Henri Rogister and Charles Corbin After Interview |
at Baugnez. Henri Rogister is an Authority OnThe
Baugnez Crossroads Killings Known As The Malmedy
Massacre Where 86 American POW s Were Killed In
WW II on 17th. December 1944. Henri Rogister was
working on his book at the time. "SUR LES TRACES
SANGLANTES DES TROUPES DE JOACHIM PEIPER"
CORBIN: Henri, will you tell me your findings about the massacre that took place in the field behind us.
ROGISTER: The massacre started approximately at 1:00 PM back in December 17th. 1944. The Spearhead of the 1st. SS Panzer Division came from village of Thirimont. At the same time Battery B-285th. Field artillery came from Malmedy. Tanks from German spearhead open fire on the column of Battery B approximate 700 meters from the Baugnez crossroads. At the same time tanks opened fire on last vehicles in column. The troops have no choice but to surrender because of the tank fire, mortal shells and machine gun fire. About five minutes later another column of tanks come from Thirimont with Peiper and more prisoners. The Germans told them to go in the field. Peiper gave orders to guard the prisoners, but the German soldiers understand orders to kill all prisoners. After two to five minutes of machine gun fire, the German soldiers run in the open to look for survivors and when they made a small move they were shot with a pistol.
After the German column had passed and about an hour later An American soldiers say "lets go", and then 20-30 soldiers escape the field. A German tank sitting at the crossroads with a broken tread, and two SS soldiers, opened fire on the part of the field where the Americans were escaping. More Americans were killed.
Some testimony explain that American soldiers take refuge in the Café Bodarwe, and Americans tell The Germans killed them in there. I think no because The Germans burned the barn and the Café Bodarwe at the same time. For me there is no American soldiers killed in the barn and the Café, because I speak with Mr. Bodarwe and after the investigation in 1945 there was only a small part of a body found, maybe it was Mrs. Bodarwe. There is a German soldier named Kurt Briesemeister a tank commander who have a testimony where he tell it is a German who kill a woman at the Baugnez crossroads. Henri Lejoly who was living in Baugnez at this time, assisted with the Massacre, he have a story where he also thinks the Germans killed Madam Bodarwe.
For me the story of Baugnez is very interesting. There was a massacre in Baugnez; it was the same Honsfeld, Bullingen, Ligneuville, Stavelot, Parfondruy, Ster, Trois-Ponts, Stoumont and La Gleize.I think Peiper told Poetschke to make arrangement for the prisoners, and Poetschke give orders to guard them but German soldiers understand to kill all prisoners. 84-86 American soldiers were killed. Not all were killed in the field, but several were killed before the Massacre, and others were killed just afterwards when they tried to escape.
CORBIN: Who do you think fired the first shot at the Americans soldiers in the field. Do you think that Lt. Fleps fired the First Shot or was it someone else?
ROGISTER: It is difficult to determine who fire the first shot. I don't believe it was Pfc.. Fleps. I think it was a Germany Officer fired the first shot. Pfc. Sturmmann Fleps shot maybe second time. I think Lt. Fleps received order to fire at men in the field. Then other Germans opened fire. It is difficult to have a good version determined, as there were approximately 120-140 men in the field. Testimonies first and last are not the same story. You make your own study of all testimonies, you make your own story, and you give your own opinion. It is difficult after fifty years to determine. I have much testimony, Americans never change testimony, but Germans change each year. Their first testimonies in 1946 are good. After 1947,1948, a political testimony.
CORBIN: Which are the best testimonies among the American survivors?
ROGISTER: Bill Merriken, Kenneth Kingston, and John O'Connell a marker or MP at the crossroads, give a very good testimony. He gives an exact testimony. On 17, 18, and 20th. of December 1944, there is no change in testimony from many survivors. Other soldier's testimony is wrong, as they would change their opinion two days later after hearing other survivors tell their story. For me the first testimony was always the best.
When Peiper came to the crossroads he stopped after 500 meters in direction of Ligneuville. Peiper was in Ligneuville by 2:00 PM. Fisher was in the first tank. Peiper was about in the 5th. vehicle a half-track or SPW. Peiper was riding in a half-track because he had a bad problem with his radio in his tank. There was an American vehicle in front of Peiper. Fisher's tank was knocked out on entering Ligneuville and Peiper gave him first aid because he was badly wounded, but he survived the war.
I think Bill Barron came in Ligneuville between hour of 2-2:30PM. He passed Baugnez one hour before the massacre. Peiper stayed 4 to 5 hours in Ligneuville before he took direction toward La Vaulx Richard and Stavelot. He came to Stavelot approximately 10:00 PM to midnight. He met with one of Skorzeny's Officers before he attacked Stavelot.
CORBIN: Thank you Henri for your Story. Do you have more?
ROGISTER: Read my book when it is published. "SUR LES TRACES
SANGLANTES DES TROUPES DE JOACHIM PEIPER"