Saturday, December 13, 2014

the last book I ever read (Half Man, Half Bike: The Life of Eddy Merckx, Cycling's Greatest Champion, excerpt one)

from Half Man, Half Bike: The Life of Eddy Merckx, Cycling's Greatest Champion by William Fotheringham:

Guilt or innocence was only one part of the lasting issue, however. Before the Allies appeared Gaston Merckx’s three brothers, Maurice, Marcel and Albert, had escaped, most probably to Germany, and no one knew where they were: they were never seen again. There was no immediate closure. There were two waves of reprisals in Meensel-Kiezegem, one following liberation in September 1944, and a second when the few survivors of the round-ups returned to the villages from May 1945.

As in other communities across Europe, there was harassment and violence and destruction of property. Armed men searched houses at dead of night for collaborators who had escaped. In August 1945, one of the handful of men who had survived the concentration camps returned to the village and heard rumours that one of the Merckx brothers might be hiding on a farm owned by a member of the Pittomvils family, Louis. A group of former resistance men gathered by night and burned the place. Louis Pittomvils was shot dead, although he was innocent of any misdeed. The perpetrators were never brought to justice.

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