Belgien / Geschichte

Arrival of US troops in Eupen




On 11 September 1944, US troops reached Eupen. Most Nazi activists and many Germans had fled in the previous days. Nevertheless, a last resistance act on the market square cost the lives of several civilians and the destruction of several houses.

On 4 September 1944, Eupen was still under German control. District leader Herwanger issued an evacuation notice for the population. But the majority stayed and went for cover in their cellars.

The Eupen-Wesertal local group struck a final blow against well known opponents of the regime. During a large scale raid in the early morning hours, the police arrested ten people. Only five of them would return after the war. The others died under unknown circumstances. Germany artillery and several incidents caused the death of six civilians.

On 10 September the station was bombed, and surrounding houses were damaged. For the US troops, Eupen was just a city of transit on the way to Aachen. Hence, resistance of the few remaining German troops was low. Unfortunately, four young German soldiers wanted to stop the US troops arriving from the Kirchstraße (Kirch Street) with their anti-tank gun. The short incident ended with the destruction of several houses on the corner Marktplatz and Klosterstraße (Cloister Street). The details and the number of victims were believed to be between three and twenty, but the true figure remains unknown.

In the meantime, on the other side of town, American Sherman tanks rolled in from Malmedyer Straße over the Weserbrücke (Weser Bridge) to Haasstraße and up the Olengraben to the upper town. Others came from Membach through Oestraße (East Street) or via Stendrich. Eupen became a stopover post for the US troops.

An incident on Simarstraße caused the death of another civilian. During the repair of a jammed US tank cannon, a shot accidentally went off and killed a 42-year-old instantly.

The German offensive in the Ardennes had only a little impact for Eupen, which remained under US control until the end of the war. The last German troops left the city on 3 February 1945.

Shortly after the liberation in September 1944, the Armée Blanche, groups of former Resistance fighters, arrived and started wild cat purges, hunting down ‘collaborators’. State organised purges would follow after the war.

Marktplatz, 4700, Eupen