Under the Iron Heel


BY Lars Moën


INVASION and blockade have cast an atmosphere of mystery over some of the most familiar European countries and cities, over the Netherlands and Belgium and a large part of France, over Paris and Brussels and Antwerp. This lends special interest to the stories of returned eyewitnesses of the German occupation such as Mr. Moën, who lived in Belgium until the latter part of October, His story is at once vivid, coherent, and plausible, although it is naturally more reliable when Mr. Moën is describing things he has seen and experienced than when he is repeating the rumors that are always especially plentiful in a country under the yoke of foreign occupation and censorship. The food situation was bad when he left and was certain, as he believes, to become worse, with potatoes likely to be the staff of life tor the Belgians before the next harvest. Although the discipline of the German troops was excellent and there was practically no disorderly looting, there was a vast appropriation of warehouse food stocks, and Belgium must support a large German army of occupation. He emphasizes the bleak life of an occupied country, the sternly enforced blackouts, the growing shortage of the simplest products. The Belgians find some relief in telling sarcastic stories (that familiar consolation of people under a dictatorship, domestic or foreign) and there has been some cutting of telephone wires, but apparently no large sabotage. The author believes that, regardless of the issue of the war, national frontiers and the capitalist system in Europe have been smashed beyond patching up. W. H. C.