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Jean DEPREZ
Doctor of veterinary medicine
6655 NOVILLE
(by Bastogne)
Noville, on 7 November 1994
Here are the important features of the events which have occurred or that I went through during the period of the battle of Noville.
In the morning of Sunday, December 17, 1944, I visited while visiting the village of Moinet, nearby which the first German shells had fallen.
Monday 18, around 3 p.m., two German shells broke out 1 km from Noville, Bourcy direction at a place called "Pierre Wigny".It was the hint that German growth was certain and disturbing.
During the night of 18 to 19 December, U.S. troops arrived at Noville and settled there in defensive position. I was partly reassured!
During this time, the Germans had occupied Bourcy, won Rachamps via Hardigny.
Tuesday 19, early in the morning, the Crackle of machine guns was heard. The battle was engaged.
At 0800 hours, I asked a American officer if I could leave by road towards Vaux (the road to Bastogne being assigned to military requirements). He answered to me that Vaux was occupied by the Germans. I had to stay at Noville.
Around noon, the German tanks occupied the line of the ridge from Vaux to Rachamps.
Around 3 p.m., reinforcements in American tanks coming from Bastogne, descended to Noville in the locality "Corets". They were taken under fire from German, placed tanks at the top of Vaux in the locality "quoquaimont".
The fighting intensified and the situation of U.S. troops became concern.
About 6 p.m., the first German shells reached the House I occupied.
All hands to American soldiers who occupied the first floor. There were wounded.
Before the aggravation of the situation, to avoid falling into the hands of the Germans, I only hesitated more. I went pedestrement, through woods and fields to Cobru, direction Compogne.
At Cobru, all was quiet. There were no troops. In the centre of Cobru I met René Lhermitte living in this village, but which was of Compogne.
Where are you, he asked me? I don't know too, I replied, but I take the direction of Compogne. Useless, he replied. I'm back from Compogne, the Germans crossed the village in the morning.
I spent the night from Tuesday 19 to 20 at Maxime Louis where I stayed until Thursday 21 in the morning.
The battle raged until Wednesday afternoon, she calmed down later.
I was waiting, anxious.
On Thursday around 7 a.m., a German soldier joined Maxime Louis, asked a cup of coffee and we announced that Bastogne was surrounded and went. Consternation.
Around noon, a German NCO introduced himself, asked me my identity card.As domiciled in Noville, he ordered me to follow him.
I came back to Noville. An apparent calm reigned.
It was 1 p.m.; NCO made me enter the House of teacher Lutgen. In the first piece, were a German officer and an NCO.
My interrogation began. It lasted about two hours, in part at the Lutgen teacher and partly in my home where on a table in the corridor were exposed, in addition my outfit officer, my staff card and overalls made with a German individual camouflage tarp fabric.
During examination, among many issues, German officer asked me: "Do you know that civilians fired on German soldiers in Noville". "Not I replied". He returned to me "How this is not true?" "I don't know" I replied.
In my wallet was my "Entlassengschen" signed by Col. Boyé, Commander of the St Nazaire camp where I was internal. This document saved me life. Nevertheless, I was appointed as a hostage.
It was until 4 p.m. that I learned the shooting of civilians in Noville. The massacre was carried out in the morning, after which the authors were gone.
This is the very brief summary of the events that I experienced and I went through during the battle of Noville.
In conclusion:
1. I was not part of the Group of civilians who were killed.
2. the reasons for the massacre remain an Enigma
3. the rank and membership of a unit determined the interrogator officer me are unknown.
Veterinary doctor Jean DEPREZ.