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[Sidenote: 19]

On the evening of August 25th a sudden change took place. The Germans,
on that day repulsed by the Belgians, had retreated to and re-occupied
Louvain. Immediately the devastation of that city and the destruction
by fire of its population began.


_Defeated Germans Revenge themselves on Civilians._

[Sidenote: 19]

The inference is irresistible that the Army as a whole wreaked its
vengeance on the civilian population and the buildings of the city in
revenge for the setback which the Belgian arms had inflicted on them.
A subsidiary cause alleged was the assertion, often made before, that
civilians had fired upon the German Army.

The depositions which relate to Louvain are numerous, and are believed
by the Committee to present a true and fairly complete picture of the
events of August 25th and 26th and subsequent days.


_Civilians did not Fire._

[Sidenote: 19]

The Committee find no grounds for thinking that the inhabitants fired
upon the German Army on the evening of August 25th. Eye-witnesses
worthy of credence detail exactly when, where and how the firing
commenced. Such firing was by Germans on Germans. No impartial tribunal
could, so the Committee think, come to any other conclusion.


_Harried Villagers._

[Sidenote: 21]

The massacre of civilians at Louvain was not confined to its citizens.
Large crowds of people were brought into Louvain from the surrounding
districts.... Of the hundreds of people taken from the various villages
and brought to Louvain as prisoners, some were massacred there, others
were forced to march along with citizens of Louvain through various
places, some being ultimately sent on the 29th to the Belgian lines at
Malines, others were taken in trucks to Cologne, others were released.


_A Calculated Policy of Cruelty._

[Sidenote: 23]

The Committee are driven to the conclusion that the harrying of the
villages in the district, the burning of a large part of Louvain, the
massacres there, the marching out of the prisoners, and the transport
to Cologne - all done without enquiry as to whether the particular
persons seized or killed had committed any wrongful act - were due to
a calculated policy carried out scientifically and deliberately, not
merely with the sanction but under the direction of higher military
authorities, and were not due to any provocation or resistance by the
civilian population.


_The Tragedy of Beautiful Dinant._

[Sidenote: 13]

Just outside the prison one witness saw three lines of bodies, which he
recognised as being those of neighbours. They were nearly all dead, but
he noticed movement in some of them. There were about 120 bodies....
Unarmed civilians were killed in masses at other places near the
prison. About 90 bodies were seen lying on the top of one another in a
grass square opposite the convent. They included many relatives of a
witness.... It is stated that, beside the 90 corpses referred to above,
60 corpses of civilians were recovered from a hole in the brewery yard,
and that 48 bodies of women and children were found in a garden.

* * * * *

The Committee have no reason to believe that the civilian population
of Dinant gave any provocation, or that any other defence can be put
forward to justify the treatment inflicted upon its citizens.

As regards this town and the advance of the German Army from Dinant
to Rethel on the Aisne, a graphic account is given in the diary of a
Saxon officer. This diary confirms what is clear from the evidence
as a whole both as regards these and other districts - that civilians
were constantly taken as prisoners, often dragged from their homes
and shot under the direction of the authorities without any charge
being made against them. An event of the kind is thus referred to in
a diary entry: "Apparently 200 men were shot. There must have been
some innocent men amongst them. In future we shall have to hold an
enquiry as to their guilt instead of shooting them." The shooting of
inhabitants - women and children as well as men - went on after the
Germans had passed Dinant on their way into France.


Further Examples of the Treatment of Civilians.

[Sidenote: 9]

Entries in a German diary show that on August 19th the German soldiers
gave themselves up to debauchery in the streets of Liège, and on the
night of the 20th (Thursday) a massacre took place in the streets....
The Belgian witnesses vehemently deny that there had been any
provocation given, some stating that many German soldiers were drunk,
others giving evidence which indicates that the affair was planned
beforehand. It is stated that at 5 o'clock in the evening, long before
the shooting, a citizen was warned by a friendly German soldier not to
go out that night.

Though the cause of the massacre is in dispute, the results are known
with certainty.... Many inhabitants were burnt alive in their houses,
their efforts to escape being prevented by rifle fire. Twenty people
were shot while trying to escape, before the eyes of one of the
witnesses.... Thirty-two civilians were killed on that day, the 21st,
in the Place de l'Université alone.

[Sidenote: 20]

_Louvain._ - On August 26th (Wednesday) massacre, fire and destruction
went on.... Citizens were shot and others taken prisoners.

Soldiers went through the streets saying "Man hat geschossen." ("They
have been shooting.") One soldier was seen going along shooting in
the air.... Some citizens were shot on opening the doors, others in
endeavouring to escape.

[Sidenote: 21]

These prisoners [civilians] were practically without food from early
morning on the 26th until midnight on the 29th. Of the corpses seen
on the road some had their hands tied behind their backs, others were
burnt, some had been killed by blows.

"I did not dare to look at the dead bodies in the street, there were so
many of them."

[Sidenote: 23]

"The officers were worse than the men.... We had had nothing to eat or
drink since the evening of the day before. A few compassionate soldiers
gave us water to drink, but no official took the trouble to see that we
were fed."

[Sidenote: 24]

_Louvain_ (German soldier's diary - No. 32). - "180 inhabitants are
stated to have been shot after they had dug their own graves."

[Sidenote: 11]

_Surice._ - On August 24th and 25th massacres were carried out in which
many persons belonging to the professional classes as well as others
were killed.

[Sidenote: 11]

_Namur_ was entered on August 24th. The troops signalised their entry
by firing on a crowd of 150 unarmed, unresisting civilians, 10 alone of
whom escaped.... As the inhabitants fled from the burning houses they
were shot by the German troops.

[Sidenote: 11]

In _Tamines_, a large village on the Meuse between Namur and Charleroi,
the advance guard of the German Army appeared in the first fortnight
in August, and in this, as well as in other villages in the district,
it is proved that a large number of civilians, among them aged people,
women and children, were deliberately killed by the soldiers.

[Sidenote: 21]

_Tirlemont._ - The prisoners, of whom there are said to have been
thousands, were not allowed even to have water to drink, although
there were streams on the way from which the soldiers drank. Witness
was given some milk at a farm, but as she raised it to her lips it was
taken away from her.

[Sidenote: 22]

_Journeys from Louvain to Cologne._ - Some of the trucks were abominably
filthy. Prisoners were not allowed to leave to obey the calls of
nature.... They were, in all, eight days in the train, crowded and
almost without food. Two of the men went mad.

[Sidenote: 23]

_Termonde._ - About 70 prisoners ... were taken to Lebbeke, where there
were in all 300 prisoners, and there they were locked up in the church
for three days and with scarcely any food.

[Sidenote: 23]

_Ermeton_ (Diary No. 19). - The exact translation of the extract, grim
in its brevity, is as follows: "August 24/14. We took about 1,000
prisoners; at least 500 were shot. The village was burnt because
inhabitants had also shot. Two civilians were shot at once."

[Sidenote: 9]

_Wandre_ (Diary of German soldier - Eitel Anders). - "In one house
a whole collection of weapons was found. The inhabitants without
exception were brought out and shot. This shooting was heart-breaking,
as they all knelt down and prayed; but that was no ground for mercy. A
few shots rang out, and they fell back into the green grass and slept
for ever."

[Sidenote: 10]

_Andenne._ - Almost immediately, the slaughter of these inhabitants
began, and continued for over two hours, and intermittently during the
night. Machine guns were brought into play. The German troops were said
to be for the most part drunk, and they certainly murdered and ravaged
unchecked.

[Sidenote: 11]

About 400 people lost their lives in this massacre.... Eight men
belonging to one family were murdered. Another man was placed close to
a machine gun, which was fired through him. His wife brought his body
home on a wheelbarrow. The Germans broke into her house and ransacked
it, and piled up all the eatables in a heap on the floor and relieved
themselves upon it. A hair-dresser was murdered in his kitchen, where
he was sitting with a child on each knee.

[Sidenote: 12]

_Montigny-sur-Sambre._ - On the Monday morning 27 civilians from one
parish alone were seen lying dead in the hospital.

[Sidenote: 12]

At _Monceau-sur-Sambre_, on August 21st, a young man of 18 was shot
in his garden. His father and brother were seized in their house and
shot in the courtyard of a neighbouring country house. The son was shot
first. The father was compelled to stand close to the feet of his son's
corpse and to fix his eyes upon him while he himself was shot.

[Sidenote: 11]

At _Temploux_, on August 23rd, a Professor of Modern Languages at the
College of Namur was shot at his front door by a German officer. Before
he died he asked the officer the reason for this brutality, and the
officer replied that he had lost his temper because some civilians had
fired upon the Germans as they entered the village. This allegation was
not proved.... After the murder the house was burnt.

[Sidenote: 17]

_Elewyt._ - A man's naked body was tied up to a ring in the wall in the
backyard of a house. He was dead, and his corpse was mutilated in a
manner too horrible to record. A woman's naked body was also found in a
stable abutting on the same backyard.

[Sidenote: 24]

Bombardier Wetzel, of the 2nd Mounted Battery, 1st Kurhessian Field
Artillery Regiment, No. 11, records an incident which happened in
French territory near Lille on October 11th: "We had no fight, but we
caught about 20 men and shot them." By this time killing not in a fight
would seem to have passed into a habit.




2. WOMEN MURDERED AND OUTRAGED.


[Sidenote: 30]

From the very first women were not safe. At Liège women and children
were chased about the street by soldiers. One witness gives a story,
very circumstantial in its details, of how women were publicly raped in
the market place of the city, five young German officers assisting.

[Sidenote: 11]

_Tamines._ - A witness describes how he saw the public square littered
with corpses, and after a search found those of his wife and child, a
little girl of 7.

[Sidenote: 24]

_Wetteren Hospital._ - At this hospital was an old woman of 80
completely transfixed by a bayonet.

[Sidenote: 17]

_Sempst._ - Witness saw a girl of 17 dressed only in a chemise and in
great distress. She alleged that she herself and other girls had been
dragged into a field, stripped naked and violated, and that some of
them had then been killed with the bayonet.

[Sidenote: 17]

_Eppeghem._ - On August 25th a pregnant woman who had been wounded with
a bayonet was discovered in the convent. She was dying.

[Sidenote: 19]

_Louvain._ - "In the middle of the night I heard a knock at the outer
door of the stable, which led into a little street, and heard a woman's
voice crying for help. I opened the door, and just as I was going to
let her in, a rifle shot fired from the street by a German soldier rang
out and the woman fell dead at my feet."

[Sidenote: 21]

The wife of a witness ... was separated from him, and she saw other
ladies made to walk before the soldiers with their hands above their
heads. One, an old lady of 85 (name given) was dragged from her cellar
and taken with them to the station.

"I saw the corpses of some women in the street. I fell down, and a
woman who had been shot fell on top of me.... One woman whom I saw
lying dead in the street was a Miss - - about 35. I also saw the body
of - - (a woman). She had been shot. I saw an officer pull her corpse
underneath a wagon."

[Sidenote: 13]

_Dinant._ - He found his wife lying on the floor in a room. She had
bullet wounds in four places, but was alive, and told her husband to
return to the children.

[Sidenote: 30]

Sixty women and children were confined in the cellar of a convent from
Sunday morning till the following Friday (August 28th), sleeping on the
ground, for there were no beds, with nothing to drink during the whole
period, and given no food until the Wednesday, "when somebody threw
into the cellar two sticks of macaroni and a carrot for each prisoner."

[Sidenote: 16]

In _Malines_ itself many bodies were seen. One witness saw a German
soldier cut a woman's breasts after he had murdered her, and saw many
other dead bodies of women in the streets.

[Sidenote: 16]

_Gelrode._ - A woman was shot by some German soldiers as she was walking
home. This was done at a distance of 100 yards, and for no apparent
reason.

[Sidenote: 17]

_Hofstade._ - The corpse of a woman was seen at the blacksmith's. She
had been killed with the bayonet.... Two young women were lying in the
backyard of the house. One had her breasts cut off, the other had been
stabbed.... In the garden of a house in the main street bodies of two
women were observed.

[Sidenote: 30]

_Campenhout_ [Statement of a valet]. - "One of the officers ... putting
a revolver to my mistress' temple shot her dead. The officer was
obviously drunk. The other officers continued to drink and sing, and
they did not pay great attention to the killing of my mistress. The
officer who shot my mistress then told my master to dig a grave and
bury my mistress. My master and the officer went into the garden, the
officer threatening my master with a pistol. My master was then forced
to dig the grave, and to bury the body of my mistress in it. I cannot
say for what reason they killed my mistress. The officer who did it was
singing all the time."




3. THE MURDER AND ILL-TREATMENT OF CHILDREN.


[Sidenote: 32]

There can be no possible defence for the murder of children.

[Sidenote: 33]

Whether or no Belgian civilians fired on German soldiers, young
children, at any rate, did not fire. The number and character of
these murders constitute the most distressing feature connected with
the conduct of the war so far as it is revealed in the depositions
submitted to the Committee.

[Sidenote: 32]

It is clearly shown that many offences were committed against infants
and quite young children. On one occasion children were even roped
together and used as a military screen against the enemy, on another
three soldiers went into action carrying small children to protect
themselves from flank fire.

[Sidenote: 18]

At _Haecht_ several children had been murdered; one of two or three
years old was found nailed to the door of a farmhouse by its hands and
feet, a crime which seems almost incredible, but the evidence for which
we feel bound to accept. In the garden of this house was the body of a
girl who had been shot in the forehead.

[Sidenote: 18]

_Capelle-au-Bois._ - Two children were murdered in a cart, and their
corpses were seen by many witnesses at different stages of the cart's
journey.

[Sidenote: 11]

_Tamines._ - One witness describes how she saw a Belgian boy of fifteen
shot on the village green, and a day or two later on the same green a
little girl and her two brothers (name given) who were looking at the
German soldiers were killed before her eyes for no apparent reason.

[Sidenote: 17]

_Boort Meerbeek._ - A German soldier was seen to fire three times
at a little girl of five years old. Having failed to hit her, he
subsequently bayoneted her. He was killed with the butt end of a
rifle by a Belgian soldier who had seen him commit this murder from a
distance.

[Sidenote: 17]

_Weerde._ - Two children were killed in a village - apparently
Weerde - quite wantonly as they were standing in the road with their
mother. They were three or four years old, and were killed with the
bayonet.

[Sidenote: 19]

_Eppeghem._ - The dead body of a child of two was seen pinned to the
ground with a German lance.

[Sidenote: 17]

_Hofstade._ - On a side road ... was seen ... the dead body of a boy of
five or six with his hands nearly severed.

[Sidenote: 33]

In _Hofstade_ and _Sempst_, in _Haecht_, _Rotselaar_ and _Wespelaar_,
many children were murdered.

[Sidenote: 21]

_Louvain_ (August 28th). - One woman went mad, some children died,
others were born.... (August 29th, outside Louvain): Some corpses were
those of children who had been shot.

[Sidenote: 30]

_A small village._ - There were two little children - a boy about 4 or
5, and a girl of about 6 or 7. The boy's left hand was cut off at the
wrist and the girl's right hand at the same place. They were both quite
dead.

[Sidenote: 32]

_Malines._ - "One day when the Germans were not actually bombarding the
town, I left my house to go to my mother's house in High Street. My
husband was with me. I saw eight German soldiers, and they were drunk.
They were singing and making a lot of noise and dancing about. As the
German soldiers came along the street I saw a small child, whether boy
or girl I could not see, come out of a house. The child was about 2
years of age. The child came into the middle of the street so as to
be in the way of the soldiers. The soldiers were walking in twos. The
first line of two passed the child. One of the second line, the man
on the left, stepped aside and drove his bayonet with both hands into
the child's stomach, lifting the child into the air on his bayonet and
carrying it away on his bayonet, he and his comrades still singing. The
child screamed when the soldier struck it with his bayonet, but not
afterwards."




4. BRUTAL TREATMENT OF THE AGED, THE CRIPPLED AND THE INFIRM.


[Sidenote: 11]

At _Denée_, on August 28th, a Belgian soldier who had been taken
prisoner saw three civilian fellow-prisoners shot. One was a cripple
and another an old man of 80, who was paralysed. It was alleged by two
German soldiers that these men had shot at them with rifles. Neither of
them had rifles, nor had they anything in their pockets. The witness
actually saw the Germans search them and nothing was found.

[Sidenote: 20]

_Louvain._ - "Subsequently my master - an old gentleman - was bayoneted
and shot."... Among other persons whose houses were burnt was an old
man of 90, lying dangerously ill, who was taken out on his mattress
and left lying in his garden all night. He died shortly after in the
hospital.

[Sidenote: 18]

The journey to Louvain is thus described by a witness: "We were all
marched off to Louvain, walking. There were some very old people,
amongst others a man 90 years of age. The very old people were drawn
in carts and barrows by the younger men. There was an officer with
a bicycle, who shouted, as people fell out by the side of the road,
'Shoot them.'"

[Sidenote: 8]

At _Heure le Romain_ ... some bedridden old men were imprisoned in the
church.

[Sidenote: 11]

_Andenne._ - A paralytic was murdered in his garden.

[Sidenote: 29]

_Beaumetz._ - They saw two old men - between 60 and 70 years of age - and
one old woman lying close to each other in the garden. All three had
the scalps cut right through.... They were still bleeding.




5. THE USE OF CIVILIANS AS SCREENS.


[Sidenote: 33]

The Committee had before them a considerable body of evidence with
reference to the practice of the Germans of using civilians and
sometimes military prisoners as screens from behind which they
could fire upon the Belgian troops, in the hope that the Belgians
would not return the fire for fear of killing or wounding their own
fellow-countrymen.

[Sidenote: 31]

The use of women and even children as a screen for the protection
of the German troops is referred to.... From the number of troops
concerned, it must have been commanded or acquiesced in by officers,
and in some cases the presence and connivance of officers is proved.

[Sidenote: 23]

_Termonde._ - Two hundred civilians were utilised as a screen by the
German troops.

[Sidenote: 24]

_Binnenstraat._ - The civilians were utilised on Saturday, the 26th
September, as a screen.

[Sidenote: 33]

_Mons._ - On August 24th men, women and children were actually pushed
into the front of the German position outside Mons. The witness speaks
of 16 to 20 women, about a dozen children and half a dozen men being
there.

[Sidenote: 34]

At _Tournai_ 400 Belgian civilians - men, women and children - were
placed in front of the Germans, who then engaged the French.

[Sidenote: 34]

At _Ypres_ the Germans drove women in front of them by pricking them
with bayonets. The wounds were afterwards seen by the witness.

[Sidenote: 34]

At _Londerzeel_ 30 or 40 civilians - men, women and children - were
placed at the head of a German column.

One witness from _Termonde_ was made to stand in front of the Germans,
together with others, all with their hands above their heads. Those who
allowed their hands to drop were at once prodded with the bayonet.




6. THE KILLING OF WOUNDED SOLDIERS AND PRISONERS.


[Sidenote: 35]

After making all allowances, there remain certain instances in which it
is clear that quarter was refused to persons desiring to surrender when
it ought to have been given, or that persons already so wounded as to
be incapable of fighting further, were wantonly shot or bayoneted.

[Sidenote: 36]

In one case, given very circumstantially, a witness [a British
lance-corporal, whose evidence has been confirmed by a lieutenant and
a private] tells how a party of wounded British soldiers were left in
a chalk pit, all very badly hurt, and quite unable to make resistance.
One of them, an officer, held up his handkerchief as a white flag, and
this "attracted the attention of a party of about eight Germans. The
Germans came to the edge of the pit. It was getting dusk, but the light
was still good, and everything clearly discernible. One of them, who
appeared to be carrying no arms, and who, at any rate, had no rifle,
came a few feet down the slope into the chalk pit, within eight or ten
yards of some of the wounded men." He looked at the men, laughed, and
said something in German to the Germans who were waiting on the edge
of the pit. Immediately one of them fired at the officer, then three
or four of these 10 soldiers were shot, then another officer, and the
witness, and the rest of them. "After an interval of some time I sat up
and found that I was the only man of the 10 who were living when the
Germans came into the pit remaining alive, and that all the rest were
dead."




7. LOOTING, BURNING AND DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY.


[Sidenote: 34]

There is an overwhelming mass of evidence of the deliberate destruction
of private property by the German soldiers. The destruction, in most
cases, was effected by fire, and the German troops had been provided
beforehand with appliances for rapidly setting fire to houses. Among
the appliances enumerated by witnesses are syringes for squirting
petrol, guns for throwing small inflammable bombs, and small pellets
made of inflammable material. Specimens of the last-mentioned have been
shown to members of the Committee. Besides burning houses the Germans
frequently smashed furniture and pictures; they also broke in doors and
windows. Frequently, too, they defiled houses by relieving the wants of
nature upon the floor. They also appear to have perpetrated the same
vileness upon piled up heaps of provisions, so as to destroy what they
could not themselves consume.

[Sidenote: 25]

Villages, even large parts of a city, were given to the flames as part
of the terrorising policy.

[Sidenote: 35]

The general conclusion is that the burning and destruction of property


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