Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lest We Forget

Here is an article by Mary Roberts Rinehart reporting on wartime interviews with Albert and Elisabeth. It was exaggerated in Allied propaganda, but there *was* plenty of real brutality during the 1914 German invasion of Belgium, including massacres of civilians and sacking of towns. According to Albert of Belgium: Defender of Right, the King even feared that the Germans would destroy Brussels.
I have never before broken the silence of my interview with Elizabeth, Queen of the Belgians, that small, frail and heroic woman who has lived for three years under the roar of the artillery at Dixmude and Nieuport. But the time has come to break that silence. Not all can be told, but because an infamous report has been broadcast that Elizabeth of Belgium sympathizes with Germany I shall tell some of the things she said.
Again I quote from the notes of that interview: 
"It is the women and children!" she said. "It is terrible. There must be killing. That is war. But not this other thing." 
She could not understand American skepticism on this point. She had but just returned from England, where in one convent 29 Belgian nuns were enceinte by German soldiers. She had visited them. 
That to her was the most terrible thing of war. That these quiet women, living their devout and simple lives, should have suffered so grossly bewildered and dazed her. Was there nothing, then, sacred to these invaders, not even the church? (Read full article)

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