François Joseph Westermann

"There is no more Vendée, Republican citizens. It died beneath our free sword, with its women and its children. I have just buried it in the swamps and the woods of Savenay. Following the orders that you gave to me, I crushed the children beneath the horses' hooves, massacred the women who, those at least, will bear no more brigands. I do not have a single prisoner to reproach myself with. I have exterminated them all..."

Of all the events in the French Revolution which inspires revulsion few compare with the actions of this man, François Joseph Westermann. Born on September 5, 1751. He arrived in Paris became a jacobin and was a supporter of Robespierre. He left Paris went to Haguenau, where he was employed as a clerk. He was placed under arrest for inciting a riots. After his release he rturned to Paris where with Danton was instumental in the attack on the Tuileries, 10 August, 1792.

He accompanied Dumourez on his campaigns with the Army of the North, and assisted him in his negotiations with the Habsburgs. He was arrested as an accomplice when the general defected. Jean-Paul Marat denounced him to the National Convention, but Westermann succeeded in convincing them of his innocence in the matter. With the rank of Brigadier General to supress the Vendée uprising.

In my opinion, his trial at the hands of the convention for treason, created in him the fear that it would again happen. In order to insure that his near run with death never happened again, he became more bloodthirsty than the convention. So as in the case of tyrannies, his excesses were not only condoned but encouraged. The acts of his infernal columns were attrocities worthy of the Third Reich.

A massacre of 6,000 Vendéan prisoners, many of them women, took place after the battle of Savenay, along with the drowning of 3,000 Vendéan women at Pont-au-Baux and 5,000 Vendéan priests, old men, women, and children killed by drowning (noyades)at the Loire River at Nantes in what was called the "national bath" - tied in groups in barges and then sunk into the Loire. With these massacres came formal orders for forced evacuation. A 'scorched earth' policy was initiated: farms were destroyed, crops and forests burned and villages razed cattle killed and mutilated. There were many reported atrocities and a campaign of mass killing universally targeted at residents of the Vendée regardless of combantant status, political affiliation, age or sex. It is considered by some to be the first modern genocide, and only recently understood as such.

One story will illustrate the ferocity of this animal named Westermann. Upon entering a village Westermanns troops gathered all the villagers into a field, men, women, and children and proceeded to cutoff their ears, tongues and fingers. The field is called the field of the howling. It is inconcevable that a nation so enamoured with, Libertie, egalite, and fraternite, should have treated it's citizens in such a manner.

The below photo is the skin of a Vendéan captive.

After his supression of the Vendée, Westermann made the report with which I led off this article. He was proscibed with the Dantonist Faction and he was guillotined.

Vive le Roy,
de Brantigny

sources include

No comments: