Sunday, October 11, 2015

The trial and sentencing of Edith Cavell

Edith Cavell
Courtesy of St. Mary's Church, Swardeston, Norfolk

On October 7, 35 resisters were tried as a group in Belgium's senate chamber. Edith was the first defendant to take the stand. She was asked, "Do you realize that by [helping men escape] it has been to the disadvantage of Germany and to the advantage of the enemy?" Edith replied, "My aim was not to help your enemy but to help those men who asked for my help to reach the frontier. Once across the frontier, they were free."

On October 11, the defendants were marched into a room in the Saint-Gilles prison to hear their sentences read. Some of them were acquitted; some were sentenced to hard labor and others to prison. Five of them heard their names read followed by the German word todesstrafe: the death penalty. One of these was Edith Cavell.

A German pastor named Paul Le Seur escorted Edith to her cell and was given the task of telling her she had only hours to live: her sentence was to be carried out the very next day at dawn.

From "Edith Cavell: Patriotism is Not Enough" from Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Spies, Soldiers, and Medics.

No comments:

Post a Comment