Belgia / Historia

Police officers of Saint-Vith murdered




Lucien Hennes and his son Edgard died in January 1945 in the midst of the turmoil of the Battle of the Bulge. On 29 August 1948, more than three years after the events, they were finally buried in the cemetery of Saint-Vith.

The day after the German offensive of 16 December 1944, the inhabitants of Eupen, Malmedy and Saint-Vith fled. Among them was Lucien Hennes, a chief of police in Saint-Vith. He was accompanied in his escape by his son Edgard and one of his friends, André Fagnoul, as well as the family maid. All three men worked for the police. The small group took refuge in La Roche-en-Ardenne, convinced that the German troops would never reach this place. However, after being targeted by German shells, the American troops withdrew. La Roche was reoccupied on 23 December. The American bombings intensified after Christmas, causing the German troops to become increasingly nervous, especially as the firing continued into early January. The city was almost completely wiped out. On 4 January 1945, they organised a vast operation to check the identity of the civilians present on site. At this point, Lucien was taken away, soon followed by his two companions in misfortune. The German army suspected them of taking part in the resistance. Was this true? It is difficult to establish this, especially since Lucien and his son took refuge in Brussels during the occupation, fleeing from the annexed Saint-Vith. The three men were subject to long and brutal interrogations, allegedly led by French-speaking SS men. The last person to see them was Norbert Foison who, on 10 January, saw a dozen German soldiers and three prisoners pass by on the route de Wibrin, at Bois Saint-Jean. The latter three were killed shortly afterwards by a bullet in the neck. The German troops withdrew from La Roche on 8 January, but not before having mined the roads. The body of the commissioner was found on 14 January by two American soldiers; the other two bodies were not discovered until 6 February 1945. After investigation, the crimes were attributed to a Sonderkommando of the SD linked to the 2nd SS Panzerkorps. The official funeral did not take place until three years later.