Now that the handwringing over the millions killed in the First World War has momentarily quietened, here’s a story that in all probability will not get told again, as it does not play the tidy vision of civilised nations fighting like gentlemen. This was behaviour of medieval barbarity — the kind that ISIL would exact, but never we Europeans.
Felix Fivet would have celebrated his 100th birthday a couple of weeks ago. Except that he was executed on August 23 1914, aged three weeks. He was not alone.
Dinant is in Belgium on the Meuse river. The name is translated as Divine Valley. Adolphe Saxe, the inventor of the saxophone was born there. On August 23, 674 unarmed civilians died there. They were casually executed by German military firing squads or murdered by informal bands of drunken rapacious soldiers in and around Dinant. The little town was burnt to the…
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