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Surrender of General Elster; US infantry in France, Belgium, Maastricht, Netherlands.

Film | Accession Number: 2006.73.1 | RG Number: RG-60.4501 | Film ID: 2816

General Major Botho Elster studies a map with a French Lieutenant Colonel. Accompanied by other high-ranking officers, Elster bids farewell to some of his troops in a wooded area. He salutes, speaks to the men, and shakes their hands. On September 16, 1944, on the Loire bridge in Beaugency, France, Elster capitulated and handed over 19,500 men to the French. He did so without permission from his superiors, for which he was sentenced to death in absentia by a Nazi court.

01:01:37 US infantry patrols in France. Soldiers walk along devastated, empty streets. A tank rolls down the street. A medic assists a wounded soldier. A man in civilian clothes walks with the soldiers and a tank. A soldier is taken away on a stretcher. Another man in civilian clothes points something out to a group of soldiers.

01:02:59 Medium and close-up shots of soldiers as they sit on a hillside overlooking a town, near Thionville on the Maginot line. They watch artillery fire through binoculars. One soldier uses a field telephone.

01:04:06 American soldiers walk along the road to Luxembourg. Civilians by the roadside, including children, wave the flag of Luxembourg. American soldiers enter Luxembourg and are greeted by flag-waving civilians. 01:04:53 Prince Felix of Luxembourg rides in a jeep with American soldiers. He is greeted enthusiastically by the crowd.

01:05:20 American soldiers on a destroyed bridge in Mersch, Luxembourg. A tank rolls across a railroad bridge. Soldiers lay planks on the bridge. Tanks and jeeps advance across a field toward Fort Eben-Emael in Belgium. Long shot of the fort with the Belgian flag flying above and many soldiers in the shot. Close-up of a damaged sign reading "Eben-Emael 1932-1935". American soldiers walk out of the fort.

01:07:40 German prisoners under American and Belgian (?) guard walk down a road. Belgians watch as American soldiers in tanks and jeeps cross a wooden bridge (built by Belgian civilians, according to NARA) at Houffalize, Belgium.

01:09:26 American soldiers and civilians (wearing armbands of some kind) at Maastricht. An American soldier examines a German helmet. View of the devastated town across a destroyed bridge. Men at work on a badly damaged roof. A truck carrying female collaborators drives through a crowded street. One of the men guarding the prisoners gestures at them to raise their hands.

Event:  1944 September
Beaugency, France
Thionville, France
Mersch, France
Houffalize, Belgium
Maastricht, Netherlands
Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives & Records Administration
Record last modified: 2021-06-03 12:45:57
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