Duitse evacués in Vught 1944/1945

US Army in the Occupation of Germany 1944-1946


Earl F. Ziemke schreef een omvangrijk werk over de bezetting door het Amerikaanse leger van Duitsland. In hoofdstuk X komt ook Monschau en Kalterherberg aan bod. Daaruit het volgende citaat:

Monschau in peacetime had been a quiet border town tucked into the valley of the Roer River and framed on the east and west by wooded ridges. Its medieval-looking, beamed and stuccoed, three-story houses huddled over narrow streets had made it a local tourist attraction until the Organisation Todt, the German military construction agency, built the West Wall around it. As a Landkreis capital it had the appurtenances of a moderately elevated status, a jail, a courthouse, a Kreissparkasse (county bank) , two hotels, and the office of the Landrat, the chief administrative officer of the Kreis. When the Americans came in the third week of September they were vastly less interested in viewing the scenery than in cracking the West Wall and breaking out into the open country lying northeast of Monschau between the Roer River and the southern edge of the Huertgen Forest. The 9th Division took the ridgeline on the west and pushed its outpost line into the valley and out to the eastern edge of the town, but the Germans held on to the heights on the east. In the succeeding months while the Americans and Germans shelled each other from the ridges and the Germans sporadically dropped rounds into the town in the valley, Monschau added to its other modest attainments a place in the history of the occupation.

When Detachment I4G2 was given Monschau as its pinpoint assignment, no one suspected that such a thoroughly average I detachment of two officers, a warrant officer, and six enlisted men would have anything but a routine career in a backwater Landkreis.33  Goetcheus, the commander, as a captain, held the average rank for detachment commanders.

While waiting to move into Monschau, 14G2 established itself for several days in Roetgen, six miles to the north, which was by three or four hundred inhabitants actually the largest community in the Landkreis. Roetgen provided an unvarnished introduction to the small towns of western Germany. It had a flour mill and a police department consisting of one man, age sixty, who made his rounds on a bicycle and presided over a jail with one cell and a toilet. It also had a civil defense organization and a volunteer fire department; each house had a stirrup pump and a box of sand, but there had not been any fires in recent years as Roetgen had not been on the bombing schedule. The MFA&A function reached its fullest possible scope in Roetgen with the posting of off-limits signs on a hunting lodge outside town, which contained some paintings of uncertain value. Roetgen was, as a detachment stationed there later reported, "a typical rural village in which the residents obey the rules-no brothels, no reports of a black market, no intoxicating liquors sold, and all military routes free of civilian traffic." 

In Monschau, 14G2 opened its headquarters in the movie theater building. Herr Scheibler, the acting Landrat, already broken in, reported for his instructions every morning at ten. On 29 September the registration of civilians started, and the US flag was raised at the headquarters, the detachment believed for the first time in Germany. A day earlier the electricity had been turned on again. Monschau received its electricity from a small waterpower plant on the Roer River. The 9th Division's outpost line looking into enemy territory was four blocks from detachment headquarters, and artillery shells going both ways rumbled and whistled overhead.

BUILDING A BRIDGE IN MONSCHAU. Captain Goetcheus second from the left.


In its subsequent daily reports the detachment interwove the drama and triviality of the occupation:

1 Oct : The Buergermeister of Muetzenich reported enemy patrols contacting civilians for food and threatening the lives of him and his family.
 6 Oct : All civilians ordered evacuated from Kalterherberg to Malmedy within the next two days. No transport being provided by tactical units, and the movement Involves 1,100 persons. The people at Kalterherberg knew about the evacuation 5 hours before the tactical units told the MG detachment.  Enlisted men escorted a civilian truck to Roetgen to get 4,000 lbs. of rye there to be ground into flour.
 7 Oct : Ten enemy soldiers surrendered at detachment headquarters. Among them was a soldier with relatives in Monschau. Before being taken to the PW enclosure he was allowed to visit his mother, sister, and brother. Photos taken.
 8 Oct : Buergermeister of Muetzenich reports US soldiers broke into his office in the schoolhouse and stole 12 cameras, 7 pair binoculars, 15 sabers, all of which he had been retaining by order of a tactical unit now gone. Wanton destruction of gardens also reported. This serious because the Germans depend on them for food.
 Provisional MG police detachment has moved to Kalterherberg to protect the evacuated village from looting and plundering.
 9 Oct : Capt. Goetcheus requested arrangements for Protestant church services for civilians and US soldiers.
 10 Oct : Capt. Goetcheus held a summary court to try four civilians for violation of circulation. Two were convicted and fined. Two were dismissed on technicalities of borders and insufficient evidence.
 11 Oct : Capt. Goetcheus went to Kalterherberg to confer with the C.O. of the MG police detachment. While there noticed two sides of beef hanging in a schoolyard CP of the local tactical unit. Also a local farmer reported loss of a heifer. Investigation requested.
 12 Oct : Evacuation of the part of Monschau outside the tactical outposts but inside the city limits was ordered on recommendation of the tactical troops owing to possible subversive activity by small, roving enemy patrols.
 Two German soldiers of a patrol were killed. Bodies taken to the local cemetery and Buergermeister ordered to have them buried.
 13 Oct : Buergermeister of Muetzenich reports US troops using public bathing facilities in local schoolhouse using up the available water supply at an alarming rate.
 14 Oct : [Report on the missing heifer from Det. "A: 20th Engineer Bn.] MG officer, Monschau, said he saw a cow hanging in the vicinity of VANITY [28th Division Rear Headquarters. Capt. Welch investigated, but cow had been butchered, so he could not identify it. Lieutenant at the headquarters knew nothing about the cow. First sgt. knew about the cow but did not know how it got there-except that it had been brought in by some men who found it wounded from artillery fire. Lt. Anderson of this detachment observed a live cow standing in the back of a 2 1/2, ton truck on 12 Oct.
 16 Oct: Woman prisoner received from Aachen to be confined in local jail.
 18 Oct : Three boys, 13, 14, and 15 years old, tried for attempted theft of US property consisting of chocolate bars and cigarettes. One convicted. Two acquitted.  Woman from Zweifall taken into prison for six months for possession of firearms.
 19 Oct : During the night all windows on one side of the MG building were shattered when an enemy shell burst on the roof of a building 50 feet away.  Having trouble with CIC. Do not believe security threatened so have concentrated on assuring food, proper administration, and property protection on the assumption these will prevent unrest. Have done these at the expense of looking into past activities of present civil servants.

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