6

26.12.1944

On December 26, 1944, there was heavy artillery fire. The small children in the cellar cried and the adults prayed. Countless shells could be heard whistling over the house. Suddenly a dull thud and an avalanche of debris 2 meters high, followed by a cellar-high opaque cloud of dust rolled toward us. All the cellar inhabitants, about 18 in number, were trapped.

We had suffered an impact in the south side of the house, right in the staircase, where Octavie (Strotz Pierre's widow, norn Mathieu from Tintange, my mother's friend), the wife of the house, mother of 5 children and widow for 2 years, used to stay. Only a few minutes earlier, she had left this very place for a short time for reasons that were inexplicable. A part of the wall had collapsed to the height of the roof.

After the first few minutes of shock, I groped for my cousin (Gremling Jos) who was lying next to me and asked him: "Are you still alive? "Yes" he answered. Everyone had remained unharmed and so there was no panic.

When the cloud of dust had settled and a candle was burning again here and there, all faces had changed. All were dark brown, colored by the dust and looked as if they came from another planet. Only their eyes glowed frighteningly.

Two men, Diederich Pier (husband of Thérèse Wagner, 1a rue de l'Etang) and Raach Jules (son of Von Raach Anton, 12 rue Romaine) broke in the hatch, which was located on the north side of the cellar, with a "mini-iron". They thus enabled us to escape during a cease-fire to the Keller a Scheppen (Meyers-Reding Léon, 14 rue Romaine), where we were liberated by the American infantry on December 27, 1944. In the kitchen of this house, 3 exhausted German soldiers were captured without resistance. Most of them had taken flight, in the direction of Harlingen.

-> Please continue reading Part 4 here

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