A witness living at Baesrode was taken prisoner with 250 others and kept all night in a field. The prisoners were released on the following morning. This witness saw three corpses of civilians, and says that the Germans on Sunday, the 6th, plundered and destroyed the houses of those who had fled. The Germans left on the following day, taking about thirty men with them, one a man of 72 years of age.
Later in the month civilians were again used as a screen, and there is evidence of other acts of outrage.
Alost was the scene of fighting between the Belgian and German Armies during the whole of the latter part of the month of September. In connection with the fighting numerous cruelties appear to have been perpetrated by the German troops.
On Saturday, Sept. 11, a weaver was bayoneted in the street. Another civilian was shot dead at his door on the same night. On the following day the witness was taken prisoner together with thirty others. The money of the prisoners was confiscated, and they were subsequently used as a screen for the German troops who were at that moment engaged in a conflict with the Belgian Army in the town itself. The Germans burned a number of houses at this time. Corpses of 14 civilians were seen in the streets on this occasion.
A well-educated witness, who visited the Wetteren Hospital shortly after this date, saw the dead bodies of a number of civilians belonging to Alost, and other civilians wounded. One of these stated that he took refuge in the house of his sister-in-law; that the Germans dragged the people out of the house, which was on fire, seized him, threw him on the ground, and hit him on the head with the butt end of a rifle, and ran him through the thigh with a bayonet. They then placed him with seventeen or eighteen others in front of the German troops, threatening them with revolvers. They said that they were going to make the people of Alost pay for the losses sustained by the Germans. At this hospital was an old woman of 80 completely transfixed by a bayonet.
Other crimes on noncombatants at Alost belong to the end of the month of September. Many witnesses speak to the murder of harmless civilians.
In Binnenstraat the Germans broke open the windows of the houses and threw fluid inside, and the houses burst into flames. Some of the inhabitants were burned to death.
The civilians were utilized on Saturday, Sept. 26, as a screen. During their retreat the Germans fired twelve houses in Rue des Trois Clefs, and three civilians, whose names are given, were shot dead in that street after the firing of the houses. On the following day a heap of nine dead civilians were lying in the Rue de l’Argent.
Similar outrages occurred at Erpe, a village a few miles from Alost, about the same date. The village was deliberately burned. The houses were plundered and some civilians were murdered.