GERMAN COERCION OF BELGIAN WORKMEN AGAIN INVOLVES THE C.R.B.
The continued German coercion of Belgian workers to go into their employ was to develop new troubles for the C.R.B. As a sample of these activities, I summarize a report to our Brussels office from the C.R.B. representative in the Province of Namur, C. M. Torrey, which illustrates the methods used by the Germans:
NAMUR, 29 March 1916
Regarding the question of attempts by the military occupants to force Belgian workmen to do repair and construction of a military or semi- military nature on the railroads. . . . On the 7th of February 1916 a summons to these three and to eleven other able-bodied men of Rochefort . . . came from the office of the German Kommandantur, commanding the men to present themselves at Jemelle, a village two kilometers away, where railroad repair and construction shops are situated. Following this demand, the fourteen presented themselves the same day at Jamelle. . . . When all had gathered there at 8:00 A.M., a German officer evidently in charge of the shop asked them to work, describing the labor generally as that of repair, and offering as payment 3 marks 60 pfennigs a day . . . the men . . . seemed to agree substantially that the work demanded was either directly military . . . or indirectly . . . connected in general with the main purpose of the Germans' use of Belgian railroads.
This request . . . was immediately refused by each of the fourteen. . . . February 8th, they were taken . . . to Namur. . . . In Namur they were first put into prison . . . and kept there thenceforward on a diet (they tell