Le fort de Mons-en-Barœul et l'épisode des prisonniers australiens



The Advertiser (Adelaide), 11 Dec 1918
Horrible Cruelty
Prisoners Suffer
Lille Black Hole
London, December 9



Some prisoners of war give horrifying details of the black hole in which many of them were thrust by the Germans at Lille. It was a huge underground cavern, where 270 persons were confined for five weeks in an unspeakable state of neglect and famine. They were diseased, they had no clothing and there was no covering except that in which they left the battlefield. They were only allowed in the upper air for ten minutes each day. Twenty of them were taken to the hospital suffering from dysentery. Vermin had to be scraped off them with knives. The place was not cleaned during the five weeks. The food was so foul as to be uneatable. The men practically went mad. They used to lie on the ground killing vermin and singing hymns. The men used to fight to reach the latticed window 10 ft above the floor to get air. The men were compelled to bathe their wounds with coffee, as there was no water.

Notre ami australien, Aaron Pegram, nous fait parvenir un condensé de l'article qui vient de paraître dans l'Advertiser (Adélaïde - Australie). Ce texte relate les conditions pitoyables auxquelles ont été soumis les prisonniers australiens emprisonnés au fort de Mons-en-Barœul, par l'armée allemande, lors de la première guerre mondiale. Ce sont 270 soldats, dont le grand père d'Aaron Pegram qui ont subi ces mauvais traitements avant d'être libérés et de pouvoir rejoindre Londres, où ils ont pu relater cette triste aventure. Inconnu des historiens locaux, ces faits ont semble t-il été étouffés et nous les évoquerons bien entendu dans le livre et le film qui sortiront. Les articles originaux, qui peuvent être reproduits à condition d'en signaler les sources, ont été déposés à la bibliothèque municipale de Mons-en-Barœul.