Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Infamous Reprisal Camp

As the Battle of Verdun wound down in December 1916, the German Army demanded that the French withdraw the camps for their German prisoners to a distance of 30 km behind the front line. If the terms were not met, the Germans threatened to place their French prisoners within reach of French fire. 

The terms were not met, so a camp was opened at the village of Flabas, very close to the famous Bois des Caures, where the first action of the Battle of Verdun took place. Almost 500 prisoners were held in an enclosure of 1500 square meters. The prisoners were brutally treated. After several months the French authorities relented and the prisoners were moved away from the front. The episode was never forgotten, however, and the monument shown above stands in Flabas today recalling the incident.


  1. Good lord. Didn't know about this one.

  2. I have seen this marker and had assumed it was the treatment of deserters. Now I know. Thank you.

  3. I'm a little confused by the description here. We're the 500 prisoners French or German? Very sad, in any case, to be sure.