"The Reverend Head has been notified already ten times that he would be shot, and he is frequently being arrested for alleged shooting from the building. This shooting is actually done by German soldiers alone, who are loafing and looting, as I myself noticed a short time ago. The Head took me to a room where an old man of ninety, who had just received the extreme unction, lay dying. By his side sat a broken-hearted little old woman, his wife. This old man had been taken prisoner with other men of Vis茅, and forced to work at a new bridge. The poor fellow broke down under the strain; it cost him his life."As soon as I heard about the horrors that took place at Louvain, I hastened to try and get there to find out, if possible, by personal observation the truth of the numberless conflicting stories that would undoubtedly grow up from the facts. I expected that the situation round about the town would be rather critical, and decided to proceed cautiously. It is rather a long stretch of nearly forty-five miles, but I succeeded in getting to Louvain in the afternoon.Even a doctor of the Red Cross established at St. Hadelin College had been removed in his white overall and wearing his Red Cross armlet. This was Dr. Labye, who already had rendered signal services to the wounded Germans. In consequence of his detention twenty of them were left in the hospital without medical attendance....
From Ostend I went a few days later to Thourout, a townlet to the north of the centre of the Yser-line. I was accompanied by two Netherland colleagues whom I had met at Bruges. Everything was quiet there; the commander of the naval region, Admiral von Schroeder, had made himself slightly ridiculous, by informing the population in a proclamation that he had ordered the British citizens in the coastal region to leave the country, in order to protect them from their fellow-countrymen of the British fleet, who, by bombarding Ostend, had endangered their lives.A good many soldiers were lying round about the high cement factory of Haccourt. The factory itself seemed to be used as a station for observations, for suddenly a voice roared from a top window: "Stop those people!" And we were stopped and taken to a small table where three officers were sitting drinking wine. The colonel asked for my papers, which he did not consider sufficient, as I had no passport from some German military authority. So I drew out again the bridge-commander's scrap of paper which said that I was permitted to go from Lixhe to Vis茅.Men and young women in the prime of life sat whole days in a chair, or lay abed, because in the most literal sense of the word they were unable to stand on their feet for fear and terror, caused by the incessant menaces.
ON THE YSERMany clerical gentlemen connected with the University had been ill-treated in the most atrocious manner. The architect Lenertz, a native of Luxemburg, also connected with the University, had been shot, for no reason at all, before the eyes of his wife at the moment that he left the house. And Louvain was so effectively cut off from the outer world that in most convents I was asked whether the rumour was true that the Pope was dead! And at that time his successor had already been appointed.A good many refugees were on their way to The Netherlands, but the bulk of the crowd had passed before my visit along the long road which I walked now in the opposite direction. I did not arrive in210 Antwerp before nightfall and was then very tired. The town was dark, dismal, and deserted, and only German soldiers went about in the streets, apparently looking in vain for a shop or caf茅 where they might find some diversion. I myself, exhausted by a walk of twenty-five miles, sauntered along, constantly looking for some place or other to pass the night. Not a shop or hotel was open, and yet my stomach was craving for food, my body for rest. At last I met a policeman and told him of my difficulty.
It was a chilly night, and a dense heavy fog made it impossible to see anything.... My "bed-fellows" raged and fumed at me, saying that I was one of those villains who had treacherously shot at them. I shivered from the cold, and felt, as it were,128 the dampness of the wet stone floor entering my system.I could not help myself, but also pressed through the Germans, as I wanted to exchange a few words with the Belgians. This was possible for a very few moments only, in which they told me that they had been firing night and day in order to harass the Germans who crossed the river, but they had to yield at the end, when the Germans put Belgian civilians in front of themselves when attacking the fort.Afterwards I sauntered through the very quiet little town, until I suddenly saw something quite uncommon, namely two civilians who, like myself, were walking about. When I came near, one of them recited a rhyme:
"'In my report about the occurrence I had not even exposed in all its harshness the treatment dealt out to the French soldiers. For they too were not offered plates of soup, but only the mugs were filled, forming part of their equipment. And there were many who put out these mugs as if supplicating to have them filled once more; as that was not done they constantly put the empty mug to their mouth to try and lick off any remaining drops that might have stuck to its side. Some Germans said: "Yes, the French may have something, for they are soldiers, but those three there, well, they are paid swine."At that dinner I also made the acquaintance of Professor Nerincx, the acting burgomaster. It was a courageous act to assume the government of the town destroyed by the Germans; he did it for the sake of his fellow-citizens, who will never be able to requite their indebtedness to the temporary burgomaster for what he did for them; and most of them do not even know it.
66Beautiful hedges, which had been grown artificially in fine forms for years, fell under the blows of the hatchets. The reason? Before the day was over all hedges, all shrubs, and all trees had to be cut down, or the village would be set on fire. Still shaking and trembling in consequence of the terrors they had experienced during the day, old men, women, and children with red flushed cheeks joined in the work; they had not even taken time to change their Sunday- for their working-day clothes.Even before that, on August 11th I sent a communication, by post or cable (De Tijd, No. 20353), in which the following is found:鈥
CHAPTER XIII"If you don't drink with us you are not our friend." At the same time he beat the ground with his rifle-butt and, willy-nilly, I had to drink.227
During the occupation a war contribution of 150,000 francs in silver had been imposed on Bilsen, although there was hardly any silver left in the place. This punishment was inflicted because Belgian soldiers had destroyed the railway in two places."Here rest 140 soldiers, French, I.R. 36. fell 22.8. R.I.P."That same evening many more houses were burned down, more particularly in Outre-Meuse, although no valid reason was given for that.
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I was not afraid of an inquiry, but asked for it as a matter of fact, by writing in my report:鈥擧ow many soldiers had fallen in consequence of this attack by francs-tireurs he knew not; which troops had witnessed the occurrence he could not say. All he did know was that these troops had left in the morning, leaving a small force behind to impose the punishment.A few minutes after I left the town a scene drew my attention. A lady stood there with a little girl; the lady seemed to urge the child to do something to which it objected. She refused to take a bag full of various small parcels pressed upon her, and clutched hold of the lady's skirts. I wanted to know what was the matter, got a little nearer, and was amazed to hear them both speak Netherland. I could not help asking what the trouble was and whether I might be of service.
"What do you want with him?""Oh, go on!" I answered. "I don't think that I need fear anything of the kind. I am in any case a Netherlander!"From the side of Brussels many soldiers arrived at the station, who had all been wounded near Antwerp.详情
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