Skip to comments.The Forgotten Massacre
Posted on 05/24/2014 6:01:46 AM PDT by Kaslin
Strange, the once obscure villages that war makes unforgettable, forever resonant with the echoes of battle. Gettysburg. Hastings. Lexington and Concord. The fate of nations, and of freedom, was determined by what happened at such places. And their names became indelible. So it is with the names of massacres, too, names soaked in blood and shame. Names like Fort Pillow. That was the Union post in Tennessee just north of Memphis where black troops wearing the uniform of the United States Army were slaughtered. It wouldn't be the first time.
It happened in 1944, too. In the middle of the Battle of the Bulge, the last great German offensive of the war that took the Allies completely by surprise. Having finally broken out of the hedgerows in France, encountered bridges too far and advances suddenly turned into retreats, now the Allied armies were poised on the edge of victory by Christmas. It lay just across the Rhine.
And then ... the panzers were everywhere. The bulge in the Allied lines had erupted, whole divisions were broken and scattered, the outcome of the war itself was in doubt. The front was collapsing.
Then came Malmedy. A lightly armed American convoy trying to escape the rout was captured by the SS near that village, the GIs collected in an open field, and then ... mowed down by machine-gun fire.
When American forces regained the initiative and returned a month later, they would find 84 frozen bodies under the snow. But word of the atrocity had spread within hours of the massacre. And so did the rage. All along Allied lines. And back home, too. The mask of the enemy had been torn away, the evil underneath it revealed. It wasn't necessary to put the order in writing: Take no prisoners. A fever for vengeance took hold, and would have to run its course before it abated.
Who could forget Malmedy?
But who now remembers Wereth? That's the little hamlet where a small detachment of the redoubtable 333rd Field Artillery Battalion had taken refuge. The 333rd, an all-black outfit in those Jim Crow days, had fought its way across northern Europe since D-Day, only to be caught in the Bulge along with the rest of VIII Corps. The detachment had been part of the two batteries left behind to cover the American retreat when the front collapsed.
Mathias and Maria Langer hid the fleeing Americans in their farmhouse, but an informant told the SS about them. The 11 Americans were taken prisoner and marched off. To a small, muddy field where they were shot, but not before being tortured and maimed. Legs were broken, skulls crushed, fingers cut off. Their ordeal must have lasted for the better part of a day; the Americans had become playthings to be torn apart for the amusement of sadists. The 99th Infantry Division would find only their broken remains when it entered the village a month later. Then the Wereth Eleven were pretty much forgotten.
Till half a century later. That's when Hermann Langer, the son of Mathias and Maria, would put up a cross at the site of the Forgotten Massacre. His sister Tina said he was haunted by the memory of the GIs being taken from the farmhouse, and was determined to commemorate the massacre. A decade later, the Belgians would erect a stone monument on the site. They remembered.
Let the country whose uniform these American soldiers remember them, too, on this Memorial Day.
They came from Mississippi and Texas and South Carolina and West Virginia and Texas and Alabama ... and one of them was from Arkansas: PFC Due W. Turner, 38383369, lies buried at Henri-Chapelle, Plot F Row 5 Grave 9. He's officially listed as a native of Columbia County, Arkansas, but last time I looked at the Columbia County Courthouse website, with its picture of the county's monument to its war veterans, there's still an empty space under the list of World War II veterans inscribed there. Let it be filled with the name
Due W. Turner
I, for one, will never forgive the Germans or trust them. As far as I know, the Germans have never asked the world’s forgiveness or apologized. They still owe the civilized world, basically the Allies, bigtime.
Actor Charles Durning, having already been wounded at D-Day, had returned to action and was captured at Malmedy, barely escaping.
A head of government on his knees at a memorial, and billions of dollars paid in reparations.
What would you suggest the German government or people do further?
You are aware this is exactly the same argument used to make white Americans eternally guilty for the past sins of other white Americans against black people, aren’t you?
Also, by this argument, maybe the Jews should be held responsible for the murder of Jesus Christ.
Every nation has a minority quite willing to do government-sponsored, sadistic, SS-like work. The Russians had their Bolsheviks, for example. It is the duty of all good people to prevent a fascist minority from taking power.
What many on the left cannot understand is that their intolerance breeds fascism.
In the past, the Germans have been both arrogant and quite willing to an accept authoritarian leader (the Kaiser, the Fuhrer). That's a bad combination. The Japanese were the same way.
Let's hope things have changed.
Thank you for enlightening me
I had no idea.
lest we forget:
nits make lice.
Ah, the difference is, the Nazis haven’t all died yet. And their children are first generation. I guess it is so fresh.
There is truth to your response, I do acknowledge that.
The Sand Creek Massacre is remembered, out of the many hundreds of battles with the Indians, because US troops indulged in atrocities to a degree roughly comparable to the normal practices of "the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions." To quote the Declaration of Independence.
IOW, at Sand Creek the Army did what (most of) the Indians always did. Actually less than, since even Chivington didn't haul away prisoners for later leisurely torture.
OTOH, Jim Crow was live and active and still killing people more recently than WWII.
Exactly. Instead of looking for some ethnic, nationality, or racial commonality to the evil doings of people in history, look at their political bent, always leftist, totalitarian.
Yeah and antisemitism still pervades Europe too
It is, however, NOT the anti-semitism of Tsarist Russia, based on a supposedly Christian POV, or of the Nazis, based on supposed racial criteria.
It is almost exclusively leftist and Muslim in origin.
Lumping it in with earlier versions to say “Europe is still anti-semitic” seems to me to be a categorization error. Posits a line of descent where none exists.
And it really has to be said. Today's leftists are very much like the National Socialists and the Bolsheviks of old. Today's leftists shout down their opposition, and demonize their enemies. Conservatives are not just wrong. They are evil racists. Enemies of the people, in other words.
No shortage at Waco. No shortage when the only alien clinton hated - Elián González - was deported at gunpoint. No shortage at the Bundy ranch. No shortage at the IRS. No shortage at the EPA...
Yeah. I’ve even worked with a former Hitler Youth. Pretty normal guy unless WWII or Jews came up in the conversation...
“Let’s hope things have changed.”
They haven’t. The names change but they’re still attached to humans and humans are infinitely fallible. All these atrocities will happen again... and again... and again, ad infinitum.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.