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Home Tourism Malmedy History The Second World War

The Second World War

After the beginning of the Second World War and the capitulation of Belgium at the end of the 18-day campaign, Malmedy was incorporated into the Third Reich. This meant that all able-bodied men from Malmedy were forced to serve in the Wehrmacht and suffered a high price in the war, above all on the Eastern Front. Besides this, during the 5 somber years, many men from Malmedy perished in concentration camps because they had shown their allegiance to Belgium.

The town was liberated in September 1944 by American troops. Malmedy also provided the backdrop for two dramatic events in the course of the Battle of the Bulge. The Baugnez crossroads, 4 km southeast of the town of Malmedy, was the place of the event known as the Malmedy massacre, where, on December 17, 1944 more than 70 unarmed American prisoners of war were shot by the Waffen-SS. However, although the crossing was an important landmark, the town did not fall to the Germans at any time during the Battle of the Bulge. The attack, carried out by troops led by the notorious Otto Skorzeny, was beaten back by the American troops who were protecting the town.

Despite this, in the days from December 23 to 25, 1944, Malmedy was heavily bombed by American aircraft that led to more than 200 fatalities within the civil population. (The number of casualties amongst the American forces there has never been officially revealed.) The greater part of the historic center of the town was razed to the ground.