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Bitche (Municipality, Moselle, France)

Last modified: 2018-06-28 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Bitche

The municipality of Bitche (5,228 inhabitants in 2015, 4,112 ha; municipal website), is located close to the German border. Bitche is mostly known for its citadel.

Ivan Sache, 2 July 2002

Flag made during the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian war

On 19 July 1870, France declared war to Prussia. The Prussian troops entered the French territory and attacked the citadel of Bitche on 8 August. The defenders of the citadel, led by Commandant Teyssier, repelled the Prussians, who laid siege to the fortress.
The siege lasted until March 1871. Both the citadel and the town of Bitche were repeatedly bombarded. On several instances, Prussian emissaries required the surrender of the French troops. Teyssier unshakeably answered he would leave the citadel only on the orders of the French government.

On 9 March 1871, the Municipal Council of Bitche decided the making of a flag with the inscription: 'la ville de Bitche à ses défenseurs 8 août'1870 - 12 mars 1871 (The Town of Bitche to its Defenders 8 August 1870 - 12 March 1871)
On 15 March, the flag was ceremoniously offered to the defenders entrenched in their position.
On 25 March, the French troops left the city of Bitche, headed by the flag and to the rapturous applause of the inhabitants, whereas the Prussians formed a guard of honour. The next day, Teyssier handed in the keys of the town to Colonel Kohlermann. By the Treaty of Francfort (10 May 1871), Bitche, which had been French since 1766, was annexed to Germany with Alsace and Lorraine.

On 22 November 1918, the French troops seized Bitche. On 5 January 1919, Jean Teyssier brought back the flag which had been offered to his father. On 22 August 1919, President of the Republic Raymond Poincaré, who was Lorrain, visited Bitche and awarded the town the Légion d'Honneur for its heroic resistance during the 1870-1871 war.
The flag offered to Commandant Teyssier is exhibited in the citadel museum in Bitche.

Ivan Sache, 2 July 2002