时隔十七载 再战小汤山

类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2021-01-25 09:54:24


Dinant offered a terrible sight; it no longer existed. On foot, of course, we walked along the place where a large shop once stood, but one could not even distinguish where the road had been. Not one street was left, and the few houses that were saved are not in the centre of the town. On a slope on the left bank of the Meuse there had been two large monasteries, which had been turned into hospitals. They had been wrecked completely by gun-fire, and as if in bitter mockery at the cruel fate, the Red Cross flags flew there still undamaged.The German authority left indeed no effort untried to cover up their atrocious action. Already in a communication from Wolff, dated August 29th, they attempted to violate the truth by asserting that:鈥"Whilst some soldiers committed these murders, others looted and wrecked the houses, smashed the safes or blew them up with dynamite. They forced their way into the Banque Centrale de la Meuse, seized the manager, Mr. Xavier Wasseige, and called upon him to open the safe. As he refused to do so, they tried to force it open, but in vain. Thereupon they took Mr. Wasseige and his two eldest sons to the Place d'Armes, where they and 120 of their fellow-citizens were shot by means of a mitrailleuse. The youngest three children of Mr. Wasseige were held by soldiers and forced to attend the slaughter of their father and brothers. We were also informed that one of the young Wasseiges lay dying for an hour and nobody dared to come to his assistance.

There is much in Mr. Mokveld's narrative to interest the historian. For example, he gives a 6 fuller account than we have yet had of that obscure period when Li猫ge had fallen, but its northern forts were still holding out. But it is less a history of the campaign than a chronicle of those lesser incidents of war which reveal the character of the combatants. No more crushing indictment of German methods has been issued, the more crushing since it is so fair and reasonable. The author has very readily set down on the credit side any act of German humanity or courtesy which he witnessed or heard of. But the credit side is meagre and the black list of crimes portentous. Episodes like the burning of Vis茅 and the treatment of British prisoners in the train at Landen would be hard to match in history for squalid horror.Not a single person was seen on the road, and everything went well until we got to the village of Veldwezelt. Suddenly, quite unexpectedly, a violent rifle fire and a continued whistling of bullets was heard from the neighbourhood of a house close by. Although the soldiers later on asserted to the contrary, I was sure that the firing did not come from the house, but from some underwood near by."What do you want here鈥攚hat are you here for?"

"Well, sir, I wanted to follow, as far as the German Authorities desire to allow it, the movements of the German armies, in order to give reliable information to the Netherland public, who take a great interest in your progress."Before leaving we went back to the hotel for breakfast. There鈥攊t was a first-class hotel鈥攖hey gave us an apology for coffee, without milk or sugar, and two flimsy pieces of bread, as hard as wood and as black as shoe-polish. I was intensely hungry, and as nowhere at Charleroi anything else could be had, I did my best with the wooden bread and succeeded in washing it down with much chewing and jawing. But the sweet, hard stuff did not suit my digestion, and I felt ill already when at six o'clock we got into the motor-car and left for Dinant.In order to give the reader some idea of the fearful things that happened at Dinant, I insert163 here some quotations from the reports drawn up by the Belgian Inquiry Committee about the Violations of International Law, of which I can affirm the truth word for word, because they are identical with the information that I got myself at Dinant.

"I refuse to sell 'bikes' to Germans.""Is that so? Well, it is not very clear! And that little girl?"The hussar who was first hit, died later on. The other appeared to be only slightly wounded in the arm.

The next morning was Sunday, and the bells summoned the people to church. But nobody went, nobody dared to appear in the street, although prayer-book and rosary are always in everybody's hands during these days. I had decided to go to the second Mass, but as nobody had come to the first, there was no second. The Dean himself said that the people were quite right not to come to church. The previous Sunday the Germans, who had entered Lanaeken suddenly, had posted themselves in front of the church, where the believers attended Holy Mass, and ordered the women and children to leave the church, but the men to stay. When all the women and children had left, the Germans entered the building and ... found not a single man, for all had left quickly by the back door. A veritable battue was held in the whole district for185 lads and young men, who were all taken away as prisoners by the Germans, because during the last few days great numbers had escaped to the north and enlisted as volunteers in the army.Mr. van Wersch denied this of course, but nevertheless they took him to Bilsen in the motor-car. There he was searched once more, the Netherland letters he had with him were taken away, as also 1,800 francs. But when he was released they gave him back the money.At Andenne things seemed much worse than at Huy. I stopped there on my way to Namur, and had been prepared in Li猫ge for the sad things I should hear. A proclamation posted in the last-named town ran as follows:鈥

On one of the hills, slightly to the south of Haccourt, on the west bank of the Meuse and the canal, a German battery was firing at Fort Pontisse. The gunners there were quite kind, and they felt no fear at all, for although they shelled the fort continuously, it seemed that nothing was done by way of reply to their fire. The shells from the fort flew hissing over our heads, in the direction of Lixhe, which proved that Fort Pontisse was still chiefly busy with the pontoon-bridge at that place.As I passed a Red Cross Hospital, partly spared, I noticed a Flemish doctor, who first looked at me from the door held ajar, and then came nearer; a strapping young fellow with a black beard. After I had made myself known as a Netherlander, he was clearly surprised, and it seemed as though he had a lot to ask or to tell. I expected to hear a torrent of abuse against the Huns, who had destroyed everything, and murdered so many innocent119 people, or a lament about the valuable treasures of the library, which also had not been spared; but no, other thoughts occupied his mind. With a slightly trembling voice he asked:Five minutes later the smoke had disappeared almost, and I was able to see what had happened on the field in front of me. Terrible! On all sides lay scattered the lads, who but a short time ago started with so much enthusiasm, and here and there a gun knocked over, five, six corpses lying around it.

I woke up in the morning, and when going downstairs saw that the doors of all the rooms stood open, and everything inside was in great disorder. In the caf茅 tables and chairs were overturned, and broken looking-glasses lay on the floor. The front door was also open, and I walked away.Whether neutral or foreigner, no one could help being deeply moved. Men and women, boys and girls, pressed once more through the German fence, just to shake hands with someone they had recognised. No wailing followed, but when hands were gripped, with a suppressed sob, they said:He stated that the cause of the destruction was the necessity of punishment, because Belgian soldiers in civilian dress had stayed behind in Louvain, waiting to attack the German army from behind at the first favourable opportunity. They thought that their chance had come when for a short time the German troops had to be withdrawn from the fortified camp of Antwerp to take their share in a122 fight near Louvain. Von Manteuffel thought that by attacking the troops in the town the Belgians hoped to prevent the Louvain garrison from assisting their comrades.

I had to walk along the very edge of the unstable bridge in order to avoid the wheels of the passing carriages, which shook the whole bridge and made the rather loose boards clatter. In the meantime, at no considerable distance, some shells fell in the Meuse, fired at the bridge from Fort Pontisse. Yet, I did not mind it at all, as all these new experiences stunned me, so to speak; the incessant hellish noises of the batteries, the burning houses, the smoke swooping down, the excited soldiers....I couldn't say more, my voice stuck in my throat.He did not seem to mind much the destruction of the Halls with their world-famous wealth of books; anyway he spoke about it in an unconcerned tone. But he seemed to attach great importance to the safety of the town-hall. He said that when the buildings adjoining the town-hall began to burn, he had them blown up in order to keep the fire away from the beautiful monument.

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240 It was very interesting, because a humble private had been buried by his side.Never thinking of rest he went on day and night, taking away the poor fellows' arms and legs, and all this by the miserable light of some candles. Gas and electricity were not to be had, the works being idle after the destruction of the town....So we went from street to street, without any result. He rang the bell at many houses where he knew that acquaintances lived, but always in vain, and at last the kind man had to give it up.

But as soon as these "tender-foots" came alongside our train and were not met with the same impetuous enthusiasm as they displayed themselves, but, on the contrary, saw sick, discouraged, exhausted faces gazing at them distressedly, their boisterousness suddenly extinguished, and a nervous, terrified expression pursed up their mouths. And the trains were already at some distance from each other before the young soldiers remembered that they ought to shout and to wave to those who had already done so much for the Fatherland."Great German defeat at Libramont鈥攏ine thousand prisoners taken."Many shops were closed on account of lack of stock, as everything had been requisitioned, and as yet no traffic was allowed to bring in fresh pro109visions. All this bother made the inhabitants discontented, but frightened them at the same time; they grumbled and whispered, and looked about with malicious, flaming eyes, but in mortal fear.




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