US Veteran E. Davis honours the victims of Lager 7, Leubengrund
Last week, our association escorted US veteran Erwin Davis at the remembrance stone of the Lager 7 in the Leubengrund.
It was this camp that his unit, as a soldier of the 89th Infantry Division, discovered in April 1945, while advancing. The camps of the „REIMAHG“ had been evacuated before, leaving those who were sick and unable to walk in Lager 7, to die.
Erwin laid down a flower piece at the monument, in order to remember that shocking discovery. The information board, set by our association also brought back emotional memories and he told us his story upon arrival in that camp.
Visit to Danesfield House, Medmenham/England
June 2019, for our research as to the aerial reconnaissance and the “REIMAHG”’, we headed for Danesfield House near Medmenham, Buckinghamshire/England.
The luxurious, 1750 constructed, rural castle, was the seat of the Allied Central Interpretation Unit between 1941 – 1946 (ACIU, Allied Central Interpretation Unit). As this location 1.700 experts worked in different sections around the daily intake of 25.000 aerial photos, from the development to the interpretation and 60.000 prints.
By the end of the war the total amount of photos was five million and 40.000 interpretation reports.
One of the best photo interpreters was Constance Babington Smith. She discovered not only the Me-262 production in Kahla but also the V1 site in Peenemünde. For her work, she received numerous commendations and medals.
One of the other female photo interpreters was Sara Oliver, the daughter of Winston Churchill.
The current castle, in it’s neo-Tudor style (1899 – 1901) is since 1991 a luxurious country hotel with the typical atmosphere and flair of a old and decent mansion. All building that were constructed 1941 within the area, have been disassembled and the large park has returned to its old shape.
Many photos and a memorial plaque remind us of the special history of this house. The present staff was very kind to pass the information and gave us a flyer.
We had the possibility to visit the entire house and installations, for which we are very grateful.
5. June, Visit to the Military Intelligence Museum, Chicksands, England
We received an invitation from our English friend and veteran Mick Mockford to visit the Military Intelligence Museum in Chicksands. The museum is situated within a military base of the British army and holds an extensive collection as to the Allied aerial reconnaissance during World War 2.
Especially of interest to us was the filed of the aerial reconnaissance, the use of technology and in particular the work of Constance Babington Smith, who discovered on March 19, 1945 the Me-262 on the Walpersberg.
Constance (15 October 1912 – 31 July 2000) had donated a large amount of her working equipment, personal items and the medals she received for her work during WW2. In over three hours, we were given a very clear and in dept view on the work around aerial reconnaissance in WW2.
We really appreciated the time that Mick, a long-lasting friend, was able to give us, despite his more as 80 years of age, but still enthusiastic and competent regarding the exhibition, as well as the other staff members of the museum.
Today, May 11, at 9.30 Hr, the annual commemoration of the victims and the liberation of the „REIMAHG“ camps in April 1945 by the 89th Infantry Division of the US Army, bringing also the end of the war in Thuringia took place.
Despite the rain, guests from Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany came to the Leubengrund near Kahla and the surrounding communities.
In solemn speeches, the district and the mayors commemorated this event. Together with the pastors one spoke the „Father our“ and received the blessing.
It was an emotional day for all participants.
In cooperation with the town and the Partner Association Kahla, our association organized on May 10 a presentation, that lasted several hours about the Liberation of Thuringia in April 1945. Many people came, even from faraway and applauded at the end of the interesting documentation. The many questions of the public were answered by our member of the association Patrick Brion with a large knowledge about the theme of the evening.
We were invited to the yearly meeting of army veterans in Zwevegem. After the ceremony to remember the Fallen, speeches and the handing out of medals, the official part was over. We met old friends, had good conversations, enjoyed the great food, but the day passed quickly.
Having received an invitation of a fellow Association, we decided to take a field trip to the tomb of Napoleon in Paris. Our association member Steffi has a special connection towards this history. In 1979, she worked very intense at the construction of the Museum, dedicated to the Battle of Jena/Auerstedt. In the Louvre museum you can discover, besides beautiful paintings, also the throne that belonged to Napoleon. His tomb, a massive porphyrin sarcophagus is situated in Les Invalides since 1840. Other personal artifacts are located in the French Musée de l’Armée. Here, his horse ‚Le Vizir‘, has been preserved for future generations. It carried Napoleon during the Battle of Jena/Auerstadt and followed him later during his exile.
Visit of the „REIMAHG“ exhibition in the Kahla City Museum, followed by a a guided tour around the Walpersberg.
Contacts, meetings and guided tours with like-minded people, interested in the history of the „REIMAHG“
Our Association researched for more then one week in the Thuringian archives, with many news documents and contacts.
We said goodbye to a good friend. Inviation and participation at the burial of Louis Laeremans, Veteran, 1940-45
Joined research with the Russian Association „That Side“, in order to coordinate research on the Russian forced laborers in the „REIMAHG“
Visit to the Pieters Family, Zoetermeer, Holland
Organization and meeting regarding the upcoming commemorations in May in Kahla and Langenorla
Contact with the city of Bruges for the commemorations 2020
Presentation in Kahla City Hall, May 10th at 1930 Hr, regarding the end of WW2 in Thuringia with a special focus on the Saale Valley
Prepartion of an informative publication regarding the presentation
Meeting and exchange of information with local historians
Research in several Thuringian archives in order to prepare the upcoming presentation