At the site where Nazi troops massacred scores of unarmed American prisoners of war during the Battle of the Bulge, Germany’s ambassador to Belgium expressed a sense of remorse during a ceremony Sunday marking the 70th anniversary of the massacre.
Hundreds of people gathered at a memorial for the Malmedy Massacre, which includes a long wall bearing the names of 84 American GIs who were shot dead in a field here on Dec. 17, 1944, the second day of the Battle of the Bulge.
“This is unfortunately only one place the German troops, especially SS, killed people for nothing,” German Ambassador Eckart Cuntz said, speaking in English. “I can only express my consternation and shame once again on what has happened.”
Though not the only atrocity committed during the monthlong fight in the Ardennes, news of the slaying of unarmed U.S. troops raced through the ranks, steeling American resolve to turn back the Germans in what would be their last major offensive of World War II, according to military historians.
Beginning with the invasion of Normandy, Allied forces handed the Germans a series of humiliating defeats, forcing Adolf Hitler’s armies back to their homeland.
Things were not going well for the Germans on the eastern front either, where the Russians were gaining the advantage over Hitler’s war machine.