Friday, January 31, 2014

Louise Thuliez: The Germans arrive

Louise Thuliez
Courtesy of Vincent Boez

"On the night of July 31, 1915, Louise was in Brussels at the home of Philippe Baucq, a Belgian architect heavily involved in resistance with whom Louise had begun working a few months earlier. She had been staying in the city but as they had much to discuss, Philippe invited her to stay the night with his family. She called at the Baucq household at 10:45 p.m. The whole family -- including two girls, ages 11 and 14 -- was busy folding freshly printed copies of the illegal underground newspaper La Libre Belgique.

At about 11:30, Mrs. Baucq showed Louise to her upstairs room. Meanwhile, Philippe opened the door to let his dog out. Louise suddenly heard it barking furiously. A group of men was shouting. It was the Germans!"

Excerpt from "Because I am a Frenchwoman" from Women Heroes of World War I.

Louise Thuliez: in grave danger

Louise Thuliez
Courtesy of Vincent Boez

Although each rescue operation was slightly different, Louise and Henriette eventually established a somewhat regular routine: the first step was to gain the trust of the French villagers who were hiding the British soldiers from the Germans. This was not always easy. Once some villagers, convinced the women were responsible for the arrest of some hidden British soldiers, dug two graves for them, determined to kill them when they saw them next...

Excerpt from: "Because I am a Frenchwoman" from Women Heroes of World War I

Edith Cavell: The toll of resistance

Despite Edith's determination to continue, the constant tension was taking its toll on her. Her medical associates noticed that she would suddenly start at unusual noises and would repeatedly pull curtains aside to glance up the street. Later that month, Princess Marie de Croy  visited Edith in her clinic office. "I wish you hadn't come," Edith said to the princess in a quiet voice. "I am evidently suspect. Look at those men clearing the square in the front," she said. "They have been there several days and are scarcely working at all. they must be set to watch the house."

Excerpt from "Edith Cavell: 'Patriotism is Not Enough'" from Women Heroes of World War I.

Edith Cavell: On Trial in the Belgian Senate Chamber

On October 7, 1915, German officers crowded into the magnificent Belgian senate chamber in Brussels. The ceiling was decorated with gold. The walls were covered with rich wood paneling. Although the red velvet seats were embroidered with the Lion of Belgium, few Belgians were allowed to attend this event, except those the German officers had come to see. Thirty-five prisoners—most of them Belgian and many of whom had never seen each other before—filed into the room under guard. Six of them were given seats that faced the judges. Between each of these six stood a soldier with a fixed bayonet.

The first prisoner called to testify at this trial was not Belgian but British. Her name was Edith Cavell.

Opening paragraphs of "Edith Cavell: 'Patriotism is not enough'" from Women Heroes of World War I.