Marguerite Linden-Meier



Marguerite Linden (maiden name Meier, born in 1921), lived in Bivels, near Vianden, on the Our river. She was suddenly plunged into the German preparations of their surprise attack in the Ardennes, the ‘Battle of the Bulge’, in early December 1944. Marguerite was one of the very few eyewitnesses to see the buildup. Together with several other inhabitants of her village she was surprised by a German nightly reconnaissance patrol that had slipped into Bivels.

Since September 1944 and the liberation, the villages on the borderlands had been evacuated of civilians. This was deemed to be in their best interests and safety. The area could have and would eventually become a combat zone once again. 

Only a few people were allowed to stay to tend to their cattle in the area. This was the case of Marguerite Linden-Meier who was abducted by a German patrol that had crossed into Luxembourg. She was questioned about the American presence and installations in the area around Vianden. “We were all so surprised that we could not say a word,” she recalled. “Bivels is no-man’s land; no civilians are allowed here anymore” a German soldier explained to them as they pushed the civilians out of the their house and towards the Our river. They were made to cross into Germany, uphill to Bauler, and over makeshift bridges where they were taken to a bunker for interrogation. 

Later they were then taken further to Bitburg. In the subsequent days then on to Kyllburg for additional harsh questioning. It was then that Marguerite recognised in horror a grim Gestapo Nazi official who had spread terror in the Diekirch district before the American liberation. 

Due to lucky circumstances, she was able to stay with a German farming family (whom she knew before the war), who helped her eventually escape back over the banks of the Our river, which she had crossed. 

Once safe, she immediately reported to the Luxembourg resistance, and in turn to the American authorities. They informed them of what they had experienced and that they had seen numerous German vehicles, artillery pieces, tonnes of supplies and hundreds of soldiers close to the border. She was even taken to higher US Headquarters for further questioning and later recalled, ‘it seemed that they did not really believe us’.