Massacre At Malmedy During the Battle of the Bulge

Massacre At Malmedy During the Battle of the Bulge

By Michael Reynolds
February 2003 • World War II Magazine

The delightful Belgian town of Malmédy will forever be associated with the most infamous massacre of American troops in World War II. And yet, but for the presence of an Associated Press correspondent there in early January 1945, it is doubtful that this terrible incident would have ever achieved international notoriety. ‘Nazis Turned Machine Guns on GI POWs wrote Hal Boyle in his January 1945 Stars and Stripes article, and from that first graphic account sprung a plethora of books and articles about the so-called Malmédy Massacre. Few of these accounts are based on fact, and most are embellished and inaccurate.

It is unlikely that we shall ever know the precise sequence of events at the Baugnez crossroads, near Malmédy, on December 17, 1944, or the reasons for them. The secret lies with the guilty and the dead. Nevertheless, many corroborated facts are known and a careful analysis of these facts can bring us closer to the truth of what happened.

On December 16, 1944, the day Adolf Hitler’s great Ardennes offensive began, Captain Leon Scarborough, the officer commanding Battery B of the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion, was told that his battery was being transferred from VII Corps to VIII Corps at 0600 hours the following day and that he was to report to his new headquarters at St. Vith in the Ardennes. Before leaving Schevenhutte, near Aachen, Germany, Scarborough instructed Lieutenant Ksidzek, his executive officer, to move the unit to the new area on the 17th. Scarborough took five members of the battery with him. A route-marking truck commanded by Lieutenant Gier was to precede the battery by about two hours with another five men.

On reaching the VIII Corps artillery headquarters at 0900 on the 17th, Scarborough was told to check in with the 16th Field Artillery Observation Battalion for a survey and other data relating to his new area of operations. He was then to report to the 4th Infantry Division artillery headquarters in Luxembourg. He left instructions for his battery to be redirected to join him.

Battery B left Schevenhutte at 0800 on the 17th. The convoy consisted of 30 jeeps, weapons carriers and two-and-a-half-ton trucks, and was divided into two serials–the first led by Lieutenant Virgil Lary and the second by Lieutenant Perry Reardon. For reasons unknown, the battalion’s executive officer, Captain Roger Mills, accompanied the battery and traveled in the lead jeep with Lary. Two other members of Headquarters Battery, a technical sergeant and a medical corporal, were also attached to Battery B. Why Lary and not Lieutenant Ksidzek led the convoy is a mystery. Ksidzek traveled in one of the trucks at the rear of the column.

The initial part of the journey lay through Eynatten and Eupen, and then, just to the north of Malmédy, the battery passed through the Baraque Michel, a high moorland area that was the designated drop zone for a German parachute operation designed to disrupt American reinforcements from the north. This operation, known as Greif, was commanded by the famous Colonel Friedrich von der Heydte. It is sadly ironic that had the paratroopers landed as planned and not been dispersed over a wide area, Battery B would have been forced to take a different route and the massacre would never have happened. As it was, the battery reached Malmédy without incident at about 1215 and found various serials of Combat Command R of the 7th Armored Division crossing the town from north to south on their way to St. Vith. The Battery B route-marking truck had already passed through.

At the east end of Malmédy on the main N-23 St. Vith road, the leading jeep was stopped by an engineer, Lt. Col. David Pergrin. His 291st Engineer Combat Battalion had been stationed in the area since early November, and while most of the troops in Malmédy had bugged out to the west in the face of the German offensive, Pergrin had decided to stay and defend the vital road center until reinforcements could arrive. He had only one company of engineers available to him. The rest of his battalion was scattered throughout the northern Ardennes on various winterization duties. His appeals for reinforcements had fallen on deaf ears.

Pergrin had no idea of the extent of the enemy’s strength, but one of his own jeep patrols had warned him that a German armored column was approaching the area to the southeast of Malmédy. He therefore warned Captain Mills and Lieutenant Lary not to proceed in that direction, and advised them to turn around and go to St. Vith via Stavelot, Trois Ponts and Vielsalm. But the artillery officers would not listen. They had their orders, their place on a designated route and, perhaps most important of all, they knew that two of the men with the route-marker truck were farther down that route and that they were due to pick them up. Ignoring Pergrin’s warning, the battery proceeded on its way. However, four vehicles at the rear of the convoy did not follow immediately. Owing to the sickness of a corporal who appeared to have food poisoning, Ksidzek in the battery commander’s car, the battery maintenance and wire trucks and the route markers’ pickup truck diverted to the 44th Evacuation Hospital in Malmédy to obtain medical treatment. These four vehicles carried a total of 27 men.

Preceding the Battery B convoy on the N-23 was an ambulance of the 575th Ambulance Company, returning to its base in Waimes after a visit to the 44th Evacuation Hospital. Following it were four more ambulances, three from the 575th and one from the 546th Company.

The junction of the N-23 and N-32, less than two miles southeast of Malmédy, was known locally as the Baugnez crossroads. Since it was the junction of five roads, the Americans called it Five Points. Standing at the crossroads at about midday on December 17 was a Battery B route marker and a military policeman whose job was to direct the remaining serials of the 7th Armored Division. The only buildings near the crossroads in those days were the Café Bodarwé, on the southwest side of the junction with two farms beyond it, another farm on the north side and two small houses on the east side of the N-23–one 150 yards and the other just over half a mile south of Five Points.

At about 1245 the military policeman and route marker waved Mills and Lary’s jeep through Five Points in the direction of Ligneuville and St. Vith. The visibility was good, the temperature just above zero and there was no snow on the ground except for a light covering in places untouched by the sun. Shortly after this, with the lead jeep about half a mile south of the crossroads and the last vehicle of the battery just short of the Café Bodarwé, the column came under fire from two German tanks some 800 to 1,000 yards to its east. These tanks were the point of Kampfgruppe (KGr.) Peiper, the leading formation of the 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. This division, the premier in the Waffen SS, together with its twin, the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend, had been given the honor of spearheading the Sixth Panzer Army’s attack toward the Meuse River. They were the only formations in the Wehrmacht to bear the Führer‘s name, and they enjoyed a fearsome reputation–both had already been accused of various war crimes and of killing prisoners in cold blood.

The commander of KGr. Peiper was SS Lt. Col. Joachim Peiper, a former adjutant to Heinrich Himmler and holder of the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves. Through his service in France and on the Eastern Front he was renowned as a brilliant soldier and commander, but on this particular day he was tired and frustrated. Due to tougher than expected opposition by the U.S. 99th Infantry Division against the formations ordered to create a gap for his 117 tanks, 149 armored personnel carriers, 24 artillery pieces and some 40 anti-aircraft guns, he was already more than 12 hours behind schedule. Peiper had so far suffered few casualties, but his lead element, under the command of SS Lieutenant Werner Sternebeck, had been reduced from its original seven tanks and a platoon of engineers in halftracks to two Panzerkampfwagen (PzKw.) Mk. IV tanks and two halftracks.

As Sternebeck moved north on the road from Thirimont to Bagatelle on the N-32, he saw the Battery B convoy moving south on the N-23 to his left. It was an inviting target, and he immediately opened fire with his own 75mm gun and ordered his accompanying tank to do the same. Each tank fired about five or six rounds and then, on Peiper’s order, moved as fast as possible to Bagatelle, where they turned left and proceeded to Five Points, then turned left again onto the N-23. There they were confronted by the abandoned vehicles of the American convoy–some burning, some shot up, others in the ditch or crashed into each other. The exact number of vehicles along the road is unknown, but many were fit enough for use by the Germans after the incident.

After turning onto the N-23 Sternebeck’s PzKw. Mk. IV moved south, pushing abandoned vehicles out of the way and firing its machine guns at the ditches in which most of the Americans had taken cover. Sternebeck told the author that he did this to encourage the GIs to surrender and, since the Americans had no heavy weapons at their disposal, the tactic soon worked. He then waved his arm in the usual manner to indicate to the surrendering Americans that they were to march back down the road toward Five Points, and halted his tank near the head of the convoy to await further orders. These were not long in coming. Peiper was furious at the delay the incident had caused, and, after transferring to his infantry commander’s halftrack, he drove up to Sternebeck and ordered him in no uncertain terms to move on toward Ligneuville. Then, together with a PzKw. Mk. V Panther tank and the halftracks of the 11th SS Panzergrenadier Company, Peiper followed Sternebeck. The time was about 1330 hours.

While the survivors of Battery B were being assembled in a field immediately adjacent to, and south of, the Café Bodarwé, three trucks from Company B of the 86th Engineer Battalion came up the hill from Malmédy and, after halting behind the ambulances at the rear of Battery B, were fired on by the Germans. Five of the men in these trucks managed to get away, although one of them was wounded and a sixth was captured.

The last four Battery B vehicles under the command of Ksidzek, having dropped off the sick corporal, also approached Baugnez at about this time, but they heard the shooting and realized they were running into trouble. Ksidzek wisely turned around and got back to Malmédy without loss.

By about 1400, 113 Americans had been assembled in the field by the Café. They included 90 members of the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion (all except three from Battery B), 10 men from the five ambulances, the military policeman who had been on traffic duty at Five Points, the 86th Battalion engineer and 11 men who had been captured by KGr. Peiper before reaching Baugnez–eight from the 32nd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, two from the 200th Field Artillery Battalion and a sergeant from the 23rd Infantry Regiment.

In addition to these 113 prisoners, a further 26 men were involved in this tragic meeting with KGr. Peiper. The most fortunate were five members of Battery B who managed to escape from the front of the convoy, and another from the last truck who succeeded in hiding until he was able to make a safe getaway. Four more, plus three men from the 32nd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, were forced to drive some of the serviceable American vehicles for the Germans and became POWs. However, 11 Battery B men were killed either during the initial clash or in unknown circumstances–their bodies were not found until February and April 1945–and in addition, two men from the 197th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion were killed when their jeep, which was presumably in front of the Battery B convoy, ran into Sternebeck’s vehicles just to the east of Five Points. According to a young Belgian boy who witnessed the incident, they were shot in cold blood after being ordered out of the ditch in which they were hiding.

At approximately 1415, soldiers of KGr. Peiper opened fire on the American prisoners in the field next to the Café. The entire episode lasted no more than about 15 minutes. While the shooting was taking place, vehicles of the Kampfgruppe continued to drive past on the N-23. By 1500 Baugnez was quiet, and it was shortly after this, and certainly before 1600 hours, that 61 Americans who somehow were still alive in the field of death next to the Café attempted their escape. Unfortunately, there were still a few Germans in the vicinity, and they opened fire as the escapees ran to the west and northwest. At least 15 were killed. Three more died later, and one was never seen again.

Lieutenant Colonel Pergrin, standing outside his headquarters in a house in eastern Malmédy, heard the firing by Sternebeck’s tanks and guessed that that little FAOB outfit must have run into that column of German tanks. Sometime around 1500 he decided to make a reconnaissance toward Baugnez to investigate the noise. After passing through one of the eight roadblocks his men had mounted on all the approaches into Malmédy, Pergrin and one of his sergeants dismounted from their jeep at Geromont and continued on foot in a southerly direction. Suddenly they encountered three of the escapees from Five Points. They were hysterical and kept shouting, The Germans killed everybody! Pergrin rushed them back to Malmédy, and at 1640 sent a message to the chief engineer officer at First Army headquarters saying there had been some sort of massacre of American prisoners near Malmédy.

The bodies of those who had died at Five Points on December 17 lay in what became a virtual no man’s land from that day until January 14, 1945. Despite the fact that there was clear evidence from the many survivors that some sort massacre had taken place, the Americans made no attempt to recover the bodies before the 30th Infantry Division retook the area.

By a strange quirk of fate it was one of Pergrin’s engineer companies that, with the aid of mine detectors, uncovered the snow-covered bodies of 71 victims of the massacre. Then, between January 14 and 16, Major Giacento Morrone, Captain Joseph Kurcz and Captain John Snyder, all doctors at the 44th Evacuation Hospital, carried out autopsies on the bodies, which were frozen stiff and fully clothed on arrival at the hospital. The vast majority still had rings, watches, money and other valuables on them, which contradicts the statements of most survivors who said the Germans stole everything worthwhile from them before they were driven into the field. An analysis of the reports, all extremely disturbing to read, shows that 43 of the bodies had gunshot wounds to the head, at least three had suffered severe blows to the head, three had been crushed, two had received some form of first aid before death and nine still had their arms raised above their heads. It should be noted, however, that both before and during the American advance from Malmédy in January 1945, artillery from both sides hit the Baugnez area, and the autopsies confirm that at least 15 of the bodies had been hit by shell and mortar fragments after death. There is also evidence to show that in at least five cases eyes had been removed from their sockets–and in one case the report suggests that the man was still alive when this happened. While anything is possible, it seems unlikely that even the most depraved or crazed soldier would carry out such an act and, as often happens when bodies are left for long periods in the open, crows or similar birds of prey were the more likely culprits. What is certain is that terrible and usually fatal injuries were administered to the victims at close range.

Today there are 84 names on the Belgian memorial at the Baugnez crossroads. Some are misspelled, and Private Louis Vairo’s name was mistakenly deleted a few years ago. The name of Private Delbert Johnson of the 526th Armored Infantry Battalion appears on the memorial, but this is also a mistake–he was not present at Five Points on December 17, but was killed in the same area during an attack toward Hedomont on January 3, 1945. Not surprisingly, when his body was found on January 14 it was assumed that he was a victim of the massacre. This mistake and the fact that men from seven units other than the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion were recovered from Five Points have led to the suggestion that bodies unconnected with this incident were deliberately placed in the field by U.S. authorities after December 17. This is one of a number of spurious arguments presented by Nazi apologists over the years in their efforts to prove that no massacre took place or that, at the very least, the Americans tried to make the incident look much worse than it really was.

The Malmédy Massacre continues to provoke as much argument today as it did during the subsequent war crimes trial at Dachau in 1946. Most Americans take the view that it was probably a premeditated act or at best a spur of the moment shooting of defenseless men. Those Germans who were involved and others who take an interest in the affair, and various pro-Nazi American and European writers, naturally attempt to provide some sort of justification for the shooting.

Twenty-one American survivors made statements to U.S. authorities in Malmédy on December 17, the same day as the massacre, and on the following day–long before there was any possibility of collusion or anybody putting ideas into their heads. They all told essentially the same story: After surrendering to a German armored column and being disarmed, they were assembled in a field just south of the crossroads. The Germans then opened fire on them with machine guns and rifles. In most cases, the survivors mentioned two pistol shots before the main shooting started. They said that soldiers then entered the field and shot anyone who showed any signs of life and that many of the bodies were kicked or prodded in order to get a response. Following this, the German column continued to drive past, with some of the vehicle crews taking potshots at the bodies lying in the field. All but one of the survivors insisted that no attempt to escape had been made before the Germans opened fire, and that the escape attempt came at a much later stage when they thought the Germans had left the area.

Media interest in the affair, particularly in later years, has led to this relatively simple story being embellished, even by some of the victims. One survivor told the author in 1989 that he saw SS General Josef Sepp Dietrich, commander of the Sixth Panzer Army, goose-stepping past the massacre field as the Americans stood there. And the only surviving officer, Virgil Lary, talked of Tiger tanks, 88mm guns and large numbers of tanks forcing his men to surrender. Such exaggerations inevitably played into the hands of those who wished to cast doubt on the survivors’ original version of events.

Apart from some minor inconsistencies, such as Lieutenant Lary saying on December 18 that after escaping from the field he got a lift into Malmédy in a truck, but later changing his story to one of two Belgian women helping him to get there on foot aided by a makeshift crutch, the only real point in contention is whether or not there was any attempt to escape that might have caused the Germans to open fire.

Peiper himself, as previously stated, had allegedly left the Baugnez area before the shooting started. After the war he described how he had seen three groups of Americans before he moved on to Ligneuville–those with their hands up, those lying on the ground and in the ditches either dead or pretending to be dead, and a third group who, after pretending to be dead, got up and tried to run to nearby woods. He said his men fired warning shots at the latter two groups.

Most German apologists, and certainly many former members of Leibstandarte, subscribe to the explanation given by Peiper’s adjutant, Hans Gruhle, who said that there was a gap of about 10 minutes between Sternebeck and the command group leaving Baugnez and the arrival of the first elements of the main body of the Kampfgruppe. During this time the Americans were left to their own devices and, since they were not marching toward the east as would have been expected of normal POWs, the newly arrived elements mistook them for a combat unit and opened fire. How Gruhle could have known what happened on that tragic afternoon, however, is a mystery since he was allegedly traveling at or near the rear of the column!

With the passing of time this story, too, has been embellished to a point where the surrendered Americans, having recovered their weapons, actually opened fire on the main body of the Kampfgruppe. It is hard to comprehend how supposedly intelligent people can advance a theory that green and terrified soldiers who had already surrendered would pick up their rifles and pistols–they had nothing larger–which hardened Waffen SS soldiers had left lying around, in order to engage tanks and halftracks.

On the other side of the coin, many Americans subscribe to the theory that orders had been issued at the highest level that no U.S. prisoners were to be taken and that the offensive was to be conducted in a wave of terror. This latter point is correct. Hitler used those words in an address to his senior commanders only four days before the attack. However, the fact that Peiper’s men sent scores of prisoners to the rear in the normal manner during their advance earlier on the 17th belies the no-prisoners theory, and attempts by the Americans to produce written evidence of such an order for use at the Dachau war crimes trial came to nothing.

It has to be noted that Peiper’s men faced a very real problem in deciding what to do with the large number of prisoners taken in the Baugnez area. According to all German reports, Peiper was in a hurry to get to Ligneuville and capture the U.S. headquarters there, and he ordered the rest of the Kampfgruppe to follow up as quickly as possible. Faced with mounting delays and an irate commander, what were those at the crossroads to do with the prisoners? Armored columns had no spare manpower to look after POWs, and none of the follow-up infantry formations were anywhere near Five Points at the time. More than 100 men, even if they have surrendered and been disarmed, cannot be left to their own devices for long. Nor could they be ordered to start marching to the rear into captivity, as is usual in such circumstances, because there was a simple problem of geography. Peiper had penetrated the American lines on a very narrow front–a single road–and this meant that as far as the Germans were concerned the enemy lay along the N-23 to the northwest in Malmédy, the N-32 to the northeast in Waimes and the N-23 to the south in Ligneuville. There was therefore no road along which they could order the prisoners to set off. And it was more than possible that American combat units would move south out of Malmédy at any moment.

A combination of all these factors–an angry SS lieutenant colonel in a hurry, no spare men to guard the prisoners, no easily available route to the rear and the possibility of American combat troops arriving at any moment–must have created a nightmare scenario for the officer in charge. It is therefore quite possible that he decided to take the simplest and most practical way out of his dilemma by giving an order to shoot the prisoners. And it is certainly possible that Peiper himself gave such an order before he moved on. But if it was not Peiper, who could it have been? Among those present at Baugnez at the relevant time, there are several possibilities: Major Werner Poetschke, commander of Peiper’s 1st SS Panzer Battalion; Lieutenant Erich Rumpf, commander of the 9th SS Panzer Pioneer Company; Lieutenant Franz Sievers, commander of the 3rd SS Pioneer Company; and, in view of his later statements about events at the crossroads, it would be unwise to exclude Peiper’s adjutant, Gruhle. There are even some, such as Lieutenant Friedrich Christ, commander of the 2nd SS Panzer Company, and a Sergeant Beutner of the 3rd SS Pioneers, who were later accused by their own comrades of having given orders to open fire on the prisoners.

But what of the possibility that the Germans opened fire on the prisoners because there was an escape attempt? It is after all legal to shoot at escaping POWs, and there is evidence to support this theory. In October 1945 one of the American survivors, in a sworn statement countersigned by one of the chief prosecuting officers, Lieutenant Raphael Schumacker, and witnessed by Sergeant Frank Holtham, said: I decided to try to get away and walked slowly northwardly, but upon reaching a little dirt road or lane decided not to cross the lane or go around it. Sergeant Stabulis, Flack and I were together on this proposition. We turned around, slowly retraced our steps….The group of soldiers in front of me were standing still and I walked slowly southwardly towards the fence at the south end of the field, more or less using the men in front as concealment. I know that Sergeant Stabulis and Pfc Flack were behind me. About two-thirds of the way towards the fence there were no more men to provide concealment so when I reached this point I ran towards the fence as hard as I could, crawled through it and turned to my right and headed for the woods west of the field as fast as I could. Machine gun fire was opened up at me but I was lucky enough to make it to the woods without getting hit and was picked up by the 30th Division a couple of days later….I would like to add that as I came out from behind the crowd into the clear and headed for the south fence, two single shots were fired, which were either pistol or rifle in my opinion.

Flack’s body was found in the field with a bullet hole in the head. Stabulis’ body was not found until April 15, 1945, but since it was more than half a mile south of the field, his initial escape bid was presumably successful.

It would seem therefore that there was a minimum of one successful escape from the field before the main shooting started, in addition to the five men who got away from the front of the Battery B convoy soon after it came under fire from Sternebeck’s tanks. It is also clear from various survivors’ testimonies that there was quite a lot of movement and jostling in the field before the shooting started, and that once the first pistol shots rang out, several men attempted to push their way to the rear of the group. A number of survivors mentioned an American officer shouting, Stand fast!

In summary, it can be said that there is no evidence to support the idea of a premeditated massacre–particularly in view of the fact that over half the Americans in the field survived both the main shooting and the administration of coup de grâce shots by the Germans who entered the field. Nor is it reasonable to suggest that the main body of the Kampfgruppe mistook the men in the field for a fresh combat unit, or that there was a mass escape attempt that caused the Germans to open fire.

So how do we explain the shootings at the Baugnez crossroads on December 17, 1944? There seem to be only two reasonable explanations. The first is that it started in response to a specific escape attempt. Someone saw two or three Americans make the break described in a sworn statement made to Lieutenant Schumacker in October 1945; that person then opened fire and this in turn caused a commotion in the field as some of the prisoners tried to push through their comrades to the west. But this movement, and the fact that at least one and probably two Americans had by then escaped from the field, only exacerbated the situation, and other Germans in the vicinity then fired. Even if this theory is accepted, however, it in no way excuses the deliberate killing of wounded prisoners by those Germans who then entered the field.

The other explanation is that faced with the problem of what to do with so many prisoners, someone made a deliberate decision to shoot them. And it is significant that the majority of the American survivors spoke of a single German taking deliberate aim with his pistol and then firing two shots at the prisoners. The sheer number of Americans in the field and the fact that they were standing in a group meant that many were physically shielded by the bodies of their comrades. This explanation would then require that, after the main shooting, it was necessary to send soldiers into the field to finish off the survivors.

On May 16, 1946, Peiper and 70 members of his Kampfgruppe, plus his army commander, chief of staff and corps commander, were arraigned before a U.S. military court in the former concentration camp at Dachau, charged that they did willfully, deliberately and wrongfully permit, encourage, aid, abet and participate in the killing, shooting, ill treatment, abuse and torture of members of the armed forces of the United States of America. The location chosen for the trial and the number of defendants was clearly significant, and it surprised no one when all the Germans were found guilty. The court of six American officers presided over by a brigadier general took an average of less than three minutes to consider each case. Forty-three of the defendants, including Peiper, Christ, Rumpf, Sievers and Sternebeck, were sentenced to death by hanging (Poetschke had been killed in March 1945), 22 to life imprisonment and the rest to between 10 and 20 years. The Law of the Victors, as it has been called in postwar Germany, had prevailed. But none of the death sentences was ever carried out, and all the prisoners had been released by Christmas 1956. Peiper was the last to leave prison. Sadly, incomplete and rushed investigations, suspicions about the methods used to obtain confessions, and inadequate or flawed evidence ensured that guilty men escaped proper punishment, and there can be little doubt that some innocent men were punished during the trial. In the final analysis, justice itself became another casualty of the incident.



This article was written by Michael Reynolds and originally appeared in the February 2003 issue of World War II magazine. For more great articles subscribe to World War II magazine today!

136 Responses to Massacre At Malmedy During the Battle of the Bulge

  1. Thomas R Miller says:

    Can anyone supply a link to actor Charles Durnings relationship to this event. He was describedby CNN as a a survivor.

    • John Bauserman says:

      During was NOT involved in the massacre. He might have been in the area but was NOT in the massacre. I spent 10 years researching the Malmedy Massacre and there was no mention of him in the over 15000 pages of information in the Archives.

      • Dennis Bouldin says:

        Mr. Bauserman,
        Not a reply to the Durnings involvement, but another topic. In your book you mention one of the massacre victims having been buried in a field South of Fredericksburg, VA . You provided directions to the grave several years back to me, however, I never made the trip. I live in Fredericksburg and want to find the grave. Would you please email me the directions again if you still have them. Thank You

      • leep says:

        today i heard a story i never knew before. my father in law was friends with the lone survivor of this malmedy massacure. he told me he was wounded in his arm and played dead when german soldiers were walking over dead american bodies to make sure they were all dead. he told me they meet again on a train that was going to port in france and stopped at a small town when a couple of men called his name and took him off the train. he told my father in law that ( when asked who they were) they are taking me back to washington to tell them what happen at malmedy. too bad this was never taught in history books.

      • says:

        Have you come across a man named Santhoff? Thanks!

  2. Thomas R Miller says:

    Please ignore previous request, I have found an abundance.

  3. Will S says:

    This is a very interesting, thought provoking account. The author’s final conclusions seem unbiased and well supported by the (known) facts.

    Sgt, USMC 68-71

  4. mitchell kaidy says:

    Different estimates of casualties are reported on different pages. How many were killed, wounded?

  5. Lauren Rafael says:

    My father 84 year old father, John L. Harnack, a sergeant with the 285th Observation Battalion Battery B, was driving vehicle B1. He had a lieutenant with him. The way he describes the incident, they arrived at a crossroads, and were directed down the road ahead. As they started down the road, the lieutenant kind of “went berserk” and demanded that they turn around. AT that point, my father turned the car around and went against traffic and the two serials following him, to transport the officer to a hospital in St. Vith. When he returned to the crossroads, the MPs told him he could not go on, that there was some small arms fire heard ahead. From this point he cannot remember how he heard what happened, though he thinks he might have gone back to the Hercken Forest to wait for further instructions. I realize this was a traumatic experience for him as he had been with the battalion of men since training at Fort Sills, OK, and at Hendrix College in Arkansas before shipping overseas. I believe the loss of memory of the details may have been a strategy of his subconcious to keep him from despair or PTSD. We are trying to confirm the rest of the story for him.

  6. Heidi Peaster says:

    although i agree that in this instance, the charge that eyes of the soldiers being cut out was probably unfounded, it is not at all past comprehension knowing the crimes against soldiers in the Pacific by the Japanese. The statement in the article that no soldier, however depraved or crazed would have done such a thing does not reflect the horrors inflicted by the Japanese, even to the extent of much worse than those mentioned here.

  7. Lonnie Clausson ` says:

    I have just recieved over 60 pictures of the men of the 285th battery B FAOB and the Christmas dinner menu from 1943( which is signed by about 60+ persons from the company). These items belonged to my great-uncle, Lee Lucas, who was captured and later died in stalag 4b, I believe. I also have his “diary” from the stalag. IF ANYONE can help me identify the persons in the pictures or give me additional info in reference to my great uncle I would certainly appreciate it. Please contact me at or call me at (215) 676-3098. Please ask for Lonnie Clausson. Also I have done a little leg work and identified several names on the photos and the menu as persons who were murdered at Malmedy.

  8. Lonnie Clausson ` says:

    IN my previous post I have just discovered that my great-uncle was known to us in his family as “Lee” Lucas, But in fact he was Cpl. David Lucas who is listed as allegedly dying in stalag 4b on march 3rd 1945 from wounds sustained at the Malmedy massacre…..however in his diary he has a self made calender, which for some reason has a notation that he was ” wounded and captured the 7th of jan. 1945″ and has X’s covering the calender up to the date of march 30th. I could really use some help figuring this out. Please help me clear up this historical abnormality.

  9. Thomas Novak says:

    My uncle Thomas Frederic Watt was among the victims. I could probably identify him in pictures if not previously located.

  10. Thomas Novak says:

    Contact information:

  11. David Boeve says:

    You may be interested in hearing Frank Zingers account of walking back to his company from the hospital near Malmedy days before the massacre. I have posted it as a podcast at

  12. says:

    My Dad has told the story of the only surviver that showed up at his camp. What is his name and is he still alive . My Dad is 90 and he was Cpt. Knox

  13. says:

    Just talked to my Dad he said this scared kid 18 or 19 came into their camp 1st Army 32nd Field Artellerie . Said it was the start o f the Bulge “My Dad Said” He said he thiught he was the only survivor

  14. Kathy H says:

    My dad fought with the 2nd division from Omaha and through to Elsenborn Ridge and the Rhine, etc. He met a Belgian girl in Burg-Reuland before the Bulge. She later married him and came to the US. As my mother, she provided an insight into The War that I have not gotten from any history books. One of her many ‘stories’ was about the extremely young German soldiers whom her family encountered shortly before the Americans retook the area for the final time. They had little to no food rations, and although it was the dead of winter with thick snow on the ground and temperatures well below freezing, some of the German soldiers had no boots, only newspaper and cardboard, wrapped with burlap and tied with cord. Her non-military thoughts regarding the massacre were that if the German army could not feed its own, it certainly couldn’t feed its prisoners. Another cruel reality of war.
    My dad, on the other hand, told few ‘war stories,’ only tales of some of his fellow soldiers. I saw my dad cry three times in my life. The first was when President Reagan commemorated the 40th anniversary of the D-Day invasions at Normandy. He did not cry for long, but clearly his pain was deep. The second was when his mother died. The third time he cried was when I had finally convinced him–at the age of 70–that he and my mom needed to ‘go back.’ He resisted long and hard. Then, suddenly he said, “I just want to see where those boys are buried” and choked back a ragged sob. Both my mother and I knew what he meant.
    The happy ending to this posting is that dad came back from his trip, a different man, a man far more at peace with himself. One of his photos from the trip showed him standing in front of the memorial at Malmedy with his arm around another man about his age, both of them smiling broadly. I asked who this gentleman was. He declared that it was Helmut (or someone) who was the curator (?) of the place. They had conversed and determined that they had actually fought against each other.
    The commanders who gave the orders tend to make the history books. But, as these postings attest, the ones who carried out those orders, who actually made the history, are/were our dads and uncles, grandfathers, brothers, and husbands. Just Dads and Helmuts. God bless them all.

  15. Judi Governale says:

    My mother Lois Detwiler(now deceased) was to marry one of the
    victims killed at Malmedy.His name was Don from Altoona,PA.
    I have a few pictures.I can find his last name if I dig.He was a
    field surveyor .My mother never really got over over it.She was
    only 18 at the time.There was always a sadness about her.When
    she passed I was glad she could finally be with Don, the love of her
    life.Does anyone out there have any knowledge of him?

    • Tim Krebs says:

      PFC Donald Joseph Flack b. 12 Nov 1923 in Bellefonte, PA, son of Joseph Flack and Ruth Aikey, enlisted in Altoona 12 Jan 1943. Listed in Army Records list of Malmedy victims as Pfc Donald P. Flack but all other records indicate Donald Joseph Flack

      • Tim Krebs says:

        Disregard, I should have read farther down. Is Tec 5 Charles R Breon in the pictures you have?

    • David Decker says:

      Donald Flack is a distance cousin of mine. I was told about this incident when I was young. My grandparents and mother told me of him. My mother could probably still remember more names of family members from the 1940’s, especially Donald’s immediate family. Mr. Krebs information appears to be correct. Donald’s cousin, William J. Flack “Woody”, my great uncle, was KIA at the Island of Iwo Jima, March 2, 1945 at the age of 23.He was killed by a Japanese sniper while carrying wounded by stretcher. My grandmother’s maiden name was Violet Viola Flack, married to Eugene Adams and they resided in Julian, PA until their passing.

  16. James Tidwell says:

    How would you find a casualty list from the Malmedy massacre? I have been told that my great uncle was one of the victims.

  17. Judi Governale says:

    I have a casualty list from the Malmedy massacre.Also have
    a group pictures with the mens names and a big list of names
    and addresses last updated in 1971.Found in my moms things.
    She was engaged to Sgt.Donald Geisler.He was in the front row
    of the massacre.By the way the history cannel has a video of
    the Malmedy Massacre.If you contact them you probably can
    get a copy.My mother had sent for one and I may still have it.
    My home phone is (928)758-5274.Need to know James
    uncle’s name.Will look for him on the group picture also
    casualty list.

    • sylvestor heckleroth says:

      i am trying to find out if my mothers brother sylvestor heckleroth was in the massacre of maledy. i have been told that there is a picture of a dead soldier with a ring on his finger that my grandfather said was his son. that he gave him the ring. please help if you can. not sure if i spelled his last name right, he was from marrietta pennsylvania. thank you

      • Tim Krebs says:

        Sylvestor, I have your uncle and other 285th personnel in a ‘Unit’ Family Tree on See “Men of Malmedy” tree. If anyone else would like to check it out and make any corrections please do so.

    • Taco says:

      Hi Judy. In Loosdrecht (The Netherlands) there is a grave for Jasper Vandenbergh. An American soldier who fought in WWII. He was killed on dec. 17th 1944. His family thinks he was killed at the Malmedy massacre.

      His unit was the 301 Tank Destroyer BN INfantry, National Guard.
      Do you know if his name is on your list of Malmedy casualties?

      Thanks very much for your effort!

  18. Judi Governale says:

    Charles Whiting wrote a book called “Massacre at Malmedy. In
    the book he examines the events through eyewitnesses including
    two who never appeared at the Dachau Trial.Paul Pfeiffer, a 15
    year-old school boy at the time and Henry Le Joly now in his
    70’s and living across the street from the massacre site at the time

    The enemy troops involved in the attack massacre of battery
    B were believed to have been from 12th SS Panzer Division.Col.
    joachim Peiper who led the SS Troopers into Belgium served
    only 14 yrs in prison for the massacre.He was convicted on such questionable evidence.
    I wonder how many of those SS are still living?

  19. Judi Governale says:

    David Lucas and Thomas Watt are both in the Group picture I
    have.The casuality list I have is only partial.According to the
    paperwork I have, approx 150 americans were involved,43 escaped of which three-quarters of these had been wounded.
    Only 25 men of Battery B roster of 138 reported safe after the
    event.The report says:others may come in later but unlikely
    as the area was still in German hands.Iam reading from
    classified copies that somehow mom got.

  20. Mike Smeets says:


    My name is Mike Smeets.
    I am a 38 year old historical researcher from Landgraaf, The Netherlands. For many, many years now I have been studying the exploits of the German Battlegroup Peiper and its US adversaries during the Battle of the Bulge 1944. Over the years I have been able to contact many German and US veterans – incl. Malmedy survivors – who helped me reconstruct the events as they happened so many years ago. I am also in contact with several wellknown authors. As I am living very near to the beautiful Ardennes, I have visited the actual battlefields numerous times already.

    I am reading all of the very interesting messages and would be interested in correspondence with all of you concerning the crossroads, Dec.17 1944. Like I already mentioned I am in contact with/corresponded with serveral Malmedy survivors and even German eye.witnesses, so please do contact me so we can share information.

    If you are interested contact me at:

    With very best regards from The Netherlands,

    Mike Smeets

    Akkerwinde 27
    6374 RD Landgraaf

  21. Mike Smeets says:

    To Judi:

    I would like to add that I also interviewed every still living Belgian who witnessed the events at the crossroads incl. Robert Pfeiffer. Together with him I visited the new ‘Baugnez-museum’ and I can tell you, he was very disappointed.

    I would love to hear from you.

    Mike Smeets

  22. Judi Governale says:

    To: James Tidwell,There is a casualty list on this web site.Go to
    Malmedy Massacre.US Army personnel involved in it.


  23. […] your custody is also a prosecutable war crime. We prosecuted German soldiers for doing this in the Malmedy Massacre, and have prosecuted our own soldiers for killing prisoners. We have even prosecuted contractors […]

  24. Matthias Wehling says:

    My name is Matthias Wehling,. I am a 57 year old amateur historian. I am studying for years how and why Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party came into power and why the most Germans (and later the Austrians) ran after him, believing him when he was yelling day-in day-out about the “Final Victory” (“Endsieg”) while the WW2 was long decided and lost for the Germans.
    And how and why the Holocaust could happen.
    While I was reading on this, some years ago I found by chance reports on the the “Operation Griffin” (“Operation Greif”), masterminded by Otto Skorzeny, the widely known SS-Officer, and on the Malmedy massacre which both took place in the same period of time in the same area.
    While reading on the “Griffin” in many forums I recently made acquaintance to a guy who did research on this for a long time (meanwhile he knows almost everything on this). So I decided to dig deeper in the Malmedy massacre. Over the years I’ve visited the crossroad three or four times, and some day I met a guy who was doing some repair to the house which was the Cafe in 1944 and which is a residential home now. He told me that he had volunteered to the German army and in 1944 he fought the Russians on the Eastern Front.
    Later he was told by his mom what was going on Dec 17th, 1944. This was the first time I’ve been told some details almost first-hand (his mom regrettably deceased a few years before). I’ve seen the memorial situated opposite the place of the killing and learned that the men murdered are buried at the American Military Cemetery in Henri-Chapelle, a village some ways north of Malmedy.
    Later I had the idea to find out who these GIs involved are, their Date of Birth, where they came from, who of them has been slaughtered that day, who has survived and/or wounded or not, who died of the wounds in a POW-camp or later at home and so on.
    Over here in Germany I found no records on this case yet. Peiper and some of his men were indicted in the “Dachau Trials” on the war crimes committed by his unit, and the Malmedy case came up too by then. But up to now I regrettably couldn’t find access to the trial protocols. If someone is interested to discuss and/or exchange opinions on the Malmedy case contact me via Google-mail: matthias (dot) wehling (at) g….
    (Sorry for the strange format, I don’t like address-grabbers, so drop the spaces and replace the parenthesis and what is between them by the appropriate characters)

    Best regards from Germany

  25. jim stokes says:

    There is a group photo of “B” battery taken at Ft. Sill in1944 at

  26. jim stokes says:

    correction: that’s photolib

  27. jim stokes says:

    If that doesn’t work go to the website and go in to the historic cgs photos and go to WWII

  28. Judi Governale says:

    To Matthias Wehling, I would highly recommend you read:
    The Malmedy Massacre by John M.Bauserman.Published in
    1995.I ordered this book on author did much
    research and the book is very interesting.My interest is on a
    personal note as my mother lost her love Sgt Donald Geisler.
    Sgt Geisler was one of the men shot in the head.
    Hope you read the bood.Also Mike Smeets is historian and has
    also done a great deal of research.You can find him on this
    web site.
    Sincerely Judi Governale

  29. Dr. Karl Kettler says:

    With all due respect I suggest that you correct your version of the Malmedy “massacre”. If you would take the time to review the court records you would find that the German action was proper, none withstanding the so called eye witnesses who wouldn’t be knowleable about the provisions of the Geneva Convention nor the cricumstance involved in the engagement.
    According to those court records, after the intital contact, firefight and capture the American GIs were ordered to form up and, as was German military tradition, on their honor march to a rear POW holding area without German escort. Unfortunately the Germans had disarmed the GIs BUT not searched them and therefore some had concealed weapons under their coats which they used to attack a light German formation moving forward. The resultant firefight resulted in more GIs being killed and captured. This time the GIs were ordered to assemble in a forest clearing guarded by one German halftrack with machine gun. At some point during a gap between German formation moving forward many of these GIs decided to make a break for it into the forest and were subsequently shot. The court ruled that the German action was appropriate and consistent with the provisions of The Geneva Convention Section III, 93 which clearly states that “weapons may be used against POWs who escape or attempt to escape.” ALL Germans involved in this incident were EXONERATED! Malmedy demonstrated the poor training and discipline that existed in the American Army exacerbated by the fact that ONE THIRD of the WW II American Army was “FUNCTIONALLY ILLITERATE” and its officers were “less than mediocre”. Having devoted decades to the study of WW II I find that indeed it was this undisciplined American Peasant Army that committed some of the most barbaric war crimes during WWII and its aftermath. The WWII American Army has nothing to be proud of!

    • James Wroten says:

      The untrained peasant army that you speak of Dr. includes my Uncle Alton who never returned home. He was a TRAINED pilot for the Army Air Force. He had his life stripped from him at only 20 years of age. He was MIA in the Battle of the Bulge. Choose your arrogant, ignorant, and offensive words carefully.

  30. Judi Governale says:

    As a matter of fact Karl Kettler, the American people are very
    proud of it’s Army.Being pro Nazi is nothing to be proud of.
    We won the war did we not?

  31. Judi Governale says:

    Dr.Kettler,It is a fact that powder burns proved our GI’s were shot
    at close range on that terrible day of the massacre.Horrible
    Nazi were heard to be laughling as they shot our men in the head
    by survivors.Is that not barbaric? You are the one who should
    do better research.How dare you call the Americans “American
    peasant army” Our sons, husbands, fathers went off save the
    world from a German mad.You better read up on the truth.

  32. John Governale says:

    Judi. I salute you.

    Don’t know if we are related, but your comments here make me proud either way.


  33. Judi Governale says:

    To John Governale:Hi John, I apologize.Have not been on web-site
    for awhile.Thankyou for defending me.Our young men & women
    still defending the right to freedom to this day.Have you read
    Malmedy Massacre by John Bauserman?My interest:My mom was
    to marry Sgt.Donald Giesler (POW, murdered by SS ).The book
    gives exact facts.Fortunately survivors made it to tell truth.

    You may be related to my husband (Joseph A.Governale).He is
    65 this month.We live in AZ now but family is originally from
    Chicago.He thinks you could possibly be a cousin.Iam from
    Altoona Pa.Close to Bedford.Many men from Battery B from
    that area.Our phone (928)758-5274.Please call us.

    Sincerely Judi Governale

  34. Helmut Schmidtpeter says:

    To introduce the SS-units in question almost at the start of your narrative of having a fearsome reputation, with the accusation of various war crimes, and of killing prisoners in cold blood simply serves to prepare the unsuspecting reader to expect another blood-chilling, German war crime. Two local, Belgian eye-witnesses had not seen this ‘war crime’ at the Baugnez crossroads. Neither have American survivors of that day by proper comparison of their statements, that is, under the premise of a neutral investigation in a proper Court of Law.
    A proper compilation of facts could arrive at the result that from the first shot fired at the American vehicles on the road to the last shot fired at the’killing field’ only about 10 to 15 minutes of time had passed. Close to 21 American soldiers had been shot in an attempt to escape. (Read Gerd J.G.Cuppens’ ‘Massacre at Malmedy’). The shooting might have taken less than two minutes out of the whole time window of 10 to 15 minutes. An unknown number of survivors were taken prisoner for a second time after the last shots had been fired. They are hardly ever mentioned.

  35. Mike Smeets says:

    Mr. Schmidtpeter,

    I would be very interested to learn about those ‘survivors’ who had been taken prisoner for a second time. To put it polite – I don’t believe one word of this statement. What happened to these survivors? Who are these ‘local, Belgian eye-witnesses’?

  36. Helmut Schmidtpeter says:

    Dear Mr. Smeets,
    regarding your question of Jul 1, 2010 at 3.01 pm the witnesses were
    Mr. Henry Lejoly, and Mrs. Bodarwe (not related to Madame Adele Bodarwe) both locally resident Belgians. Please read Massaccre at Malmedy by Gerd.J.Gust Cuppens who as a schoolboy supported and aided American troops at the liberation of Belgium. Another young Belgian involved, Willy Alenus, left an interesting website on the Internet. Read it please! You might find Cuppens’ and Alenus’ conclusions interesting. What happened to any or all survivors of Battery B should be on record with the U.S.Army. Try out the ‘Freedom of Informations Act’ to view copies of the appropriate documents.
    You might find it very hard to do so.
    By the way, I have only started to look into the subject of the Malmedy Massacre in 2010, and all I know about it comes from the Internet. With my best respects

  37. Helmut Schmidtpeter says:

    In my quest to answer Mr. Smeet as quickly as possible I have to correct the name of the second Belgian eye-witness: It was not a Mrs. Bodarwe, but a Miss Madeleine Lejoly. She is not related to Mr. Henry Lejoly. Mrs. Adele Bodarwe, the former owner of the Cafe at Five Points who would most likely qualify as a third eye-witness has gone missing since the incident and must be presumed dead. Willy Alenus’ website is called ‘Wholesale Slaughter at Baugnez-les-Malmedy’. Cuppens’ book has the French title ‘Massacre a Malmedy’. I don’t know if the book has been published in English.
    It is important to me to make good people like Judi Governale and Mike Smeets understand that I share their grief over the senseless killing of U.S. soldiers at Baugnez. I’m sure that we are all looking for the truth.

  38. Mike Smeets says:

    Dear Mr. Schmidtpeter,

    Thank you for your response. I already know the Lejoly statements but feel the need to tell you that he didn’t deny the shooting of the prisoners at all but – very unfortunatly – Lejoly ‘s statements varied everytime concerning the US Pow numbers so this makes him not very credible. Also, Lejoly was known as being pro-German. I actually interviewed 3 Belgian (eye-)witnesses incl. an actual eye-witness named Robert Pfeiffer. These were all not very imperessed with Mr. Cuppens as he tried to change their point-of-views. Cuppens 2nd book – not published – was to be also pro-german. Over the years I managed to get in touch with serveral US survivors and German soldiers who were actually there, so indeed, I am also looking for the truth and try to be as objectiv as possible.

  39. Helmut Schmidtpeter says:

    From all the Internet sources that I found and Messrs. Cuppens’ and Alenus’ investigations, only three names, Mrs.Adèle Bodarwé, Miss Madeleine Lejoly, and Mr. Henri Lejoly, seem to qualify as local, Belgian eye-witnesses. How does Robert Pfeiffer come into being a witness? I have a feeling that we are all just opinionating on the Malmedy massacre issue, as long as does not provide external links with the full texts of all known witnesses’ verified statements. All statements created under mental, or physical stress, or torture, should be marked as such.
    I am under the impression that nobody has yet been able to disqualify Mr. Cuppens’ arithmetic. Being pro-German in a morally positive sense doesn’t disqualify anyone as a witness or investigator. Mr. Lejoly had been born as a German citizen of Walloon (-French) mother language in the Malmedy district of the Prussian Rhine Province. Maybe he still felt pro-German? Nobody has been found so far to have denied the killing of prisoners on that fatal day. What I think emerges clearly from available sources is that warning (pistol-) shots were fired before a machine-gun opened fire on those trying to escape without considering the other prisoners blocking the line of fire. The terrible sight and sounds must have affected everyone present at the scene of the ‘massacre,’ as which it has to be called using plain English language.

  40. Steve Gorsek says:

    I have read many of the historical books and internet accounts (over the last 30 years of research), and have visited the cross roads this last May/June (and I to was pleased with the historical memorabilia at the Museum, but was also disappointed in the lack of concise and elaborate data on the “massacre” itself).

    Charles Whitings book is a good reference book, from a slightly German perspective..

    The Malmedy Massacre by John M.Bauserman.Published in
    1995 is a good source of information related to the events at the crossroads and is good reading (I have used it to cross reference the data multiple times). Unfortunately, the book focuses most of his German sources from the “statement and confessions” from the time the SS were in prison. He concludes that the german accounts coorelate with the American accounts; Not surprising since the interagators (“interviewers” if you wish) had the american versions of the events during the time of the interogations, and used these as the basis for the typed “confessions”.

    Now I am not pro-German or Pro-American in the sense of this topic, but would conclude that using these statements were not historically correct. or appropriate in the context that they were used as a sort of evidence, especially when the facts were well noted (at the time the book was written) to be taken under duress/coersion. Not much first hand investigative input in this book of the German perspective.

    I beleive there is no doubt that German soldiers did kill American soldiers at the crossorads, especially evidence that points to the Germans entering the field to “finish off” the wounded (not acceptable under the Genieva Convention). What is most controversial is what events lead up to the shots being fired and the initial shooting of POW’s. Premeditated klling vs shooting at POW’s escaping. There are supporitng statements, both American POW’s (if you dig or don’t ignore) and German that indicate POW’s escaping (at least three Americans attempting to escape), However, there are many staements indicating that there was premeditation (espcially if you take the trial “confessions” at face value).

    As is well known, each individual sees an event unfold from his or her perspective/field of view, and will relate that which is seen and experienced from that perspecitve. That is why all of the staements (German and American) do not exactly match. Which leads to so much speculation or controversy.

    I believe SS Col. Peiper said it best: “There is more than one version of what happened later at the road intersection, but no one knows for sure, nor do I”. With time, Soldiers have passed, and those on the German side have provided some glimpses into the events, but with due cause, have obvious reasons to possibly not provide a full acounting. Sadly, war is about killing the enemy, and this event illustrates the worst side of what can happen in war.

    I am very interested in this and the events of this particular battle from its start and finish. An excellent follow up, historically accurate/researched reading on the end of this battle group is a book called
    Duel in the Mist
    The LAH during the Ardennes Offensive
    Volume 1: Kampfgruppe Peiper-Stoumont
    19th December 1944

    (it would be interesting if these researchers, who appear to pride themselves on accurate details) would take on the “Massacre at Malmedy” and try to tease out the evidence from this case.

    Another interesting source on the Net regarding the “Malmedy Massacre” is a video called “Mythos Malmedy”: This has a few of the Germans that were present at the time of the battle or shortly thereafter (all were a part of Peiper’s battle group.) However, It is in German and would need to be translated into other languages. I would best decribe it as a German perspective of the events, but it would give one a particular perspective of the German point of view.

    Mike Smeets, I would be interested in the German eye witness accounts that you have obtained. I am at

  41. helmut schmidtpeter says:

    I actually wanted to stop giving any more comments. Allow me to retake the stand again and express my gratitude to Judi Governale for her emotional reply to a Dr Karl Kettler who had been apparently unable to recognize some of his utterings about a forest clearing and a German halftrack with a machinegun as a post-war Hollywood propaganda film feature. His insults about calling many U. S. GI’s ‘functionally illiterate, US army officers as ‘less than mediocre,’ and calling US forces a ‘Peasant army’ are inexcusable nonsense.
    On the other hand:” We won the war, did we not?” isn’t exactly an acceptable answer to his ravings, even if that war was won against a GERMAN MAD, as Judi Governale chose to express herself. That German mad was democratically elected in 1933 by which time Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin had murdered over 30 million of their fellow Russian subjects and later, Soviet citizens. By 1941 the toll had increased to about 40 million victims, and the whole of central and western Europe might have been looking forward to the same treatment. Hitler was used by the Western Allies to bleed the Soviets dry and to ruin Germany in the process, which he must have realized much too late. We have to thank all those that helped to get rid of him and still allowed him to weaken Stalin at the same time.
    Dear Miss Governale, what happened at Five Points was a massacre to put it into plain English. To let 3 or 4 GI’s get away, and to stop the remaining U. S. soldiers’ escape by running after them into the field and firing a couple of shots in the air to stop them escaping, would have been the proper thing to do. It might still have jeopardized the lives of some German soldiers.. War propaganda turned what happened it into a warcrime, which it never was. 21 GI’s were shot trying to escape, 43 survived, of which 20 were wounded, 23 were physically unharmed. Obviously, noboby had seriously tried to kill them in the ‘killing field’.
    55 to 60 GI’s had died a heroes’ death in the first altercation between the men of Battery B and the first tanks of the SS task force.
    They had been slaughtered by a superior attacking force.
    Two pro-American Belgians, Gerd.J.G Cuppens, and Willy Alenus have painstakingly worked out that out of 135 to 140 members of Battery B, 40 had never arrived at five points, 10 were used to drive trucks away for the SS, 43 others survived, 55 to 60 had died in the first fighting as mentioned before. Among the dead might have been some of the about 36 American POW’s that did not belong to Battery B. Army records migth disclose more facts.To accuse some of Peiper’s SS-troopers to have killed 72 American soldiers at Five Points simply is . . . . well, judge for yourself. Greetings to Mike Smeets and Steve Gorsek.

  42. J. de Ruiter says:

    Mr. Helmut Schidtpeter, It look like you are German end so not happy withe the story of Malmedy. The story of lenine etc. has nothing to do with Malmedy? There was a massacre. That is proved and clear. What the german did there was wrong! an d do not talk this good.
    maby you are as German be a little frustrated, but don’t give a comment on this story as what you did. The pictures are clear, a lot of dead solders and a lot of witnesses.
    This is a shame for those who lost there reletatives ther.

  43. H. Schmidtpeter says:

    To whom it may concern:
    ” Keep it nice, don’t shoot the messenger!”
    Recommended reading:
    Internet: ‘’ toon onderwerp – Baugnez +
    ‘Wholesale Slaughter in Baugnez-lez-Malmedy’
    Books : ‘Massamoord in Malmedy’ van G. Cuppens +
    ‘Het Zwarte Boek van Communisme’ van Stéphane Courtois
    (Lenin etc.)

  44. BH says:

    In a recent conversation I talked to a staff sgt from the 99th infantry battalion who was sent out on a night patrol with five others and came across the wounded in a barn on the night of Dec 17th. He kept the story short, but said he went to get help. He is still alive and almost 93. I will try to get more info soon.

  45. Dan Manor says:

    Dr. Karl Kettler you suggest that the “dumb Americans” got shot for trying to escape at ‘Massacre a Malmedy’. The German army had almost nothing, bearly enough for its own and they had a mission which did not include taking care of prisioners of war.
    Yes your mighty leader Hilter also thought us Americans were just a bunch of undisciplined peasants in an army. Well us undisciplined peasants kick your disciplined royal buts and no army could be more barbaric than what the German army did at Auschwitz–Birkenau, Alswish, Ivangorod and Ohrdruf death camps. And your boys did those barbaric events to only unarmed peasants. Try thinking for a second, if your boys would murder its own local peasants, why would they have a problem doing it to non-local peasant enemy?

  46. Mitzi Fox Price says:

    I hesitate to comment, but my father George L. Fox is a survivor of Malmedy. I’ve heard the events of that day many times. Memories are funny things and can change over years, but my father’s story has been very consistent. I’ll briefly comment on some of the points raised here – I can only speak for my father. His carbine, bayonet, and watch were taken. No shots were fired from the 285th. My father didn’t remember anyone escaping from the columns before the shooting started. Some did try to escape after the shooting and were fired upon. He laid still for quite a while, long enough that he had trouble moving when he tried to get up.

    Gerd Cuppens stayed at our home in Virginia in the late 1970s, I stayed at his home in 1979, and my parents the following year. Gerd, his wife Simone, and son Peter were very kind to us. He certainly did a lot of research and was a very intelligent man. At the same time, he seems to have had theories which don’t completely mesh with the facts as I know them. As has been said before, the full truth may never be known. John Bauserman’s book gives an accurate account of the 285th’s experience.

    Mitzi Fox Price

    • Michael says:

      Is your father still alive and if so, what city does he live in? It would be great to meet some of these men if they’re close enough to visit



      • Mitzi Fox Price says:

        He’s in Front Royal, Virginia, but will be at the Gathering of Warbirds in Reading PA this weekend 2-4 June 2012. His health is failing, but our whole family is going along to help him.

  47. Erika Barth says:

    I am digging thru family history….found Hans Hillig,member of SS….I have a great=great uncle by the name of Otto Hillig…I would really appreciate anything anyone could give me on him….I have begun this journey and want to know why my Mother’s family will not give us info. on their background.When my daughter was stationed in Belgium she tried to do some searching and it only scratched the surface.PLEASE anything to help

    • John Bauserman says:

      Having researched the malmedy massacre for over 10 years. I have some info and a picture of Hans Hillig. You can contact me at my email if you are interested with the information that I have.

      • Larry Thomlison says:

        My next door neighbor is the sister of Clp. Ralph Indelicato. She has told me many stories about her brother including when the car pulled up to notify her mother of Cpl. Indelicato’s death. Her mother didn’t live long after she received after that.

  48. Barbara Vandewalle says:

    Regardless of the specific facts of why the massacre at Malmedy happened it did influence the Battle of Bastogne. The US soldiers where not going to surrender just to be shot, not without a fight.
    My father had a friend at Bastogne. He had five rounds when Patton broke through.
    The Geneva Convention also states that a soldier had the right to try and escape.
    The move “Bastogne” with the late Henry Fonda and James McArthur includes the event at Malmedy and possibly how it happened.

  49. Rae says:

    Does anyone remember my dad, Gene Fleury from the 687th Field Artillery Battalion Battery HQ? He was a radio operator for the forward observer (radio 193, strong enough to reach NewYork) .He was wounded in Bastogne Dec 19,1944 during WWII under Patton’s third army.He and my mother had 6 children when he returned home to Seattle.We miss him so much. We lost him unexpectedly this past August, he was a vibrant,sharp,wise,loving,opinionated,funny and amusing man,and a great story teller .We have a small cassette tape of him recalling his war experiences ,when he was 63yrs old. I am recollecting his stories for his 13 grand children and his 18 great grand children .
    Thank you, RaeV.

  50. Lester Gregory says:

    My broyher-in-law Leon T. Scarbrough and I discussed Malmedy several times.He was in Luxembourg city when the massacre took place.with Gen.Bradley,planning the route into Germany. He was ordered back to organize a new Btry.B and write 85 letters to relatives of the dead.He said that was the saddest day of his life.He said from then on his men never slept on the ground.Later he was a Major on Mc Arthur’s staff when Mac. got fired. Then served on the Field Artillery Board. Worked at Ft.Lee,Va. And died at Petersburg.Va.

  51. Lester Gregory says:

    I was in Iceland when The STARS & STRIPES published th article. I wrote Pat and asked him if that was his battery and he said yes and they needed cigarettes.I showed the letter to my Bty. CO .He suggested I pack several cigar boxes with smokes and he would censor and approve.{ Illegal } So Btry.B had smokes for a while.

  52. Lloyd I. says:

    Rather than relying on more hyperbole or regurgitation from various authors on the subject, rely on the actual historical records themselves. Peiper’s own tactical debrief provides key details on the units involved, movements, and time tables to the best of his recollection. Sources available online from NARA also provide key details.

    One interesting aspect to the case was survivor testimony. According to conflicting testimony from survivors, 1. a command car drove up and an officer in the vehicle fired into the group which would be either Maj Werner Poetschke, the commander of the I. Battalion, 1. SS Panzer Regiment or SS-Hauptsturmführer Oskar Klingelhöfer CO 7th Panzer Company. Peiper had long moved on from the crossroads at this point in an attempt to capture Ligneuville and it was a full 30-45 minutes later that the ‘massacre’ occurred.

    2. Other survivors stated a tank opened fire with the bow machine gun which conflicts other testimony including that of SS-Oberscharführer Hans Siptrott, tank commander in the 3rd platoon, 7th Panzer Company who acknowledges Fleps as the first shooter. Others including a survivor correctly identify Fleps as the person to fire the first shot. Some say Fleps aimed while others say he fired two shots into the air as some US PWs attempted an escape. A surrendered US officer told the men to ‘stand fast’.

    Obviously the correct shooter is identified by both his own comrades and survivors. What happened to cause him to shoot is never clear so theories abound. Cold blooded nazi fanatic, trying to stop an escape attempt, the PWs hid guns and tried to slug it out with the small force guarding them. Conjecture.

    2nd Platoon, 3rd Pioneer Company, and the Penal Section of the 9th Panzer Pioneer Company commanded by Obersturmführer Erich Runpf were detailed to guard the prisoners. It was at this time that it is reported or alleged, pick your syntax on that one, that Maj Poetschke (prior to moving off in the direction of Ligneuville ) said to a Sgt Beutner, ‘You know what to do with the prisoners.’ Sgt Beutner immediately went to the road and stopped a half-track that had a 75mm cannon and told the crew to fire into the prisoners. The half-track could not depress the cannon low enough and Beutner ordered it away” Poetschke also had moved on leaving Sgt. Beutners group and SS-Oberturmführer Erich Runpf in command. Klingelhöfer moved toward Lignueville leaving SS-Oberturmführer Erich Runpf and Sgt. Beutner in command of the PWs.

    These officers and noncoms, SS-Obstf. Erich Runpf and SS-Unterschf. Max Beutner are the ones responsible for the Massacre at Malmedy, not Peiper, not Poetschke, not Klingelhöfer as has been described in various sources incorrectly. Specifically Sgt. Beutner stopped vehicles and directed the various troops to fire on the prisoners as well as go into the fields and shoot survivors.

    Maj Pötschke had been killed in Hungary in 1945 and Sgt Beutner was killed in the town of Stoumont a few days after the shootings at Baugnez. Erich Runpf was tried at Dachau, found guilty, sentenced to death but was released later. Out of 600 SS prisoners interrogated 73 were chosen for the trial at Dachau including General Dietrich, overall commander of W-SS forces during the Eifel campaign. Others who directly implicated themselves from the unit most responsible for the killing prior to subsequent interrogations and trial were dismissed as the prosecution felt they had the right number to place on trial.

    The unit most responsible for the atrocity was not the lead element of Kampfgruppe Peiper but the 2nd Platoon, 3rd Pioneer Company, and the Penal Section of the 9th Panzer Pioneer Company comprised of individuals in trouble for various criminal offenses.

  53. Steve Gorsek says:

    Agreed with Lloyd L., up to and including Identification of “Fleps” (many members of the SS involved following the trial and after release from prison continued to ID “Fleps” as the first shooter). The remaining info stated from 2nd Platoon 3 company on…, appears to come right out of the testimonies obtained during interrogation of the SS prisoners and pre-drafted statements. I haven’t seen any post trial first hand documentation (or for that matter any German investigative reports prior to the end of the war) that outline these statements.

    If you have specific sources, I would appreciate knowing where to find them.

    Best regards Steve G

    • Lloyd I. says:

      All the documentation points to those units and their respective commanders prior to the trial and before the coerced confessions. Peiper’s own tactical testimony came long before the trial and was used against him by the prosecution in an attempt to place him at the crossroads as well as to show the tribunal a pattern of his units disregard for life using Peiper’s own timeline of where he was when civilians were either killed or wounded.

      The senior commanders on trial such as Dietrich certainly weren’t at Malmedy yet were placed on trial de facto as part of an allied strategy to convict senior Nazi leadership.

      KG Peiper is said to have started the Eifel Campaign with 4000 men leaving with barely 800 alive. That leaves a large margin of men for interrogation. Many of those present at the trial were not even present at the shooting and were engaged in fighting in Ligneuville. Conversely many of those directly present were let go when the tribunal decided on a number to place on trial. The entire Allied process of selecting defendants was a joke when they actually had those responsible in their hands. Erich Rumpf being the key officer in command during the shooting. He was acquitted later.

      I have trial footage, many documents and images. Peiper’s tactical breakdown of the operation before he was put on trial is extremely important and is also available via NARA or partially via a deep web search.

      Peiper’s murder served no purpose. Rumpf is the SOB who should have been firebombed and shot.

  54. Jim Davies says:

    About 100 yards from my home is the grave of Cpl. Carlyle Fitt who was killed in the Malmedy Massacre
    Location is Lawnview Cemetary. Rockledge, Pennsylvania

  55. H Rogister says:

    The story written by Gert Cuppens about the Malmedy massacre isn’t the true.

    Charles Whitings book isn’t a good reference book.

    The Best book is “The Malmedy Massacre by John Bauserman.

  56. H Rogister says:

    Author: Taco
    Hi Judy. In Loosdrecht (The Netherlands) there is a grave for Jasper Vandenbergh. An American soldier who fought in WWII. He was killed on dec. 17th 1944. His family thinks he was killed at the Malmedy massacre.

    His unit was the 301 Tank Destroyer BN INfantry, National Guard.
    Do you know if his name is on your list of Malmedy casualties?

    Thanks very much for your effort!


    Jasper Vandenbergh wasn’t killed during the Malmedy Massacre and there isn’t a 301st Tank Destroyer Bn during the World War II


  57. brian saracino says:

    I have just purchased the publishers copy of Matt Hall’s ‘In The Company of heroes” ( I am in the middle of getting the patches of all the signers to place in the frame. one of them – steve domitrovich – is a survivor of maldedy. there seems to be a lot of experts here. wondering if someone could tell me the correct patch to place in the frame for this man. thank you


  58. Rob Storm says:

    I need a picture of a 285 FAOB vehicle. I want the markings on the bumper so I can paint my 1942 Willys with the same marking as a tribute to these men. I came across one picture of a 285th vehicle as it burned along the road on 17 Dec 1944 but can not find that picture on the net.

  59. Sandra Jakum says:

    How can I get a list of those who died in the massacre? Trying to figure out how my uncle died. His name was Clarence Weissgerber and he supposedly died a few days before the massacre. He was MIA for a time also.
    Are there pictures of some of the men who were serving in that area at that time?

    • Sandra Jakum says:

      I feel silly replying to myself! It’s late at night and I’ve just rediscovered this. I want to reply to an email I got through this site. For any of us to say that we in fact know what led up to, what happened, etc. in the massacre at Malmedy is arrogant. To deny that war crimes happened only on one side is ignorant. I don’t think anyone here is declaring superiority of morality, etc. We’re curious. We’d like to learn more about an immensely interesting “incident” because our own ancestors might have been involved. That war is over and we apparently have some kind of sick need to make war. Mr. Janssen, I understand your comments! I’m curious to know more about my uncle, Clarence Weissgerber, who is buried at Margraten.

  60. Stephanie Evans,nee Burns says:

    Does any Bulge survivor know who Sgt. Robert H. Burns of Holly, Michigan was? He was my father and I never got to know him. I would like to know where and how he died on Jan.5, 1945. He was a tank man, and even though I never met him, he was very real in my life.

  61. Kimberlee VanHeulen says:

    I read through a large amount of posts here but no one is able to accurately direct one to the list of victims involved in the Malmedy Massacre? I need to check for a name. Lawson Goodner. Was he on a list of victims? My dad’s best friend who was killed. My dad saved a small quantity of things from the war and I am trying to make sense of it. There is a very old folded up photo from Newsweek magazine among his things, the date is from Newsweek, Jan. 8 1945. The caption under the photo reads: Field of Infamy: This column of Nazi prisoners is passing by a field at Five Corners, near Malmedy, Belgium. The Americans in the field are uncovering the bodies of other Americans, murdered after they surrendered to the Germans on Dec. 17. The atrocity was investigated and confirmed by Supreme Allied Headquarters.

    I am trying to determine why, out of everything, my dad saved this photo in his things. Then I found out he was in the 30th Infantry Division and so was Lawson. I know Lawson was buried somewhere over there for many years before being brought back to the US. I would like to see a list of names. PLEASE email me if you have the list of the victim’s names, I have tried to google the list for an hour and I can’t seem to find one. Also look for Lawrence Goodner, that was Lawson’s twin brother who survived the war but maybe he was there too as a survivor.

    A million thanks.

  62. H Rogister says:


    Lawrence Goodner isn’t on the victims list at Baugnez.
    Lawson Goodner was a member of the 120th Infantry Division and was killed in action on October 8, 1944 in Germany.


    • Marc Janssen says:

      I envy You, I’d wish me and my German Ancestors fighting under Waffen-SS and Wehrmacht-command had the same support and information about how and where they fell as You do. Your american ancestors also murdered german prisoners of War – but You wouldn’t give Sh*t about that – I understand that…and please don’t get me wrong – I love the USA and am very glad and thankful for how You treated my people in the end.

      Have it good. Many Greetings from Germany.

      • Erwin Rommel says:

        As the second war war becopmes more distant to the world and the survivors pass on, it seems that the Germans think the Nazis will be “forgiven” for their actions during that conflcit. You won’t be and we have an obligation to ensure that the whole world remembers what atrocities and inhumane things were done under hitler’s regime.
        Live with it Mr. Janssen.

  63. H Rogister says:

    Sorry but it isn’t 120th Infantry Division but 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division


  64. H Rogister says:

    Lawson Goodner was buried temporary in the American Cemetery at Henri-Chapelle, Belgium.


    • Kimberlee Dale Bishop VanHeulen says:

      Thank you H Rogister. I am still curious why my dad had this folded up Newsweek photo in his small box of things about the war. My dad’s trail through the war has been incredibly hard to trace but I had a historian who was also in WWII help me with it. He was injured a day or two after D-Day in the St. Lo, France area. It appears he was used as a replacement 3 times. We have an old army photo of him wearing a 76th Lightning Division Badge but his paycheck logbook from the war that we were able to obtain places him with the 120th regiment of the 30th infantry division. He was promoted to staff sergeant which based on lack of formal documentation the historian called a “battlefield promotion.” I was able to finally get enough documentation to write for all of the awards and medals my dad should have received. I had to write over and over for documentation. I kept getting replies back from our gov’t saying everything was destroyed in the fire in the 1970s fire in St. Louis. I would write again and lo and behold someone in St. Louis would come up with something new to send me. My hero historian friend was right, it depends on whose hands your request falls into! My dad even received the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart with 2 oak leaf clusters. He was a sharpshooter according to his paycheck logbook.

      He eventually became sheriff of McPherson, Kansas. Just a little hayseed from Oklahoma with an 8th grade education.

      Thanks a million for looking into the info on Lawson Goodner. Really appreciate that.


      • Kimberlee Dale Bishop VanHeulen says:

        Sorry, correction to my above post, we have a photo of him with the 78th lightning division patch on the shoulder, not the 76th. I always get those confused.

  65. Keith says:

    Found out a bit ago that a great uncle on my mothers side was killed at this massacre. Thanks for the information. If I ever get to visit the site its nice to know they have a monument.
    George B.Steffy–T/4.

  66. […] John Bauserman says: 7/5/2011 at 6:00 pm During was NOT involved in the massacre. He might have been in the area but was NOT in the […]

  67. Elisa says:

    My mother’s brother was killed – he was identified as being initially shot by machine gun fire, then kicked and finally shot “close range” in the head (this shot killed him). Evidently, he survived the initial round of slaughter and was wounded and then – cold heartedly killed. I heard the stories told by his friends who survived (through my mother) and I believe them.

    Oscar Jordan who was wearing a watch and his high school graduation ring (which were never recovered – his friends said that they were relieved of their jewelry, boots and socks by an order from the German Soldiers upon this capture) was killed as the result of a direct order from a German Officer.

    The American Soldiers held their hands in the air – the survivors (Oscar’s classmates) stated that an order was given by the German Officer who spoke (in German) and machine gun fire commenced. When the gun fire stopped, the German Soldiers walked through the field – kicking the American Soldiers to insure that they were dead.

    Oscar’s fellow Soldiers/friends who survived, were classmates from high school. They were wounded and fortunately for them, fell first laying under their dead friends who fell on top of them. As night fell, faint whispers were echoed out and they collectively slid their bodies slowly across the open field, and then made their way to Malmedy.

    I have read several accounts of this massacre – it is too bad that all facts were not submitted at the War trails – Oscar’s friends were never asked to participate, many of the local townspeople were not called on.

    I lived in Germany for five years – my mother and I went to the monument outside Malmedy – spoke to the townspeople, some of who had witnessed this event. We visited every American cemetary to find her brother’s initial resting place. We could not find it.

    After the war, my mother’s family requested Oscar’s body to be returned and to be buried in Hyndman, Pennsylvania.

    Just recently my mother (only surviving sibling) received two medals – a purple heart and a bronze star. The record keeping, award of medals for valor and benefits during this war are extremely poor. His life insurance was never paid to the family. The only thing returned was his canteen and dog tags.

    Oscar was an intelligent fun-loving young man, full of life. He was engaged to be married. His girlfriend at the time was Beuna and she was my mother’s best friend. Oscar was loved and he is missed.

    War is tragic and the aftermath is sometimes difficult for those who survive.

    I pray for all military members who served and for those who are now serving.

  68. Mike Smeets says:

    Dear Elisa,

    Thank you for your message. Interesting to know a bit more about Oscar. Indeed the autopsy report doesn’t mention his graduation ring nor his watch. Reg. his medical diagnosis: GSW, perforating wound left chest, entrance lower left anterior, exit right upper posterior. Perforating wound left arm. Enucleation of left eye with eyeball and both lids missing and no evidence of fracture of left orbit. Shrapnel wounds, extensive. to left knee and right leg, app. post mortem. Many did have their wallets, rings and other jewerly though…They will not be forgotten!

  69. Karen Kurcz Karp says:

    What a discovery….my grandpa Captain Joseph Anthony Kurcz was 1 of the doctors to perform the autopsies. This is such a piece of history that my kids will be able to pass along to their children. He never talked about the war so we never brought it up. This give me chills.

  70. […] a summary of the Malmedy incident at this website. If you read between the lines, you see evidence that the shooting was likely caused by a fear that […]

  71. Sandra Halden says:

    I am looking for any information on my uncle Leroy Halden, all I know is he died at the battle of the bulge, I checked with our beloved government and they say they have no record of him. Let me know if you have any information. He was in the infantry.

  72. Henri Rogister says:

    I don’t know if these information are correct but:

    S/Sgt Leroy S HALDEN
    Serial N° 37025332
    Isanti County, MN

    Killed in action December 30, 1944

    39th Infantry Regiment
    9th Infantry Division

    Unfortunately I don’t possess more information


  73. Sandra Halden says:

    Thank you so much Henri, God Bless You.

  74. Larry Thomlison says:

    My next door neighbor is the sister of Cpl Ralph J. Indelicato. He was a medic with Headquarters Battery, 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion and what I’ve read was one of the first soldiers if not the very first shot at Malmédy. She has told me many stories about what life was like at her house after receiving the news that her brother was KIA, how her mother went into deep depression grieving his death, how the mail man would whistle to let her know his letters or packages were returning so she could intercept them before her mother would see them and how her mother died of a broken heart within months of receiving the news. My neighbor still has those letters and hopefully she will share them with The History Channel or WW II magazine.

  75. Christelle Cappaert says:

    Robert Pfeiffer avait 13 ans à l’époque des faits. Originaire de Bullange, ses parents étaient installés à Baugnez (qu’il n’a jamais quitté jusqu’à son décès en 2012). Il s’agit du jeune garçon qui aurait été témoin des faits.

  76. John F Ferguson says:

    Is there a roster anywhere of the men assigned to the 285th FAOB?

  77. Henri Rogister says:

    J’ai rencontré Robert Pfeifer il y a une dizaine d’année et il m’a raconté son expérience de ce drame à Baugnez.
    Robert Pfeiffer n’habitait pas Baugnez à cette époque là mais bien Bullange.


    I met Robert Pfeifer about ten years ago and he told me his experience of this drama in Baugnez.
    Robert Pfeiffer did not live Baugnez this time but well Büllingen.

  78. Jan Ploeg says:

    There is a mistake in the article. There where no 8 men involved of the 3d Armored Division. There where just 4 of them

  79. Rogister Henri says:

    The men of the 3rd Armored Killed at Baugnez are:

    Iames Lloyd 2e Lt buried at Henri-Chapelle
    Klukavy John Pfc buried at Henri-Chapelle
    Mc Dermott Thomas E.Jr 1er Lt buried at Yeadon, PA
    Mc Gee James G. T/3 buried at Henri-Chapelle

  80. Stephanie Evans says:

    My father, Sgt.Robert H. Burns of Holly, Michigan, was killed in the Battle of the Bulge on January 5, 1945. I have missed him all my life.

  81. […] via Massacre At Malmédy During the Battle of the Bulge. […]

  82. Mary J. Mattera says:

    Yes, Sylvestor, your mother’s brother was in the Malmedy Massacre. My father, Jame P. Mattera, was a survivor of the Massacre. He always mentioned Sylvestor’s name and that he was killed in the Massacre. My father was also from Marietta, PA.

  83. […] He and his men bring this mentality to the western front when they fight in the Bulge in 1944, and it’s they who perpetrate the famous massacre just outside the town of Malmedy. […]

  84. […] He and his men bring this mentality to the western front when they fight in the Bulge in 1944, and it’s they who perpetrate the famous massacre just outside the town of Malmedy. […]

  85. Ronald Levy says:

    Strange how you want to produce a justification for a massacre of Americans by Nazis – the Nazis had justifications for the Holocaust – perhaps you would like to endorse these as well.

  86. […] He and his group pierce this genius to a western front when they quarrel in a Bulge in 1944, and it’s they who commit a famous electrocute usually outward a city of Malmedy. […]

  87. […] He and his group pierce this genius to a western front when they quarrel in a Bulge in 1944, and it’s they who commit a famous electrocute usually outward a city of Malmedy. […]

  88. Henri Rogister says:

    I was present at the ceremony commemoring the 70th anniversary of the Malmedy Massacre.

    See my website for some pictures taken during the ceremony.


  89. […] toward the Meuse River, creating the projection that gave the battle its name. Stories spread of the massacre of soldiers and civilians at Malmedy and Stavelot, of fallschrimjager paratroopers dropping behind the lines, and of English-speaking German […]

  90. Ralph Siblerman says:

    I recently came upon my father’s experience at the Bulge, including just missing being caught up in the massacre (initially his military government unit had been thought captured). See

  91. […] He and his group pierce this genius to a western front when they quarrel in a Bulge in 1944, and it’s they who commit a famous electrocute usually outward a city of Malmedy. […]

  92. Janet Clawson says:

    Julian (Jack) Brooke was one of the men killed at Malmedy. A Red Cross Medic, he survived head injuries at Omaha Beach during the landing at Normandy. After a brief recovery in England, he was sent back into combat. Before WWII he was a young aspiring artist. His adoring wife was a beautiful dancer and artist called Geraldine Greene. She was my aunt and recently passed away at age 93. A Book called \Love, Sex and World War II\ discusses their love and the war. She remarried five times, and was widowed five times. For over 70 years, every evening before bed, Jerry would sing their love song. She would hold Jack Brooke’s two Purple Hearts and his wallet recovered at Malmedy. Sadly, during a time when care-givers were brought into the home, someone stole those Purple Hearts and the old leather wallet. They would not have known the priceless value those items had for her. Even sadder was the fact we were not able to bury them with her when she passed away. How different so many peoples lives would have been if Malmedy had not happened.

  93. Dan Torfin says:

    Very interesting and moving posts. My Father was one of the Greatest Generation’s WWII veterans who risked everything countless times as a Liberator bomber tail-gunner with many missions that included raids to the Ploesti oil refineries. Although my Father never talked about his battle experiences until he was about 60 years old, he also lost a brother in the Battle of the Bulge which was painful to his family. His brother, Ivan Torfin, was a medic who was killed by a German sniper despite his Red Cross markings. Obviously, in the heat of any battle, soldiers with guns, do what soldiers do. The sniper was killed, so we will never know why he shot and killed a Red Cross medic. Like so many events in history, the exact details on such a terrible event at Malmedy will probably never be proven beyond what we know now. Maybe there’s some helpful consolation for failing memories. A good book with many details; Fatal Crossroads by Danny S. Parker published in 2012 may be of further help in understanding this event.

  94. […] He and his men bring this mentality to the western front when they fight in the Bulge in 1944, and it’s they who perpetrate the famous massacre just outside the town of Malmedy. […]

  95. Henri Rogister says:

    To Mr Ralph Siblerman,

    I am very interested by the story about Henry. K Siblerman during the Battle of the Bulge.

    I would like adde it to my website:

    Can you tell me more about the unit of Henry Siblerman and if possible obtain a picture taken during his military service in order to added it to his story if you give me authorization?


  96. Henri Rogister says:

    Dear Janet Clawson,

    Julian (Jack) Brooke was a Staff/Sergeant and member of the 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.
    He was killed in action on December 18, 1944 but I don’t where.


  97. Henri Rogister says:

    Mr Dan Torfin,

    Ivan N Torfin was a member of the 110th Infantry Regiment of the 28th Infantry Division.

    Serial N° 6939794

    I was killed on 16 December 1944 and was buried temporarely at the American Cemetery of FOY (Close to Bastogne)

    His name is listed: Plot I, row 8, grave 117.


  98. Dan Torfin says:

    Thanks for the additional information Me. Rogister, it is greatly
    appreciated. It took many years for my Grandparents to get more details of his death, but ultimately, were able to get his remains returned for burial in Minnesota. Again, thank you for the information.
    God Bless.

  99. joseph says:

    I am doing a 5th grade project on the malmedy massacre.What should I do??????!!!!????!!!!!?????

  100. Pamela L. Poulin, Ph.D. says:

    My father, James Crawford Poulin, in charge of 3 trucks carrying ball bearings for the US Army, was 2 miles away from Malmédy, in an American tent, where a Protestant church service was being held, led by an American Chaplain. All of a sudden, there was rapping on the tent door by two American soldiers, bullet ridden but surviving the Malmédy massacre. One said, The Germans are 2 miles down the road. You gotta get out of here! The Chaplain ‘lost it.’ My father said, Get a hold of yourself! You’re an officer! When nothing happened, Jim Poulin, ran to the US officer in charge of this assemblage of US soldiers (I don’t know his rank) and told him what the men had said and repeated, We’d gotta get out of here. The US officer said, No. I want to interview these men first. My father said, There’s no time! and then ran to his 3 soldiers who drove the 3 ball bearing trucks, told them to get their gear out of their fox holes and We’re moving on out! My father always had his trucks backed in under trees (camouflage), facing a way out–just in case. They left, with much-needed ball bearings (there’s no troop movement, equipment/etc. w/o ball bearings) and 4 lives were saved. Thus, the ball bearings and the men avoided being in the Bulge, the ‘Battle of the Bulge.’ This, because one man, Jim Poulin, thought for himself, his men and got out of there. More could have been saved. About the massecre, my father said that the Americans did the same thing: shot a whole slue of German prisoners of war because, they, too (the Americans), had no where to put the German POWs. Pamela L. Poulin, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Johns Hopkins University

    • Kimberlee Dale Bishop says:

      Wow, what a story Pamela. It’s been awhile since I have refreshed my memory on all the data I’ve collected on my father’s journey through WWII but I recall a WWII historian telling me he could have been at the Battle of the Bulge. Do you happen to know what infantry division, regiment, etc. your dad belonged to?


    • Kimberlee Dale Bishop says:

      Me again. Had I taken a few more minutes I wouldn’t have needed to repost. My dad kept a briefcase with things meaningful to him. He was a retired sheriff so his deputy and sheriff badges are in there. There is some money from overseas from the 1940s. There are a couple bullets. There’s a Stars and Stripes newspaper from the day after D-Day (which I suspect he may have been a part of as he was wounded and awarded a Purple Heart received right outside of Normandy in St. Lo, France a few days after D-Day). Anyway, among his very small collection of WWII items, there was a folded up photo from Newsweek magazine from January 8, 1945 and the caption reads “Field of Infamy – This column of Nazi prisoners is passing by a field at Five Corners, near Malmedy, Belgium. The Americans in the field are uncovering the bodies of other Americans, murdered after they surrendered to the Germans on Dec. 17. The atrocity was investigated and confirmed by Supreme Allied Headquarters.”

      There is a reason my dad chose to keep this small photo and caption in his keepsake briefcase. I know my dad wouldn’t have saved something that didn’t apply directly to him.


  101. Mary J Mattera says:


    My father was a survivor of the Malmedy Massacre. Yes, your mother’s brother Sylvestor Heckleroth was killed in the Malmedy Massacre.

    My father always talked about Sylvestor. We were from Marietta, PA as well.

    Hope this answers your question.

  102. Thumper says:

    Feelings were running pretty high at this point. Allies were bombing non military targets day and night killing countless numbers of woman and children (Wurzburg). I had family on both sides .

  103. pamelalpoulinphd says:

    My father, James Crawford Poulin, was ca. 2 miles from the Malmédy Massacre. He was in a Christian service when there was rapping on the door. When opened, he saw two bullet ridden soldiers, one of whom said, “The Germans are two miles down the road! You’ve got to get out!” The Chaplain freaked out, reduced to gibbering. My father said, “You’re an officer! Get a hold of yourself!” Then, my father ran to the commander and told him what the injured soldiers said. The commander answered, “I want to speak to the soldiers first before we do anything.” My father answered, “There’s no time!” He then ran to the bearing trucks & his drivers (he was in charge of bearings), told them to get their gear out of their fox holes, because “We’re moving on out!” He said he always had his trucks facing out (for a quick getaway if needed) & under trees. So, they left without permission. I asked, “How did you know which way to go?” to which he answered, “There were always MPs at each cross roads who directed the Americans. Sometimes, there were Germans impersonating American MPs giving wrong directions.” I asked, “What would you do then” He answered, “Oh, the Americans found out pretty quick that they were Germans.” “Then what happened?” “The Germans were shot dead on the spot,” he answered. The point of my writing here is that my father also said that “We [Americans] did it, too [gunned down the Germans who had already surrendered [POWs]. We had no place to put them; we were on the move. We had no men to take care of them [watch them; feed them].” So, maybe this is the reason why none of the German officers convicted of the Malmédy Massacre & sentenced to hanging were never hung: so that it would not be revealed that we also gunned down German POWs. Pamela L. Poulin, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Johns Hopkins University.

  104. Craig Waterman says:

    Ummm, I don’t know if I really agree with Pamela. So basically the reason why they were never put to death was so that we never found out, but here she is telling the story? That and even if what she is stating is true, surely that wouldn’t absolve anyone, including American Soldiers from war crimes. I mean if we really just went around killing all the Nazis it definitely would have made it easier. I mean according to her Granddad’s testimony, since that’s what we did, why not just immediately hang them anyway? Why suddenly have a conscience about it? You could be prosecuted for war crimes easily if what she is stating is true, yet they still did it. Now that they have the full power of the military judicial system on their sides, and they are like ” let’s not hang them, we did it as well”, bit implausible I think. If they were that way, they would have just hung them. Instead even now here we have Nazi war criminals showing up in the U.S. being wanted by Poland for war crimes. Elderly Minnesota man, who they believe is responsible for giving the order to burn an entire village, and gun down anyone trying to escape. Forty something odd, men, woman, and children died. Let’s be honest, we didn’t start the war, we didn’t set Germany’s mindset. It’s not like we don’t have a proven track record for the Nazis crimes against humanity or anything. They should have been held responsible, and not only should true Nazi war criminals be ejected from the U.S. their families should have to go as well. I lost my great Grandfather in the war. You don’t get to start a war, create that type of history, and get awarded by keeping your family in the U.S. You got here, because you lied about participating in the war which is another proven fact about the Nazis all the way up to Hitler. Known liars about everything.

  105. Scott Connors says:

    Funny. I just finished reading the chapter on Malmedy in Major General Michael Reynold’s book THE DEVIL’S ADJUSTANT, and decided to look up a couple of issues, when I came across this. Wow…deja vu all over again.

  106. sonofizzy says:

    Let us not forget that we are speaking of S.S. here. “The commander of KGr. Peiper was SS Lt. Col. Joachim Peiper, a former adjutant to Heinrich Himmler . . . .” The article notes that the S.S. units in question “enjoyed a fearsome reputation–both had already been accused of various war crimes and of killing prisoners in cold blood.” The article is incorrect that the S.S. units were part of the Wehrmacht (regular German troops); the S.S. was its own entity within the Reich, and its members were fanatical, highly disciplined disciples of Hitler, and committed many atrocities, including the liquidation of the town of Lidice. To have any reasonable doubt that the Malmedy Massacre was ordered in cold blood is to ignore the nature of the troops involved, and the fact that the American soldiers were lined up in a field, machine-gunned, and then prodded with bayonets and kicked in the head to that survivors would be rooted out and killed. To allege that it was the result of a few American soldiers attempting to escape is horsefluff, especially as to soldiers in the rear ranks responding once the killing had started. As for Pamela’s comparison of the Malmedy Massacre to the shooting of German infiltrators wearing M.P. uniforms who played a significant part in the Battle of the Bulge by turning road signs and misdirecting Americans on the road, these were treated as spies who were actively causing harm to American troops and to the American defense and were accordingly shot when caught in such activities. With all due respect to her father, these S.S. American English-speaking S.S. impostors were not all immediately identified, and caused real damage. There is no comparison between them and uniformed American soldiers who had already surrendered and were lined up for the slaughter. As for Pamela’s father’s statement about killing surrendered German soldiers, we are are left without number or specifics, or even whether he had any personal involvement or observation, or was simply relating hearsay. Is she saying that he admitted to gunning down surrendered men himself? From the words which she quotes, it does not appear so. To my knowledge, no record of anything like the Malmedy Massacre on the part of the American military during WWII has ever come to light, even after all of these years. If Pamela wishes to cite any such supposed event, let her do so. Given the relentless march of time, and the distance between us and the events of WWII, many readers will not be educated as to the difference between S.S. troops and American G.I.s. Research about this will be eye-opening to those who do not know. My father was in the Japanese Theater of War, and my uncle was with Patton in Europe, and these matters are far from academic to me. Readers may be interested to know that Joachim Peiper was killed years after the War in what appears to have been a deliberate attempt to bring him to justice.

  107. google-1a77622d3883a2f916ee576d77b1f6e9 says:

    After researching the Malmedy massacre, I’ve come to the conclusion that Peiper or his adjutant ordered the killings. Peiper’s unit was on the eastern front for some time where killing of prisoners were common with both Russians and Germans. Another damning piece of coincidence is there had been at least two or three other smaller POW killings in areas that fell under the control of Kampfgruppe Peiper.

  108. Don Cygan says:

    Much respect to Michael Reynolds, but putting aside all of the accounts of GIs shooting Germans (which did happen), the Malmedy (Baugnez) Massacre was most certainly (for lack of a better qualifier) premeditated. All one has to do is look at the “track record” of Kampfgruppe Peiper and other SS units during their drive for the Meuse during Wacht am Rhein. Yes, some of the U.S. POWs might have started trying to sneak away, but a typical reaction from the Germans would be to shoot at those who are moving. Obviously, many continued to stand still with hands in the air, and ALL did not represent a threat to the SS as they were all unarmed. It also does not explain why the vast majority of men were gunned down in “rows” obviously having not tried to “make a break for it.” So, it might have precipitated the SS troops (many of whom were from an SS penal unit) to open fire, but gunning down the mass of men just standing there and administering the “execution” shots to the survivors, implies a basic attitude of callousness and elimination, not the attitude of soldiers guarding unarmed POWs. This, combined with the orders from higher command, adds up to reactive, but still, premeditated, action. Germans also testified that NCOs and officers stated “Macht alles Kaputt” or “Bump them all off” (see Malmedy trial testimonies, particularly in Weingartner’s “A Peculiar Crusade”) prior to, or at the start of the shooting. Then, take a look at the vast number of other U.S. POWs and Belgian citizens that were murdered throughout towns such as Stavelot, Wanne, Trois Ponts, etc. in Peiper’s wake. (See the Wereth 11 incident, as well). Truth be told, Peiper and his subordinates (Poetschke, Knittel, etc.,) were all guilty as hell of war crimes. Why Europeans and others keep trying to find rationalizations for the SS action or compare with atrocities committed by U.S. soldiers is beyond me. The only close comparison in the ETO was the summary execution of 35 or more SS guards shortly after the liberation of Dachau, which was apparently the knee jerk reaction of several (understandably) angry GIs. Quite a different scenario. The traditional history has come full circle on this event and it was most certainly a war crime. Why were some GIs captured (such as McCown) while others murdered? Who knows. My personal belief it is had to do with the attitude of the particular SS men at the time, and the situation. Certainly, when it was becoming evident that Kampfgruppe Peiper was failing at its mission, the killings seem to have tapered off. Perhaps the orders from on high to “take no prisoners” were starting to concern SS troopers who were aware of their own predicament and possible capture. Perhaps the bloodlust had been sated. Such is war. Look to any account in any war, even for American soldiers. Combat does that to humanity — Angels one day, devils the next. — Don Cygan, WWII Author/Professor of History.

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