorde was killed because
she was accused of having assassinated an officer. This officer had
committed suicide, after leaving on his table a letter in which he
declared his intention. At Lunéville a young girl of sixteen years, Mlle.
Weill, was killed in her own house by her father’s side.

In the same town a woman aged ninety-eight years was killed in her
bed and thrown into the flames; at Triaucourt, Mme. Maupoix, aged
seventy-five years, was so violently kicked that she died some days
afterwards. Two other old women of the same place were shot dead. During
the following night the Germans played the piano near the corpses. At
Nomény several women were forced to make a long march on foot; an old
woman, who was just on the verge of a hundred years, fell down in a state
of exhaustion and died. At Hofstade, another old woman was found dead by
the Belgian soldiers. She had been bayoneted several times as she sat
down to sew. At Gerbeviller, widow Guillaume, aged sixty-eight years, was
killed by a shot fired point-blank.


In many cases the Germans went as far as general massacres. The excuse
invoked by them was a pretended right of reprisals.

The most appalling of these butcheries seems to have been that of Dinant,
which took place on the 22nd August and following days. “In these
terrible days,” writes a Dutchman, M. Staller, on this topic, in the
_Telegraaf_ (translated in the _Temps_, 19th December, 1914), “at Dinant
and also in the neighbouring villages of Anseremme, Leffe and Neffe, more
than eight hundred persons were killed, amongst whom there were many
women and children.” The _XX Siècle_ published the names of about sixty
women, several of whom were octogenarians, and of about forty children.
The excuse put forward was that three German soldiers had been killed by
the civilians (see further on).

“At Anseremme,” continues the _Telegraaf_, “eighteen women and two
children were concealed under a bridge; the soldiers caught sight of them
and fired with a machine-gun until there was no more sign of life; on the
following morning they burnt the corpses, probably that they might not be
accused of having killed defenceless people. I saw the horrible remains
of the fire.”

Another massacre was that witnessed at Louvain. On the 27th August, at
8 o’clock, the order was given to the inhabitants of Louvain to leave
the town, as it was going to be bombarded. Amongst these thousands of
wretched people, pursued by the brutal soldiers, were large numbers of
women, and some, who had not the strength to follow the procession, were


A humane reader cannot repress a tremor as he learns the story of the
tortures inflicted on women by the Germans on several occasions. We
should have spared our readers these stories, were it not necessary to
pay special attention to them for the purpose of showing how far German
barbarism can go.

At Dompierre-aux-Bois, after the bombardment which we have described, the
Germans did not want to allow the people shut up in a church which they
were bombarding even to go to look for water to tend the wounded. Women
were compelled to wait without help, wounded, bruised, mutilated under
the eyes of their parents, who were powerless to help them during a time
of agony which for some lasted up to twenty-four and thirty-six hours.
When they were dead, the Germans forced the men to dig a grave near the
cemetery and to bury them in it. One of them found that in this way he
was forced to bury without a coffin his wife, her mother and her sisters.

At Révigny the French Commission of Inquiry notes the case of a woman who
was found killed in a cellar, with her breast and right arm cut off. Her
little son, aged eleven years, also had a foot cut off.

M. Bonne, the senior curate of Étain, declares in his report that a woman
of Audun-le-Roman, who was suckling her child, was tortured for refusing
to give the enemy food. They mangled her abdomen and killed her child.

At Sempst, in Belgium, a woman was bayoneted, covered with petrol, and
thrown into the flames. The fact is noted in the second report of the
Belgian Commission of Inquiry. M. Pierre Nothomb relates the following
facts: “On coming to Averbode, on the 20th August, the Germans saw a
woman, who—seized with fear—concealed herself in a ditch. They killed
her with lance-thrusts. An hour’s journey from there, at Schaffen,
they disembowelled a young girl of twenty years. Peasants from the
outskirts of Louvain went to Antwerp, on the 12th September, and told
that at Wilzele the Germans wanted to burn alive Mme. Van Kriegelinen
and her eleven children. The woman and eight children were burnt. We
saw the corpses of the mother and her children, and were present at the
execution.” The volunteer gunner de R⸺ unpinned from the ground the
bodies of a woman and her child, who were fastened to the ground by
bayonets. Asked about what had passed at Boortmeerbeck, Dr. V⸺ of Malines
deposed: “Mme. Van Rollegem came to the hospital of Malines on the 22nd
August. On Thursday the 20th, as she was fleeing from Boortmeerbeck with
her husband, she was shot twice in the leg. She threw herself into the
ditch to take shelter. Some minutes later the Germans who had fired on
her came up to her again and made horrible wounds in her left thigh and
left forearm. She remained like that without help until Saturday evening.
The wounds were gangrened and worms were swarming over them.”

During the night of the 23rd to 24th August soldiers knocked violently
at the door of the Château of Canne, owned by M. Poswick. Mme. Poswick
opened the door; she was forthwith bludgeoned with the butt-ends of
rifles. On Sunday, the 30th of August, a patrol of hussars, as a Lord’s
day recreation, amused themselves by firing, on the Brussels road at
Malines, at Catherine Van Kerchove, a woman of seventy-four years of age,
at every part of her they could hit without killing her. A rifle shot
carried off her right hand, another gashed her cheek. At Battice, before
burning houses, the Germans made women go into them and shut them up

Sometimes German barbarism spent itself in putting people in captivity.
At Dinant many women were kept shut up in the Abbaye des Prémontrés.
Here they remained seated on the floor without food. Four of them were
confined under these dreadful conditions (see Chap. XIII).


Such acts were outdone at the other end of Europe, in the Eastern theatre
of war. In Poland, at Khabbeck, the Austrians mutilated two women on the
pretext that civilians were helping the movements of the Russian troops.

In the Podogorsky Arrondissement the Serbian troops found in the village
of Jabonka the corpses of a young girl of about ten years old and of
three old women, all three alike mutilated. Finally, Professor Reiss, of
the University of Lausanne, who visited the Serbian territories invaded
by the Austro-Hungarians, confirmed the authenticity of the mutilations
in which the invader of Serbia had indulged.

“At Bastave” (he reports in his letter to the _Temps_ of 22nd November)
“nearly everybody took to flight when it was known that the Austrians
were approaching. The two infirm women named Soldatovich, aged
seventy-two and seventy-eight years, did not want to leave their house.
They thought that even the most cruel men would do nothing to invalided
old women. But when the peasants came back after the Austrians had gone,
they found that the two poor old women had been violated, stabbed with
bayonet thrusts, their noses, ears and breasts cut. Besides, mutilation
was quite a usual practice amongst the murderers of the Austro-Hungarian

These barbarous acts, when they did not cause the victim’s death,
sometimes brought on insanity. This was the case, amongst other
instances, with several women of Louvain, who were escorted by a
detachment of the 162nd German infantry regiment to the riding-school of
the town, and having, from want of room, passed a whole night standing,
endured such terrible sufferings that they lost their reason.


Let us take the case of abduction of women, led away by German soldiers
and brought in troops to Germany. These wretched women were put down as
hostages. It is, however, certain that in more than one case they were
led away merely to gratify the soldiers’ lust.

At Marcheville the Germans carried off several hundreds of women, who
were interned at Amberg in Bavaria in barracks. At Saint-Mihiel seven or
eight hundred women were also carried off to Germany.

At Charleville the women were kept on the spot, but brought to their
several tasks and kept under a regimen of forced labour. They were kept
constantly employed in making equipments for the troops, earning a wage
of half-a-loaf of bread. At Bignicourt-sur-Saulx forty women were carried
off, as hostages it was said. The Hungarian dragoons in particular, in
Poland and in the Lublin and Kielce regions, were noted for this kind of
conduct, revived from the most barbarous periods of war.

The second report of the French Commission of Inquiry (_Journal Officiel_
of 11th March, 1915) gives striking details of the fate of Frenchwomen
who were carried away from their own country and interned in Germany.

For the most part separated from their children, there was no kind of
violence to which they had not to submit. The lack of food induced
among them frightful maladies, which they had to endure under the most
horrible conditions. So acute were their sufferings, that afterwards,
when they were released, they were very depressed, under the idea that
they were still in prison, and were obsessed with morbid fears. Several
of them, including some octogenarians, had to be carried on stretchers.


The number of women outraged by Germans where they lived is considerable.
Violation was practised everywhere on invaded territory as a right of
war, and without distinction of age. We feel in touch with an odious
perversity as we read the story of these outrages, in which a depraved
imagination is as prominent as their brutality.

On the 4th September, at Rebais, a young woman of twenty-nine years, a
wine-seller, was accused of having concealed English soldiers at her
house. The Germans undressed her, and compelled her to stay in that
condition in their midst for an hour and a half. Then they fastened her
to her counter, and threatened her with death. The wretched woman would
infallibly have died had not orders, which suddenly arrived, compelled
her torturers to be off and leave her in the hands of an Alsatian
soldier, who released her.

The French Commission of Inquiry reports two cases of violation committed
in each of the places it was able to visit, especially at Villers,
Trumilly, Sermaize, etc. Special indignation is aroused by those of which
quite young girls were the victims.

At Château-Thierry it was a girl of only fourteen years of age, who was
dragged into a shop by three Germans, where, under threat of a bayonet,
she was violated by two of them, while the third gave way to the young
victim’s entreaties. At Begu-Saint-Germain it was a girl of thirteen
years. At Loupy-le-Château it was on children of thirteen and eight years
that such outrages were committed. At Magnières a little child of twelve
years was violated twice by a soldier. At Suippy, on the 3rd September, a
child of eleven years was for three hours the butt of the brutality of a
man, who found her with her sick grandmother, brought her into a deserted
house, and stuffed a handkerchief into her mouth to prevent her crying.

Unbridled bestiality of this kind had no more respect for age than
childhood. The nature of some of these acts seems to prove the existence
in the German race not merely of moral, but of physical defects. With
amazement and disgust we put on record the evidence for acts which in
ordinary life are found only in the diseased or maniacs.

At Vitry-en-Perthois a German violated an old woman of eighty-nine
years, who died as a result. At Loupy-le-Château an unfortunate woman
of seventy-five years was violated; at Suippes another old woman, aged
seventy-two years, was seized by a German soldier, who was putting the
muzzle of his revolver under her chin, when the woman’s brother-in-law
came along and released her. In Serbia the corpses of mutilated old
women, the discovery of which we noted above, were examined, and it was
proved that these old women had been violated before being mutilated.
In certain places soldiers were seen outraging dead bodies. This fact
was established at Gerbeviller, the culprit being a Bavarian of the army
corps commanded by General Clauss.


Several victims of these crimes died: others lost their reason. For a
large number the natural consequences of these acts condemn them to
become mothers.

Of all the victims of invasion, none have been more unfortunate than
these. The practice of abortion cannot be tolerated. They are condemned
to bring into the world the hateful fruit of savage bestiality. It should
at least be admitted that they should be absolved from the duty of
feeding and loving this offspring. A law to this effect will doubtless be
passed in France. Permission will be given to declare that the children
are the issue of unknown parents. The Committee for Public Assistance
will assume responsibility and thus spare private families the morally
intolerable burden of bringing up the children of Germans.


A number of women who resisted the violence of the soldiers were killed
either by rifle shots or bayonet thrusts. At Esternay, on the night
of Sunday, 6th September, the soldiers violated widow Bouché, her two
daughters, and two women called Lhomme and Macé. When the mother resisted
they fired on the whole group. Mme. Lhomme was struck, and Marcelle
Bouché, who was seriously wounded, succumbed the following morning as
a result of her wound. At Rebais, a lady of thirty-four years, who
resisted the soldiers, was seized and strung up, but she was able to cut
the rope with a knife which she found in her pocket. Then they beat her
unmercifully, until an officer came up and released her.

In Belgium, at Aerschot, a young Belgian woman had to pay with her life
for the intervention of her fiancé, whom the soldiers also massacred.
More deplorable still is the case of a young girl of Louvain, whose body
was pierced all over with bayonet thrusts, and who was then violated.
Next day she was brought to hospital, but she succumbed to the wounds
inflicted upon her.


In order to increase the horror of these scenes, the Germans were pleased
to commit their crimes even in the presence of the parents of these
wretched girls. It was not enough for them to shame their victim, they
must do it under the eyes of those whose duty it was to defend her, and
whom they first made powerless. Pierre Nothomb’s book contains numerous
examples. We tremble with indignation as we read the story.

In France, at Coulommiers, a woman was violated on the 6th September
before her husband and children. At Saint Denis-les-Rebais another was
violated in the presence of her mother-in-law, who, being powerless to
intervene, tried to prevent her little grandson, aged eight, from seeing
this disgraceful sight. At Commigis (Aisne) a lady was made the object of
violent and shameless acts by two Germans, also in her mother-in-law’s
presence. At Raucourt (Meurthe-et-Moselle) the Germans violated a woman
in the presence of her children.


On the question of the murder of women, young and old, M. Bédier’s book
contains the admissions of the Germans themselves. Those of Blamont are
told by the German soldier, Paul Spielmann (of the First Guards Infantry
Brigade). “It was horrible: blood was plastered over all the houses, and
as for the faces of the dead, they were hideous.

“Among them were many old women and one pregnant woman.” The excuse
alleged was “there was telephonic communication with the enemy.” The
existence of this telephone was the cause of this fearful massacre.

The outrages at Langeviller and another locality are put on record in
an unsigned notebook of a soldier of the 11th Battalion of Pioneers.
“Langeviller, 22nd August, a village demolished by the 11th Battalion of
Pioneers. _Three women hanged on trees_: the first dead whom I had seen.”
Why were these women hanged? We are not told. Eight days afterwards, he
continues, “We destroyed eight houses. In a single one of them two men
and their wives and a young girl of eighteen had been bayoneted. I was
almost moved at the sight of the little one, _her look was so full of
innocence_. But an excited body of men could no longer be kept in check,
for at such moments we are no longer men, but beasts.” Here, we see, full
confession is made. Another notes that at Orchies “a woman had a military
execution.” Why? For not having obeyed the command to “halt.”

Something even of the acts of violence runs through these confessions.
A soldier of the 12th infantry reserve, 3rd corps, writes, “I am forced
to note one fact which cannot be due to accident, but there are, even in
our army, some … who are no longer men, some … to whom nothing is sacred.
Last night a man of the Landwehr, more than thirty-five years old, wanted
to violate the daughter of the house on which he quartered himself, a
mere little girl, and when her father intervened he pointed his bayonet
against the man’s chest.”



The plea of reprisals is no more valid in the case of children, old
people and priests than it is in the case of women. All these classes of
people have a right to consideration and to absolute respect from the
invader. Every crime committed against them can bear no other name than
wanton cruelty.

In the foregoing pages we have seen how children were killed with their
mothers, and old women were outraged and killed. We must now unfold the
chapter of crimes against the weak and against those whose character
should have saved them from the violences of war. Ill-treatment,
imprisonment, wounds, murder, torture—all these we hardly like to think
that children, the personification of weakness and innocence, have had to
suffer. Such has been the cruelty of the German troops in the field, that
what has moved all men’s interest and compassion has, in several cases,
only urged them on the more readily to violence.


We have already told the story of the ill-treatment to which six to eight
thousand people, who were packed together standing in the riding-school
and had to pass the night there, were exposed at Louvain. A number of
children were included in these. Several endured great hardships, and
the youngest died in their mothers’ arms. At Dinant, in the slaughter
which took place, several children were massacred.

In other cases we see that children were exposed to exceptional acts
of violence. “On the way back from Tirlemont,” writes the special
correspondent of the _Times_ (29th August, 1914), “I met a little girl of
eleven years old, who was stumbling and groping before her as if blind.
A stroke of a lance had laid open her cheek and her eye. A poor peasant
woman, her face wet with tears, told me that her husband had been killed
in her presence by German horsemen, that two of her children, who were
under nine years of age, had been trampled by their horses and that two
others were missing. And this” (concluded the English journalist) “is
not an isolated case; it is an example of what happens day by day in the
areas occupied by the German soldiers, and, I regret to say, it is only
an example among hundreds which have been attested beyond any possibility
of doubt.”

Instances abound, and the following are a selection. At Louguyon, out of
153 people who were shot on the 23rd, 24th and 25th August by soldiers of
the 102nd and 112th Prussian regiments, there were twelve children.

At Bantheville (Meuse), young Felix Miquel, aged about fifteen years, who
had hidden behind a heap of wood so that he might not be arrested, got a
violent sabre thrust from the soldier who discovered him, which split his
lips; afterwards, as he was being led away, when he tried to hide in a
wood, he stumbled against a sentinel, who with a bayonet stroke cut off a
joint of his left hand.

At Mouchy Humières (Oise) a little four-year-old girl, who belonged to
a family living in Verdun, was wounded on the 31st August by a German
soldier. On the way from Bouligny to Mourière (Meuse) a child of fifteen
years was shot in the groin as she was passing quietly by a wood in which
a German patrol was concealed.

At Spontin, near Dinant, fearful reprisals were carried out because a
poacher had killed a Prussian officer, and children of all ages were shot
or butchered with their mothers.

In the outskirts of Malines many corpses of children were found on the
spot where the Germans had left them unburied. At Morfontaine, near
Longwy, two children of fifteen were shot for having warned the French
gendarmes of the arrival of the enemy. At Gerbeviller a young girl
named Parmentier, who was barely seven years old, was also shot. At
Dinant, too, several children met with the same fate. At Aerschot the
burgomaster’s two children were shot; the murder of the little girls
Luychx and Ooyen, aged twelve and nine years, both of whom were shot, was
also confirmed. Pierre Nothomb quotes the case of two little children
two years old, named Neef and Deekers, who were massacred at Testelt.
Sometimes the despicable torturers added obscenity to cruelty. At Bertrex
a grown-up brother and sister were killed and, when the penalty was paid,
their bodies were put naked, clasping each other as if they had been


At Hofstade, said Pierre Nothomb, a lad of less than fifteen years was
found with hands crossed behind his back and his body pierced with
bayonet thrusts. At Pin, near Izel, two young boys saw the Uhlans
coming; the latter took them as they passed, and made them run, with
hands bound, between their galloping horses. Their dead bodies were found
an hour afterwards in a ditch; as an eye-witness said, their knees were
“literally worn out”; one had his throat cut and his breast laid open;
each had a bullet in his head. At Schaffen a lad was bound to a shutter,
sprinkled with petrol, and burnt alive. The soldiers who marched on
Antwerp took a butcher’s cleaver at Sempst; they seized a little servant
boy, cut off his legs, then his head, and roasted him in a burning house.
At Lebbeke-les-Termonde, Frans Mertens and his comrades, Van Dooren,
Dekinder, Stobbelaer and Wryer, were bound arm to arm; their eyes were
gouged out with a pointed weapon, then they were killed by rifle shots.

In France, at Dompierre-aux-Bois, the children who were wounded in the
bombardment of the church found themselves left to their agony, without
attendance and without food. The dead bodies of two children who had been
killed by bayonet thrusts were found at Neuville-en-Artois. At Vingras a
little girl of eight years was thrust into the flames with her parents,
whose farmhouse had been set on fire. At Sommeilles the dead body of
a child of eleven was found with its foot cut off. At Triaucourt the
wretches burnt a two-year-old child.

In Serbia similar outrages were committed. M. Reiss, Professor of
Lausanne University, has proved that children of two months old were
massacred. “I found children in common ditches who were not more than two
or three years old. Amongst the 109 hostages of Lechnitza who were shot
in front of a ditch which had previously been dug out, and which was not
less than twenty metres long, there were some children of not more than
eight years old.”


We read above the admission of a soldier of the Prussian Guard, Paul
Spielmann, about the massacre of a village which “had been in telephonic
communication with the enemy.” Among those who were massacred he adds
that there were three children. “I saw this morning (2nd September) four
little boys carrying on two sticks a cradle in which was a child of five
to six months old. All that is fearful to behold. Blow for blow. Cannon
for cannon. Everything was given up to pillage.

“… _I saw also a mother with her two little ones; one had a great wound
on the head and the other had its eye gouged out._”

The German soldier, Karl Johann Kaltendshner, Ninth Company of the
Regiment of Count Bülow Tervuenwist, who deserted and fled to Holland,
and whose statements in the _Telegraaf_ we have already quoted, tells
the following story: “I have seen children in tears, clinging to their
defenceless mothers’ skirts, coming out of a threshing-mill where
they had sought shelter, and _I have seen how these mothers and their
children were killed in cowardly and cold-blooded fashion_. Although we
were compelled, under penalty of death, to obey all the orders of our
officers, _I have seen some of my companions who joyfully performed their
melancholy work of massacre. At a certain moment I was myself required to
shoot two boys, aged fifteen and twelve years old respectively_, whose
father had already been killed. I had not the heart to do it, and I had
lowered my arm, expecting to be executed myself, when one of my comrades,
jeering at my sentimentality, saved me by pushing me aside and himself
firing on the two children. _The eldest fell stark dead, and the second,
who got a bullet in the back, was dispatched with a revolver shot_”
(_Temps_, 3rd January, 1915).


At every place where the civil population was brutally treated, outraged
or shot _en masse_—at Louvain, at Dinant—no exception was made in the
case of old folk. People of seventy and eighty years of age had to bear
forced marches, to remain standing in packed masses, where they were
kept for whole nights, at the risk of death, as was the result for a
large number. But, in addition to these common instances, outrages of a
peculiar kind are not wanting. At Rebais-en-Brie an old man of sixty-nine
years old, Auguste Griffaut, was struck with blows of the fist on the
head, and finally wounded by a revolver shot. At Sablonnières another old
man of the same name, Jules Griffaut, aged sixty-six, was tending his
cows in an enclosed field when a German soldier, who was at the rear of
a column, fired on him. In Belgium an old man of seventy years, formerly
steward to M. Davignon, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of
Belgium, was shot by the Germans because to the first question that the
latter put to him he replied that he was deaf, which was true.

Another was shot without mercy at Montmirail because he tried to
protect a widow, named Naudé, who was in danger of being outraged by a
non-commissioned officer.

At Lamath, in Lorraine, an old man called Louis, aged seventy years, was
shot. At Domèvre-sur-Vezouze Adolphe Claude, aged seventy-five years,
met with the same fate. At Lunéville an old alderman, Théophile Martin,
aged sixty-three years, was commanded by an officer to come out of his
house with his two daughters. As soon as they came out the old man saw
from the revolvers and guns that were levelled at him that he was about
to be killed. The young girls threw themselves on their knees and begged
the Germans to spare their father’s life. It was in vain. Shots rang out
and the old man fell. Again at Lunéville, M. Édouard Bernard, municipal
councillor, aged sixty-five years, who had six sons at the front, was
arrested. He was hardly allowed time to dress himself. He was taken away,
and it is not known what became of him. M. Charles Chérer, husbandman,
aged sixty-four, first cousin to M. Lébrun, ex-minister, got four bullets
in his body. As none of the wounds which they made was mortal, the Uhlans
dispatched him with revolver shots.

At Nomény M. Petitjean, aged eighty-six years, was struck as he was
sitting in his armchair by a bullet which cracked his skull, and a German
took pleasure in doing violence to the dead body (_vide_ p. 148).

Finally, the number of old people who were taken away as hostages or
simply deported to Germany was very large. Of that we shall speak in a
subsequent chapter, but let us only note here that among the hostages who
were taken away to Vareddes four old men were shot or bludgeoned with the
butt-ends of rifles, their names being Jourdaine (73 years old), Liévin
(61), Ménil (65) and Milliardet (78 years).


On the 26th August, not far from Malines, the dead body of an old man was
found bound by the arms to a beam in the ceiling of his farmhouse. The
body was completely burnt, except the head, arms and feet.

At Triaucourt, in France, an old man of seventy, Jean Lecouturier, was
thrown into the flames of a burning house.

At Champuis, Jacquemin was bound to his bed by a non-commissioned
officer, and left in this state without food for three days. He died
some days afterwards. At Lavigneville (Meuse), on the 23rd September,
MM. Woimbée, aged sixty-one years, and Fortin, aged sixty-five years,
both farmers, were arrested in their own homes on the plea that they
were francs-tireurs. Now, Woimbée had had his foot shattered two months
before, and Fortin, who was afflicted with chronic rheumatism, had
for long been unable to walk without the help of a stick. The Germans
carried them off in their working garb, without allowing them to take
any other clothes, and attached them to a convoy which contained about
thirty soldiers who had been taken prisoner. Fortin, who could not get
on, was bound by a rope, the ends of which were held by two horsemen,
and, notwithstanding his infirmity, he had to keep up with the horses.
As he fell every minute, he was struck with lances to compel him to get
up again. The wretched man, covered with blood, besought them in mercy
to kill him. At last Woimbée obtained permission to carry him to the
village of Saint-Maurice-sous-les-Côtés, with the help of several of
our soldiers. There the Germans made the two old men go into a house,
compelled them to remain standing for two hours face to the wall and arms
crossed, whilst they themselves rattled their arms noisily so as to make
their victims believe they were going to shoot them. At last they decided
to let them lie on the ground, and gave them a little bread and water.
For more than twenty-four hours Woimbée and Fortin had had no food.

In Poland, at Andrief, the Germans, displeased because they had only got
a little money from the alderman of the town, closed up the latter, M.
Krassinsky, aged seventy years, in his house and set fire to it.


The crimes committed in Belgium and France against the priests deserve
separate treatment.

The German newspapers and the Emperor alleged, in justification of
these acts, that at the beginning of hostilities the curés and nuns
of the invaded regions had abused their spiritual authority over the
civil population by rousing them to frenzy and inciting them to act as
francs-tireurs. But of such acts Germany has brought forward no proof.
On the contrary, the German Catholic bureau Pax and the _Kölnische
Volkszeitung_ took the trouble personally to refute a great number of
accusations against the clergy, amongst others the famous legend of
eyes being gouged out, of which we spoke above and with which German
newspapers had connected the names of several priests who had been
carried away to Germany.

As for the general plea that they had encouraged the civil population
to resist, far from justifying the German conduct, it only makes it
more odious, for what finer praise could be given to a priest in time
of war than to say that he tried to stimulate the love of country among
the faithful, especially when it is traitorously attacked by people who
violate their pledged word?

Besides, the very accounts of the outrages in question show that the
plea of reprisals has no validity. In these stories the immorality and
blasphemy of the torturers reveals itself without any disguise. The worst
criminal feels a kind of fear and remorse as he stands in the presence
of God’s representative. This fear is unknown to the German soldier.
The German invaders have even shown that they are devoid of respect for
the sacred or charitable occupations in the midst of which they almost
everywhere found the priests whom they have been known to massacre. With
them everything has given way to the deliberate desire to sow terror
among the civil population. In many places it is certain that this end
could not be better attained than by ill-treating and massacring their
spiritual heads.


M. Auguste Mélot, deputy of Namur, published a book, _Martyre du Clergé
Belge_, which throws light upon this conduct so far as Belgium is

The curés of Wygmael and Wesemael were forced to march, on the 29th
August, before the army with their elbows bound together. A curé of
Rotselaer and a curé of Wackerzeel, aged seventy years, were shut up
for whole days in a church, almost without food and under dreadful
conditions. They were finally brought away to Germany, where insults were
heaped upon them. A German officer at Aix-la-Chapelle spat in the face
of the curé of Rotselaer. Tainted bread was given them to eat. At last
they were brought back to Belgium, by forced marches, from Brussels to
Haeren, from Haeren to Vilvorde, from Vilvorde to Malines.

The Germans indulged in outrages of a disgraceful kind on the curé of
Beyghem. The curé and the curate of Ellwyt were shut up for five days
in their church. The curé of Schaffen-lez-Diest was hanged. They made
him believe that he was going to be put to death, and when he was on the
point of dying they loosed the rope; then they started again. Afterwards
they compelled him to look at the sun, and if he lowered his eyes he was
struck with the butt-ends of rifles and threatened with being hung up
again. The curé of Yvoir was compelled to march in front of the troops
as far as Marienburg, laden with a sack. At Pin the Germans made five
priests walk for ten leagues, allowing them for food nothing but a little
bread and water. The Superior of the French College of Florennes (in
Belgium) was beaten, struck with butt-ends of rifles and with spurs on
the back and the head. He was then stripped of his robes and left dying.
The curate of Montigny-sur-Sambre was struck with the fist, and obliged
to walk under the horsewhip, with hands bound, in front of the troops.
The Bishop of Tournai, who was seventy-two years of age, was brought on
foot, being beaten as he went, from Tournai to Ach.


According to inquiries made in four dioceses out of six, Malines, Liège,
Namur and Tournai, it has been possible to fix the names of forty-four
priests whom the Germans killed and of a dozen who are missing. These
names are found in M. Mélot’s book.

These crimes took place when a priest took it upon him to resist some
massacre or some other kind of crime ordered by the Germans. Thus M.
Wonters, curé of Pont-Brûlé, was shot because he wanted to prevent a
German soldier from ill-treating an old prisoner. Another was killed
because he tried to prevent an act of violation which was about to be
committed under his eyes. On other occasions the crime took place without
motive, or at least the motive alleged was trivial. For example, the curé
of Blegny was shot for having, so it was said, allowed an observation
post to be placed in the belfry of his church. However, it is certain
that he could not have prevented it.


Some priests died as a result of the agonies inflicted upon them. The
executioners were not content with killing them outright; they wanted to
make them suffer as well.

M. de Clerck, the curé of Buecken, who was accused of having fired on the
Germans, was first placed on a cannon. When his tormentors had their fill
of watching his terror, they threw him into a ditch. Then the soldiers
took him, some by the arm, others by a leg, and dragged him over the
pavement. Only then did they shoot him. However, it was certain that he
had not fired on any one. He suffered from diabetes, and was confined to
his bed when the Germans entered into the village, and they could not
have been unaware of the fact, for it was from his bed that they went to
take him.

M. Dergent, curé of Gelrode, found he was accused of spying for the
English. Without any explanation he was brought to the town hall,
ill-treated, brought in front of the church, struck with the butt-ends of
rifles, then shot.

M. Glouden, curé of La Tour, and two other priests who, by permission of
the German commandant, were taking up the wounded on the Ethe territory
had a machine-gun turned upon them, and were then dispatched with
revolver shots, by order of the same commandant.

The curé of Spontin was taken in his bed, dragged half-naked out of his
house, and hung up several times, sometimes by the feet, sometimes by the
hands. Afterwards he was stabbed with bayonets and then shot.

There is no better picture of the hatred of the Germans towards members
of the Belgian clergy than the proclamation about hostages which was
posted up on the 6th September at Grivegnée, especially when we know the
fate which was almost always reserved for them. The proclamation said:
“_In the front rank were placed as hostages priests_, burgomasters and
other public officials.”


The abominable behaviour of the Germans to the Belgian Catholic clergy
was crowned by the arrest of Cardinal Mercier, Archbishop of Malines.
The following is the account of the circumstances under which he was
arrested, given by the reverend prelate in a letter of the 10th January,
sent secretly to all the parishes in the diocese of Malines.

    “You are, doubtless, aware of a communication made by the
    German Government to the Brussels daily papers, to the effect
    that the cardinal archbishop of Malines had in no wise been
    hampered in the exercise of his episcopal duties. The facts
    show how far this communication is from the truth.

    “On the evening of the 1st January and on the following morning
    soldiers forced their way into the apartments of the curés,
    seized my pastoral letter and entered an injunction against it.
    They forbade the curés to read it to their flocks, threatening,
    in case of disobedience, the severest penalties to their
    parishes and to themselves.

    “On the 2nd January, at 6 a.m., I received the order to appear
    during the morning before the Government, to give explanations
    with regard to my letter to the priests and their parishioners.

    “On the following day I was forbidden to take part in the
    religious service at the Cathedral of Antwerp.

    “Finally, I was not permitted to travel freely to visit the
    other bishops of Belgium.

    “Thus your rights and mine have been violated.

    “As a Belgian citizen, as pastor, and as a member of the Sacred
    College of Cardinals I protest energetically against the
    violation of these rights.

    “Whatever interpretation others may have put upon my pastoral
    letter, experience has proved that it caused no risk of
    rebellion. On the contrary, it had the effect of calming and
    soothing people’s minds. I congratulate you on having done your

Using Cardinal Mercier’s pastoral letter as a pretext, the Germans
proceeded to fresh acts of violence against the Catholic clergy. We
need not, however, be astonished that this letter enunciated a certain
principle—to wit, that the Belgians owed allegiance only to the King and
to the Government of the nation of which they form a part. The Cardinal
went on to instruct his people that none the less they should accept the
actual situation in the occupied districts, and leave to the regular army
the task of national defence. These declarations, which are in absolute
harmony not only with the teachings of religion and the principles of the
law of nations, but also with the laws of war, gave the Germans a pretext
for ill-treating several members of the clergy, desecrating a certain
number of churches, tearing the priests from their confessionals, and
looting sacristies.


The town of Roye was occupied by the Germans on the 7th September. On the
morning of the 9th a burial was taking place. At the very time when the
service was being held in the church, a French machine-gun came into the
town and forthwith began to fire at a German outpost which had taken up
a position in the town hall. The Germans rushed madly into the church,
to the number of about fifty, and, to the great indignation of those who
were present, seized the two officiating priests and the two choristers.
Still clad in their sacred vestments, the priests were led into the line
of fire of the French machine-guns, and it was only by a miracle that
they escaped the bullets. In the sequel, the machine-gun could not keep
up its fire and had to leave the town.

During this time the crowd had escaped from the church by the sacristy
and the adjoining gardens, and the coffin remained alone without
celebrants or congregation. The Germans did not release their victims.
They compelled the two priests and the two choristers to get into a
motor, forcing them to remain standing, and brought them like that to
Chauny, where the German general staff was installed. Their intention was
doubtless to intimidate the villages through which this wretched party

At Chauny the two priests and the two choristers remained for more than
twenty-four hours without food or drink, and were kept prisoners for
three days. Their release was only brought about through the intervention
of the professor of German at the college of Chauny, who by dint of
parleying and negotiation had them set at liberty; they returned to Roye,
where they were believed to be dead.

In the diocese of Cambrai six priests were first of all killed by the
Germans. The assassination of the Abbé Delebecque, of Valenciennes, which
followed, must be described in detail.

On the 16th September this priest was coming back from a service which
had taken place at Dunkirk for the repose of the soul of his father, who
had died in the month of August. He was riding a bicycle and was carrying
some letters written by soldiers. He was stopped by a patrol and accused
of espionage. He was sentenced the same day at midnight. In spite of his
denials and of the obvious proofs which he gave of his good faith, the
council of war, consisting of officers, condemned him to death. Handed
over to the charge of the German military chaplain, he passed the night
in prayer before the Holy Sacrament in St. Nicholas Church. Then, having
given confession and received the sacrament, he set out bravely at 5.30
on foot to the Dampierre Column, on the way to Denain.

As he went he was repeating the prayer for the dying. When he reached the
spot fixed by the Germans he sent a letter to his mother, then knelt down
and said to some people present that he gave his life for France. At six
o’clock the Abbé Delebecque fell, hit by twelve German bullets.

A hole fifty centimetres deep was made and he was thrown into it. As the
end of his cassock protruded, a civilian came and placed some stones upon
it in the form of a cross, and some women threw flowers on the tomb of
this martyr. Finally, the Superior of Notre Dame College, who had the
German military chaplain lodging with him, with some difficulty got his
consent to the body being given back to him, that suitable burial might
be given to it.

On the other hand, the Curé Fossin, of Vareddes, was shot on the charge
of having signalled to a French troop from the top of his belfry.

In the department of Meurthe-et-Moselle two curés were also shot, M.
Thiriet at Deuxville and M. Barbot at Rehainviller.

But the most horrible outrage inflicted upon people dedicated to
God was that suffered by two nuns in a commune of the department of
Meurthe-et-Moselle. They were handed over defenceless to a soldier’s
lechery. “The pledges which we have given,” writes the French Commission
of Inquiry, which denounces this crime in its report, “prevent our making
known the names of the victims of this disgusting exhibition, or of the
village in which it took place, but the facts have been revealed to us
under oath and in confidence by most trustworthy witnesses, and we take
the responsibility of attesting their authenticity.”




The behaviour of the Germans to civilians gives us the opportunity of
considering, before we proceed further, a theory which they promulgated
at the outbreak of war, and which referred to the distinction that would
be made as regards non-combatants who took up arms against invasion.

In the early days of the war the German Government, through the agency of
a neutral power, communicated the following two documents to France and
Belgium. In order to show that the principle is both technically wrong
and inhuman, we propose to reproduce them in full. The first of these
documents is as follows—


    “_The reports of German troops show that in contempt of the
    law of nations, a national war has been organised in France.
    In many cases the inhabitants of the country, under the
    protection of civilian garb, fired surreptitiously on German
    soldiers. Germany is opposed to this method of making war,
    which is a violation of the law of nations. The German troops
    have been instructed to stamp out this kind of resistance by
    the most rigorous measures. Every non-combatant inhabitant who
    carries arms, impedes communications, cuts telegraph wires,
    uses explosive appliances—in short, any one who takes any
    illegitimate part in the war, will at once be brought before
    our courts-martial and shot. If by this means the war becomes
    violent Germany declines all responsibility for it, and France
    alone will be responsible for the floods of blood that will be

The second document is in the following terms—


    “_His Majesty’s Government of Belgium have rejected Germany’s
    sincere offer to spare them the horrors of war. Belgium has
    willed war and has replied to our proposal by armed opposition._

    “_Notwithstanding the note of the 8th August, by which the
    Belgian Government intimated that, in accordance with the laws
    of war, they would wage it only with soldiers, many civilians
    took part in the battles at Liège, under the protection of
    civilian garb. They not merely fired on the German troops, but
    they cruelly killed the wounded and the doctors who were doing
    their duty._

    “_At Antwerp also civilians barbarously looted the property of
    Germans, and brutally massacred women and children. Germany
    asks the whole civilised world to take note of the blood of
    these unoffending people and of the Belgian method of waging
    war which shows the low grade of their civilisation. If
    henceforth the war becomes cruel the fault lies with Belgium.
    In order to protect the German troops against the unbridled
    passions of the people, it is decreed that henceforth every
    man who takes part in the conflict without being in uniform
    and wearing the recognised distinguishing marks, who impedes
    the communications of our troops, cuts telegraph wires, uses
    explosive appliances—in short, who takes any illegitimate part
    whatsoever in the war, will be treated as a franc-tireur,
    brought before a court-martial, and shot._”


German generals and officers have quibbled about inhumanity in their
proclamations. The Burgomaster of Hasselt could communicate to his
fellow townsmen on the 17th August the decision of the German military
authorities, by which, “_in case civilians fired on the soldiers of
the German army, a third of the male population would be shot_.” The
German Generalissimo Bülow announced, in a proclamation addressed to the
communal authorities of Liège (22nd August), that “the inhabitants of
the town of Andenne, after a declaration of their peaceful intentions,
treacherously made a surprise attack, and that on this ground, _with his
consent, the general in command caused everything in the whole of the
district to be burnt, and that a hundred persons were shot_.” He adds
that the people of Liège “_ought to try to imagine the fate with which
they are threatened, if they adopt a similar attitude_.” The commandant
at Namur, who had taken many hostages, declared that “_the life of
these hostages is at stake unless the civilians remain quiet under all
circumstances_.” He demanded that “all civilians walking about in his
district” should show their respect to German officers by taking off
their hats, or by raising their hands to their head as in a military
salute. In case of doubt, he adds, every German soldier must be saluted.
_Whoever declines to do so must expect German soldiers to make themselves
respected by every means._


These proclamations are a denial, pure and simple, of the right of
civilians to resist an invader. This right, however, is recognised by the
Hague Convention.

In fact, these conventions declare that irregular corps raised to meet an
invader are permissible, and that the soldiers who compose them must be
treated according to the laws of war, provided that they take care—

    (1) “to have at the head of them a person who is responsible
    for his subordinates;

    (2) “to have a distinguishing mark, which is fixed and
    recognisable at a distance;

    (3) “to carry arms openly;

    (4) “and to conform in their operations to the laws and customs
    of war.”

In conclusion the conventions go further, and add—

    “The civilians of an unoccupied territory which on the approach
    of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to combat the invading
    troops without having had time to organise themselves in
    conformity with the terms of Article I will be considered as
    belligerent if they respect the laws and customs of war.”

To this rule of international law Germany had subscribed, both in 1899
and 1907, without any reservation.

Germany, therefore, is acting in violation of conventions which she
herself has signed, by treating as rebels the inhabitants of invaded
territories who attack her before she has actually occupied the area in
which these inhabitants live; she lies when she declares that this method
of making war is “contrary to the law of nations,” and she acts like a
barbarous tyrant when she announces that every civilian who takes part in
the war “will be brought before a court-martial and shot.”

It is superfluous to observe how much more insolent still are the notices
issued by the German military authorities, in which the latter ignore
not merely the civil population’s right of armed resistance, but also
the declaration of the German Government, which affirmed that only the
non-combatant who participated in the war would be brought before a
court-martial and shot.

The right (which, by the way, is in this case non-existent) of inflicting
reprisals on individuals, the right to which the German Government
has appealed, has been shamefully transformed by the German military
authorities into a right which consists of ill-treating the whole
population of a locality in case a civilian may have fired on a German
soldier, and of offering this as a justification for the ruin of the
locality and the execution of the hostages.

As for the threat uttered by the German commandant, which declared that
whoever did not show respect to German officers and did not give them
the military salute must expect that German soldiers “would _use every
means_ to make themselves respected,” we think it shows the lengths
to which German frenzy can go. In itself we may say that it tells us
more than all the acts of cruelty. These demands for servile obeisance,
uttered under threat of violence and death, have in all times and in all
history been the mark of the basest tyrants. Such is the reign of terror
which Germany proposed to inflict upon invaded territories by covering it
up in fictitious principles which were at variance with all recognised
conventions, and which were the expression of nothing but her own caprice.


The declaration made by the Belgian Government the 5th August, 1914, and
referred to in the communication of the German Government, reproduced
above, included the assurance that Belgium would conform during the
war to the laws and usages of war laid down by the Hague Conferences.
Belgium, therefore, was perfectly within her rights in allowing armed
resistance by civilians, _in cases and under conditions recognised as
legitimate by the Hague Conventions_. And it was only from caution and
from premonition of the fate which civilians would undergo, if they
failed in any one of the conditions defined in the first article of the
Hague Convention, that the Belgian Government recommended civilians to
refrain from resistance. But a recommendation which was made only as a
precaution against flagrant injustice does not rid an action, foreseen
and in fact committed, of its unjust character. In spite of the advice
given by their Government, the Belgians consequently did not lose their
right “to take up arms spontaneously on the approach of the enemy to
oppose invading troops,” and, notwithstanding that opposition, of being
treated as belligerents by the Germans.

Did the Belgians exercise this right? In certain places it is reported
that some people did exercise it. If the fact is as stated, we can
see nothing in it but what is worthy of admiration. Such instances do
infinite honour to Belgian patriotism. However, it appears clear that
the order given was followed, and that the whole thing, if it took place
at all, reduces itself to the acts of individuals. The acts of violence
committed by the Germans have been no less far-reaching and extreme,
so true is it that, though invoking principles which were notoriously
erroneous and cruel, the application which they made of them was
nevertheless lying and arbitrary. Such is the first category of crimes
committed by the Germans against non-combatants.

Moreover, even if they had had in this respect some complaint to make of
civilians, if they had been authorised by the law of war to punish acts
of violence committed against them under conditions that were forbidden,
the right of repression which they invoke could never go so far as the
penalty of death. Every addition thereto in point of punishment is
excess, and an indication of barbarism. To extend to a whole population
reprisals inflicted in consequence of a single act is something no less
abominable, but that is just what the Germans have done.


At Liège, on the 21st August, a shot was fired from a house situated
on the Quai des Pêcheurs. Immediately the Germans opened fire with a
machine-gun and blew up on the spot twenty houses, whose inhabitants were
killed. Shortly afterwards ten other houses on the Place de l’Université
were set on fire, but as the flames seemed to be spreading too much, the
firemen were ordered to put them out.

At Champguyon, on the 6th September, a man named Louvet was arrested for
having fired under conditions forbidden by the laws of war. He was liable
to the penalty of death. Accordingly, ten German soldiers fell on the
wretched man, beat him unmercifully with sticks in the presence of his
wife, dragged him away covered with blood, broke his wrist, shattered his
skull, and dragged him to the end of the village, where at length they
gave him the finishing stroke.

The same rule would apply to the cases of André Willen (twenty-three
years of age), Gustave Lodts (forty) and Jean Marken (forty), all
inhabitants of Aerschot, in Belgium, if they had been guilty. The
Germans, instead of shooting them, bound them to a tree and beat them,
before burning the first alive and burying the other two alive.

In the province of Namur a young man whom some Uhlans had arrested was
bound to two horses, who dragged him along, then tied to a tree, and
finally shot. Under the same conditions M. Cognon, of Visé, was thrown
into the water with his abdomen torn open. Holding in his entrails with
one hand, he clung with the other to a boat, until he grew weak and died.

The innumerable mutilations inflicted on Serbian peasants at Chabatz and
elsewhere show on this side of the area of war the same barbarism in
the carrying out of reprisals. Some who were hardly wounded were buried
alive, for they had been shot in the lump, and every one who fell was
thrown into the common ditch which had been dug out beforehand.


No less criminal are the attacks made by the Germans on the lives of
civilians, for paltry reasons, for slight insubordination to unimportant
orders, or even for acts that were quite blameless. The following are
some examples of these crimes.

In the government of Warsaw the Germans killed a Polish magnate, Count
Thomas Potocki, for merely protesting against a requisition.

At Dartainitza, near Semlin, on the frontier of Austria and Serbia,
the whole of the inhabitants were led by the Austrians to Petenwarden,
where a quarter of them were shot. The accusation alleged against
these peasants was that they had given expression to their joy when
the Serbians had entered Semlin. It was the same with the villages of
Bejania, Sourtchine, Beclika and Pancsova.

At Vingias, in the department of the Aisne, the owner of a farm was
thrown into the flames because he had harboured the French headquarters
staff on his farm.

At Mauperthuis four Germans who had previously come in the morning to
the house of a man named Roger presented themselves again the afternoon.
“There were three of you this morning; there are now but two! Get out!”
said one of them. Immediately Roger and an immigrant named Denet, to whom
he had been giving hospitality, were seized, carried off and shot.

A young druggist who lived in a village near Étain was shot for having
gone to Étain with the sub-prefect of Briey, who had carried letters
there for his fellow-citizens.

As for non-combatants who were found carrying arms, they were
consistently massacred.


Other executions took place without any pretext. Sometimes the Germans
gathered together, without rhyme or reason, all the male inhabitants
of a village, and chose at haphazard a certain number, whom they shot
without any form of trial and simply with the object of terrorising the
population. Sometimes their fury was directed against peasants who were
already struck with terror, and then whoever showed any signs of wanting
to avoid meeting the enemy was shot for the mere reason that he had
tried to flee before the invader. Sometimes they took vengeance on the
inhabitants of a village where one of their number had been killed by
some enemy soldier in retreat.

Sometimes they forced their way into houses, bent on pillage, and as
they thought the presence of the inhabitants seemed inconvenient, they
made haste to assassinate them. Sometimes the fusillade was merely an
amusement or recreation for the Germans. This took place sometimes
during their marches from village to village. The peasant who had the
misfortune to find himself in their path at once had a taste of their
cruelty. Sometimes the execution of peaceable, quiet people served the
Germans as a consolation for checks which the enemy had inflicted upon
them. Sometimes, in their desire to offer some excuse for massacre, they
have been seen to make a show of evacuating a village which it was said
had been threatened, and then to fire some shots, which they then blamed
the inhabitants for doing. Reprisals thereupon followed. Sometimes they
attacked peaceable peasants because the latter opposed some offence which
they wanted to commit. The following are some accounts of acts of this
kind. They took place at Dinant, at Louvain, at Nomény, at Lunéville,
where, perhaps to a greater extent than elsewhere, the fury of the
invader was let loose upon inoffensive persons.


A Dutchman, M. Staller, has told as follows in the _Telegraaf_ (quoted
above, see Chap. XI) the story of the massacre of the people of Dinant.

“On Friday, the 21st August, about a dozen Germans ventured as far as the
middle of the town in an armoured motor, a regular moving fortress. They
had machine-guns with them, and whilst the motor rolled along they fired
to right and left at the houses, aiming chiefly, I maintain, at the
upper storeys. It was already late, and, as the majority of the people
had retired, many of them were killed or wounded in their beds.

“What happened on that night? Were there some civilians who replied to
this cowardly and unexpected attack by revolver shots? I do not think so,
for some days before, by order of the burgomaster, they had all given up
their arms. Were the Germans drunk—as their comrades told me later—and
had they a quarrel amongst themselves? What is certain is that the next
morning three soldiers were found dead on the streets. I saw them. The
Germans laid hold of this fact as an excuse for bombarding the town.

“On Monday morning the Germans entered the town. Their first act was to
arrest 153 civilians, to lead them on the Petite Place and shoot them.
In these terrible days, at Dinant as well as in the surrounding villages
like Anseremme, Leffe and Neffe, more than 800 persons were killed,
amongst whom there were many women and children; and all this for three
German soldiers? No; but the Germans alleged that after the bombardment,
at the moment of their attack on the town, the inhabitants had fired from
their houses. What had happened? I know very well, and the Germans could
not fail to know it. The Grand Rue of Dinant, parallel with the Meuse,
is joined to the river by a number of lanes; the French, who were posted
on the other bank, killed through these lanes a large number of Germans,
and the enemy pretended that the citizens had fired on them. They started
then by shooting 153 people, after which 500 were arrested and brought
to Cassel. As for us, we were brought to the Abbaye des Prémontrés; for
three days women and children were shut up in little rooms without a
seat, and the unfortunate women spent three days on a stone pavement
almost without food. Four of them were confined under these terrible
circumstances. Some officers took an infernal pleasure in making us every
moment undergo the dread anticipation of death: they made us line up, and
the soldiers pretended they were going to charge their rifles; then the
officers laughed and said the execution would be resumed on the following
morning. I am certain that some of those who were thus detained went mad.

“But what a martyrdom was endured by the women and children who saw their
fathers, husbands or brothers shot! All this went on with frightful
rapidity; in the twinkling of an eye, in spite of heart-rending cries,
the women and children were separated from the men and ranged on the
other side of the Petite Place, then between the two groups were placed
the platoons which were to execute them; 153 wretched people fell
bleeding; six of these, of whom two had not been touched by the bullets
and four were only slightly wounded, shammed death, but the officer
ordered the two who could still stand upright to rise, as there would be
no more firing. When the six survivors obeyed, he gave the order, ‘Down
with them also!’ Then he had machine-guns fired at the heaps of bodies.
It is impossible to describe the grief and the cries of the women and
children, but the monster who had given the order for this butchery
remained unmoved. ‘Ladies,’ he said, with a strong German accent, ‘I have
done my duty.’ Then off he went with his men. The bodies must have lain
untouched on the square for three days; after this interval they were
buried on the very spot where they had been executed. I took part in the
work of interment.”


Several people who had been killed at Louvain by the Germans had been
buried by them on the square in front of the railway station. The
_Kölnische Zeitung_ had the assurance to deny the fact. But search
was made, and the bodies of these victims of German barbarism were
discovered. The following account of the exhumation was given by the
_Tijd_ of Amsterdam, above the signature of a journalist who took part
in the work in the presence of several Belgians, Colonel Lubbert, German
commandant of Louvain, and his aide-de-camp.

“Fortunately a fresh wind was blowing on that day, as the stench which
came out of the open tomb was unbreatheable. The objects found on the
bodies were immediately thrust into a sack, which was duly numbered.
Twenty bodies were disinterred after frightful labour; twenty bodies
jammed into a hole not more than four square metres in extent!

“We had to take infinite care not to collect legs or arms belonging to
other bodies, so much were the limbs jumbled together.

“Emotion overwhelmed us all, but the German Colonel Lubbert could
not refrain from saying to the burgomaster, ‘How such an event could
have taken place is incomprehensible when you think how educated and
cultivated our people are.’ And the aide-de-camp added, ‘I am glad
I was not at Louvain during these tragic moments!’ Words which have
their value, and which show that plain people in Germany now regret the
indescribable act ordered by their leaders, in contempt of the laws of
the most elementary humanity!

“Professor Maldague, who was among the wretched prisoners callously
picked out one after another for slaughter, and who had miraculously
escaped death, could not control the profound emotion which overwhelmed
him. On that fatal day the crowd of people were forbidden to look at the
atrocities committed by civilised Germany, but a woman who happened to be
near Professor Maldague ventured nevertheless, and saw that the victims
marked out for expiation were compelled to lie face downwards on the
paving-stones. Then they were killed by shots in the nape of the neck,
the back or the head.

“The majority of the victims consequently lay with skulls fractured, not
merely as a result of shots, but of blows from the butt-end of rifles.
Even that was not enough. All the bodies which were recovered—the medical
reports assure us on this point—had been pierced through with bayonet
thrusts. Some had their legs and arms broken. Two bodies only had no
wound. A post-mortem examination of them will be made to discover the
causes of death.

“Mme. Van Ertrijck then recognised at the edge of the pit her husband,
aged sixty years, the well-known cigar manufacturer, and her son, aged
twenty-seven years; then appeared the bodies of a Belgian soldier, who
could not be identified, and of a young lad not fifteen years old. The
following victims were afterwards identified: Charles Munkemer, husband
of Amélie Marant, born 1885; Edgard Bicquet, brewer at Boort-Meerbeek,
whose family, known throughout Louvain, lives in the Rue de la Station;
the retired Belgian Major Eickhorn, aged sixty years, inventor of
short-range cartridges; A. Van de Gaer, O. Candries, Mme. A. Bruyninckx,
_née_ Aug. Mariën; Mme. Perilleux, aged about sixty years. But on
turning over the ground we discovered a second tomb, which contained
seven other corpses concealed under thirty centimetres of earth.

“On the next day the melancholy task was resumed. In quite a small pit
two more bodies were brought to light: that of Henri Decorte, an artisan
of Kessel-Loo, and that of M. Van Bladel, curé of Hérent. There was not a
sound when the wretched priest’s tall form was disinterred. R. P. Claes
merely gasped, ‘The curé of Hérent!’ The poor man was seventy-one years
old” (see the _Temps_ of 5th February, 1915).


On the 20th August, 1914, the 8th Bavarian Regiment entered Nomény in
command of Colonel Hannapel. “According to a story told by one of their
soldiers,” said the French Commission of Inquiry, “their leaders had
told them that the French tortured the wounded by tearing out their eyes
and gashing their limbs. Thus they were in a fearful state of unusual
excitement. From all sides came the rattle of rifle shots. The wretched
inhabitants, whom the dread of fire drove from their cellars, were shot
down like game, some in their domiciles and others on the public road.

“Messrs. Sanson, Pierson, Lallemand, Adam, Jeanpierre, Meunier,
Schneider, Raymond, Dupoucel, Hazatte, father and son, were murdered on
the street by rifle shots. M. Killian, seeing himself threatened with a
sabre stroke, put his hands on his neck to protect himself. Three of his
fingers were cut off and his throat cut open. An old man of eighty-six
years old, M. Petitjean, who was seated in his armchair, was struck by
a ball which cracked his skull, and a German thrust Mme. Bertrand in
front of the body, saying to her, ‘You saw that ⸺!’ M. Chardin, municipal
councillor and acting mayor, was ordered to supply a horse and carriage.
He had hardly promised to do all he could to comply, when he was killed
by a shot. M. Prevot, who saw the Bavarians rushing into the chemist’s
shop of which he was in charge, told them that he was the chemist, and
that he would give them all that they wanted, but three shots rang out
and he fell with a heavy groan. Two women who happened to be with him
escaped, but were pursued with blows from the butt-ends of rifles up to
the approaches to the railway station, where they saw in the garden and
on the road many corpses heaped together.

“Between three and four o’clock in the afternoon the Germans forced their
way into Mme. François’ butcher’s shop. Thereupon she came out of her
cellar with her son Stub and an employee named Contal. As soon as Stub
came to the threshold of the outside door he fell, seriously wounded by
a rifle shot. Then Contal, who escaped into the street, was immediately
murdered. Five minutes afterwards, as the death-rattle was still in
Stub’s throat, a soldier leant over him and dispatched him with a blow of
a hatchet in the back.

“The most tragic incident of these horrible scenes took place at the
house of M. Vassé, who had gathered together a number of people in his
cellar in the suburb called Nancy. About four o’clock a party of about
fifty soldiers forcibly entered the house, bursting open the door and the
windows, and immediately set fire to it. The refugees then endeavoured
to escape, but they were felled one after another at the exit. M. Mentré
was first murdered. His son Léon then fell with his little sister,
eight years old, in his arms. As he was not quite dead, the end of the
barrel of a gun was put to his head and his brains blown out. Then it
was the turn of the Kieffer family. The mother was wounded in the arm
and shoulder; the father, a little son of ten years old and a little
girl of three years old were shot. The scoundrels fired at them again as
they were lying on the ground. Kieffer, who was lying on the ground, got
a fresh bullet in the forehead; his son had the top of his skull blown
off by a rifle shot. Then M. Strieffert and Vassé, one of his sons, were
murdered, and M. Mentré was struck by three bullets, one in the left leg,
another in the arm on the same side, and a third on the forehead, which
was merely grazed. M. Guillaume, who was dragged out into the street, met
his death there. Finally, a young girl called Somonin, aged seventeen
years, came out of the cellar with her young sister Jeanne, aged three.
The latter had her elbow nearly carried off by a bullet. The eldest
threw herself on the ground and pretended to be dead, remaining for five
minutes in fearful agony. A soldier kicked her and called out, ‘_Kaput_’
(done for).

“An officer came up at the end of this slaughter. He ordered the women
who were still alive to get up, and called out to them, ‘Go to France.’”


The murders at Lunéville were committed, according to the French
Commission of Inquiry, under the following circumstances—

“On the 25th August, after firing two shots from the inside of the
Worms tannery, to make it appear that they had been attacked, the
Germans rushed into a workshop of this manufactory, in which an artisan
named Goeury was working in company with Messrs. Balastre, father and
son. Goeury was dragged out into the street, stripped, and brutally
ill-treated, whilst his two companions, discovered in the lavatory where
they had sought refuge, were shot.

“On the same day the soldiers came and called for M. Steiner, who was
concealed in his cellar. His wife, in dread of some disaster, tried
to keep him back. As she clasped him in her arms she was struck by a
bullet in the neck. Some moments afterwards Steiner, having obeyed the
command which had been given him, fell mortally wounded in his garden.
M. Kahn also was murdered in the garden of his house. His mother,
aged ninety-eight, whose body was burnt to a cinder in the fire, had
previously been killed in her bed with a bayonet thrust, according to the
story of an individual who was acting as interpreter to the enemy. M.
Binder, who was going out to get away from the flames, was also struck
down. The German by whom he was killed admitted that he had wantonly
killed him when the poor man was quietly standing before a door. M.
Vernier met with the same fate as Binder.

“About three o’clock the Germans, breaking the windows and firing shots,
forced an entrance into a house in which were Mme. Dujon, her daughter,
aged three, her two sons and a M. Gaumier. The little girl just missed
being killed; her face was singed by a shot. At this moment Mme. Dujon,
seeing her youngest son lying on the ground, begged him to get up and
flee with her. She then noticed that he was holding with full hands his
intestines, which were dropping out. The house was on fire and the poor
lad was burnt to a cinder, as was M. Gaumier, who had been unable to

“M. Wingstermann and his grandson, aged twelve, who had gone to dig
potatoes a little way off from Lunéville, at a place called ‘les Mossus,’
in the Chanteheux district, had the misfortune to meet the Germans. The
latter put them both against a wall and shot them.

“Finally, about five o’clock in the evening, some soldiers went into the
house of a woman named Sibille, in the same place, and without any excuse
seized her son, dragged him off 200 metres from the house, and massacred
both him and a M. Vallon, to whose body they had bound him. A witness who
saw the murderers just when they were dragging off their victim saw them
return without him, and declared that their bayonets were covered with
blood and pieces of flesh.

“On the same day a male nurse, named Monteils, who was tending a wounded
enemy officer at the Lunéville hospital, was struck by a bullet in the
forehead as he was watching through the window a German soldier firing
rifle shots.

“On the following day, the 26th, M. Hammann and his son, aged twenty-one
years, were arrested at their house and dragged outside by a gang who
had broken in the door and entered. The father was unmercifully beaten,
and as for the young man, when he tried to struggle a non-commissioned
officer cracked his skull with a revolver shot.

“At 1 p.m. M. Riklin, a druggist, who had been told that a man had
fallen about thirty metres from his shop, went to the spot and recognised
in the victim his own brother-in-law, M. Colin, aged sixty-eight years,
who had been struck in the stomach by a bullet. The Germans alleged
that this old man had fired on them, but M. Riklin formally denies this

“Colin, he told us, was an inoffensive man absolutely incapable of any
act of aggression, and quite ignorant of the use of firearms.

“The mind refuses to believe that all these massacres took place without
excuse,” continues the French Commission of Inquiry. “That, however, is
the case. The Germans, it is true, have always given the same excuse,
alleging that civilians were the first to fire on them. This allegation
is false, and those who have made it have been unable to make it appear
probable, even by firing rifle shots close to dwelling-houses, as they
were in the habit of doing so that they might be able to declare that
they had been attacked by unoffending civilians upon whose ruin or
massacre they had decided. On many occasions we obtained proof of this;
the following, for example, is one of many others. One evening, when a
report rang out while the Abbé Colin, curé of Croismare, happened to be
with an officer, the latter exclaimed, ‘That is sufficient reason, M. le
Curé, why you and the burgomaster should be shot and a farm burnt. Look!
there is one burning.’ ‘M. l’Officier,’ replied the priest, ‘you are too
intelligent not to recognise the crack of your rifle. For my part, I do
recognise it.’ The German did not insist.”


Before ending this chapter and putting on record the admissions which
German officers and soldiers have involuntarily made on the subject with
which we are engaged, we may draw up two other categories of criminal
acts which they have committed: (1) the practice of taking hostages,
everywhere and on all kinds of pretexts, some of whom were ill-treated
and killed, and (2) the callous deportation of civilians to Germany.

To take hostages from among civilians whom the fortune of war condemns to
invasion is a thing so cruel in itself that all civilised nations try to
limit the practice. The Germans, on the contrary, are noted for the fact
that they extend it as much as they can. The name of hostages repeated
everywhere gave a melancholy significance to the Prussian barbarism
of 1870. “_This practice_,” writes Bluntschli, “_is all the more open
to criticism, as it endangers the lives of peaceful citizens without
any fault of theirs, and, moreover, without bringing any appreciable
increase of security_.” On the other hand, Geffcken writes: “_We cannot
approve of the practice by which in 1870 Germany forcibly seized the
chief people in enemy communes to secure the railroads against attacks by

This opinion of German jurists, which is, moreover, shared by all
writers, has not prevented the Germans from resorting in 1914 to the same
practices as in 1870, and even adding thereto fresh cruelties.

In Belgium it was the clergy who principally served as hostages. The
majority of the Belgian priests who had been ill-treated came under this

M. Hottier, mayor of Homécourt; M. Varin, curé (both of whom were taken
prisoner on the night of the 3rd-4th August, 1914); MM. Alexis and Jean
Samain (of the _Souvenir Français_) were taken away to Alsace and German

MM. Hottier and Varin had both been denounced by a spy living at La
Petite-Fin, whose reports served as a pretext for the accusation made
against them by the German authorities.

Mayor and curé were first brought to Malancourt, the seat of headquarters.

“My companion,” the mayor of Homécourt afterwards told an editor of
_L’Est Républicain_, “was more unfortunate than I. He was not allowed
time to take his hat nor put on his stockings; he was clad only in
his cassock. He marched in a bad pair of slippers. His colleague at
Malancourt clothed the wretched ecclesiastic.

“They searched me, seized my purse, which contained a sum of twenty-seven
francs, my papers… But the acutest suffering which rent my heart was when
the hands of a Boche officer snatched my poor ribbon of 1870, my humble
decoration. It was as if I had been punished with a lowering of rank.”

MM. Hottier and Varin were transferred to Metz and brought before a
court-martial. The former was charged with having organised a campaign
of francs-tireurs; in regard to the latter, another complaint was
formulated—that he had urged some young people in the annexed territories
to enlist in the foreign legion.

The discussions ended in a double acquittal. But M. Hottier was treated
with no more consideration on that account. For five days he was shut
up in a cell, getting only food that was uneatable. Fortunately a
generous intervention took place. M. Winsbach, an ex-chemist, succeeded
in bringing about some mitigation of the rigour of certain orders. He
enjoyed a high reputation at Metz. He used his business connections, his
influence, his knowledge of the German and French languages sometimes
to recommend sick people to the care of the doctors, sometimes to act
as interpreter and express their desires or pass on their explanations.
These are services which will never be forgotten by the hostages, to whom
M. Winsbach rendered them with unwearied devotion.

The hostages were brought from Metz to Ehrenbreitstein, where there
were 232 French prisoners, all natives of Metz, Thionville, etc. There
were also the brothers Samain, the eldest of whom was (until the month
of December) supposed in France to be dead, executed by the Germans.
He had tried in vain to get news of himself brought through, but his
correspondence could not escape the fine net of supervision which
encompassed him.

The majority of these hostages carried away by the Germans were detained
by them. Only men of more than sixty years of age were set free in the
month of November. M. Hottier and some of his companions then set off on
the 20th November, went through the Grand Duchy of Baden, crossed the
Swiss frontier, and finally arrived at Nancy. The brothers Samain were
amongst those who were detained in Germany.

In France, almost everywhere he went, the invader took hostages amongst
the men of the villages or the representatives of authority. In Belgium
also several people were carried off on the same plea.

Everybody knows of the case of M. Max, mayor of Brussels, who was
imprisoned at Glatz; but Brussels did not pay punctually the war tax
which the Germans had levied on it.

Often the hostages whom the Germans appeared to have taken merely for
the time of their passing through disappeared. This was the case at
Gueraid, Seine-et-Marne, where, of six hostages whom the Germans took,
one only was able to escape and to return to the country; and at Révigny,
where one of the hostages, a man named Wladimir Thomas, was never set at
liberty again.

In other cases the hostages were shamefully ill-treated. M. Colin, a
Professor of Science at the Louis-le-Grand Lycée at Paris, who happened
to be rusticating at Cogney, was carried off barefoot and in his shirt,
loaded with insults as he went. Enraged at the treatment which other
people and especially children were made to undergo, M. Colin said to a
lieutenant, “Have you not a mother?” “My mother,” the German officer had
the insolence to reply, “did not give birth to ⸺ like you!”

The hostages taken at Lunéville were no less brutally treated. Neither
violence nor outrage was spared these peaceful citizens. They were put
with their backs to the parapet of a bridge, before the houses in the
town were set fire to, and the German troops who passed by behaved
brutally to them. As an officer accused them of having fired on the
Germans, a teacher among them pledged his word of honour that it was not
so. “You French ⸺,” said the officer, “do not speak of honour, for you
have none.” One of the hostages taken at Lunéville, named Rebb (sixty-two
years of age), was pummelled on the face with the butt-end of a rifle,
and bayoneted in the side. Nevertheless he continued to follow the
column, although he lost much blood. Then a Bavarian amused himself by
inflicting fresh blows upon him and throwing a bucket at his head.

The wretched old man died on the way, between Hénaménil and Bures.


At Blamont in Lorraine, ex-Mayor Barthélemy, aged forty-six years, was
taken as a hostage and shot. The same fate awaited the then mayor and the
chief people in the locality; when the French entered the town they found
notices on the walls announcing that these people would be shot on the
following morning.

This was also the case at Courtacon (Seine-et-Marne), where five men and
a child of thirteen years, taken as hostages, were exposed to the French
fire during an engagement. Another hostage, named Rousseau, a conscript
of the 1914 class, arrested in the same commune, was murdered under
tragic conditions.

Questioned about the military position of this young man, the mayor, who
happened to be amongst the hostages, replied that Rousseau had passed
the military court, that he had been passed as fit for service, but that
his class had not yet been called up. The Germans then made the prisoner
undress, in order to discover what was his physical condition, then
they put on his trousers again and shot him fifty metres away from his


The hostages taken by the Austrians may be divided into two categories.
They were, in the first place, the best-known Serbians, mayors or
prominent inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose imprisonment
had no other object than to stop the invasion of that province by the
threat of shooting them. The second category was composed of peasants,
living in Serbian villages, who were shot in order to strike terror into
the inhabitants. Amongst the hostages of the first category several
were shot. There were amongst them priests, both Orthodox and Catholic,
the Mayor of Raguse, M. Tchingrin, the Vice-President of the Municipal
Council of this town, Dr. Puglissi, the poet, and the Serbo-Croatian
deputy, Tressitch.

As for the others, here is the story told by M. Reiss, whom we mentioned

“A group of hostages of from eight to eighty-two years had been brought
to Lechnitza. There were 109 of them. Quite close to the railway station
of the place the soldiers dug a pit twenty metres long, three wide and
two deep. In front of this grave they placed the group of 109 persons
and bound them with ropes round their necks. Then a squadron of infantry
took up a position on the slopes of the railway and fired a volley at the
peasants. The whole group stumbled into the pit, and the soldiers threw
earth upon them without having first made sure that all those who had
been shot were dead. It is certain that a large number of victims had
not been mortally wounded and even that some of them had not been struck
at all. I think I am not mistaken in calculating that fifty per cent. of
these poor people were buried alive.

“During these proceedings, another group of forty hostages had been
brought up. The latter were compelled to be present at the massacre of
their fellow-citizens and they were forced to shout, whilst the others
were being killed, ‘Long live the Emperor Franz-Joseph.’

“I saw the pit opened into which these wretches fell, and I was able to
establish the fact that the number of those who died of suffocation was
very large. This huge human bundle was firmly fastened together: no rope
had been broken.”


“The German military authorities had as profound contempt for liberty
as for human life. Almost everywhere, people of every age were dragged
from their homes and led away to captivity. Many died or were killed on
the way.” These are the words in which the French Commission of Inquiry
denounces that other crime committed by the Germans in the territories
which they had invaded. In several places the inhabitants found they
were deported _en masse_ to Germany to dig trenches or to replace German
agricultural labourers. In other places the inhabitants were imprisoned.
It is hardly necessary to say that such acts are a violation of the law
of nations in the very point where it is most universally recognised. We
read in the articles of the Hague Convention that operations of war may
be carried on “provided the inhabitants are not compelled to take part in
them, in any form whatever,” that “the occupant of a country shall not
raise reserves among them, nor compel them to fight, nor put them in the
trenches, nor employ them on the offensive,” etc., and finally, “that
the peaceful and inoffensive inhabitants of the territory and _passive_
enemies must not be taken into captivity.”

Although by carrying away hostages the Germans have done violence to that
rule of law which is accepted by their own authors, the deportation of
civilians is something more serious still, as it cannot be justified by
any military necessity or by any plea for security.

Nevertheless, this policy was practised on a large scale. The following
are some examples. At Lebbeke, in Flanders, forty-five farmers were
brought away and sent to Germany to make hay. At Boisschot, also in
Belgium, 200 men were seized and deported to Germany for the same
purpose. At Louvain, several thousand men, who escaped the fusillades and
the conflagration, were led away to Germany.

In France, in the department of the Nord, at Saint Pol-en-Ternois, 350
civilians were taken prisoner. This was also the case at Douai, Cambrai,
Caudry, Noyon, where the German authorities demanded that the young
people of fifteen to seventeen years, a list of whom had been supplied by
spies, should be returned. Those who failed to answer the summons were
sought for, and they and their parents were shot. The inhabitants did
as they were told, and the young people to the number of 4000 were made
prisoner and brought to the Russian frontier to dig trenches or else to
the German countryside to make hay.

At Marcheville, at Saint Mihiel, women and children met with the same
fate. At Avillers, too, all the men of sixteen to sixty years were
brought away to Germany, including the deputy mayor, M. Alcide Blaise.

As in the provinces of the Nord and Meuse, so also in the Ardennes, the
Germans made a regular practice of putting the inhabitants in prison.
In all the towns and villages of this region men who were liable to be
mobilised were treated as prisoners of war. This was the case at Rethel,
where Dr. Bourgeois and ten of his colleagues had the experience of
being shut up in a spinning-mill with 400 men taken from the villages of
the province. The prisoners were compelled to work for their enemies:
they had to wash the soldiers’ linen, gather potatoes in the fields, and
make earthworks. At Charleville, men whom the Germans had the assurance
to call civil prisoners were employed in making entrenchments, while the
women, as we have said above, were given sewing-work, which was to be
used for the equipment of the troops. Their wage was half a loaf of bread.

In the province of Oise, about a hundred inhabitants of Creil,
Nogent-sur-Oise and the adjoining districts were imprisoned, and had to
submit to the disgrace and vexation of working against their country,
cutting a field of maize, which might have been in the way of the German
fire, and digging trenches which were to be used as shelters for the
enemy. For the seven days they were kept without food being dealt out
to them. Fortunately the women of the country were able to get some
provisions through to them.

At Lamath (Meurthe-et-Moselle), three inhabitants, one of whom had
chest complaint, were deported. At Amiens, in particular, the scandal
of incidents of this kind was shocking. An order of the military
authority, which the mayor thoughtlessly countersigned, required all
citizens liable to be mobilised to go to the citadel and declare their
position as regards military service. Relying on the mayor’s signature,
about 1500 men, of whom nearly 800 were railway workers at the Amiens
passenger and goods stations, went to the citadel. There the Germans made
a selection. They sent back the men of the auxiliary services and kept
the others as prisoners, to the number of more than 1000, whom they
brought on foot to Personne. The wretched procession halted and slept
at La Motte-en-Santerre. Some prisoners, with the assistance of the few
residents in Santerre, managed to hide and make good their escape. The
others were entrained and taken away to Germany.

The second official report of the French Commission of Inquiry is full
of really shocking details of outrages suffered by the French, who were
taken from their homes and interned in Germany (_Journal Officiel_, 11th

Ten thousand of these wretched people were reinstated in French territory
in the month of March. The order for internment had included a very large
number of old men, children and women, several of whom were pregnant. All
of these people had to submit to long and painful marches, ill-treatment
and wretched diet.

The Vareddes hostages especially went through a veritable Calvary.
Several of them, all old people, were murdered, as we have already
mentioned. Those of Sinceny, about 200 in number, were likewise
shockingly ill-treated.

At Gravelines, 2000 conscripts were deported, and all the natives of
Combres, after being exposed to the French fire, were transferred to the
camp at Zurickau.

Life in the camps was intolerable. Several of these “civil prisoners”
lay in tents: others were huddled together in prisons. At Landau, an
old woman aged eighty-seven was undressed and drenched with petrol. She
succumbed some time afterwards to the fearful burns which she sustained.
Blows, ill-treatment and painful forced labour were the order of the
day. We cannot, therefore, be surprised at the enormous number of cases
of death and illness among them. The only medicine prescribed by the
doctors was tincture of iodine. As one of the victims said, “We were like
burnt-out candles, for we no longer had the strength to stand upright.”
Those who went back to France had their health more or less permanently
affected, and the mental depression to which they were subject was really
an illness. The effects, therefore, of German activity continued after
they were released.

The Austrians followed the example of the Germans, even in carrying
out this kind of policy, especially in Syrmie (Semlin and the regions

At Chid, also, all the inhabitants, children excepted, were deported: at
Pazoon, M. Petrovitch, deputy to the Parliament of Pest, was arrested
with his son, pummelled with the butt-end of a rifle, and deported. At
Karlowitz and at Rouma, all the inhabitants of Serbian extraction were
arrested and deported.


As in the case of other kinds of outrage, so in that of the actions which
we have just enumerated we are in possession of some admissions which
have come from the Germans themselves.

A soldier named Philip, of Kamenz in Saxony, writes as follows: “At ten
p.m. the first battalion of the 178th regiment went down into a burnt
village to the north of Dinant, a sadly beautiful spectacle, which
made us shudder. At the entrance to the village there lay about fifty
citizens, who had been shot for having fired on our troops from an

“In the course of the night many others also were shot, to such an
extent that we could count more than 200 of them. Women and children,
lamp in hand, _were compelled_ to look on at this fearful sight. We then
ate our rice in the middle of the dead bodies, for we had had nothing to
eat since morning.”

“At Leppes” (writes a Saxon officer, of the same regiment as Private
Philip, 12th army corps, 1st Saxon corps), “_two hundred inhabitants
were killed, among whom there must have been some unoffending people_.
In future, we must have a regular inquiry and establish the guilt of the
accused before shooting them.”

Even the _Kölnische Zeitung_ published the story of an eye-witness of
the destruction of Aerschot, who would not have escaped had he not
called out to the soldiers, “Do you want to kill a man who comes from
Cologne?” The Germans then set him at liberty again. “In the streets,”
he writes, “the fusillade lasted the whole night. _All those found in
possession of a weapon were mercilessly shot._ The sight was terrifying
… the wretches who were shot lay on the pavement, and all the time fresh
‘_culprits_’ were being brought before the platoons charged with the task
of execution. Women and children wept and asked for mercy. In spite of
all their indignation at the attack which had been made upon them, _no
German_ heart could be untouched by pity for the innocent victims.”

In the notebook of Private Hassemer of the 8th corps we find this fearful

“3rd September, 1914. At Sommepy (Marne), dreadful slaughter, the village
burnt to the ground, the French thrown into the burning houses; civilians
and all burnt together.”

“On the third of September, at Creil,” writes a German soldier of the
32nd reserve regiment of infantry, “the iron bridge was blown up. For
this reason we set the streets on fire and shot civilians.”

The Saxon officer, some of whose narratives we have already reproduced,
also admits that the inhabitants were not spared punishment by fire. “The
fine village of Gué-d’Hossus (Ardennes) has been consigned to the flames,
although it had committed no offence that I can see. I have been told
that a man on a bicycle fell from his machine and that, in his fall, his
gun went off of itself, and then some one fired in his direction. _After
that men were simply thrown into the flames. We must hope that atrocities
of this kind shall not be repeated._”

“At Bouvignes, north of Dinant,” writes this Saxon officer of the 178th
Regiment of the Line, “we entered, through a breach made in the rear,
the grounds of a well-to-do resident and occupied the house. Through a
labyrinth of rooms we reached the entrance of the house. _There lay the
body of the owner._ Outside, in the fields, _the sight of the inhabitants
who had been shot, and whose bodies were lying on the ground, baffles all
description. The point-blank fusillade almost decapitated them._ Each
house was searched in the tiniest corners and the residents dragged out
from all their hiding-places. _The men were shot._”

The writer of this notebook alleges no pretext which would excuse or
explain, in his eyes, all these murders. No more does the reservist
Schlanter (3rd battery of the 4th regiment of field artillery of
the Guard) mention any reason in justification of the murders which
he describes. He writes: “25th August. _In Belgium, three hundred
inhabitants of the town were shot._ Those who survived the volley were
requisitioned to act as grave-diggers (which proves that they were not
considered guilty). You should have seen the women at this moment!”

“All the French, though civilians, were shot,” writes another, “_if they
only looked suspicious or ill-disposed_. We shot them all: men and even
young boys.”

“I have seen three convoys of French peasants pass by,” writes a third;
“all will be shot.” An officer admits that the allegation that civilians
took part in the fighting is a mere excuse. “_We shall say_,” he writes,
“_that it was not the civilians who fired_, but it was the custom-house
officers and foresters.” The same admission is also made by a Saxon
officer of the 178th regiment, who writes: “Near Lisogne, the 23rd
August. The company lost its way. Our men say that they could not advance
any further, as francs-tireurs were firing upon them from the houses. _We
seized these alleged francs-tireurs, placed them in three ranks so that a
single shot would hit three men at once._”

Lieutenant Eberlein, who (in the _Münchener Neueste Nachrichten_) tells
the story of the barbarous manner in which the troops entered Saint
Dié, added on his part: “Everybody who showed himself in the streets
was shot.” On the other hand, the commandant of the garrison of Hay was
so enraged at the disgraceful conduct of the troops that he issued the
following order of the day, which constitutes a terrible accusation
against the Germans—

                                                “25th August, 1914.

    “Last night a terrible fusillade took place. It has not
    been proved that the inhabitants of the town were still in
    possession of arms. Neither has it been proved that civilians
    took part in the firing. _On the contrary, according to all
    appearances the soldiers were under the influence of alcohol,
    and opened fire through incomprehensible fear of an enemy

    “_The conduct of the soldiers_, with few exceptions, _appears
    to have been disgraceful_.

    “When officers, or non-commissioned officers set fire to houses
    without permission or order of the commandant, or at least of
    the senior officer, and encourage their troops to burn and
    pillage, it is an act in the highest degree to be deplored.

    “I expect that in every case strict instructions shall be given
    as to the attitude to be observed towards the life and property
    of civilians. I forbid any one to fire into a town without the
    order of an officer.

    “The regrettable conduct of the troops has had the result that
    a non-commissioned officer and a soldier have been seriously
    wounded by German fire.

                                       “VON BASSEWITZ (Major),

Even the proclamations issued by the German authorities show for what
hateful purposes the hostages were taken away, and how precarious was
their condition as soon as the slightest check was inflicted on the
German troops, or the slightest attack was made upon them.

“The life of hostages,” wrote Commandant Dieckmann at Grivegnée, on the
6th September, “_depends on whether the inhabitants of the communes
previously mentioned keep quiet under all circumstances_.” And he adds,
“I shall mark in the lists submitted to me the names of those individuals
who must stay as hostages from noon on one day to noon of the next.

“If a substitute has not been found within reasonable time, the hostage
will remain for a further twenty-four in the fort. After this second
period of twenty-four hours, the hostage will run the risk of death, if a
substitute has not been found.”

Moreover, Marshal Von der Goltz, military governor of Belgium, caused
to be posted up in Brussels on 5th October, 1914, a proclamation in
which the following announcement was made: “In future, the localities
nearest to the place where the destruction of railway lines and telegraph
wires has taken place (_whether they have been accessory or not_) will
be mercilessly punished. To this end hostages have been taken from all
localities near to railroads threatened by such attacks, and _at the
first attempt to destroy lines of railroad, telegraph or telephone lines,
they will be immediately shot_.”

As for the deportation of civilians and the imprisonment with which they
were threatened, when they were not carried off to Germany, two German
soldiers volunteered the following admissions: “On the 6th September,”
writes one of them, “_we dispatched three hundred Belgians to Germany,
including twenty-one curés_.” “We shut up,” writes the other (Karl
Bertram de Westeregein, near Magdeburg), “450 men in the church at
Aerschot. I myself happened to be near the church at the moment.”


All this evidence and all these admissions are sufficient to prove the
criminal nature of the German treatment of civilians whose territory had
been invaded. The pretexts which they allege have no validity. They are
only made for the sake of appearances, and, on the other hand, the acts
which they committed are such as admit no kind of excuse and can in no
case be justified. Nevertheless the German Government attempted to do so.
The Berlin Cabinet undertook to prove that the inhabitants of Liège were
guilty and deserved to suffer the fearful butchery which followed the
entry of the Germans. To prove this the latter relied upon the evidence
of a certain Hermann Costen, who was represented as a Swiss member of
the Red Cross. But the chief of the Swiss police promptly published the
following information—

    (1) M. Hermann Costen never belonged to the Swiss Red Cross.

    (2) M. Hermann Costen is not Swiss, as he was refused

    (3) For two years M. Hermann Costen has been under the
    surveillance of the Swiss police. I maintain that since the
    declaration of war this person only left Switzerland from the
    9th to the 14th August. _It is absolutely impossible that he
    can have been at Liège at the period of the siege mentioned by

    (4) M. Hermann Costen left Switzerland finally in consequence
    of a decree of expulsion on the 19th September.

    (5) M. Hermann Costen’s moral and material credit is nil. He is
    an individual for whom there is little to be said.

After the picture of German atrocities which has been put before us,
it is not without its uses to form from this reply some idea of the
duplicity which endeavoured to cloak them.



The life of the inhabitants of invaded countries, the honour of their
women, the liberty of their youths were not the only blessings, which
the Germans attempted to take away from them in contempt of all humanity
and all law. Even the property of these inhabitants suffered from
invasion. They had to gaze on the ruin of their ravaged homes, which the
invader left to be devoured by the flames, and when, deprived of all
their possessions, these wretched victims of invasion wanted to take
refuge in the temples of God, this last resource was denied them, for
the barbarians had sometimes destroyed the church, and sometimes taken
possession of it to use as a barracks for their soldiers.


As the French Commission of Inquiry remarked, arson was a common German
practice, sometimes used as a weapon of destruction, sometimes as a means
of intimidation. “The German army,” adds this Commission, “in order to be
prepared for it, has a regular equipment, including torches, grenades,
fuses, petrol-sprinklers, rockets which carry inflammable matter, and
even little bags containing pastilles of a very inflammable compressed
powder. Its incendiary fury is chiefly manifested against churches and
monuments interesting from the point of view of art or of history.”

Often the invader was not content with sprinkling the beds of
dwelling-houses with petrol, he took care also to heap straw under
agricultural machines to destroy them, as well as dwelling-houses,
harvests, and the cattle remaining in the stalls. This was done at
Château-sur-Morin by the 76th German regiment.

Often, also, arson was employed as a means to compel people to leave
their houses, and to make it easier to pillage. As soon as they entered
the villages the Germans, with this object in view, set fire to them. On
other occasions they resorted to this method only when the loot was over:
then the destruction of the houses of a village was only the crown of
their work.

It would be impossible to record in detail acts of this kind committed by
Germans on all the invaded territories. We must be content with noting
those cases in which parts of large towns were destroyed and whole
villages disappeared.


The burning of Louvain must be regarded as an operation distinct from
the bombardment. The bombardment was slight, but the burning fearful.
The burning began on the 26th August at ten p.m. It was systematically
carried out. In places where the fire did not catch on, the soldiers went
from house to house throwing incendiary grenades.

The largest part of the town, especially those parts of the upper town
which included St. Peter’s Church, the university and its library, the
greater part of the scientific institutions of the university, and the
town theatre were henceforth the prey of the flames.

Everybody knows that the academic library of Louvain was one of the
scientific treasures of Europe.

In token of peace all the houses in Louvain were flying a white flag,
strips of which might be seen floating over the ruins.

The fire was still going on the next day. Far from taking measures to
stop it, the Germans did all they could to keep it going by throwing into
the flames all the straw they could find. On the 27th August Louvain
looked like an old city of ruins. Drunken soldiers were walking about in
it, carrying wine and brandy. The officers, seated in armchairs round
tables, drinking like their men, looked on at the ominous results of the
disaster. In the streets, the bodies of dead horses were decomposing in
the sun, and the stench of putrefaction from them mingled with that of
the fire, corrupted the air of the whole town.

The conflagration came to an end on the 2nd September. On that day four
more fires were lit by the German soldiers in the Rue Leopold and the
Rue Marie-Thérèse. Eight hundred and ninety-four houses were reduced
to ashes within the precincts of the town of Louvain, and about five
hundred in the suburb Kessel-Loo. The suburb of Berent and the commune
of Corbeek-Loo were almost entirely destroyed. The suburb of Heverlé was
the only one which was respected, perhaps because the Duke of Arenberg, a
German subject, has property there.

The destruction of Louvain caused universal indignation, as the
destruction of the Cathedral of Reims was to do a little later. In
neutral countries public opinion was roused.

In Sweden it was described as a “monstrous act of barbarism against
humanity and against civilisation.” In Spain the press gave voice to
unanimous protests which recalled the fact that the Flemish treasures of
Louvain had been respected from the time of Philip II to Napoleon I. The
Portuguese Academy of Sciences invited the Academies of Science in all
countries to raise public subscriptions for the purchase of books for the
University of Louvain, and to keep alive the protest of the intellectual
world against an act of destruction so barbarous. In America public
feeling was profoundly stirred. One newspaper made itself the mouthpiece
of general opinion on this topic when it declared “Germany could not
complain if her crimes recoiled on her own head” (_New York Tribune_,
21st September, 1914). In Italy, finally, the _Giornale d’Italia_, the
_Messagero_, the _Secolo_, the _Mattino_, the _Corriere della Sera_, the
_Perseveranza_, the _Piccolo_ (_de Trieste_) and the _Avanti_ signed a
letter inviting the citizens to testify their indignation at the Belgian
Legation at Rome.


Various crimes committed at Nomény have had their place in foregoing
chapters. But the burning of the place surpassed them all. On the 13th
August, 1914, at the cry “the Prussians, the Prussians,” the inhabitants
of this small village (in the province of Meurthe-et-Moselle) took refuge
in the cellars. The German cavalry and infantry, sword unsheathed and
revolver in hand, rushed, shouting, into the village. Mlle. Jacquemot,
an eye-witness of these incidents, has described them in the Nancy _Est
Républicain_ in these words: “Having taken refuge in a cellar with
thirteen other persons, she was followed by the Germans, who could not
find where they had hidden. The Prussians,” she said, “went up out of
the cellar again, but it was to sprinkle us with petrol through the
vent-hole. They set fire to it. We were choking. We should die by burning
or asphyxiation. We must go out at any cost. In a choice of deaths it is
better to die of a bullet or a bayonet thrust. One of us has a watch.
He looks at it. It is five o’clock. We had been there for seven hours! A
couple of young girls (for, with the women, there were only some children
and old men) offered themselves. Three of us then started out, the two
Mlles. Nicolas and I. We went out past the outhouse. Everything in Nomény
was on fire. The whole street was in flames. We must not think of going
along the side of the street. Henceforth we have only one hope, _i.e._ to
gain the fields. We went into the first garden we came to.

“As we went through the blazing streets, we had seen dead upon dead.
There were some whose heads were split open. An old woman who would have
been a hundred years old in the month of November dropped with exhaustion
on the way. Of course she died. At the Zambeau infirmary, some bread and
a little sausage meat were given us. We slept on the ground, and this
morning, Friday, about six o’clock, we had to go packing.”


The burning of Senlis is one of the most frightful cases of destruction
by fire of which the Germans have been guilty. They had hardly entered
it on the 2nd September when they began to loot houses, and afterwards
threw into them special bombs which caused fires to break out. As M.
Émile Henriot has shown, in _L’Illustration_, 26th September, 1914: “It
was not the bombardment that started the fire. A callous and calculated
purpose directed this work of destruction. There are witnesses who affirm
it, and in some houses spared by the fire, these incendiary bombs, which
did not fulfil the mission, were found afterwards. Private houses, hotels
domiciles of rich and poor, modern villas or exquisite mansions of
former days—nothing was spared. The beautiful home of the law courts and
the sub-prefecture, which dated from the time of Gabriel and Louis is no
more.” The cathedral, fortunately, was saved.

“Horror!” exclaimed M. Marcel Hutin of the _Echo de Paris_; “the whole
Rue de la République, the principal street of Senlis, has been burnt
down. Not a house has been spared. The hotels, private dwelling-houses,
the castle, the town hall, the Houssaye Barracks—all, all in ruins.

“On the first day of their arrival, after the bombardment (I was told by
the inhabitants, glad in the midst of the mental and material affliction
to see a face from Paris) the Germans began to set fire to the houses
in the Rue de la République. On what pretext? A tobacconist was alleged
to have fired on them, and the unfortunate mayor (M. Odent) to have
forgotten to cause all arms left in the possession of the citizens to be
sent to the town hall.

“And such scenes! Some soldiers deposited incendiary bombs in the houses.
Others, a few minutes afterwards, fired on the houses, which, being full
of gases, immediately blew up. Nothing of them remains but the walls.

“Scenes of bestial savagery lifted these brutes to the highest pitch
of joy: whilst the houses hard by were ablaze and the fire had just
reached the topmost story of the Hôtel du Nord, in the basement a dozen
Death’s-Head Hussars, tipsy, were playing infernal music on the piano,
and singing with wild eyes. Outside some cavalry were forcing their
horses to leap through these furnaces! It was frightful. All the night I
had a horrible vision of Senlis burnt down.”


“On the morning after their arrival at Baccarat” (on the 25th August,
1914), says M. Jean Rogier in the _Petit Parisien_, “without excuse,
without any pretext that the population had fired on them—for the mere
lust of wickedness and destruction they set fire to the town. To begin
with, they made an attack on the town hall. Soldiers bearing some resin
torches, others cans of oil and petrol, marched as if on parade, to the
town hall, splashed the walls with oil, emptied the petrol into the
offices and the basement, and then threw their blazing torches into them.

“This hellish baptism accomplished, they waited. Ah! not for long. The
flames burst forth with a fearful roaring noise, blackening the walls and
rising above the front like a fiery serpent, and soon all was ablaze.

“This beautiful sight roused the brave soldiers. Close to the mayor’s
residence and along the whole length of each side of the Rue des Deux
Ponts there were beautiful houses, the residences of middle-class
citizens. They sprinkled these sixty houses with petrol and with oil and
ran their torches against the damp walls, and some minutes afterwards the
whole street was on fire. The flames leaped out of the cellars, ran along
the walls, rose, grew larger and larger and climbed up to the roof. They
joined each other from one side of the street to the other, and, uniting,
leaped to the sky like pillars of fire. The whole air was red. Flakes of
flame sped outside the town, and left behind a trail of smoke. Up there
on the top of the church the weathercock which revolved on the spire of
the ruined belfry gleamed like a jewel of iridescent stones, and all at
once, in a din of thunder claps, all the houses collapsed and shed on the
town a rain of sparks.

“For five days the rubbish smoked.” One hundred and two houses were burnt


These narratives are eloquent and yet they are far from giving an idea of
the destruction which the Germans left behind them. The figures tell us
still more than the narratives.

In Belgium, in fifteen towns and villages taken at random among the
localities which the Germans systematically ravaged by fire, we note
that 2191 houses were burnt: in other words, on an average each Belgian
locality damaged by the fire of German torches had 146 houses burnt down.
Moreover, we have mentioned in our investigations, which were made at
haphazard, the names of ten Belgian localities entirely destroyed by
fire, including Tirlemont, Linsneau, Andennes, Schaffer, Spontin, etc. It
may easily be imagined what would be the result of a systematic inquiry.

In France, the number of villages completely burnt down like Nomény,
Sommeilles, etc., was very great.

Some idea of the damage done may be formed from the fact that in the
Meurthe-et-Moselle province alone twenty-two places suffered from fire.
Of these twenty-two, two were completely destroyed (Villers-aux-Vents and
Sommeilles), and in the other twenty, 663 houses were burnt. This gives
an average of twenty-three houses a district.


It was not merely at Reims during the bombardment, and at Louvain during
the fire, that the Germans showed their contempt for monuments and
the treasures of art and science contained in them. In the following
chapter we shall take note of the loot carried on in the interiors of
these buildings. Here we speak only of fire and general destruction.
Several castles were burnt down: those of Varolles, Moque-Souris,
Sparre (in Chierry), the château of Brumetz (Aisne province), the
town hall of Lunéville, the house of M. Alberic Magnard, author of
_Bérénice_ (at Baron), who saw all the works of art accumulated there,
in value exceeding a million francs, destroyed by fire. In Poland, the
town hall of Szydlowice, an architectural masterpiece, was destroyed,
notwithstanding the 5000 crowns which the inhabitants of the place paid
to the German commandant to secure its preservation.


None the more were churches spared. The invader, the enemy alike of
his foe’s taste and of his religious faith, spent as it were a double
ferocity on the work of destroying the temples of God.

“The church at Aerschot,” writes the Belgian Commission of Inquiry in one
of its reports, “is a lamentable spectacle. Its three entrances and those
of the sacristy have been more or less consumed. The entrance leading to
the nave, and the side entrance on the right, both of massive oak, seem
to have been hammered with a battering-ram after the flames had reached

The same was the case at Révigny, the church which was classed among
historic monuments, and in many other Belgian and French villages which,
when they were totally or partially destroyed by fire, also lost the home
of their religion.


The Germans were not content with destruction. On several occasions they
went out of their way to desecrate holy places; so much perversity, worse
even than barbarism, is there in the regular habits of this nation and in
the education which they receive.

The church of Aerschot was not merely burned, it was also polluted; and
the following narrative, given by a woman who was an eye-witness, a
correspondent of the _Evening News_ (of 24th September, 1914), will help
to give us some idea of what went on there—

“On the high altar,” wrote this journalist, “there were three empty
champagne bottles, two rum, a broken bordeaux bottle and five beer
bottles. In the confessionals other champagne, brandy and beer bottles,
also empty.

“On the marble flags, heaps of straw everywhere, heaps of bottles,
rubbish and filth. On the forms, on the chairs, bottles and still more
bottles, champagne, beer, rum, bordeaux, burgundy and brandy. In all
directions wherever we cast our eyes, to whatever part of the church we
looked, there were nothing but bottles by the hundred, by the thousand,
perhaps; everywhere bottles, bottles, bottles.

“But the sacristan in a trembling voice appealed to me. ‘Madame, do
look!’ and he showed me a white marble bas-relief representing the
Virgin. They had quite broken the head of the Virgin!

“A little further away there were splendid wood carvings, representing an
episode in the life of Christ. They burnt the face and half the body of
Christ! Why? For the mere pleasure of destruction, as they slashed with
the sword or bayonet the tapestries and costly lace which covered the
altar. On the walls hung priceless paintings, the work of Flemish old
masters. These they cut along the frames.

“They brought a pig into a little chapel, to the right of the nave, and
killed it there.

“On all sides the walls and flagstones bore the marks of prancing horses
which had been stabled in the sanctuary.” A pyx was taken away by the
Germans from the church of Hofstade. A Belgian priest found the gilt
copper foot of it on the way into the village. All the precious stones
which adorned it had been taken away, and the Germans also kept the upper
part of silver gilt.

In France, likewise, churches were desecrated, and the Germans used that
of Betz as a barracks. When they had gone, one could see in it straw
mattresses lying on the flagstones, empty bottles in rows on the altar
steps, the remains of food on the forms and chairs, a leg-of-mutton bone
thrown into the font, etc.

On the 25th October a battalion of the 123rd infantry regiment of
Wurtemburg Landwehr entered the village of Seugern, at the bottom of the
Guebwiller valley and, on a signal from their leader, immediately set
fire to it. The latter, a lieutenant, reserved for himself the church,
which he entered at the head of ten men. In obedience to their officer’s
orders the gang started operations by destroying the organ, then broke
down the confessionals and the high altar, and, making a heap of images
in the nave, drenched them all with petrol.

A single Catholic soldier refused to take part in this infamous work. He
was, therefore, disarmed and shot the following morning. The arrival of
the French Chasseurs Alpins fortunately prevented the church, which had
been polluted, from being devoured by fire as well.

The little church of Vitrimont (a league away from Vitrimont) was also
desecrated by the Germans. Its stained glass was shattered, its door
smashed to pieces, and in the nave the sacrilegious invaders left nothing
but a confused heap of timber, plaster, jagged benches, broken glass.
Vestments of the priests, the images of the saints, the costly cloths,
the beautiful embroidered work, the trimmings of the altar, and the tiny
treasure of the sacristy were all found on the road in the mud.


Instances of desecration of churches, Orthodox and Catholic, were still
more numerous in Russia. The cause of this lies in the orders which were
given to attack the Russian or Polish peasant through his religion, the
most sacred of his possessions.

The worst of these outrages was that suffered by the famous church of Our
Lady at Tchenstokhova. It is the great centre of national pilgrimage, to
which more than a million people go each year. The Germans did not shrink
from desecrating this renowned sanctuary and looting the famous convent
of the Virgin. In particular the two churches at Radom (in the province
of Kielce) suffered from the German invasion. The soldiers, who spent
the night there, littered the ground with straw, broke the locks of the
drawers and the chests, smashed the various images and left everything in
frightful disorder.

At Mlava the churches and synagogues were converted into barracks. At
Souvalki, after the Germans had gone, it was shown that they had made
a stable of the church, for round about were lying the droppings of
horses, and hooks and rings had been fastened to the walls. On the altar
there were traces of a meal; beside the shattered remnants of the clock
several empty bottles and dirty cloths had been left behind, and there
were marks of filthy stains. The vestments of the priests had been
used to cover horses; the sacrilegious plunderers had carried off the
candelabra and the altar cloth.

At Calvaire (in the province of Kovno) the Germans threw the altar-piece,
the cross, and various other images into the privies. At Grasewo, Krasno,
Topoleza, Konsk and Kielce, similar acts were noted. At Mariampol (in the
province of Kovno) the Germans sacked the college library, forced their
way into the church and desecrated the altar by dining at it. The remains
of this dinner and dirty stockings were found under the altar.

Finally, at Volkawisky two churches were desecrated. One was sacked and
its silver cross stolen; the other, the regimental church, was converted
into a barracks, and the priests’ vestments were used as dishcloths.


We must not omit the chapter of admissions. So far as the burning of
Aerschot is concerned, we find one of these admissions in the _Kölnische
Zeitung_, whose correspondent admits that “the sight was alarming.” He
adds that “the town was ablaze on all sides” and that “the barrels of
spirits of wine blew up with a deafening clatter.”

The Saxon officer of the 178th regiment, whose evidence we have already
put on record, writes that “_the fine village of Gué-d’Hossus (Ardennes)
was abandoned to the flames, although so far as I could see it was

A soldier of the 32nd reserve infantry regiment notes in his pocket-book
that “_the streets of Creil were burnt down_” by way of reprisals and
because the iron bridge was blown up.

A soldier of the reserve named Schaulter writes: “The crack of rifle
shots was heard when we left Ovela, but, in it, _fire_, _women_, and our
leavings.” So common was the practice of which he mentions one result,
that he did not think it necessary to give any details. Arson, pillage,
sacrilege, violation, such were the solemn rites of invasion.

The non-commissioned officer, Hermann Levith, of the 160th infantry
regiment, 8th corps, says that “the enemy occupied the village of
Bièvre,” and adds, “_We took the village, then burnt nearly all the
houses_.” Another, Private Schiller, of the 133rd infantry regiment, 19th
corps, writes: “It was at Haybes (Ardennes) that on the 24th August, we
had our first battle. The second battalion entered the village, _searched
the houses, sacked them and burnt those from which any one had fired_.” A
Bavarian soldier, Reishaupt, of the 3rd infantry regiment, 1st Bavarian
corps, writes: “Parux (Meurthe-et-Moselle) was the first village we
burnt; after that the dance began—one village after another.”

Would it not have been believed that setting fire to a country was part
of the methods of attack and of acts permitted to a conqueror? What
formerly was an exceptional occurrence, which remained in the memory of
men as an unheard-of crime, is in German eyes the usual way of war.




The cherished idea of the German soldier is that war permits and excuses
everything. Consequently the property of the inhabitants of the territory
he invades does not seem to him to be immune from his cupidity. If the
lust of possession seizes him, he thinks it is a brilliantly won booty,
which rewards him for his efforts.

Nevertheless, international law only recognises as booty what is taken
from a _state_; in all other cases it is pillage, and Bluntschli, the
well-known German jurist, stigmatises it as emphatically as any one.

Let us add that it is not merely the German private soldier who shows
that he is capable of this violation of law. The officer and even the
general share this view, and commit this crime. In the majority of these
cases pillage was not an accident, but a system, and has taken place
under such conditions that it could not have been carried out if the
officers had not approved of it. In many cases it was they who set the
example. Pillage was reduced by them to the movements of a military
operation. The narratives which will follow will make that clear. For the
present, we shall quote the letter of the wife of a German officer living
in Berlin, which the Spanish Embassy at Berne received during the month
of January, in which this woman admitted that she was in possession of
a quantity of _objets d’art_, of which she supplied an inventory. These
articles her husband had sent her after the sack of a château in France.
She added that her husband had taken these articles to leave them in
safety with her, that her conscience would not allow her to keep them
without giving a list of them, and that she wished to see them restored
to their owner after the conclusion of hostilities.

In conformity with this evidence, the French Commission of Inquiry
declared that “in every place through which a company of the enemy
passed they gave themselves up to a methodically organised pillage, in
the presence of their leaders, and sometimes even with their active


Pillage covered everything, everything at least that could be carried
away. What could be consumed was used at once, letters were everywhere
pillaged. “Strong-boxes,” said the Commission of Inquiry, “have been
gutted, and considerable sums robbed or taken by violence from them. A
large quantity of silver and jewels, and also of pictures, furniture,
_objets d’art_, linen, bicycles, women’s clothes, sewing-machines, and
even children’s toys, have been taken away and put on wagons, to be
brought to the frontier.”

The _Temps_ gave an inventory of articles found in two trunks carried off
in a motor by German soldiers. This booty came from Belgium.

“First trunk: four table-cloths marked M. S., one sheet, one woman’s
chemise marked M. B., two petticoats, one white-and-red bodice, one
dress-bodice and velvet skirt marked ‘Maison Richard Ruelens, rue
des Joyeuses-Entrées 36, Louvain’; two blouses, a skirt and jacket of
velvet, four gowns, a muff, a woollen necktie, the back of a pedestal,
two electroplated teapots, a silver coffee-pot, a porcelain article, a
teacup, table-knives with silver handles, and a dessert-knife.

“Second trunk: a bronze figure of a Cossack with inscription in Russian
characters, four cases containing table-knives, a silver tray, two nickel
candlesticks, a small mirror, two revolvers, four swords, seven pairs of
ladies’ boots, two pairs of high-heeled shoes, a notebook in which was
written on the first page ‘_21st July: paid 10 fr. 80_’; a registration
book of the State Railway Co.; two white petticoats, four of which were
marked L. S.; two muffs, a stole, five dress-bodices, one of which was
marked ‘Maison Richard Ruelens, rue des Joyeuses-Entrées 36, Louvain’; a
black evening cloak, a woman’s nightgown marked M. B., two table-cloths,
two ostrich feathers, an evening dress, a child’s embroidered dress, four
pairs of stockings, a reticule with the price 1.35 marked on a label, an
overcoat with silk lapels marked ‘Maison Février, Maubeuge.’”

The result of such acts was that the not-too-opulent inhabitants of
Belgium and north-east France lost all they had. The looters carried
off what was not devoured by the flames, and it must be added that the
work of pillage, no less than of massacre, rape and arson, was carried
out with even greater fury when the inhabitants thought they had stalled
it off by their entreaties. The fact has been noticed, especially in
Belgium, that houses which bore inscriptions like “Please spare,” or
“Decent people; do not plunder them,” were sacked and pillaged first.

The most conspicuous acts of this kind took place in Belgium at Louvain,
Aerschot and Dinant; in France at Lunéville, Clermont-en-Argonne, and


Other towns and villages saw acts like these repeated many times. Here
are some examples taken at random.

In the Province of Aisne, the village of Brumetz was sacked; in that of
Jaulgonne, the Prussian Guard emptied cellars and carried off linen:
theft and destruction combined resulted in loss to the extent of
250,000 francs. At Charmel similar incidents occurred. At Péronne, the
inhabitants had to endure levies imposed on them without ceasing. All
inhabited houses were searched from cellar to attic and stripped bare.
Shops that were found shut were forced open. Whole trains full of stolen
furniture were brought away to Germany.

At Baccarat it was the same. Everything that the German soldier thought
right to take was taken. They took wine and flour. At the glassworks the
finest articles, cut-glass services, were packed up with a care which
showed every characteristic but blind violence, and packed on wagons
directed to Sarrebourg. Carts laden with furniture also took the same

At Barbery and at Charmont men forced their way into the rooms of private
houses, having first turned out the residents. Furniture and family
property—all were taken, and thrown out of the windows or carried off.
The village of Bussières, near Château-Thierry, was completely destroyed,
of set purpose. The Prussians pillaged there everything they could find.
The remainder was destroyed, pulled about, broken up, carried off,
smashed to atoms by a kind of savagery. Then it was set on fire, and the
flames finished the work of devastation.

At Albert, Captain Zirgow from the 30th August authorised the soldiers
under his command to visit, so he said, unoccupied houses. This was as
much as to give them _carte blanche_ for pillage and theft. Consequently
the booty taken by the Germans in this district was of great value.

The town of Coulommiers was widely pillaged; silver, linen, boots were
taken away, especially from deserted houses, and many bicycles were
packed on motor-lorries.

At Rebais a jeweller’s shop was sacked.

At Nomény, before burning the town the Germans took out of the
dwelling-houses all that they thought worth carrying away. They sent
everything to Metz. At Beauzemont, the château was looted by officers of
the German general staff, accompanied by their wives; at Drouville, at
Hériménil, at Jolivet, there was systematic pillage. In the last locality
a sum of 600 francs was stolen by a German.

At Choisy-au-Bac, in Valois, the German soldiers, in presence of their
officers, gave themselves up to general pillage, the fruits of which
were carried off in carriages stolen from the inhabitants. Two military
doctors wearing the Red-Cross brassard with their own hands pillaged Mme.
Binder’s house.

At Trumilly the looting was carried out in perfect order. A
non-commissioned officer on the general staff of the 19th regiment of
Hanoverian Dragoons robbed Mme. Huet of 10,000 francs’ worth of jewels.
The German colonel, to whom this lady made complaint, approved of the
non-commissioned officer’s action. Another German soldier of the 91st
infantry regiment was guilty of several thefts to the value of 815
francs. And these cases were not the only ones clearly proved in this


During the days which followed the burning of Louvain, the houses which
remained standing and whose inhabitants had been driven out were handed
over to be looted under the very eyes of the German officers.

This pillage lasted eight days. In bands of six or eight the soldiers
forced in the doors or broke in the windows, rushed into the cellars,
soaked themselves in wine, threw the furniture about, broke open
safes, stole money, pictures, _objets d’art_, silver, linen, clothing,

A great part of this booty was loaded on military wagons and carried off
to Germany by railroad.


M. Orts, Adviser to the Legation, Secretary of the Belgian Commission
of Inquiry, stated that the town of Aerschot was partially destroyed by
fire, but that so far as the rest was concerned, he could affirm that it
had been completely sacked.

“I went into several houses,” he said, “and passed through the different
storeys. Everywhere the furniture had been thrown about, gutted, polluted
in a disgraceful manner. Paper-hangings fell in strips from the walls,
the doors of the cellars were burst in, the locks of the chests, drawers,
and all the cupboards had been picked and their contents taken. Linen,
articles of the most different kinds, and an incredible number of empty
bottles covered the ground.

“In the middle-class houses, pictures were slashed and works of art
broken. On the door of one, a huge, fine-looking building belonging
to Dr. X, the following inscription, half rubbed out, might still
be read in chalk: ‘Please spare this house, as the people in it are
really peaceable, decent folks. Signed, Bannach, Orderly.’ I went into
this building, in which I was told some officers had been billeted,
and which the kindness of one of them appeared to have saved from the
general destruction. On the threshold a faint smell of spilt wine called
attention to hundreds of empty or broken bottles, which were heaped up
in the porch or the staircase and in the court leading into the garden.
Unspeakable disorder reigned throughout the rooms; I walked on a layer
of torn clothing and tufts of wool which had fallen out of the gutted
mattresses. Everywhere furniture smashed open, and in all the rooms
within reach of the bed more empty bottles. The dining-room was heaped
with them, dozens of wine-glasses covered the large table and the smaller
ones which pressed against the slashed armchairs and sofas, while in the
corner a piano with dirty keys seemed to have been smashed with kicks
of a jackboot. Everything showed that these places had been for many
days and nights the scene of shameless debauchery and drinking-bouts.
On the Place du Marché the interior of the house of M. X, a solicitor,
presented a similar appearance, and, according to the statement made to
me by a quartermaster of gendarmerie, who, with his men, tried to restore
a little order into all the chaos, it was the same with the majority of
houses belonging to prominent families in which the German officers had
chosen to take up their quarters.

“All valuables which their owners had not had time to put in a place
of safety—silver, family jewels, loose money—disappeared, and the
inhabitants declare that arson _frequently had no other purpose_ than to
_destroy the proofs of unusually serious thefts_. Wagons, packed full
with loads of booty, left Aerschot in the direction of the Meuse.”


The Dutch journalist whom we have quoted writes in the _Telegraaf_ with
regard to this town—

“In the Banque Henri the Germans had a disappointment, for they could
not find where the safe had been concealed, but they stopped the manager
and his son at the very moment when they were trying to escape on
bicycles. As they refused to reveal the secret, they were killed with
revolver shots. At the Banque Populaire the Germans, indeed, found the
safe, but the greatest part of the money which it contained had already
been transferred to a place of safety. The brigandage carried on was
frightful, and to find a parallel to it we should have to go back to the
days of the blackest barbarism.”


“During the early days,” says the French Commission of Inquiry, “the
Germans were content to pillage, without otherwise molesting the
inhabitants. Particularly was this the case on the 24th August, when
Madame Jeaumont’s house was stripped. The stolen articles were put in a
great cart, in which were three women, one clad in black, the other two
wearing military costumes, and having the appearance, we were told, of

“On the 25th August, M. Lenoir, aged sixty-seven years, was brought out
into the fields with his wife, their hands tied behind their backs. After
both had been cruelly ill-treated, a non-commissioned officer took
possession of a sum of 1800 francs in gold which Lenoir had about him.
Indeed, the most audacious theft, as we have already said, seems to have
been part of the habits of the German army, who made a regular practice
of it. The following is an interesting example—

“During the burning of a house belonging to Madame Leclerc, the safes
of two tenants had resisted the flames. One, belonging to M. George,
under-inspector of waterworks and forests, had fallen into the ruins;
the other, owned by M. Goudchau, estate-agent, remained fastened to a
wall on the second storey. Non-commissioned officer Weiss, who knew the
town well, as he had often been well received there when he visited it
before the war in his capacity as hop-merchant, came back with his men to
the place, gave orders to blow up with dynamite the piece of wall which
remained standing, and made sure that the two safes should be brought to
the station, where they were placed in a wagon bound for Germany. This
Weiss was in the special confidence and favour of the commandant. It was
he who at the quarters of the commandant had the duty of administering
the commune in some sort of fashion and of arranging for levies.”


Let us quote the Commission of Inquiry—

“On the 4th September, during the night the 121st and 122nd Wurtemberg
regiments entered, breaking the doors of the houses as they passed, and
giving themselves up to unrestrained pillage, which was to continue
during the whole of the following day. Towards midday a soldier kindled
the fire. When the fire had gone out, pillage recommenced in the houses
spared by the flames. Articles of furniture taken from the house of M.
Desforges, fabrics stolen from the shop of M. Nordman, linen-draper, were
piled up in the motors. A surgeon-major took all the hospital dressing
materials, and a commissioned officer, after writing at the entrance to
the Lebondidier’s house a notice forbidding pillage, caused a large part
of the furniture with which this mansion was furnished to be taken away
in a cart, intending them, as he boasted without shame, for the adornment
of his own villa.

“At the time when all these incidents took place the town of
Clermont-en-Argonne was occupied by the 13th Wurtemberg corps under the
orders of General von Durach, and by a troop of Uhlans, under command of
the Prince of Wittenstein.”


Château-Thierry was looted in the presence of officers, who must even
have taken part in it, if we are to judge by the example of two German
doctors, surprised in town by the arrival of the French troops, and who
were then included in an exchange of prisoners. Their cases were opened,
and in them were found articles of clothing obtained by looting shops.

“During the whole week which the German occupation of Château-Thierry
lasted,” wrote the _Temps_ of the 25th October, 1914, “shops and rooms
were methodically pillaged; jewellers and bazaar owners were plundered
most of all. Patients under treatment in the Red Cross hospital whose
wounds did not prevent them walking, went through the town all day,
thieving here and there, and then returned in the evening with their
booty to sleep in hospital.

“One day they offered Mlle. X some bonbons which they had just stolen,
and they appeared much surprised when the young Frenchwoman refused their

“Lorries loaded with stolen articles were lined up on the road to
Soissons as far as the eye could reach. A non-commissioned officer and
four men were seen to drag along a little English cart, nicely fitted,
quite loaded with booty.

“Needless to say, the cellars were completely emptied. Not a single
pot of preserve at Château-Thierry; blankets, sheets, table-cloths,
napkins—everything was carried off. The Château of Belle-Vue, which
belongs to M. Jules Henriet, was not burnt, but everything in it was
plundered. Chests, desks, all the furniture were forced open. As for
silver, for the most part it disappeared from the houses that were


The same kind of thing took place in Poland and Serbia. At Chabatz the
shops were broken open and the goods which they contained stolen.

In the Report of the Serbian Commission of Inquiry it is said that at
Prngnavor and in the outskirts all the furniture of the inhabitants, such
as beds, chests, chairs, tables, sewing-machines, and even stoves had
been completely smashed and thrown outside the houses. The Commission
also declared that all the domestic animals which had not been used for
food or taken away were slaughtered.


_Objets d’art_ of every kind and pictures were several times stolen in
this way both in Belgium and in France. The review _Kunst und Künstler_,
in an article from the pen of Professor Shaeffer, who goes so far as to
specify the pictures which ought to figure in German museums, proclaimed
the right to take possession of such articles and bring them to Germany.

It is true that in museums the greater part of the exhibits had been put
in a place of safety. Others were surprised and looted. This was the case
with the Oberot Museum at Brussels. The following is the account of the
incident given by Mme. Latour, wife of the Director of the Museum.

“All the keepers had gone to the battlefield, and my husband and I were
alone. Seeing that they were going to beat in the door, my husband
decided to open it for them. First of all he had taken the precaution to
lock the door into the galleries.

“Without paying the slightest attention to him, the officers immediately
went to that in which priceless enamels of the twelfth century and
magnificent jewels had usually been exhibited. Not being able to get in,
they condescended to ask for the key. My husband refused. They took hold
of him and forcibly deprived him of the bunch which he had in his pocket.

“Once inside, when they noticed that certain articles which they
doubtless coveted had disappeared, they waxed furious. This, however, did
not prevent their taking whatever they liked from the glass cases, some
pictures, and some porcelain specimens, which they then compelled me to
pack up for them.

“Moreover, they did not attempt to conceal the fact that what they were
stealing would later on adorn their own houses.

“‘That would suit very well in my drawing-room, and this in my wife’s
bedroom,’ said one. ‘Martha asked me to bring her some real Brussels
lace,’ replied the other, ‘but I shall bring her this exquisite
miniature. She will be delighted…’

“Every day for more than a fortnight they came back like that, sometimes
alone, sometimes accompanied by other officers or soldiers, and every
time they brought away something from the museum. They took away not
less than fifty pictures.

“My husband once managed to get into conversation with one of the
secretaries of the Military Governor of Brussels, and complained bitterly
of the scandalous thefts committed every day at the museum. But this
German official refused to listen to the description which M. Latour gave
him of the officers and their uniforms. At last he brought him to the
door with these words, ‘Woe to the vanquished!’”

The Germans took the furniture of the Government offices, and also all
the stage properties of the Park Royal Theatre, the stage of which was
converted into a motor garage.

They took away the following articles from the château at Compiègne—

Sixteen large pieces, eight in coral and eight in lava, which belonged
to Napoleon I’s chessboard; a chased and gilt bronze figure of Atalanta
above a clock; a chased and gilt bronze socket, part of a candelabrum
on Sèvres porcelain; a chased gold and steel case containing a poniard,
knife and fork, part of a collection of arms; a poniard; a Turkish
dagger; a chased silvered case, adorned with precious stones, containing
a hunting dagger, knife and fork; two chased stilettoes; three poniards
with hollow gilt blades, and three chased and gilt bronze candlesticks,
all from the same collection.

Let us add that during the last two days of the occupation three train
wagons, which contained, it was said, officers’ baggage, had been shunted
into the principal courtyard of the palace. The truth is that these three
wagons served merely to load and to carry away valuable articles taken by
the soldiers and non-commissioned officers from the houses of Compiègne.
The house of M. Orsetti, in front of the palace, was completely looted in
this way.


All the fine old châteaux of the Champagne and Marne region, and all the
rich estates and villas situate in that part of Lorraine which has been
invaded, were also pillaged and sacked. The ironwork of the fourteenth
and fifteenth century, the Gothic wainscoting, the antique furniture,
were taken away. Everything which was supposed to have any value—jewels,
silver, _objets d’art_, books—was stolen.

At the Moulinot Priory, the property of M. de Chauffault, and at
Raon-l’Etape, where the 99th infantry regiment (to which Renter and
Forstner, heroes of the celebrated incidents of Saverne, belonged),
the 50th line regiment and the Baden reservists carried out a general
pillage, and took away furniture, pianos, libraries, amateur collections,
clocks, pictures, and brought them to the railway station, where a train
under full steam was ready to take them to Germany. It was Prussian and
Baden officers who, in the majority of cases, accompanied by their wives,
chose, took, stole or destroyed, defiled or smashed everything, according
as the article which they were examining could be removed or not.

Near the town of Meaux and some hundreds of metres from the village of
Congis is the château of Gné. At the beginning of the battle of the
Marne the German general staff was installed there. Of this château
there remained, after the vandals had passed by, only the ruins. The
chests-of-drawers were broken, the beautiful tapestries defiled, the
armchairs smashed to pieces, the costly pictures slashed, even the linen
of the château stolen. When the allied troops forced the Germans back
and reoccupied it, only wounded were found in it, who, before the arrival
of the conquerors, had taken care to ransack the whole house and to
finish the work of destruction which had been begun.

We repeat that these outrages were the work of officers no less than of
soldiers. And it was a captain who led the Germans at Creil when they
burst into the houses of rich owners, broke the doors and windows, and
gave themselves up to pillage.

The same kinds of acts were also committed by the Germans in Alsace. The
case of Cernay, where the Germans drove out the inhabitants in the month
of January, is an example. All these people had to leave the town at
three o’clock in the morning. A manufacturer of the country who returned
to his villa at 7.15, found a detachment of German soldiers engaged in
taking down the pictures from the walls and packing up articles which
they could not carry. When he expressed his surprise at seeing them
appropriating his property, the soldiers replied that they were acting
under the orders of their superiors.


The universally admitted obligation not to plunder an enemy who has
fallen on the field of battle has been, like so many others, repudiated
by the Germans. The personal belongings, silver, jewels, etc., of the
dead and wounded have been not merely coveted, but actually plundered by
them. Examples of this infamous conduct were numerous, chiefly on the
battlefields of France.

On the 8th August, on the spot where a small cavalry engagement had taken
place, at Beuveille (in Champagne), a French lieutenant of dragoons, who
was wounded and lying unconscious on the ground, was robbed (for his
own account of the incident see the _Matin_ of the 22nd August, 1914)
of a sum of 250 francs in gold by the leader of a German platoon, M. de
Schaffenberg, of the Trèves light infantry. His orderly, a dragoon, also
wounded, lying a few paces away from the French lieutenant, was robbed of
some money that he had by the same German officer. A French hussar who
was attended by Dr. Weiss at the Nancy hospital told this doctor that he
had broken his leg by falling from his horse, and that, as he was lying
under his mount, he was attacked by Uhlans, who robbed him of his watch
and chain.

Similar cases were so frequent that the French troops scarcely wondered
when they captured, near Senlis, a horseman of the German imperial
guard, accompanied by three German subjects who spoke French very well,
and as they knew the district served him as guide and accomplices in
the work of brigandage in which he engaged. The numerous articles which
they found in the pockets of these wretches left no doubt on this point:
they were, therefore, brought before a court-martial at the same time as
several other German prisoners who had been guilty of similar thefts; in
particular, a Death’s-head hussar, who had been found in possession of a
roll of bills stolen in Belgium, a considerable sum of French gold, and
many jewels.


The taxes levied by the Germans in several towns of Belgium and France
were represented by the invaders as either fines or war contributions.
If, however, we consider them a little more closely, we shall not be
able to see anything in them but theft, admitted and official. It is
a consequence and an extension of thefts committed on the field of
battle. That such levies should be permitted, they must be represented
as expenses arising out of invasion. It is within such limits only that
international law recognises war levies. Such as it is, we have no doubt
that this limit is stretched to some extent. Collective fines imposed for
damage sustained by an invading army are manifestly a mockery. No less
ridiculous is the claim to make up for the general expenses of war by
levies of this kind.

The Germans had no hesitation in using these two pretexts as an excuse.
Moreover, it is plain that in their view a war tax would come under the
head of the system in reliance on which war makes everything permissible.
In several places these levies were, practically speaking, represented as
a ransom for invaded towns. It seemed that these towns had to pay for the
favour done them of not being handed over to pillage. If they came and
refused the money, because they did not know where to find it, at once
the German commandant threatened them with fire, devastation and pillage.
These levies, therefore, were reckoned in the category of methods of
terrorisation. Their aim was to make the inhabitants desire peace by
multiplying their sufferings.

As for openly admitted reasons, the following are taken from an article
in the _Kölnische Zeitung_, which dealt with the levy imposed on Belgium
and the city of Brussels and, on the other hand, from a proclamation of
Lieutenant-general Nieber, with regard to a tax levied on the town of

“The war tribute imposed on Belgium,” wrote the _Kölnische Zeitung_,
“_was a punishment for ill-treatment of the Germans in Belgium_. We
are now at Brussels, where not more than a fortnight ago some Germans,
quietly going on with their work in a foreign country, were abandoned to
the cruelty of the mob. What happened then will be a perpetual stain on
the honour of the Belgian people.

“We have asked ourselves what might be demanded as _reasonable
compensation for the inhuman treatment inflicted on our compatriots_, and
it appears it is impossible, save by legal means, to punish those who
have committed such acts.

“But another measure is possible and recognised by international law, and
that is why we have imposed a very high war tax on the town of Brussels.

“This _town must bear the whole weight of the legally recognised expenses
of war_, to wit: the quartering of the troops, and the supply of all the
provisions needed by our army up to the point when _all the resources
of the town are exhausted_, and its inhabitants have begun to realise
individually and as a whole that the baiting of defenceless women is not
at all the same thing as the occupation of their houses by the enemy.
Whatever it be, the punishment inflicted on the Belgians for the offences
of which they have been guilty will be inflicted with all the rigour
permitted by the law.”

As regards the tax levied on the town of Wavre, Lieutenant-general Nieber
writes on the 27th August, in a letter to the mayor—

“On the 22nd August, 1914, General von Bülow, in command of the second
army, imposed on the town of Wavre a war-levy of 3,000,000 francs,
payable on the 1st September, _as punishment for a surprise attack on
the German troops, conduct for which no name is too bad, and which was
contrary to international law and the usages of war_.

“The general in command of the second army has just instructed the
general in charge of the depot of the second army to collect the
aforesaid levy without delay, _which the town must pay for its conduct_.

“I command and instruct you to hand over to the bearer of the present
note the first two instalments, being 2,000,000 francs in gold. I require
you also to give the bearer a letter, duly sealed with the town seal,
declaring that the balance of 1,000,000 francs will be paid without
fail on the 1st September. I call the attention of the town to the fact
that it will under no circumstances be able to count upon any extension
of time, for _the civil population has put itself outside the pale of
international law by firing on the German soldiers_. The town of Wavre
will be fired and destroyed if payment be not made in good time, without
respect of persons; the innocent will suffer with the guilty.”


It is hardly necessary to say that the principle of holding towns to
ransom is not admitted by any one to-day. Bluntschli, the German jurist,
writes on this head a phrase which sounds ironical: “War has become
civilised…… No one has any longer the right to pillage, and still less
the right to destroy, without military necessity; _therefore there can
no longer be any question of buying off this pretended right_.” On the
other hand, the policy of terrorisation is not admitted. It is, however,
very remarkable that the _Kölnische Zeitung_ apparently caves in to it
by commenting on the gravity of the situation in which the Belgians
were, owing to (1) the fact “_that their houses had been occupied by the
enemy_,” and (2) the exhaustion of “_the whole resources of the town_.”

Article 50 of the Hague Regulations stipulates, in fact, that no
collective punishment, pecuniary or otherwise, can be enacted against the
civil population by reason of individual acts for which they could not
collectively be held responsible.

German generals or publicists, therefore, have no authority to set up
a system of collective indemnity, monetary or other, in punishment of
individual acts, and still less to impose these indemnities under threat
of pillaging and burning towns.

As for the claim to recover the costs and expenses of war by a tax levied
on the inhabitants of the invaded territory, the _Kölnische Zeitung_
is shamelessly lying when it says that such a claim is “recognised by
international law.” Not a single authority in this sense can be quoted;
on the contrary, there are express statements of the very opposite.
The well-known Argentine writer, Calvo, declares that such a theory
involves an abuse of force, and is “in flagrant contradiction to the
principle which enacts that war is waged against a state, and not against
individuals taken separately.” It was in conformity with this principle
that the Germans themselves, in 1870, refused to admit that the amount
of the monetary contributions previously levied in France (thirty-nine
million francs) could be deducted from the five milliards imposed on
France by the Treaty of Frankfurt, a confirmation as clear as it is
unexpected of the principle which they are violating to-day.


The Germans imposed on the town of Liège a payment of ten million francs,
and demanded fifty millions from the province. The provinces of Brabant
and Brussels were assessed at 50 and 450 million francs respectively, “as
a war contribution.” Moreover, it was declared in the note signed in the
name of General Arnim by Captain Kriegsheim, of the general staff of the
4th army corps in presence of M. Max, Mayor of Brussels.

At Louvain, the German authorities, represented by the commandant,
Manteuffel, demanded a payment of 100,000 francs “as a war indemnity”;
after negotiation they reduced the amount to 3000 francs. At Tournai on
the 25th August an officer entered, revolver in hand, into the hall where
the mayor and the members of the municipal council were in conference,
and, on the plea that “civilians had fired on German soldiers,” declared,
in spite of the mayor’s protests, that if “_two million francs were
not sent him by 8 p.m. on the same day, the town would be bombarded_.”
The sum was paid, but this did not prevent the Germans from taking as
hostages the mayor, his deputies, and the bishop, who were sent to Ath
and Brussels, where their liberty was restored on presentation of the
receipt for two million francs.

Antwerp fell on the 9th October. The town was ordered to pay a war
contribution which amounted to the grotesque sum of half a milliard of
marks (625 million francs).

From the town of Wavre the Germans demanded, under the conditions
mentioned in the letter of Lieutenant-general Nieber, previously quoted,
a sum of three millions, which raised the total of the levies imposed
by the Germans in Belgium to 1,180,000,000 francs. By distributing this
amount equally over the Belgian population we find that each inhabitant
of this country, ravaged, burnt, pillaged, and, in short, stripped of all
its resources, was mulcted in an average payment of 158 francs.

This colossal theft, though it was ordered, could not be carried out so
easily. The Mayor of Brussels paid a first instalment of five millions of
the fifty millions imposed on the town of Brussels, and covered another
fifteen millions by municipal bonds. But when, in the closing days of
September, the military governor of Belgium, Marshal von der Goltz, who
had been appointed in the meantime, demanded payment of the outstanding
balance of thirty millions, M. Max informed the German authorities
that the public treasury had been transferred to Antwerp, and forbade
the banks to pay the sum demanded. The mayor was not at all to blame
for this, as the German authorities had decided, on the pretext that
payment was late, that requisitions would not be paid for. The Germans
regarded the refusal of M. Max as a failure to keep engagements made, and
the arrest of the mayor took place in violation of every principle of
international law.

The _Kölnische Zeitung_ of the 30th September made it appear that the
attitude of M. Max was explained by the latter’s confidence that the
Germans would soon be defeated; moreover, this same paper postdated the
German authorities’ decision not to pay for requisitions in order to palm
it off as a reply to M. Max’s refusal. Thus, open prevarication was added
to extortion and violence.

None the less, all these difficulties had the effect of inducing the
German Government to modify their method of demanding payment. A monthly
war tax of forty million francs was substituted for all the levies in the
occupied area.


The following is the notice which informed the inhabitants of Lunéville
of the tax in which they had been mulcted—

    “On the 25th August, 1914” (runs the notice), “the inhabitants
    of Lunéville made an attack by ambuscade on German columns
    and trains. On the same day the inhabitants fired on medical
    sections wearing the Red Cross. Moreover, they fired on German
    wounded, and on the military hospital, which included a German
    ambulance. _On account of these hostile acts a contribution
    of 650,000 francs is levied on the Commune of Lunéville._ The
    mayor was ordered to pay this sum in gold (and in silver up
    to 50,000 francs) on the 6th September at 9 a.m., into the
    hands of the representative of the German military authority.
    Any objection will be considered null and void. No delay will
    be allowed. If the commune does not punctually carry out the
    order to pay the sum of 650,000 francs _all the property that
    can be requisitioned will be seized. In case of non-payment,
    a house-to-house investigation will be made and all the
    inhabitants will be searched. Whoever knowingly conceals money,
    or tries to secure his property from being seized by the
    military authority, or who tries to leave the town, will be
    shot._ The mayor and hostages taken by the military authority
    will be held responsible for the exact carrying out of the
    orders given herewith. The mayor’s staff are ordered to make
    known these instructions at once to the Commune.

                                “Commandant-in-Chief VON FOSBENDER.

    “Hénaménil, 3rd September, 1914.”

“A perusal of this ineffable document,” says the Report of the French
Commission, “entitles one to ask whether the arson and murder committed
at Lunéville on the 25th and 26th August by an army which was not acting
under the excitement of battle, and which had refrained from killing
during the previous days, were not deliberately ordered for the purpose
of adding verisimilitude to an allegation which was to serve as a pretext
for the demand for an indemnity.”

The town of Lille was mulcted in a contribution of ten millions;
Roubaix and Tourcoing in ten millions; Armentières in half a million;
Valenciennes in three millions. The excuse given by the Germans, so far
as Valenciennes was concerned, was that a song, entitled “William’s
Last Will and Testament,” which was considered to be disrespectful to
the Kaiser, had been seized in the town. This justified a fine of two
millions. The third million was imposed because the town had not supplied
the quantity of flour demanded by the German troops. The threat was made
that, if the money was not paid, the mayor, M. Tanchon, would be shot.

The province of Marne was mulcted in a fine of thirty millions,
twenty-two of which were for the town of Reims and eight for
Châlons-sur-Marne. The German commissary-general agreed to accept from
Châlons 500,000 francs merely as an instalment. The remainder had not to
be paid, as the Prince of Saxony and his headquarters staff left Châlons
three days afterwards, followed two days subsequently by all the German
troops who were fleeing before the French.

Epernay had to pay 175,000 francs. But the town came by its money again,
thanks to a French surgeon, Dr. Véron, the only one available in this
district, who demanded for the treatment he had given a German prince the
sum which the town had paid.

In Serbia, the Austrian troops did the same at Losnitza, where a
contribution of 100,000 dinars had to be paid _to avert destruction by
fire_. The payment of the money, however, did not prevent hostages being
taken away, the town destroyed, and nineteen peasants shot.


In recognition of the necessities of troops in the field, the right of
requisition is allowed, but it must, as far as possible, be exercised
with moderation. Supplies must be paid for in ready money, or else must
be acknowledged by receipts, and in any case payment must take place as
soon as possible. The German publicist, Bluntschli, even imposes on the
occupying troops the obligation to pay on delivery for supplies for which
demand is made.

In violation of this established principle, the Germans have taken
supplies without payment not only in Belgium, but also in France. As they
were taking without payment their demands were unmeasured. On several
occasions the amount of their demands was simply preposterous. Being
thus forced to denude themselves far beyond their means, the inhabitants
were a prey to famine, whilst the German troops were gorging themselves,
and even allowing what they had taken to be lost and go bad. Under such
conditions the inhabitants found they were compelled to take to flight.

At Brussels, the requisition of large quantities of provisions was
ordered. These provisions had to be delivered on the 20th, 21st, 22nd and
23rd August, by virtue of a note sent by Captain Kriegscheim, acting in
the name of General Sixtus Arnim, in command of the 4th army corps, in
presence of the mayor. If these deliveries did not take place by certain
fixed times the town would be obliged to pay double the amount, based on
the market price. These large quantities of provisions could not be used.
Although they had been scraped together by so painful efforts they were
simply squandered. Four thousand kilos of meat had to be thrown out, as
well as piles of rolls of butter, and quantities of coffee and sugar,
which the troops were unable to consume.

It appears that in several cases these requisitions were merely made
as an excuse for pillage. In this way the works at Herstal, near
Liège, were ordered by the German headquarters staff to deliver 50,000
rifles and three million cartridges. Of course the manager of the works
refused. Then the German headquarters staff assembled again the board of
administration of the company. There was a fresh refusal, and no less
energetic, to do what the enemy demanded. The board urged the authority
of the clauses of the Hague Convention. _Consequently, and in revenge
for this opposition_, the German headquarters staff ordered that the
armouries should be pillaged.

At Amiens, as the town was unable to supply the enormous quantity of
provisions demanded by the Germans, twelve inhabitants were taken as
hostages, and transferred to Clermont. There they had to appear before a
sort of court-martial, which condemned them to pay 20,000 francs. This
sum was paid by the municipality.

At Epernay, 50,000 bottles of wine were requisitioned to enable the
German soldiers to get tipsy. At Antwerp, requisitions were made of
provisions which were intended to be consumed on the spot. These
provisions were sent by rail to an unknown destination.

At Lille, in the month of November, the mayor was obliged to deliver
1,500,000 francs’ worth of food produce. On the 25th of the same month
General Heindrich warned him by official letter that Germany could no
longer meet the needs of the population, and that if “England could not
make up her mind to allow provisions from over seas to come in for the
support of the occupied provinces of France, it would be chiefly the
French population who would have to bear the result of this state of
things.” The amount of requisitions of food produce imposed on Lille was
so great, according to the declaration of the mayor of Lille, dated 27th
November, 1914, addressed to General Heindrich, that “if the situation
continues, the town would suffer an absolute famine, which would affect
thousands of families, composed mainly of women and children.”

General Heindrich also made some show of remedying this state of affairs
by advising the mayor of Lille to ask for the assistance of the Swiss
Government. The mayor of Lille attempted this application on the 28th
November, but the German authorities took care not to transmit it (see
the _Temps_ of the 20th December).

The fact that the German requisitions amounted to pillage was recognised
by the American Commission of Relief for Belgium, which gratuitously
distributed ten to twelve million francs’ worth of provisions a month.

On the advice of Sir Edward Grey, Mr. Hoover, President of this
Commission, asked the German Government to abstain from requisitioning
provisions of any kind, as otherwise American subscriptions would have
the effect of indirectly contributing to the support of the German army,
which would take pains to pillage officially the provisions sent for poor
Belgians. The German Government replied that it would _consent to refrain
from requisitioning provisions to the east of Ghent_. This was as much as
to confess that the German military authorities had taken away from the
inhabitants of Belgium provisions of which they stood in need.


Examples of official pillage of every kind practised by Germany are
to be had in abundance. Sometimes it was the military authorities who
shamelessly seized the deposits in private banks. This was shown to
have taken place at Liège, Dinant, and Louvain, where quite a large sum
of money was taken from the Bank de la Dyle and 12,000 francs from the
Banque Populaire. At Lille the savings bank was robbed. Sometimes pillage
took the form of fining newspapers. In this way the _Croix du Nord_ had
to pay 150,000 francs for having described the German army in one of its
articles as “a flood of Teutons.”

At Châlons-sur-Marne, the German commandant asked M. Servès, deputy
mayor, “to have all the shops in the town opened, so that the soldiers
might buy what they needed.” When M. Servès remarked that it would be
well that sentries should be stationed before the shops, the German
officer replied that it was for the police of the town to keep order. M.
Servès replied that there were no longer any police. Then the commandant
came in in a towering rage and shouted: “There should have been. It is
not fair that people who remain in the town should alone have to bear
the burden. Those who have fled must bear their part. Consequently our
soldiers will be instructed to break open the doors of shops and take
what they want.” And pillage, officially ordered, began. To mitigate the
odium of it General Seydewitz warned the town that he was reviving the
security of 500,000 francs, which had been demanded on the first day of
occupation as a guarantee for the requisitions. But this half-million was
taken again as an instalment of the monetary contribution levied on the


As far as concerns pillage carried on by way of requisitions we have the
evidence of proclamations, letters, and other official communications
issued by the German authorities. In no other documents could the
chapter of admissions be so explicit.

As for theft and pillage committed by soldiers or by officers in
their private capacity, the following is evidence supplied by Germans

A German reservist who died in France, _privat-docent_ of a university,
married, and father of a family, carefully notes in his pocket-book,
which was found by the French, the parcel he sent to his wife of jewels
which he found in an empty house. Another day he confesses he stole a
microscope. “The Frenchman” (he wrote) “bought it in Germany, and I took
it back again.”

Another German soldier, Gaston Klein (1st Landsturm company), describes
the sack of Louvain in the following terms: “At first only a few troops
went back to the town, but afterwards the battalion marched into the town
in close ranks _to break into the first houses_ to plunder—I beg pardon,
to requisition—wine and other things as well. Like a company which had
been disbanded, every one went where he pleased. The officers went on in
front and set us a good example. One night in barracks, many men drunk,
and there the story ends. This day filled me with a disgust which I could
not describe.”

The Saxon officer of the 178th regiment, who supplied us with so much
precious evidence about German crimes, writes in his pocket-book:
“Herpigny-Baclan (17th August). I visited the little château, which
belongs to a secretary of the King of the Belgians. Our men behaved like
Vandals: first they ransacked the cellar, then they burst into the rooms
and threw everything upside down: attempts were even made to burst open
the safes; our men carried off heaps of useless things for the mere
pleasure of marauding.”

“At Rethel,” continued the same officer, “the interior of the house is
charming. The furniture was magnificent. Now everything is in pieces.
_Vandals could not have done more damage. The leaders of the columns were
responsible—they could have prevented pillage and destruction. The damage
may be reckoned in millions. Safes were burst open. In an attorney’s
house a collection of old pottery and oriental_ objets d’art _was broken
into a thousand pieces_.”

In spite of protests made to the German troops and their leaders, the
Saxon officer at length succumbed to the contagion and followed their
example. “As for myself,” he naïvely writes, “I could not help being
carried away to this side and that by little souvenirs. I found a
magnificent waterproof cloak and a photographer’s apparatus which I am
going to give to Felix.”

“In a village near Blamont,” writes another soldier, Paul Spielmann, 1st
company, 1st Infantry Brigade of Guards, “_everything was given up to

Private Handschuhmacher (11th Battalion reserve light infantry) also
writes: “8th August, 1914, Gouvy (Belgium). The Belgians having fired on
the German soldiers, we at once began to pillage the goods station. Some
cash-boxes, eggs, shirts, and everything which could be eaten was taken
away. The safe was gutted and the gold distributed amongst the men. As
for bank-bills they were torn up.”

“The enemy,” wrote another non-commissioned officer (Hermann Levith,
of the 160th regiment of infantry 7th corps), “occupied the village of
Bièvre and the outer-fringe of the wood in the rear. The third company
advanced as a first line. We took the village, _then pillaged almost all
the houses_.”

“The second battalion,” wrote a third (Schiller of the 133rd infantry,
19th corps) “entered into the village of Haybes (Ardennes), _ransacked
the houses and pillaged them_.”…

One thing which must be remembered as a feature of German character is
that German doctors took part in pillage. This is what we learn from a
letter of Private Jean Thode (4th reserve regiment): “Brussels, 5. 10.
14. A motor came up to the hospital and brought some war booty: a piano,
two sewing-machines, many albums, and all sorts of other things.”

Some admissions are couched in the form of indignation. “They do not
behave like soldiers,” writes a soldier of the 65th Landwehr infantry,
“but like highway robbers, bandits, and brigands, and they are a disgrace
to our regiment and to our army.” “_No discipline_,” writes another, (a
lieutenant of the 77th reserve infantry); “_the pioneers are not much
good; as for the artillery they are a band of robbers_.”

But if this particular lieutenant blames the conduct of his men, others,
on the contrary, deliberately order them to pillage. Like the soldier
who writes at Louvain that the officers set a good example, four
other German soldiers, named Schrick and Weber (of the 39th Prussian
infantry), Waberzech (of the 35th Brandenburg), and Brugmann (of the
15th Mecklenburg hussars), on whom were found a quantity of French paper
money, watches and jewels, all taken from houses in Senlis and Chantilly,
confessed before the French court-martial that it was their officers
who should have been blamed. “If I had not taken the jewels” (said one
of them) “one of my officers would have taken them.”… “We got from our
leaders” (the others declared) “the order to pillage the houses.”



At this point we shall give our conclusions. We think it necessary to
establish the degrees of responsibility for the above attested facts:
and the reader will think it right for us to add some precise mention of
the authors of the facts. The omission of such a chapter would have the
effect of helping to keep our indignation in the air, and thus leaving
for objects of the blame contained in it only some multitudes of persons,
amongst whom our indictment would be diluted and dispersed. Not that we
desire to take away from the German people as such the responsibility
which attaches to them, but we desire to add some names thereto.

The first responsible party whom we must mention is the German nation,
and explicitly the German army judged by its private soldiers. It is upon
the German private soldier, indisputably, that the shame of what we have
just read recoils. It was the private soldiers who committed the greater
part of the crimes which we have noticed: they were the principal authors
of these crimes. But it must be added that the leaders consistently
encouraged them. In several instances they acted on explicit instructions
from officers, and even from generals.


At the beginning of this book we noted the fatal teachings of the most
famous military writers of Germany, writers who formed the war-school in
which was developed the military spirit of the officers of 1914. These
teachings were theories of war carried on in defiance of international
law. The putting to death of captured soldiers and defenceless civilians
is latent in such doctrines.

If, then, we wish to sum up in a word the system practised by German
officers, during the course of a war which is still in progress, we
may describe it as the system _of terrorising the enemy on the plea of
military necessity_.

German officers showed themselves liberal in their estimate of the
urgency, extent, and oftener still of the bare existence of such
necessity. Therein we find the source of so many cowardly cruelties and
crimes. “War! it is war,” they say. As the French Commission of Inquiry
observes, for all their exactions, even for all their crimes, there was
no redress; and if any unfortunate dared to beg an officer to deign
to intervene and spare his life, or protect his property, he received
no other reply, if he was not met with threats, than this invariable
formula, accompanied by a smile and ascribing to the inevitable disasters
of war the most cruel atrocities.

The German officer, therefore, has made himself responsible for the
cruelties that have been committed: (1) either by ordering them or
suggesting them to his subalterns or his men; (2) or by himself
performing them: (3) or, finally, by tolerating them when they were
committed under his eyes, or by not punishing the guilty when he was
informed about their crime. By acting in one of these three ways the
German officer has justified the English writer who uttered the following
judgment of the conduct of the Germans in 1870: “The world at least is
indebted to the Germans for having thrown light upon war … in which the
soldier, the thief and the assassin can hardly be distinguished” (J. A.
Farrer, _Military Manners and Customs_, chap. iv., p. 119). It is true,
and we cannot avoid saying so, that in the present war the German officer
has shown an essentially criminal mind. And we now make this accusation,
which we have established by facts; our investigations, and the profound
study which we have made of the subject, allow us completely to justify
the declaration of the French Commission of Inquiry, “the higher command,
up to its most exalted personalities, will bear before the world the
crushing responsibility of crimes committed by the German army.”


We shall mention here the names of the officers in question. But we must,
above all, begin with the princes in whose name so many outrages have
been committed.

    1. _The Emperor William II._ In a speech addressed to his
    troops, on the eve of the battle of the Vistula, the Emperor
    William himself uttered these words, which form as it were
    the savage programme of all the atrocities that have been
    committed: “Woe to the conquered. The conqueror knows no mercy.”

    2. _The Emperor Franz Joseph._ In an Imperial order, which
    includes instructions to the Austrian soldiers in the war
    against the Serbs, the Emperor Franz Joseph depicts the latter
    as “moved by a savage hatred against the Austrians. They
    deserve,” (he said) “no consideration either of humanity or of
    chivalry.” By the terms of this order all francs-tireurs who
    were captured were to be put to death.

    3. _Prince Eitel-Frederic_, son of the Emperor of Germany. The
    Prince stayed for eight days in a château near Liège. The owner
    was present. Under the eyes of his hosts the Prince had all the
    dresses packed up which he found in the chests of the mistress
    of the house and her daughters.

    4. _The Duke of Brunswick._ The Prince took part in the pillage
    of the same château, near Liège.

    5. _Marshal von Hindenburg_, commander-in-chief of the Imperial
    troops in East Prussia. This marshal ordered that the bread
    found in this province, which had been soaked with petrol,
    should serve as food for Russian prisoners.

    6. _Marshal von der Goltz_, military governor of Belgium. In a
    notice signed by him and posted up on the 5th October, 1914, at
    Brussels, the marshal decreed the penalty of death against the
    inhabitants, whether guilty or not, in places near which the
    telegraph wires had been cut or the railway destroyed.

    7. _General von Bülow_, commander-in-chief of the Second German
    army. This general ordered the first bombardment of Reims:
    on the 22nd August, after the sack of Ardennes, he had the
    following notice posted up: “It was with my consent that the
    general-in-chief had the whole locality burnt and that about
    a hundred persons were shot.” On the 25th August, at Namur,
    another proclamation from his hand read as follows: “Belgian
    and French soldiers must be given up as prisoners of war before
    four o’clock, before the prison. Citizens who do not obey will
    be sentenced to forced labour for life in Germany. A strict
    inspection of houses will begin at four o’clock. _Every soldier
    found will be immediately shot._ Arms, powder, dynamite, must
    be given up at four o’clock. _The penalty for default will be
    a fusillade_. All the streets will be occupied by a German
    guard, who will take ten hostages in every street. _If any
    outbreak takes place in the street, the ten hostages will be

    8. The Austrian _General Horschstein_, commander of the 6th
    army corps operating against the Serbians. He is the author
    of the following order, issued on the 14th August at Rouma:
    “Seeing the hostile attitude of the inhabitants of Klenak and
    Chabatz, we must, in all Serbian localities which have either
    been occupied or will be occupied, take hostages who will be
    kept close to our troops. _In cases where the inhabitants
    commit any offence, or make any attack, or are guilty of any
    treachery, the hostages will immediately be put to death and
    the locality ravaged by fire. The headquarters staff alone has
    the right to fire any locality situate in our territory._ This
    order will be published by the civil authorities.”

    9. _General Heeringen_, commander of the German army of
    Champagne. He continued the bombardment of Reims, and was the
    cause of the destruction of the cathedral.

    10. _General Klauss_, was the cause of the butcheries at
    Gerbeviller and Traimbois.

    11. _General Forbender_, the author of the monstrous and
    inhuman proclamation by which Lunéville found itself mulcted in

    12 and 13. _General Durach_ and the _Prince of Wittenstein_,
    commanders of the Wurtemburg troops and Uhlans during the
    burning of Clermont in Argonne.

    14. The Baden _General Fabricius_. He emptied the cellars of

    15. _General de Seydewitz._ He was present, and did not
    interfere to prevent it, at the pillage of Châlons-sur-Marne,
    ordered by one of his subalterns.

    16. _General Heindrich_, commander of the German troops at
    Lille, who, by exorbitant requisitions, reduced the population
    of this town to starvation, and made away with the appeal for
    help which the mayor of Lille, on his own advice, had addressed
    to the President of the Swiss Republic.

    17. _General Stenger_, commander of a brigade in France, who
    issued the well-known order of the day giving instructions to
    kill the wounded and to execute prisoners of war.

    18. _Lieutenant-general Nisher._ He demanded of the little town
    of Wavre the exorbitant war-contribution of 3,000,000 francs,
    which General Bülow had imposed. “The town of Wavre will be
    burnt and destroyed if payment is not made in good time,
    without respect of persons—_the innocent will suffer with the

    19. _General Sixtus of Arnim_, commander of the 4th German army
    corps, who mulcted the town of Brussels and the province of
    Brabant in the monstrous contribution of 500,000,000 francs.

    20. _General von Bissing_, commander of the 7th German army
    corps, who, in a proclamation to his troops in Belgium, told
    them that when “civilians take upon them to fire on us, the
    _innocent must suffer with the guilty_”; that “the German
    authorities have on several occasions in their instructions
    to the troops said that _human life must not be spared in
    repressing such acts_”; that “it is doubtless regrettable that
    houses, flourishing villages, and even whole towns should be
    destroyed, but this must not cause us to be carried away by
    feelings of misplaced pity. _All that is not worth the life of
    a single German soldier._”

    21. _General de Doehm_, commander of the 9th German army corps.
    When an American journalist of _The World_ and Mr. Gibson,
    secretary of the United States Embassy at Brussels, told him
    they had seen the bodies of mutilated women and children
    at Louvain, this general replied that such incidents were
    “_inevitable in street fighting_.” The American journalist
    remarked that a woman’s body had the feet and hands cut off;
    that of an old man showed twenty-two bayonet thrusts in the
    face; that an old man’s body had been found hanging by his
    hands to the beams of his house, and that he had been burnt
    alive by lighting a fire underneath him. All that General de
    Doehm could say was that he was not responsible.

    22. _Baron Merbach_, who, with Prince Eitel and the Duke of
    Brunswick, took part in looting a château near Liège.

    23. The _Duke of Gronau_. After the château of Villers, Notre
    Dame, in Belgium, had been occupied by his headquarters he
    himself caused the following to be taken and sent to Germany:
    146 sets of cutlery, 236 silver-gilt spoons, 3 gold watches, 9
    savings-bank deposit books, 1500 bottles of wine, 62 hens, 32
    ducks, evening clothes, works of art, and a quantity of baby

    24 and 25. _Count Zichy_ and _Baron Sardas_, who presided over
    the pillage from the estate, château, and farm of M. Budny, in
    South Prussia, of property to the value of 100,000 roubles.

    26. _Colonel Goeppel_, Professor at the Academy of War in
    Berlin, who compelled the Lille “Croix” to pay a sum of 150,000
    francs for calling the German army “a flood of Teutons.”

    27. _Colonel Zollern_, commandant of the Imperial Army at
    Tchenstokhova in Poland, which he ordered to be pillaged and
    destroyed, in proof of which we have the text of the following
    proclamation made on his arrival into this town: “Houses and
    quarters of the town the inhabitants of which are suspected of
    hostile acts towards the army will immediately be pulled down
    and destroyed. Women and children will not be allowed to leave
    these houses.”

    28. _Lieutenant-colonel Preuster_, commandant at Kalich, in
    Poland, who ordered the massacres and destruction of the town.

    29. _Colonel Hannapel_, commander of the 8th Bavarian regiment,
    who gave the order to burn down the village of Nomény.

    30. _Modeiski_, major of the German cuirassiers, who gave
    explicit instructions to hang all the Cossacks who were taken

    31. The Hanoverian _Lieutenant von Halden_, who was found
    carrying dum-dum bullets.

    32. _Captain Curtins_, commander of the 3rd company of the
    112th German infantry regiment, who gave the order to make no
    more wounded prisoners.

    33. _Commandant de Schaffenberg._ A French lieutenant whom
    he found lying wounded on the field of battle in Louvain was
    robbed by him of 250 francs in gold. The commandant threatened
    the wounded man with his revolver. The French officer’s
    orderly, who was lying wounded at his side, was also robbed.

    34. _Major von Mehring_, commandant at Valenciennes, who
    declared in a proclamation: “I have destroyed the whole town.
    _The ancient town of Vichies, a place of 5000 inhabitants, no
    longer exists._ The houses, town hall, and church have been

    35. _Major de Honved_, in command of the 22nd Hungarian
    regiment, operating against the Russians. Addressing the
    recruits, he said: “When you have penetrated into Russia,
    _grant no quarter and no mercy to old men, women, and children
    even if unborn_.”

    36. _Lieutenant-colonel Blegen_, who ordered the massacres and
    sack of Dinant.

    37. _Major Botzwitz_, who ordered his troops to kill the
    wounded and murder prisoners of war.

    38. _Major Manteuffel_, who ordered the destruction of Louvain
    and the horrible atrocities committed in it.

    39. _Major Sommerfeld_, who ordered the destruction of Termonde
    (in Belgium).

    40. _Major Müller_, who ordered the destruction of

    41 and 42. _Baron von Waldersee_ and _Major Ledebur_, who
    broke open the writing-desks and jewel-cases of the château of

    43. _Major von Bülow_, who ordered the massacres and
    destruction of Aerschot.

    44. _Major Dreckmann._ In a proclamation under date 6th
    September (Guvegnee, Belgium): “The life of hostages
    depends on whether the inhabitants remain peaceful under
    all circumstances”; and that, if the first hostages are not
    replaced in forty-eight hours by others, _the hostage runs the
    risk of death_, and whoever does not obey the command “Lift
    your arms!” is punishable with the penalty of death.

    45. _Commandant Chrenzer_, of the 26th Austro-Hungarian
    regiment, operating against the Serbians, who himself massacred
    prisoners and peasants who were brought to him.

    46. _Commandant Reimond_, of the 13th Austro-Hungarian corps,
    operating against the Serbians, who authorised the massacre of
    twenty-four peasants, the most part of them old folk of both

    47 and 48. The commandants of the 11th and 4th detachments
    operating against the Serbians, who ordered their soldiers to
    annihilate everything Serbian.

    49 and 50. _Commandant Zerfert_, of the 25th regiment, and
    _Captain Zfail_, of the 37th Austrian regiment, who caused
    houses in Serbia to be fired.

    51 and 52. _Captain Kozda_, of the 79th regiment, and _Captain
    Vouitch_, of the 21st Austrian regiment, who treated every
    Serbian soldier on the third conscript list as a franc-tireur
    and had him shot.

    53. _Captain Zirgow_, who authorised the pillage of Albert in

    54. The German officer, _Walter Bloem_, who was entrusted with
    the task of making an inquiry in Belgium (see the _Cologne
    Gazette_ of the 10th February, 1915), and who confessed without
    any sense of shame that all that had happened was part of a
    system, the principle of which was that “the whole community
    to which a culprit belonged must pay the penalty, and that the
    innocent must suffer in their stead, not because a crime has
    been committed, but in order that a crime may not be committed

    55. _Lieutenant Bertich_, 29th Austro-Hungarian regiment
    operating against the Serbs, who killed at Lasnitza seven
    innocent peasants.

    56. _Lieutenant Eberlein_, who, in the _Münchener Neueste
    Nachrichten_ told the story of the monstrous treachery to which
    he resorted to get into Saint Dié—viz. using civilians as a
    screen for his troops.

The above are German generals and officers whose names are known to us.
There are many others. But the impossibility of naming them all does not
prevent us from holding up to the execration of the civilised world, by
printing their names here, those whom the reports supplied to us have

In addition to the two emperors, there are two marshals, four generals,
six princes and nobles, five colonels, sixteen commandants and majors,
thirteen other subaltern officers, written on the picture of horror,
which we have sketched, and of which they and the whole of the German
people are the individual and responsible authors.

Is “German militarism” alone responsible? We say _the German people_, for
it would be a mistake not to recognise as the authors of these crimes
merely the army which performed them, the officers who tolerated them,
approved them or ordered them—in a word, only the German military element
known as “militarism.” For this militarism is in very truth the offspring
of the whole nation, as well as of causes which have nothing military
about them—to wit, the teaching in the universities, which has been
shaping it for a hundred years.

The cult of force which to the German is the cult of brutal force imposed
without mercy, goes down to the very roots of his thought. This must not
be confounded with the spirit of violence to which, at all ages of the
world, barbarian conquerors have given way. This cult proceeds from the
fact that Germany considers herself the only nation worthy of the name,
as _the_ people _par excellence_ upon whom, by law of nature, devolves
the management of the modern world, around which it is the historic and
philosophic duty of Europe to rally until absorbed in it, and until
the civilised world is only one vast Germany in fact. When the German
declares that force is superior to right, he does not mean force in
itself, any force whatever, but his own force, which is right.

Such are the notions taught by the members of the German cabinet, by its
professors, by the universities of Berlin, Munich, Halle, and Bonn for
one hundred years. Such is the teaching promulgated in Fichte’s famous
“Addresses to the German Nation,” uttered in 1808. We shall easily
understand that a nation which incarnates in itself all law, all history,
all the future, all rational truth, all philosophic influence, hardly
needs to think of the means by which it puts itself forward. From the
relative point of view of human interest, as from the impartial point of
view of eternal ideas, one thing alone matters and that is that Germany
should triumph, and that Germanism should grow.

To this there is only need to add one point, that this perverted
refinement of thought, this sophism, grows and is developed among a
nation which is brutal and barbarous among all others, so that the
inclinations of flesh and blood are in it ready to respond to the
suggestions of a corrupt philosophy. In Germany the sophist unchains the
beast: the man of letters lets slip the barbarian, or, as was forcibly
said by Hugo, an old admirer of Germany, when he had become enlightened
by the sinister glare of the events of 1870, _the pedant is the ally of
the trooper_. The fusion of these two elements, the intimate union of
German thought and of its military counterpart, welding together the
whole of the classes intermediate between them: in a word, that is to
say, the whole of Germany—all this must not be forgotten in any just
appraisement of the foregoing events. So we see that in fact all Germany
approves the actions of which we have just told the story, and the German
intellectuals have taken the course of identifying themselves with them
in their well-known but shameful “appeal to the civilised world.”


The _theoretic responsibility_ for German cruelties, therefore, falls
upon the military writers of Germany directly; but fundamentally, and
probing more deeply, upon her professors, historians, and philosophers.
Then come the heads of the army, who were the first to carry out these

But the _verdict of mankind_ condemns the whole of Germany; for all her
citizens, from the highest to lowest, appear in the eyes of the world,
which was at first amazed and then indignant, as identifying themselves
with the work of devastation, murder, pillage, and cowardice by which,
in the judgment of history, the war that Germany launched upon the world
will be noted.

We, at least, who are neutral of nationality and impartial in judgment,
lump them all together, in the feeling of contempt and of disgust which
they have roused in our indignant breast, and in the stern but just
judgment which our reason, bitterly disappointed as it has been, has
meted out to them.



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