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Gérard Deprez remembers

NOVILLE The MEP, Gérard Deprez, native of Noville (Bastogne), has retained no memory of the battle of the bulge. And for good reason! Born August 13, 1943, it was only a year and a half in December 1944. Too young, of course, to realize what was going on. His first memories? "Life in the barracks after the war"

The drama, which has shaken the Deprez winter family 44-45, the discover, by himself, many years later, questioning the villagers. ' My mother always spoke of events without saying what it was. '' Well, I saw that this was the penalty and I did not dare ask him question."

Flashback. On the night of 18 to 19 December, the enemy tanks speed in the direction of Noville. During two days, armoured Combat Team, commanded by major Desobry, retard their progress. Severely affected, U.S. troops withdrew towards Bastogne and the SS penetrates into the village.

Less than 24 hours later, they crisscross Noville looking for resistance fighters. Members of the commando visiting every house, every cave and take a 20 men hostage, including François and Félix Deprez, father and uncle of Gérard.

"I never knew if my father and my uncle had the resistance", breath Mr Deprez. "I think that SS, probably of Alsatians because they all spoke french, wanted to terrorize the population."

On 21 December, around 1300, the SS together their hostages before school. An officer pulls a paper from his pocket and reads the names of those who can leave. Other the Abbot Louis Delvaux, Roger Beaujean, Félix and François Deprez, Auguste Lutgen, Romain Henkinet, Joseph Rosière are driven to the rear of a ruined house and shot. The same day, in the same place, Michel Stranen, refractory to military service, went through weapons.

Gérard Deprez does not conceal that at the age of 12 he felt that of hatred for the Germans. 'Happened that cars registered in Germany through the village. I threw their stones»

Remains that over time, the State of mind of the Bastognard has evolved. "This hatred has given way to the horror of war and its procession of atrocities. Then, I understood the need to make peace. Today, I have German friends»

© The last time 2004