THE GERMANS IN BELGIUM
[To play the part of unwilling hostess to Gorman invaders of her country' and homo has been the lot of a BelgiajT lady living near the Dutch frontier. Ir. Setters to an English friend this lady tells a vivid story of the plight of her country as Been- by an educated native still braving the dangers which, beset everything Belgian. These letters, extracts of which we append, show, too, the. hatred of German officers for Britain, and their faith of securing vengeance by some miraculous power.] (From a letter dated October 10.)
On August- 6 father was called to A.ntwerp direct. He was proud and happy to be of some use, but that left mother alone with live children. Every day the most ’horrible news came to us, but we hoped to be spared, l>eing on the frontier- oi Dutch Limburg and not on the immediate line of advance.
My uncle escaped hero from Vise, andtold us that the Germans there drank till they were quite senseless, then Quarrelled, shot their officers, and at once accused the inhabitants.
That was the signal; at once the streets were filled with soldiers shooting, who setfire to the houses, killed the men and toys, violated the women and girls, and. pillaged everywhere. The same procedure takes place everywhere. My uncle saw his church burned, and was taken as a- hostage for six weeks into the German camp, where he was treated abominably, fed out of a filthy bucket, and slept in rotted hay. The soldiers and officer's would come and spit in his face, dying at him “ Pig, hypocrite!” He was set free, thanks to the good offices of the Consul of M (in Holland). The stories of these happenings spread, panic here, and on August 21, when the Germans approached •, we all prepared to flee. One thousand five hundred came with machine guns, which, they placed on the market square—the commander asked for 50 cows, two motor vans, etc. The burgomaster protested that the. town was small and poor and the things could not tofound.
The answer wa«i ‘‘l give yon 20 minutes, otherwise you'll all he prisoners.” The poor burgomaster rushed round the neighboring villages to find what ho could. Of course they pay for nothing, except with receipts on which they wrote: “ Jekauft eine kn.h—Fchein ; gut fur zwoi kussei des Konigs Albert.” (Bought one cow. This is payable with two kisses of King Albert.) —Daughter- Canned Off.—
Our cousin's house was destroyed; the Germans searching among tho ruins found two old cartridges. They immediately accused our cousin of firing of them, and decided to shoot him and bis son of 15, and carried o!Y his daughter of 20. Wo cannot find out what has become of bar. After this wc had to lice to Holland, where, wo spent a, fortnight in a convent. Hearing the Germans had left wo had come back, only to bo forced to flee again on. Monday last, and wore harbored by Dutch farmers near ; on the road. we. met my father returning from Antwerp. All non-combatants have been ordered out of the city. .Mother and the servant had remained in our house, hoping that, their presence would save- it from pillage, for once a house is abandoned everything is destroyed in it-. —To Conquer England.— (From a, letter dated, October 16.) We arc nearly ill with grief at (he ovents of the past days-. -And how long will all this last? Tho population is dying of hunger, especially in tho big towns. The anger of Hie people- is growing terrible, and any day may burst into revolt. The German flag everywhere-; trains and trams being run for their benefit; letters stamped “Deutches Reich.” It did mo good to read in your letter that you in England still have some hope. We have lost ours. Misfortune, and. fury make us unjust, maybe; but Antwerp has made us despair. Ycstevday 2,000 Gormans came back to I - I hind, and thought we could at least die and put an end to it all. They' were billeted on the town. Think of us having three? officers—a Bavarian, a Hanoverian, and a Hamburger sitting down to dinner! It needs courage indeed to receive them. But refusal would he; death.
1 must- .say they behaved well. They told us that wo were absurd to blame thorn for Just taking their rights, and gave us the latest news —that they are victorious everywhere—Belgium is theirs, for e.vcr. to he included in tin; German federation, with a new king. France is about to bo vanquished ; Belfort is about to fall ; tho battle of the Aisne was their victory, and France is going to have such a. war indemnity that .she will have no thought of war for another century. Russia, useless to ea-y, is lost, having no organisation.
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THE GERMANS IN BELGIUM, Evening Star, Issue 15693, 6 January 1915