The swindling gendarme of Jupille

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As he had a certain sense of Ruhe und Ordnung (calm and order) for the public good, the inhabitants admited that Jupille had never been so clean and so quiet...

In August 1914, instability reigned in many communes of the province of Liège. Then, on August 11, a German gendarme in a shiny uniform presented himself to Dr. Ponson, the mayor of Jupille. He told him that the Kommandantur had put him in charge of the police in Jupille and that six subordinates would soon join him.

The next day, he declared that he was delighted with the excellent order and calm of the commune. He, therefore, asserted that he did not need this reinforcement and said that he would henceforth ensure order alone. This very commanding character, who was named Kettermann, now had free rein to do as he pleased. He single-handedly suppressed theft and raiding. But above all, he constantly issued new orders, cleanliness, and traffic regulations, with fines that ended up in his pockets.

As he had a certain sense of Ruhe und Ordnung (calm and order) for the public good, the inhabitants admitted that Jupille had never been so clean and so quiet. The quiet atmosphere lasted five weeks before the Kommandantur of Liège realized that he was in fact, a fake gendarme. Kettermann was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison.

At the same time, a copy of Kettermann had set himself up as a German gendarme in Bellaire and Queue-du-Bois to hold the population ransom in the same way. Lacking Kettermann’s skill, he quickly was at odds with the mayor of Queue-du-Bois, J.J. Lejeune. Finally, having reached the end of his patience, he decided to settle accounts and, afterward, to file a complaint with the Kommandantur. This finally put an end to these swindlers.

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