Apr 21 2010

SCHOCKELA, KNÄTSCHGUMMI AN BRONG PUPPELCHER

Published by at 14:46 under Industry

SOURCE: www.ptd.lu
Andy Bausch’s next project. Scheduled for october 2010.

On September 10th 1944 the first American soldiers cross the border, heralding the long-awaited arrival of the liberators. Their pockets are filled with chocolate, chewing gum and cigarettes, their minds are filled with suspicion and anxiety, but they are soon won over by the enormous gratitude with which the Luxembourgish population welcomes them.

The GIs are put up in schools and locals’ homes, they share their food and music with the Luxembourgers and are more than delighted to accept the offer of a glass of home-made brandy, a hot meal or a hot bath. The children are enchanted and fascinated by the GIs and they observe the ‘unusual’ black soldiers with a mix of fear and respect.

Although the GIs don’t stay long because they have to move on to Germany or, worse, fight in the Battle of the Bulge, and although there is a continuous arrival of new troops, friendships are forged, affairs are had, even relationships which last a life time.

They called it “Paradise for weary troops”, this little country which was so close to the borders of the enemy nation but yet this was a free, independent country which had iron ore mines, a radio station, cinemas, coffeehouses, dance halls and friendly people who were willing to speak the language of the Americans.

Ernest Hemingway as a war correspondent for an American newspaper, Marlene Dietrich as an entertainer for the troops and of course General Patton, who finally beat the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge–they were all in Luxembourg in December of 1944.

In 1945 the American cemetery was consecrated in Hamm. 5076 American soldiers who lost their lives on Luxembourg soil are buried here. As most of the GIs moved on, to occupy Germany, fight in Bitburg or further inland, they left behind many a broken heart. Women in love, families who had taken ‘their’ American into their hearts, and also a whole string of young girls with growing bellies. They didn’t know if they would ever hear again from their ‘Joe’ or ‘Johnny’, or if their as yet unborn child would ever know its father.

These children, born of an American father and a Luxembourgish mother grew up among all the other little Luxembourgers; they were bullied and derided when they were black and their origins couldn’t be hidden. In only the rarest of cases did the mother join the father in America, or was the child adopted by the American family.

But the American culture, the music, the fashion, the Mickey Mouse magazines, Hollywood, the cars, the electric iron, the washing machine and the refrigerator, all were instant hits in Luxembourg, just as elsewhere in Europe.

In 1949 the Luxembourgish Government, the smallest of the allied countries, signs the North-Atlantic Treaty within the framework of the Marshall Plan–the United States’ reconstruction programme.

The first negative opinions are heard, especially from the Communist Party; it is the time of Korea and the Cold War.

But all of this doesn’t keep the Luxembourgers from increasingly looking up to the Americans, and increasingly adopting the “American way of life”. When in 1956 Bill Haley and his “Rock Around The Clock” and especially Elvis Presley find their way into Luxembourgish juke-boxes, the young ones are hooked too.

Four American soldiers who took part in the liberation of Luxembourg and who fought in the Ardennes, are still alive today and living in Luxembourg. But these regular WWII commemorations, festivities and visits from fellow veterans from America will soon desist. The veterans are either too old to travel, or they are no longer with us.
And so part of our past is disappearing.

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SOURCE: www.ptd.lu
Andy Bausch’s next project. Scheduled for october 2010.

On September 10th 1944 the first American soldiers cross the border, heralding the long-awaited arrival of the liberators. Their pockets are filled with chocolate, chewing gum and cigarettes, their minds are filled with suspicion and anxiety, but they are soon won over by the enormous gratitude with which the Luxembourgish population welcomes them.

The GIs are put up in schools and locals’ homes, they share their food and music with the Luxembourgers and are more than delighted to accept the offer of a glass of home-made brandy, a hot meal or a hot bath. The children are enchanted and fascinated by the GIs and they observe the ‘unusual’ black soldiers with a mix of fear and respect.

Although the GIs don’t stay long because they have to move on to Germany or, worse, fight in the Battle of the Bulge, and although there is a continuous arrival of new troops, friendships are forged, affairs are had, even relationships which last a life time.

They called it “Paradise for weary troops”, this little country which was so close to the borders of the enemy nation but yet this was a free, independent country which had iron ore mines, a radio station, cinemas, coffeehouses, dance halls and friendly people who were willing to speak the language of the Americans.

Ernest Hemingway as a war correspondent for an American newspaper, Marlene Dietrich as an entertainer for the troops and of course General Patton, who finally beat the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge–they were all in Luxembourg in December of 1944.

In 1945 the American cemetery was consecrated in Hamm. 5076 American soldiers who lost their lives on Luxembourg soil are buried here. As most of the GIs moved on, to occupy Germany, fight in Bitburg or further inland, they left behind many a broken heart. Women in love, families who had taken ‘their’ American into their hearts, and also a whole string of young girls with growing bellies. They didn’t know if they would ever hear again from their ‘Joe’ or ‘Johnny’, or if their as yet unborn child would ever know its father.

These children, born of an American father and a Luxembourgish mother grew up among all the other little Luxembourgers; they were bullied and derided when they were black and their origins couldn’t be hidden. In only the rarest of cases did the mother join the father in America, or was the child adopted by the American family.

But the American culture, the music, the fashion, the Mickey Mouse magazines, Hollywood, the cars, the electric iron, the washing machine and the refrigerator, all were instant hits in Luxembourg, just as elsewhere in Europe.

In 1949 the Luxembourgish Government, the smallest of the allied countries, signs the North-Atlantic Treaty within the framework of the Marshall Plan–the United States’ reconstruction programme.

The first negative opinions are heard, especially from the Communist Party; it is the time of Korea and the Cold War.

But all of this doesn’t keep the Luxembourgers from increasingly looking up to the Americans, and increasingly adopting the “American way of life”. When in 1956 Bill Haley and his “Rock Around The Clock” and especially Elvis Presley find their way into Luxembourgish juke-boxes, the young ones are hooked too.

Four American soldiers who took part in the liberation of Luxembourg and who fought in the Ardennes, are still alive today and living in Luxembourg. But these regular WWII commemorations, festivities and visits from fellow veterans from America will soon desist. The veterans are either too old to travel, or they are no longer with us.
And so part of our past is disappearing.

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