A Mayor in Alsace


THE question of Alsace-Lorraine cannot be thrust aside at the time of the general settlement of accounts to which the future peace congress will have to give its attention.

The war did not break out over Alsace-Lorraine, but nothing is more certain than that the brutal treatment of which France was the victim, at Germany’s hands, in 1871, had had its influence on the policy of the whole world in the matter of armaments. All the nations said to themselves that what had happened to France might well be their own fate to-morrow, if they neglected to take the precautionary defensive measures, that were demanded against an empire which, as Germany did, aspired to the hegemony of the world, and of which war had been, from time immemorial, the national industry.

The only claim of right — and that was nullified by being founded on violence — on which Germany has relied, down to the present time, to justify her occupation of Alsace-Lorraine, depends upon the treaty of Frankfort (1871). As Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg in the first days of August, 1914, tore up this document, together with divers other ‘scraps of paper,’ Alsace-Lorraine should be restored to France without the necessity of any previous retrocession on Germany’s part.

The restoration of those provinces to France, unconditionally, is moreover the only solution that will fulfill the unchanging aspirations of their native population, which forms the vast majority of the present inhabitants — 1,500,000 out of 1,900,000.

The native Alsace-Lorrainers, with very few exceptions, have always given evidence of their immovable attachment to the French fatherland, and of their inextinguishable hatred of Germany. There are two principal reasons for this: the community of ideas and feelings with France, and Germany’s inability to stamp out that frame of mind and to assimilate the population to Deutschthum, to germanize it by means of the procedure suggested by the famous Kultur.

We must remember that the Alsatians and Lorrainers have always been extremely independent in character, permeated with principles of justice and equality; and that they saw in the establishment and consolidation of the Third Republic the means of realizing their democratic longings.

It was at that moment that they were torn from their fatherland, to be incorporated by force in a detested enemy state, where autocratic government was the essential condition of prosperity in its militaristic policy. And even then they were not to enjoy the rights—albeit closely restricted—of German subjects. They were placed under an exceptional régime: instead of being German citizens, or, at least, German subjects, they became mere objects of domination.

That is why Germany was destined to fail lamentably in all her efforts to amalgamate Alsace-Lorraine with Germany: the gulf between the native population and the immigrants became wider and wider; and we may say that the new generation was more bitterly opposed to the new masters than the generation of 1871 had been.

In the different constitutions which the German Empire bestowed, one after another, upon the ‘Reichsland,’ there was no change in the essential features which characterize to this day German domination in Alsace-Lorraine. The King of Prussia, who, in the capacity of German Emperor, possesses the executive power, is the most important factor in the legislative power — which is contrary to every modern conception of a well-governed state according to the principle of separation of powers.

The democratic forms with which Germany delighted to mask the autocratic substance of her institutions never deceived anybody in Alsace-Lorraine, where political progress had made much greater strides since the great Revolution than in Germanic countries.

The present constitution of AlsaceLorraine, which goes back to 1911, provides for a parliament consisting of a first and second chamber. Now, the first chamber is so made up that the Emperor is always sure of an overwhelming majority. He can name half of the members, and among the other half there are persons whose functions necessarily make them dependent on the government.

To pass a law, the assent of both chambers and the Emperor is required, so that the latter has two votes to one in the legislative deliberations.

All the proposed laws concerning Alsace-Lorraine are first submitted to the Prussian ministry, which gives its opinion thereon from the standpoint of the interest of Prussia. Only when that interest is fully protected, can a law be passed in Alsace-Lorraine.

Germany has chosen to lay great stress on the concession of three votes to Alsace-Lorraine in the Federal Council; but these three votes must, according to the constitution, receive their instructions from the Statthalter, who is an official appointed by the Emperor and may be removed by him at any moment. So that these votes are absolutely at the disposal of the King of Prussia, German Emperor.

Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg, with his customary cynical frankness, has not hesitated to emphasize this dependence upon the King of Prussia of Alsace-Lorraine’s representatives in the Bundesrat. Being questioned in the Prussian parliament concerning the danger of the grant by the Empire of this representation, the Chancellor declared explicitly that that danger did not exist because the Emperor controlled the votes.

When I, in my turn, took the liberty of interpellating the government of Alsace-Lorraine concerning this assertion of Herr von Bethmann-Hollweg, Von Bulach, the Secretary of State, replied in the first place that he did not know whether the assertion was accurately reported by the press; and when, a few days later, I laid before the First Chamber the official report of the Prussian Assembly, in which the Chancellor had made his declaration, poor Herr von Bulach could think of no other reply than, ‘There must be some mistake.’ But, despite my urgent and repeated questions, he was very careful to do nothing to clear up the alleged mistake.

The tension between the people and the government became greater after it was perceived that the new constitution was in reality only a vulgar fraud.

A few incidents soon made it plain that the gulf between the sentiments of the Germans and those of the AlsaceLorrainers, far from being filled, was growing wider and wider.

The ‘Sporting Club of Lorraine,’ an association of young native Lorrainers, had drawn down upon itself the thunders of the police of Metz by the French cut of its uniforms, and by its songs, which were altogether devoid of patriotic German spirit.

On the pretext that a concert, given to invited guests only, was in reality a public meeting, the police rushed into the hall. As a result of the dispersion of the assemblage there was a procession through the city, a clash with the military guard, prosecutions and convictions for alleged sedition.

At the hearing in the police court of Metz, where I had the honor of defending Alexis Samain, it was proved beyond dispute that the only individual who really was guilty of an act of rebellion was not a member of the society in question, but a German immigrant, an ex-convict, who, seeing a commotion in the street, had instantly joined the crowd in order to take an active part against the troops.

The club was dissolved by a decree of the prefecture of Metz confirmed by the Imperial Council of Strasburg, contrary to the law concerning the liberty of associations.

With the same contempt for the laws, the government proceeded to dissolve the club called ‘The Memory of AlsaceLorraine,’ whose purpose was to keep in order the graves of the French soldiers buried on the territory of the ‘Reichsland.’

At Colmar, which has always been a very active centre of political life, the antagonism between the government and the people became more and more pronounced.

When, in 1910, it became evident that the new constitution with which they proposed to favor us would not be approved by the country, the government proceeded to abolish the Delegation of Alsace-Lorraine, the only parliamentary representative of the two provinces. On the very evening of this act of violence, I summoned a number of my colleagues in the Delegation to meet at the Hôtel de France at Strasburg, where we laid the foundations of a new party, the ‘National Union,’ which should unite all Alsatians and Lorrainers in a common effort to crush the Prussian autocracy. The centre of activity of this party wras at Colmar, where the Abbé Wetterlé and the lamented Preiss and myself immediately opened the campaign, being opposed by the government with all the means at its disposal.

The first meeting that we held at Colmar was marked by disturbances, the disorder being fomented by government agents. The municipal police of Colmar, of which I had always, by agreement with the municipal council, declined to yield control to the state, was headed by the mayor,1 whereas in the other three large cities — Strasburg, Mulhausen, and Metz — the police was in the hands of the government. Thus at Colmar there was this abnormal situation, that the commissioner of police was at the same time an official of the Sûreté Générale, subject to the orders of the prefect, and a municipal official who received his instructions from the mayor.

The commissioner at this time was a Lorrainer, a most worthy man, who performed his duties with scrupulous exactitude, and fell a victim to his honesty. Among his other functions was that of playing the spy — a painful task which I did nothing to make easier for him. After the above-mentioned meeting of the National Union, the prefect tried to extort false testimony from him by inducing him to say, contrary to the truth, that I had made an improper use of the municipal police by putting it at the service of a political party.

The commissioner was removed, but I gave him a place in the municipal service, from which, however, he was expelled by the present mayor, who is a Boche of the worst sort.

At about the same time, we had at Colmar the notorious suits against Hansi the cartoonist and Abbé Wetterlé, for alleged insult to the manager of the Lycée at Colmar, who had been Hansi’s model in his famous cartoon on Professor Knatschke. Preiss and myself, as counsel, took part in the defense, which the accused had urged us to undertake, and, by agreement with our clients, and at their request, we attacked the whole régime.

The political atmosphere was heavily charged. Whenever a society, singing, or instrumental, or gymnastic, returned from a competition in which it had taken part in France, the other societies of the city acted as escort, and the German agents had occasion every time to report the display of ribbons in the French colors, French flags, and clothes of French cut.

Whatever came from France was subjected to a meticulous surveillance, and I well remember the tragi-comic story of the arrest of the occupants of an automobile coming from France and flying French flags. The inquiry showed that the owner, who was in the car at the time, was no other than a German lieutenant colonel on the way from Schlucht to his home at Munich.

A performance of the Daughter of the Regiment in the theatre at Colmar gave rise to an interminable investigation, because a spy reported the appearance on the stage of an alleged French flag which was said to have aroused suspicious enthusiasm among the audience.

The so-called Grafenstaden affair marked another stage in the government’s hostility to the people. On the pretext that the manager of the Alsatian Société des Constructions Mécaniques had manifested anti-German sentiments, the government demanded his dismissal, under the threat of causing the withdrawal of the orders for locomotives which that company received regularly from the Prussian railways.

The government seized the opportunity to demand, in general, that those establishments in Alsace-Lorraine having natives of the provinces among their employés and their directors should make room for Germans in their undertakings.

Acting in concert with the abovenamed company, I took this matter before the First Chamber, to protest against the illegal interference of the government in private business. The result of my intervention was an interpellation in the Second Chamber, which ended with a vote of censure against the government.

Finally, there came the Saverne [Zabern] affair, which covered Germany with disgrace and ridicule. Every one knows that extraordinary story, which resulted in the replacement of the entire government of Alsace-Lorraine by Prussians utterly devoid of any spirit of fair dealing toward the oppressed people of the ‘Reichsland.’

A young lieutenant of the 99th Regiment of Infantry, one Baron von Foerstner, belonging to the garrison of Saverne, was in the habit of insulting the Alsatian recruits by calling them 'Wackes’ One day he said, in the course of a lesson in drilling, ‘I’ll give ten marks to any one who knocks down one of these dirty Wackes’; and a subaltern standing by added, ‘I’ll give three marks more out of my pocket.’

These opprobrious words were soon generally known, and there followed a period of excitement among the whole population of the town, which was one of the most peaceable in Alsace. The lieutenant, whenever he went out, was followed by a crowd, mostly of young men, who hooted at him and hissed him as soon as he appeared. Being recognized one day in the village of Dettweiler, as he passed through with his company, he ordered his men to charge the crowd, which was expressing its antipathy to him, and finally displayed his courage on the person of an unlucky lame cobbler, who could not run away, by striking him over the head with his sword.

At Saverne, Colonel von Reuter had at once taken the lieutenant’s side, and began by treating the town as if it were in a state of siege, arresting without discrimination everybody who happened to be on the street, including even German officials, among others a judge and a prosecuting attorney, and confining them in the cellar under the barracks.

There was a trial, acquittal of the guilty officers, interpellation in the Reichstag, and censure of the government; but, as always happens, the Reichstag, after an outburst of independence, ended by submitting, by a majority, to the militaristic caste, and the result was that the despised German civilians and soldiers combined to deal the Alsatians still harder blows.

In the last fortnight of July, 1914, the excitement in Alsace-Lorraine was intense. There were unusual movements of troops—summonings of reservists, and strange manœuvres in the neighborhood of Strasburg. The authorities published unofficial notes, seeking to create a belief that they were simply military manœuvres of the sort that are regularly held at that season of the year.

At Strasburg, it was customary, after guard-mounting, for the band to play on Place Kléber. Contrary to all precedent, there was nothing now to be heard but patriotic hymns and warsongs, which the mob of German immigrants sang with fervor. In the public halls there were noisy all-night manifestations on the part of the same class of the inhabitants.

At Colmar it was observed that the families of officers and public functionaries were preparing to move.


On July 31, going to the mayor’s office about four o’clock, I heard the newsboys crying out the declaration of the imminence of war. I had no sooner reached my office than I received a call from several soldiers who brought placards from the general commanding the district, in which it was said that the Emperor had proclaimed the imminence of war. The military authorities claimed to exercise civil powers. There followed a series of instructions for the mayors, conceived in a domineering tone to which we were not accustomed from the civil authorities, although they were not distinguished for the amenity of their methods. Among other things, it was said that no one was allowed to ride in a motor-car, and I was ordered, as my most urgent present duty, to see to it that all the pigeons in Colmar were killed, and to be present in person at their execution.

I ordered the proclamations to be placarded and devoted myself to settling the most important current matters, being frequently interrupted by members of the Municipal Council and by friends seeking information and my opinion on the state of affairs.

While I was thus engaged I received a message from the prefect, informing me that Geheimer Justizrat Diefenbach, counsellor of the Court of Appeal of Colmar, had been appointed Mayor of the city by Staathalter von Dallwitz. I at once sent for him and turned everything over to him. He expressed a desire to have a talk with me the next day, so that he might speedily be posted as to municipal affairs.

I took leave of some of the officials of the mayoralty and of several friends, saying that I should probably see them the next morning. Then I went out, with my two daughters, and walked toward the railway station along the main street of the city. At that time, we were occupying a villa at Les Trois Épis in the Valley of Munster, and we intended to return thither.

On the way we saw anxious faces on every side, and I could read on the features of many of my compatriots this significant question, ‘What are you doing here still?’ I knew — indeed, it was notorious — that I was at the head of the famous blacklist of suspicious persons who were to be arrested in the event, of mobilization. Now, mobilization was imminent. The Germans were standing about in groups and seemed decidedly uneasy. The way in which they looked at me was wholly unsympathetic.

My children and I decided to try to reach Switzerland, and we agreed to meet at the Hotel de l’Univers at Bâle in case we should be separated en route. I sent for railway tickets for Bâle, but I soon learned that the next train would not start for several hours and that we could not be sure of its reaching Bâle.

The order forbidding riding in motorcars was not as yet known throughout the city, so that I was able to use that means of locomotion without attracting attention. I set out, with my two daughters, and ordered the chauffeur to drive us to the woodland inn of Le Neuland, an unfrequented neighborhood. Before we reached that point I told the chauffeur to drive on toward the Rhine. We arrived after an uneventful journey at the gates of the town of Neubreisach, about seventeen kilometres from Colmar. There we were stopped by a sentry, who informed us that nobody was allowed to pass in motors.

After a brief consultation with my daughters, we decided that I should try to make my way through the Grand Duchy of Baden while they endeavored to reach the rendezvous by way of Alsace.

I walked into Neubreisach, while my daughters turned back toward Colmar in the motor.

I had taken but a few steps, when I was overtaken by a soldier from the guard-post, who informed me that his chief had ordered him to take me before the officer commanding the place because my having tried to drive through in a motor-car had a suspicious look.

On the way back, one of my acquaintances in Neubreisach said to me that, if it was a matter of establishing my identity, he would gladly put himself at my disposal as a witness. I thanked him and begged him not to think of anything of the sort.

Arrived at the post, I was shown into a room where an elderly general was glued to a telephone which rang incessantly. Holding the receiver in his hand, being greatly agitated by his unforeseen task,— the manifold demands of the service due to the imminence of war, — he ordered everybody out of his office. Thereupon the soldier who had brought me in took me to a guardroom where there were numerous soldiers and a row of camp-beds. I had been there above an hour when I heard a subaltern say to my keeper, ‘Why, you ought to tell the general that this gentleman is still here.’

The soldier did not seem overjoyed by the prospect of confronting anew the general’s ill-humor. But still he had no choice but to carry out the order, and after a few moments he took me before the general, stating as the cause of my arrest the fact that I had tried to pass through the town in a motor-car.

Thereupon ensued a scene which, today, looked at from a distance, seems to me genuinely farcical. The following colloquy took place between the general and myself: —

‘Don’t you know that it isn’t permissible to pass in a motor-car without a special permit from the proper authority?’

‘Why, general, I have no desire to pass in a motor-car.’

Thereupon the general looked at the soldier with a questioning expression. The soldier, evidently frightened and unaccustomed to come in direct contact with a general, stood open-mouthed.

‘Where do you wish to go?’ asked the general.

‘To Fribourg.’

‘What are you going there for?’

‘To look after my business.’

‘But you can’t go in a motor-car.’

‘Why, general, I have no motor-car.’

Again the general looked at the soldier, who continued to hold his mouth open without uttering a word. This same thing was repeated at least ten times. The general kept on asking questions of one sort or another, which inevitably ended with, ‘But you can’t go in a motor-car,’ and my reply, ‘But I don’t want to go in a motor-car.’

At last the general shouted at me in an excited tone, almost in a passion, —

‘But what do you want then?’

‘To go to the railway station,’ I replied.

With that, he turned to the soldier and ordered him to escort me to the station.

‘Thanks, general,’ I said; and I went out with the soldier.

Amid the numberless questions that that excellent commandant at Neubreisach asked me, obsessed as he was by the motor-car question, he had forgotten to ask who I was.

When we reached the station I learned that the departure of trains for Fribourg was uncertain; whereupon I said to my companion in a tone of command, ‘The general ordered you to escort me to the station; the train will not start for several hours; I have all the information I need, and you can go.’

And he went.

As I knew that there would be no train for Fribourg for a long while, I gave my friend time to disappear, then left the station myself and set out on foot for Altbreisach, a few kilometres from Neubreisach, on the other side of the Rhine, in the Grand Duchy of Baden. On the way I witnessed again and again the pitiful spectacle of the requisition of horses, which were unharnessed from the carts of the peasants who stood by in despair at the loss of their beasts. Automobiles without number, carrying officers of the General Staff, passed us at full speed.

On the bridge over the Rhine I was stopped by a patrol who demanded my identification papers. I offered a visiting-card printed in German type, which mentioned only the fact that I was a lawyer. The head of the patrol saluted me courteously and let me pass unmolested.

Arrived at Altbreisach, I sought shelter in a small inn, to await the time when the next train was supposed to start. After another long wait at the station, I finally took a train for Fribourg. In the compartment that I set out to enter in the first place, I saw some officers’ wives from Colmar who knew me well. I drew back instantly and took my seat in a third-class compartment, where, mingled with reservists, I finally arrived at the station at Fribourg. Thanks to the delay in the running of trains, I was in time to secure a seat there in the last train from Berlin to Bâle.

We had barely started when the trainmen announced that the train would not go as far as Bâle, but certainly would go as far as Leopoldshöhe, a station on the Baden frontier. There, in the middle of the night and in very bad weather, everybody had to leave the train; the travelers’ baggage — of which I had none whatever — was thrown out onto the platform, and it was announced that no one could cross the frontier without a special permit from the military officer in command at the station.

The travelers, notably a number of women, remonstrated vigorously, for there are no hotels in Leopoldshöhe — not even a sizable inn. As I walked about I noticed a group of people speaking the dialect of Bâle. I heard a woman exclaim, ‘I must go home, I have a sick child!’ and another lament, ‘What will my husband say if I don’t come home!’ At last a voice shouted, ’I know the way to Bâle and I am going.’ I joined this group, without a word, and we started, guided by the Bâle people.

After walking about half a kilometre we were halted by a patrol consisting of a sub-lieutenant and a subaltern, who, revolver in hand, called out, ‘Halt!’ They declared that we must go back, that no one could pass without a special permit.

A tall fellow claiming to be an Austrian exhibited some papers, but the officer replied that he was not talking of papers of that sort, but of a special permit issued by the military commandant of the station of Leopoldshöhe.

The women began to remonstrate, and the lieutenant, who was very nervous, perhaps not feeling very sure of his ground, finally went his way with his companion, saying, ’Go on, for heaven’s sake! but you won’t get very far all the same, for you’ll run foul of the advanced posts.’

We kept on and met, a short distance away, a young man from Bâle on his way to Leopoldshöhe, who said, —

‘You would do better to go back to Leopoldshöhe, for they would n’t let me enter Bâle after six o’clock.’

The party went forward, none the less, but we were soon stopped again by a sentry. We halted, but the women, who were not accustomed to the manual of arms, continued to move about. Thereupon the soldier exclaimed, word for word, ‘If anyone moves again, he’ll get a bullet in his belly.’ With that the pretended Austrian said to him, ‘You don’t understand your instructions at all; the least you can do is to send for an officer.’

The soldier followed his advice; he went away and returned a moment later with a subaltern who took us to a small house which, I afterwards learned, was the custom-house, and which sits almost astride the German-Swiss frontier.

Access to the house was gained by two staircases going up to a platform; on one side was Germany, on the other Switzerland. On the platform stood a young lieutenant, with a cigarette between his lips, smiling and contemplating with satisfaction some twoscore men who were encamped before the house.

No one could cross the frontier except by going up one staircase and down the other, after passing across the platform, because a wire fence barred the way everywhere else.

Everybody began to talk at once, and I made out little more than that there was small chance of getting through. While I was standing in front of the little house, a soldier from Colmar accosted me. I pressed his hand and put my finger to my lip. He understood and carried the conversation no further.

Thereupon I determined, in order to clear up the situation, to enter into a parley. I went up on the platform and said to the officer, in good German, —

‘You can readily understand, lieutenant, that persons who left Bâle this morning to attend to their affairs at Fribourg could not know that they would have to have permits in order to return at six o’clock in the evening.’

The lieutenant said, very courteously, ‘Why, that is plain enough,’ and motioned for us to pass.

The rest of the party came behind me. While I was going down the stairs, another soldier — not the one I just mentioned — said to those nearest him, ‘I say, there’s the Mayor of Colmar.’

I do not know whether the lieutenant heard this remark, or whether, even if he did, it meant anything to him; but I felt tremendously relieved when I saw, a few steps away, a Swiss customs officer, who directed us to a place near at hand where we should find a tramway running to Bâle.

About one o’clock in the morning, I arrived safe and sound at the Hôtel de l’Univers, where I saw at least five hundred persons denied admission. I found a little corner in the hall, and I recognized many people from Mulhausen and its neighborhood.

I was worrying over the fate of my children, when, about two in the morning, I heard my older daughter’s voice in front of the hotel. I rushed out and found both of my daughters and my young son — who is to-day a volunteer in the French army — overseeing the unloading of their baggage which some men from Saint-Louis (a German frontier station) had brought in barrows.

After I had installed my little family in such quarters as I could find, I had them tell me of their exodus from Alsace.

On leaving the gates of Neubreisach my daughters had returned at full speed to Colmar, and had driven thence, in the same motor, to our villa at Les Trois-Épis. There they found my son, who, by a truly providential chance, had returned that very evening from the department of Le Bas-Rhin where the school that he attended had been closed a few days before the regular holidays on account of the disturbed condition of affairs. They hastily put together some few effects, found by great good fortune a second chauffeur, and started for Bâle by way of Alsace. The young man was dressed so that he might pass for a girl.

They arrived without accident, if not without incident, at St. Louis, where travel by motor was still forbidden, but where many persons crossed the frontier that evening without papers. The motor was stopped several times on the road, but the travelers were taken for members of officers’ families intending to take refuge in Switzerland.

While I was waiting for my children at the hotel, I was much diverted by the conversation of a gentleman who came and told me his grievances.

‘Don’t you suppose,’ he said to me, trembling with excitement, ‘that it’s possible to find an automobile here to cross the frontier? I am a colonel on the retired list, but I am named as commandant at Altona in case of mobilization; and if I’m not there the second day after the promulgation of the order of mobilization, I don’t know what will happen to me.’

I pretended to sympathize with him in his perilous plight. ‘But after all, colonel,’ I said, ‘you have a right to be in Switzerland, and if you are kept away by the physical impossibility of being on the spot at the appointed time, your superiors will understand perfectly that it’s not your fault.’

‘All, mein Herr,’ he exclaimed, ‘you don’t know the military men!’

‘Oh, yes, I do know them!’ I replied. ‘Besides, I beg you to believe that there are some people who, as a consequence of what is happening now, may find themselves in a more delicate position than yours. Your case does n’t seem to me alarming.’

But he was inconsolable, and I could hardly conceal my satisfaction at the discomfiture of that Teuton who had missed his appointment. I have no knowledge of what became of him.

As for myself, I know that the next morning seven men, under a commissioner of police, appeared at my then abode with the purpose of arresting me. It is needless to say that they went away empty-handed.

Later, I learned from the German newspapers that I had been shot; and a fortnight later still, just as I was starting for Paris, I read in a German journal at Berne that I was interned in the fortress of Rastadt in Baden.

I have not told everything, either concerning the events of the last years before the war, or concerning the incidents of my departure from Colmar, because I am bound to maintain some reserve on account of certain persons who are still under the yoke of the enemy. But all that I have told, I lived through, saw with my own eyes, and heard with my own ears.

Since I left Colmar the information that I have received through Switzerland has been very indefinite, and I cannot hope to learn the truth previous to the entry of the French and Allied troops into the annexed provinces, of which we hold thus far only a small portion. I know that my property has been seized, that I have been made the object of numerous prosecutions each of which involves the capital penalty, and that they have done me the honor to declare that I have forfeited my German citizenship.

But I know, also, that now AlsaceLorraine forms a part of the French patrie, and that the accused are the ones who will, at no distant day, rise up as accusers, and will demand, aye, and obtain, that justice be done on their executioners.

  1. The author was Mayor of Colmar.