US Army

September 29th 2007 at the Baraque de Fraiture

September 29th 2007  
 at the Baraque de Fraiture
In the presence of GI’s who survived… Inauguration of a memorial stone in remembrance of the Battle of the Bulge.
On Christmas Day 1944 the Gavroye sisters of the hamlet of Regné heard in the fields the moaning of a wounded GI and hurried to receive him.  It was Justus “Ted” Schreiber, the only survivor of a small group Americans who, after that German tanks had retaken the Baraque de Fraiture (Parker’s Crossroads), had tried to escape.  The crossroads had been held since December 19th by some 100 GI’s from several units that had withdrawn from the (Schnee) Eifel.
The Gavroye sisters harboured and nursed him with the aid of a German medic they went to see several times to get help.  The third day Justus Schreiber, being delirious, was taken away by the Germans after that he should have swapped his rosary that he had held in his hands all the time - but afterwards nobody could witness this - for a photograph of the Gavroye sisters.  From then on they never heard anything from their ward.
Two years ago Schreiber’s son, Peter, returned to the Baraque de Fraiture with the photograph of the Gavroye sisters that his father, who in the meantime had passed away, honoured all his life as a talisman.  And he made friends with the survivors of the events.
Photo of the Gavroye Sisters
On September 29th 2007 a memorial stone was inaugurated in remembrance of the heroic battle and sacrifices of the American units that had held Parker’s Crossroads as the Baraque (de Fraiture) is known from history books on the Battle of the Bulge (Major Parker was in charge of the defence of the crossroads.
It’s impossible to describe this day of September 29th, the way it released so many emotions.  Peter and Marthe, a heroine of the Gavroye sisters, threw oneself into the arms of the other.  Marie Lahaire who kept the inn at the crossroads during the events and a real Madonna for the Americans was present too.  Seeing back their hostess from 63 years ago two former GI’s who were involved in the battle at the exact place where nowadays a howitzer stands in remembrance of the events, were mad with joy.  One of them, John Gaetens, couldn’t stop repeating that it had been “his cannon” (gun).

The commemorative plaque

Left to right: J. Schaffner, Art Nordoff, J. Gaetens, C. Lowery, M. McDowell and J. Gennen representing the Mayor of Vielsalm

Left to right: Mr Kraft de la Saulx, Mark Ellis, Peter Schreiber.

24 video films and 80 photographs published on the website give a detailed depiction of this commemoration.