The Fall of the Paris Commune:
May 28, 1871
This text comes from our book, Light to the Nations II: The Making of the Modern World. See sample chapters, here. For ordering information on Light to the Nations II and our other texts, please click here.
“Let us go, my friends, for the sake of God.”
Thus Pére Captier encouraged his companions, who were going, they were certain, to their death. Captier was the superior of a house of Dominicans who ran the College of Arcueil, near Paris. On May 19, 1871, a group of “citizens” representing the “Commune” of Paris had arrested Captier with four other Dominicans (Fathers Bourard, Cottrault, Delhorme, and Chatagneret) as well as eight lay professors and servants of the college. Six days later, the 12 men were taken first to a fortress on the outskirts of Paris and then to a prison within the city. Along the way they were jeered at and insulted, though they were accused of no crime. They now made their confessions, to prepare for another journey.
“Let us go, my friends . . .”
It was about five in the afternoon of May 25. One by one, the prisoners were led into the streets that on all sides were filled with armed men. These men now opened fire on the prisoners. Captier fell, mortally wounded. Bourard, Cottrault, Delhorme, and Chatagneret were cut down, as were the three professors (Monsieurs Gauquelin, Voland, and Petit) and the five servants (Aimé Gros, Marce, Cheminal, Dintroz, and Cathala). For 24 hours the bodies remained on the street, insulted by passersby, though a few paid the fallen the respect due to martyrs. (more…)