The Belgian Deportations

The Belgian Deportations

The Belgian Deportations

The Belgian Deportations

Excerpt

On October 3rd, 1916, the German General Headquarters issued a decree that "Unemployed Belgians able to work may be compelled to work even outside the place where they are living. The German authorities and military courts have the right to enforce the proper execution of this regulation." The Belgian communal authorities were immediately called upon by the Germans to furnish lists of unemployed. When the communes refused, the Germans made out the lists themselves. In order to swell them they threw men out of employment by fraudulent means, and included men who had never ceased to be employed. When the lists were ready, the victims were called up at twenty-four hours' notice. Many were called upon, under pressure of imprisonment and starvation, to sign a "voluntary agreement." Those of means were in some cases invited to buy themselves off by paying blackmail. Otherwise, after being inspected like cattle by representatives of the German "Industrie-Bureau," or even by subordinate German officials, they were marched to the station, packed into open cattletrucks (60 men in a truck), and carried away. The scenes of departure were heartrending. The Germans . . .

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