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Belgians reconstruct section of WWI lethal border fence

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

KINROOI The lethal electric fence that spanned the border between Belgium and the Netherlands during much of WWI is being reconstructed in the Belgium municipality of Kinrooi as part of its historical landscape heritage elements. The initiator of the project is the Committee Tourism Walking Trails (WTW), which wants to recreate heritage points of interest in the local landscape as tourism attractions. The fence, in the Dutch language dubbed the dodendraad, claimed hundreds of casualties among refugees as well as smugglers, who clandestinely tried to slip across the border. The German authorities in occupied Belgium territory that way stemmed the flight of weary Belgians of whom over a million had fled across the border in fear of warfare and a repeat of atrocities by the invading German army in August 1914. The fence, which stretched from Cadzand on the North Sea coast to Achen on the Dutch-German border, also kept German and Allied soldiers from escaping slaughter in the prolonged trench battles by seeking refuge in the Netherlands which remained neutral during WWI.