Wereth 11 to be honored at ceremony Sept. 22

by Maj. Lawanda D. Warthen
Contributing writer

A ceremony for 11 African-American Soldiers killed by the German SS during the Battle of the Bulge takes place at 11 a.m. Sept. 22 in Wereth, Belgium.   
A bus will leave from the Vogelweh Bowling Alley parking lot at 7 a.m. for those wishing to attend. RSVPs must be made by Sept. 10 via email to warthen3@aol.com. The cost is $30 for transportation.

The 11 Soldiers were separated from their unit while evading the Germans. While looking for food and shelter, they approached the Mathius Langer house in Wereth, and the family took them in.

About an hour later, a German patrol approached the house. The Americans surrendered, were taken out and were shot and dumped into a ditch where their bodies remained until mid-February. The official report noted they had been brutalized, with broken legs, bayonet wounds to the head, and fingers cut off.

These 11 Soldiers from Alabama remained unknown to the world until 1994 when Herman Langer, son of Mathius, erected a small cross in the corner of the pasture where they had been murdered. On the cross were the names of the Soldiers: Curtis Adams, George Davis, Thomas J. Forte, Robert Green, Jim Leatherwood, Bradley Meagler, Nathaniel Moss, George W. Moten, William M. Pritchett, James A. Stewart and Due W. Turner.

In 2001, three Belgians took on the task of creating a more prominent memorial to them, as well as to honor all African-American GIs of World War II. The dedication of the new memorial was held in May 2004. Road signs now indicate the location of the memorial, and the Belgian Tourist Bureau lists it in its “Battle of the Bulge” brochures.

The Wereth Massacre documentary premiered Feb. 19, 2011, at the World War II Museum in New Orleans. It was honored with the Founders’ Choice Award at the fifth annual GI Film Festival at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.
To learn more about the documentary, visit http://robchild.blogspot.com/2011/05/wereth-eleven-wins-founders-choice.html.

For more information, visit http://themoderatevoice.com/13097/the-alabama-eleven-the-black-gis-of-wereth-belgium-memorial-day-2007.