60 years ago

3 January 2005, 17:12 genre:    by mickael

December 1944

Victor my grandfather is a young gendarme quartered in Malmedy and Saint Vith, in Belgium near the German border. On the 16th December 1944 at 5:30 am the Battle of the Bulge begins, ‘They’ are coming back.

From then on nobody will hear from him for weeks as he is caught in the lines of fire. On X-mas Day Saint Vith is wiped in just 14 minutes under allied bombs, he will then set to cross the battlefield by foot to rejoin his family some 100 kms away.

It is only by the 20th of January that my grand mother eventually recovered him alive. What he went through and had seen he never told. 60 years later I’m looking for his footsteps.

qtvr size    [FULLSCREEN]    [SMALL]    in a popup window Bastogne Bois Jacques

This picture was taken at Bois Jacques, North of Bastogne in the hamlet of Foy for my submission to the Sanctuary project of the WWP This place has become a famous sanctuary for Easy company of the 101st US airborne division defending Bastogne.

As a child, every year around new year’s day I visited my father’s family in the Ardennes. It was often a time of tears and sorrow as my great aunts and uncles silently remembered the winter of 44.

This 17th December 2004 I spent it in the woods around Bastogne trying to remember something I have hardly been told and never lived through. The weather conditions are similar to what they were 60 years ago: foggy, cold and humid, it is hard to believe that in 1944 people buried themselves here for days, weeks even by -20°C.

I wander through the woods occasionally coming across foxholes of 101st airborne and young US cadets roaming in noisy search of trophies: pieces of shrapnel, rounds or instant coffee sachets that can still be found here. I wish them no war.

Civilians are always expandable in times of war. History will account for the winners against the loosers but for civilians things are really different in the fields of war. This panorama is dedicated to all the Victors caught in wars and their anonymous accomplishments.

 

To die for a historically unjust cause, without even a name on your tomb seems a terrible thing to me. The winners are celebrated for their courage, here’s a pano in remembrance of the loosers, most often just soldiers caught in history.

qtvr size    [FULLSCREEN]Bastogne Recogne German cemetery Bastogne-Recogne German cemetery, 6807 graves