« ПретходнаНастави »
world domination, that they think they will soon teach demic world. In the edition in which the place of the Belgians to hate each other by means of this and honor was given to his portrait, we find the following other diversions.
note signed by the editors: The Germans are constantly trying to set the Bel- “Professor Henri Pirenne, of Ghent, the famous gians at variance with each other—that is to separate historian of his country, has with great friendliness the Flemings from the Walloons. This is very evi- given us permission to adorn this periodical with his dent from what happened at Camp Soltau at the be- picture. We again tender him our most heartfelt ginning of 1915. The authorities of this camp asked thanks for this privilege.” the Belgians to register either as Flemings or Wal- His most celebrated work, “ The History of Belloons. They refused, saying that they were all Bel- gium,” had been published in German before it apgians. The Germans, however, were not to be peared in French, and a short time before the war thwarted in their designs. They therefore ordered Professor Karl Lamprecht, of Leipsic, sent for a cards to be given to the prisoners on which, amongst young Belgian doctor, a pupil of Pirenne, to teach hisother things, each man was asked to give his birth- tory in the Seminar für Weltgeschichte according to place. In this way the Germans obtained the desired the Belgian method—that is, the method of M. information. The Flemings were then told that if Pirenne. they wished to go to the camp at Göttingen, they Before the war the very important Flemish party in would receive special favors. Only 14 out of 14,000 Belgium had desired to make the University of Ghent men accepted. The Germans now decided to force entirely Flemish. Frédéricq has been the leader of their favors on the Flemings and ordered them to be the Flemish party. In the existing difference in parsent to the camp at Göttingen. One day in 1915 a ties, General von Bissing thought he saw his opporcolonel came to the camp and proposed that they sign tunity to win over the flamingants by granting them a request, asking to be separated from the Walloons. what they so eagerly desired. But it was again a case He added that the Germans had a special preference of Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes, even to the bitterfor the Flemings whom they considered their racial est of the Flemish party. Before the war a petition brothers. Naturally the Flemings refused. A few to make the University of Ghent Flemish had been days later, however, they did sign a petition, saying signed by more than one hundred thousand voters in that “Every Fleming is first and above all a Belgian, Belgium. Of these, and among the four and a half and nothing but a Belgian.” They also stated that million Belgians still in Belgium, only one hundred they were willing to share the fate of their country and fifty could be found to sign a manifesto in favor of men, the Walloons, and wished to refuse absolutely all Bissing's “reform.” favors of the Germans.
Even by offering professorships to a few individual These prisoners understood better than German Belgians, and to Belgians of German ancestry and professors themselves that people can be united only training, he was unable to assemble a faculty and had through “common past, common sufferings, common to send a request to Holland. Those who accepted will, a common ideal of liberty,” and not " by race posts, whether Belgians or Dutch, were looked upon alone.”
with contempt, and the Belgians were spat upon in A similarly transparent purpose underlay the at the street. By his methods of recruiting, von Bissing tempt of the Germans to establish Ghent as a Flemish succeeded in assembling a faculty of about fifteen and University, which resulted in the deportation and in- in opening the University. The inauguration was ternment in Germany of the famous Belgian profess- held on October 24, and the feature of the day was the ors, Pirenne and Frédéricq. All of the details of this address by the Governor-General himself, in which he episode cannot be given in their final form until after emphasized the magnanimity of the Germans and the the war, though the main facts are available in the “co-operation and mutual confidence and complete very careful and scientific investigation, “ The Impris- understanding” of Germans and Flemings. onment of the Ghent Professors,” by K. Nyrop, one Nothing illustrates the grim irony of his procedure of the greatest living authorities on Romance philology any better than the following passage from Professor and a professor at the University of Copenhagen. Nyrop: Were it not for the distressing consequences to Pro- “On the same day as the Governor-General infessors Pirenne and Frédéricq, it might be regarded as augurated his magnanimous gift to the Flemish popua grim jest. Both of these gentlemen are scholars of lation and spoke high-flown words about mutual conthe very highest standing, whose works are known to fidence and understanding between the Germans and most teachers of history in America. Indeed, to both the Flemings, he caused five thousand of the working of them lectureships were offered by well known population of Ghent to be deported to Germany. American universities.
Five thousand honest Flemings were taken away Henri Pirenne was regarded as the most famous against their will from house and home; they were Belgian historian, and as one of the greatest Euro- taken under military escort to the railway station, pean historians by the Germans themselves. Nothing from whence they were transmitted further. could illustrate this any more clearly than the fact “ It is difficult to imagine a better illustration of that his picture was published in the 1913 number of the real conditions. Not even Germany's worst ene " Minerva," the famous “Who's Who” of the aca- mies could have devised a more effective background
for the inauguration of the Flemish University than prisoners. “It was," says Nyrop, “only after a long the mass deportation of Flemings carried out by the time had elapsed that they were treated with the conGovernor-General himself.
sideration which was due to their fame, their social “Baron von Bissing was right in reminding his standing, and their age.” In the illustrations Pro hearers of the two heroic sisters, thought and the fessor Pirenne appears first in the place of honor in sword, ruling the world. But it was hardly wise of “Minerva," then among a group of prisoners in a him on October 24 to so vigorously accentuate the fact German camp. that it was the sword which had the supreme com The effect of these attempts to create dissension has mand, and that he had put thought out of action.” been exactly the opposite of what the Germans ex
Whether or not the rectorship of this university of pected. Never have the Begians been as closely Ghent had been offered to Pirenne or Frédéricq by united as they are to-day. If, then, we discuss at the von Bissing, we are not able to affirm. Rumor has it close of this article the story of “ La Libre Belgique"
that it was. It is certain in any case that both of at length, it must not be forgotten that a large portion them, with the overwhelming majority of their col- of the Belgian clandestine press is printed in Flemish. leagues, refused to support the German plan for ex- Among the more important of the Flemish leaflets are ploiting party differences in their country. Both of “The Flemish Lion” (“ De Vlaamsche Leeuw ") and them were men of the highest personal character, and “ The Free Voice” (“De Vrije Stem"), which are we have already seen how Germany itself had honored reported as still appearing, as one of them puts it, Pirenne. But the war has changed all that. They with regular irregularity. Their difficulties of publinow call M. Pirenne “a romancer” in the pay of cation are in many ways similar to those to be detailed Belgian politicians. These two European celebrities in the more extended account of “La Libre Belgique.” were first interned in an officers' camp in Germany. The frequency and the spirit of such publications Later they were transferred to the prison camps at were sufficient indication to the Germans that the BelHolzminden and Gutersloh, where they were lodged gians refused to admit that they were a conquered in barracks and had numbers and badges like ordinary people. They admitted only that their country had been unjustly invaded and that the invader in due The deportations which began shortly after were time would be turned back whence he came, having ac further calculated to break the spirit of the populaquired nothing but an increased reputation for injus- tion. How far they were from succeeding is shown tice and a lasting legacy of hatred and scorn.
by the post card here reproduced which was sent by The Germans, as was to have been expected, re one of the deported citizens from Rastenberg. Transdoubled their brutalities as time passed, and they be lated it reads as follows: came more settled in their occupation. They in
“Rastenberg, Dec. 28th, 1916. creased their efforts to establish an iron-bound cen
“ DEAR .....:. sorship. On the Dutch frontier they built an electrified
“I am sure that you have been told of my fate. I wire barrier, which it meant death to touch; then
will tell you that it is now 37 days since I left my two such barriers protected by a zone which it was parents and that I am treated as a prisoner of war. death to enter, and defended by sentries and patrols You must understand the rest, you will already have of horse and foot, day and night. All movements in heard news of me. I was 21 days in the camp at the interior were hampered by the very complicated Cassel; they on the 13th, they sent us to Rastenberg system of passports. In addition they attempted to
to force us to work threatening us with arms, with cut off absolutely the correspondence still continuing
prison and with starvation; we remained four days between parents in Belgium and their sons at the without eating, it is by our mouths that they forced us front. By thus making the lot of the isolated parents
most (sic). But they never got a signature. Hopmore difficult, they tried to prevent the continual
ing that the war will soon be finished, dear . . . and exodus of young Belgians, who, at great risk, still..., I send you my best wishes and New Year greetsucceeded in filtering through the lines to the Belgian ings and wish you perfect health. I wish above all, army. Persons caught assisting in forwarding letters dear ... that you may never have to suffer my present were sometimes shot, or condemned to long terms of fate. May God keep you from it.” imprisonment. How dangerous it was to attempt to communicate with one's friends or relatives we may
To the threat of deportation the Belgians replied see from the following:
with many colored placards and handbills, which were Whenever a messenger was captured his letters
passed from hand to hand by the people. A characwere taken from him and delivered by German spies
teristic one of these is the one beginning “ Tenez to the addressee. The spy would then offer to carry
Bon!” which we reproduce. back the answer. If the receiver of the letter ac Measures like these may well have been expected quiesced and wrote a reply, he was immediately ar to take all the heart and spirit out of the population. rested for communicating with the enemy.
Such, however, was not the case. The Belgians have The general inhumanity of the German procedure always been recognized as lovers of “life, liberty, and will be evident also from the following:
the pursuit of happiness.” As the circulation of unDr. Canon at Chièvres had a funeral service said censored newspapers became more and more difficult, for his son, a priest, who had been killed at Lizerne the Belgians, though they never ceased to circulate while ministering to the wounded. At the moment them, had recourse to yet other means of communicaof his deep grief Dr. Canon was summoned to the tion. Broad humor is indigenous in Flanders. One Kommandantur. The Prussian officer declared: of the methods employed by the people to maintain "You had a service said for your son, a soldier in
their morale and cheer each other up was the circuthe Allied army. How did you know he was dead?
F lation, “under the mantle," as they say, of typewrit
lation, un You must be in communication with the enemy! If
ten jokes and quips on their aggressors. Some of on Thursday (it was then Monday) you have not told
these deserve quotation. Here is a fair sample, transus your means of information you will be condemned
lated from a typewritten sheet. (It should be rememto ten thousand marks fine.” Dr. Canon paid the
bered that the manifesto of the ninety-three German
professors, with its answers, had been widely circufine.
lated in Belgium.). Also in order to prevent the escape of the young Belgians, who wish to join their army, the Germans in
An old peasant came to town every day with his cart this case, as in so many others, invoke the doctrine
hitched to an ass. The old Landsturm (80 per cent. of family responsibility, forbidden by the Hague Con
coarse) * who was on duty at the entrance to the vention and all considerations of law. One of their
town examines his papers and asks for the name of
the ass. posters is reproduced in this number, and it will be noticed that article 4 states: “ The families will be
“My ass? He hasn't any name!”
“He will have to have one. In our country all punished with extreme severity in the attempt of any
asses have names. I could easily cite you ninetyof the young people to cross the frontier with a view
three of them.” to fulfilling their military obligations in the Belgian army." Nor were the Germans content with threats,
Some days later.
“Well,” said the Landsturm, “did you pick out a they carried out this brutal measure with all the inhumanity that might be imagined, and among the better
“I–I can't seem to find one that fits." known victims was Mr. Maurice Vauthier, who was
“Call him Albert, then." professor of Roman Law at Brussels and Communal Secretary.
* Common phrase used by coal dealers in Belgium.
"Ah, pardon!” answered the peasant, “ that would German spies and troops, and over one hundred differbe insulting to my King."
ent numbers had appeared by 1917, and, so far as in“Oh, la, la, what scruples. Well, call him formation is now available, it still continues its William.”
chipper and hazardous career Seventy-five thousand “Ah, pardon!” said the peasant, “ that would be francs have been offered by the German Kommandaninsulting to my ass.” Here is another.
A group of Landsturmers sat down at the
Ablender:............. table in an inn. A sol
................... Seldpostkarte dier seeing a scale wishes
... Armgel. ..... to weigh himself. “Use
Siol. less," says the innkeeper, “you weigh 92 kilos.”
.....orlando Aloficuitcadanie This was verified and found to be his weight.
6, M. Gobik To the sccond soldier who wished to know if he had Sorman
... .. we
tenice profited by his stay in
Det bleken in de Ardennen Belgium, the owner also
Chappenintpektaanjageber told his weight in advance (“98 kilos "). General astonishment! It was absolutely exact. In short, all the soldiers had their weight told them before getting on the scale, 105 kilos, 89 kilos, 96 kilos, 110 kilos.
“But," they said, “How can you guess our weight so exactly?”
" It's a matter of habit," answered the Belgian. “I am a seller of hogs." (Je suis marchand de cochons.)
Indeed, one of the most remarkable facts about this clandestine press in the martyred country is its irrepressible humor, at times broad and guffawing, at others grim and defiant, but never sullen or impotent. How true this is will be plain from some of the occasional merry extracts from this press which are to follow, and which are merely characteristic.
To better appreciate such spirit it will be well
POSTCARD FROM ONE OF THE DEPORTED BELGIANS TO HER PARENTS. to consider for a moment some of the difficulties and risks which are involved in the publication of the tur to any one who would give information. Yet none most famous of these prohibited journals, “La Libre has been given. There is no subscription price, and Belgique." M. Massart is authority for the statement no regular subscription list. It is a crime to disthat editions of as many as ten thousand copies have tribute or deliver it, as well as to print or to have it been printed and distributed under the noses of the in your possession, and yet it is printed, distributed,
read, and passed from hand to hand. In the early abandon the hope of having some Sherlock Holmes of period it was dropped into your letter box in a plain contraband discover us. We know that nothing stops a envelope. Now it is usually, we believe, mysteriously German when he has once started on the wrong road, left in the house on the table. It will be readily seen the sentiment of ridicule no more than any other scruthat such a patriotic enterprise could only be based ple, nor the certitude of final defeat. That is why we on absolute confidence among all those concerned. present, Excellence, on the occasion of your past, Large bundles were distributed to friends, who divided present, and future disappointments this expression and repacked smaller bundles until the individual of our very sincere and most disrespectful concopies were finally turned over à qui de droit. It was dolences. a matter of pride to have the first copy of each issue
“Signed left on the desk of Governor-General von Bissing. We
“LA LIBRE BELGIQUE." may easily imagine his sentiments on reading No. 49, for instance, of October, 1915, which contained a let To lay such a copy on his desk demanded an act of ter to his Excellence von Bissing, German Governor, heroism such as is called for from him who crosses from which we quote the following:
the German lines, and yet the courageous patriot knew “EXCELLENCE:
that he would meet an ignominious fate if caught. “You overwhelm us with attentions. Your secret Nothing speaks louder for the morale of the occupied and public agents multiply their searches for 'La country. The trail of humor which we have already Libre Belgique.' You have even mobilized, they tell noted, and of grim practical joking runs through its us, a special brigade of detectives to come from Ber- history. Some of its difficulties as well as its love of lin to discover the editors, publishers, distributors, etc. fun will be evident from the following address to its You are losing your time and spending your money readers entitled, “A Little Indulgence Please.” uselessly. It is true that you have more than once “Some readers have complained of the disagreelaid hands on a bundle of copies of the paper, which able odor of certain of our issues; let them kindly exis your nightmare, and you have inflicted severe fines cuse us, but they must understand that in war times upon those who have had it in their possession. But one cannot always choose his traveling companions, so 'La Libre Belgique' still continues to appear as ... 'La Libre Belgique' found itself forced to travel with irregularly as in the past, and its editions have not pickled herring, Herve cheese, and carbide of calceased to increase ... regularly, after each one of cium. We ask our readers to have for ‘La Libre your expeditions. ...
Belgique' the same indulgence which they find them“Do not believe, dear Baron, that we are naïve selves forced to show at times for certain of their enough to believe that on our advice you are going to neighbors in the tramway, but the spring is coming,
DEFIANT BELGIAN POSTER URGING CITIZENS TO REFUSE TO PRESENT THEMSELVES FOR DEPORTATION.