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Fort Eben-Emael: a history of toilets

Devise du Fort de Eben-Emael.
I remember an anecdote that is not very appetizing, but I can't resist the pleasure of telling it to you.
Gérard Jans

Before its capture in 1940, Fort of Eben-Emael was a place of life and training for career soldiers and those doing their service. Gérard Jans is a former Belgian soldier-militiaman of the class of 1939. In several issues of the “Coin des anciens,” or Alumni Corner is a newspaper published by the veterans of this garrison, he tells about the daily life of a soldier at the fort. Among the good and bad moments, he shared in a humorous tone a rather original anecdote…

“I remember an anecdote that is not very appetizing, but I cannot resist the pleasure of telling it to you. So, when we arrived in Wonk, I was assigned with my group to be housed in the patronage room. To go to the toilet, we had to go out into a sort of small courtyard. In this courtyard, there was only one toilet for about sixty men. When you opened the door, you could see a board with a hole in it, where you could see the cesspool. After 4 or 5 days of intensive use (one does not know how to stop natural functions, even during a mobilization), we had filled the pit, over the pierced board, to the great displeasure of the parish priest who lived in the adjoining house. This W-C. was condemned, and our leaders made us dig leaflets (latrines) in the garden, but the location was poorly chosen because, from her kitchen, the priest’s maid saw the men undressing.”

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