On 25 July 1944, Emile Leroy was arrested in Binche, Belgium, and deported to Kahla. He was 49 at the time. Like many other Belgians, he was employed as a forced laborer in the “REIMAHG”. Emile dies from exhaustion and sickness on 28 March 1945 in Lager E, Eichenberg.
He is buried above the camp, at the edge of the forest. It was not until 1948 that a Belgian military mission exhumed and transferred him to Belgium.
Emile wrote a lot to his family during his time in Lager E and kept a small diary. This book, as well as his letters and documents, have been preserved by his family to this day.
27 June 2020. At the train station in Kahla, Thierry Leroy gets off the train. He is a pilot at DHL and has been in contact with our association for many years. This year, the Leroy family had planned on coming to Kahla for the first time. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 situation, this was not possible. However, Thierry is now on duty in Leipzig and the visit took place!
He, too, is in Kahla for the first time and wants to discover the story of Emile, his grandfather. After a warm welcome we went to Eichenberg, to the former Lager E. Deeply moved, Thierry laid down a flower. We explained him the history and location of Lager E. We then showed him where his grandfather was buried. Despited the nice weather the thoughts went back in time…
In a guided tour around the Walpersberg, he got to know and understand the history of the mountain, where the forced laborers worked.
Strengthened by a nice lunch and after some intensive conversations, Thierry visited the exhibition about the “REIMAHG” in the Kahla town Museum. From here we went to Hummelshain, visited the castle and cemetery and ended the day at the memorial in the Leubengrund Valley. Before we took Thierry back to the station, we made a detour to the Kahla cemetery, to commemorate the many dead at the memorial.
A very emotional day, we were happy to welcome Thierry and lead him through the story of his grandfather.
The many documents, letters and pictures were handed over to our association already at the beginning of the year him. They will added to the theme of forced labor in the new exhibition at the Kahla City Museum.