More ‘Vectors of Memory’ unveiled across Europe 

Throughout the first half of 2022, many new ‘Vectors of Memory’ have been installed across Europe with many more to be unveiled later this year. These important way markings along the Liberation Route Europe have been erected thanks to the hard work of the members of the LRE Foundation and the financial support of our key partners. 

The ‘Vectors of Memory’ were designed by Daniel Libeskind as a family of monuments that serve both as physical embodiment of the Liberation Route Europe and to provide wayfinding along the new hiking trails. In total, Daniel Libeskind designed four types of ‘Vectors’ that would be recognisable across Europe (from largest to smallest): Remembrance Site Vector, Crossroads Vector, Wall Vector, and Floor Vector. More information on Daniel Libeskind’s concept can be found here. 

In the Netherlands, this year new Crossroads Vectors were unveiled in the village of Vught, the Commonwealth War Cemetery Uden, Freedom Museum Groesbeek, city of Wageningen, Airborne Museum Villa Hartenstein, German War Cemetery in Ysselsteyn, and city of Apeldoorn. Later this year Crossroads Vectors will also be installed in Arnhem, Nijmegen, and the villages of Mesch and Wilp. In addition to the aforementioned Crossroads Vectors, over 15 Wall Vectors and 40 Floor Vectors have been installed this year at various locations in the Dutch provinces of Limburg, Gelderland, and North Brabant thanks to the financial support of various partners including the vfonds, Mondriaan Funds, Province of Limburg, Province of Noord-Brabant,  Province of Gelderland, Province of Zeeland, Airborne Region, and Airborne Beer. 

The first ‘Vector of Memory’ in France was presented to the Region of Normandy during the LRE Forum in April 2022. In Belgium, a Wall Vector was presented to the Bastogne War Museum during the ‘EASTory Through Their Eyes’ Youth Conference. 

In 2021, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany sponsored the production of 130 Floor Vectors as part of larger financial support for the development of the Liberation Route Europe hiking trails and new website / mobile applications. The Floor Vectors are in the process of installation at various locations throughout Europe. This included the first German ‘Vector of Memory’ unveiled in May at the Peace Museum – Bridge at Remagen 

Rémi Praud, Managing Director of the LRE Foundation, expressed, “We are very grateful for the enthusiasm our partners across Europe have shown to further develop the Liberation Route Europe by adopting and installing a ‘Vector of Memory’. I am sure that in the upcoming years, many more Vectors will unveiled across Europe.” 

To stay up to date with the latest locations where a ‘Vector of Memory” has been installed, visit: Vectors of Memory – LRE Foundation.

If you would like to install a ‘Vector of Memory’ or make a donation, please get in touch with us. 

EASTory through their Eyes at the Bastogne War Museum

After Krakow (Poland) and Pilsen (Czechia), EASTory through their Eyes continued with a youth event at the Bastogne War Museum (Belgium) on 17 May. The event was composed of four workshops on the topic of WWII history and its consequences in Eastern and Western Europe, and was funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union.

The Bastogne War Museum welcomed more than 60 students of the Henallux College of Bastogne – future primary school teachers –, the EASTory through their Eyes project partners from the Home Army Museum in Krakow and the City of Pilsen, artists and Battle of the Bulge eyewitness Marcel Thelen for a lively morning of discussions and debates.

Four rotating workshops were organised on the Museum premises. In the newly-opened Mustang Flight Zone room, students listened to the story of Marcel Thelen, who was ten years old during the Battle of the Bulge. Mr Thelen – a German native speaker from a village close to Saint-Vith, Belgium – recounted his memories of life during the war, including the arrest and deportation of his father and his brother to Dachau. In the outdoor exhibition ‘Art Liberty: from the Berlin Wall to Street Art’, students could discuss the role of art in remembering iconic events in Europe, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, with two street artists performing. A third workshop led by a historian served to learn more about the Second World War and its consequences in Europe – from the Cold War to the European unification process.

In the museum cafeteria, close to the EASTory through their Eyes travelling exhibition, students had an insightful debate with project partners from the Home Army Museum in Krakow and the City of Pilsen. Using the examples of the faces of the EASTory through their Eyes exhibition, they discussed the differences in the consequences of WWII for Poland and Czechia – the swift communist takeover at the end of the war did not entail freedom and democracy but rather a renovated, albeit different, occupation and oppression that only came to an end in 1989-1990.

To conclude the morning, a Wall Vector of Memory, a marker of the Liberation Route Europe – another of the initiatives of the LRE Foundation – was handed out to the Bastogne War Museum’s Director Mathieu Billa before the classic group photo.

Relive the day and listen to the impressions of the participants in a short recap video on the LRE Foundation’s YouTube channel

New Liberation Route Europe trail in Jersey highlights historic forced labour on the island

The LRE Foundation, Visit Jersey and Jersey Heritage are excited to announce a new addition to the Liberation Route Europe, the Forced Workers Trail, located on the Island of Jersey. The trail introduces visitors to 20 locations linked to the experiences of forced foreign labourers to the island during the Second World War.

The Channel Islands (that include Guernsey and Jersey) were the only region of the British Isles to be occupied by German Forces during the Second World War. The Island’s occupation lasted for two years, from 1 July 1940 until its Liberation on 9 May 1945. Starting in the autumn of 1941, German occupational forces brought 6000 foreign workers, both men and women, to the Island to work as forced labour on the construction of concrete German fortifications, part of the larger Atlantic Wall. These actions took place under the Organisation Todt (OT), the civil and military engineering organisation responsible for engineering projects in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War Two.

Whilst these workers originated from many different countries, their treatment varied. Labourers from Western Europe and North Africa were conscripted as paid labourers. While Eastern Europeans, such as Vasily Marempolsky, were used as slave labour and were often treated with brutality. In some cases, the Islanders, such as Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe, put their lives and livelihoods in great peril to shelter escaped labourers.

Together, Jersey Heritage, Visit Jersey, and the LRE Foundation have worked to create a new thematic route, the ‘Forced Workers Trail in Jersey’, as part of the Liberation Route Europe to connect the historic locations across the Island and tell these moving personal stories. This project will promote the preservation and appreciation of Jersey’s historical heritage, making it accessible to visitors to the area and ensuring that the Island’s story is passed on for many generations to come.

To follow in the footsteps of history in Jersey and discover more locations along the Liberation Route Europe, visit the website or download the new Liberation Route Europe mobile app here. 

First ‘Vector of Memory’ unveiled in Germany at the Peace Museum – Bridge at Remagen 

On 9 May 2022, the first ‘Vector of Memory’ in Germany was unveiled in front of the Peace Museum – Bridge of Remagen in the presence of Björn Ingendahl, Mayor of Remagen, Anke Sultan and Volker Thehos, Peace Museum Board Members, and Chance Williams, Project Manager LRE Foundation. 

This Vector was produced and installed thanks to the financial support of the German Bundestag and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in The Hague, which has given its financial support to further develop the Liberation Route Europe since 2020. 

 “The early capture of the Remagen Bridge by the Americans on March 7, 1945, significantly shortened World War II in Europe, according to experts. Therefore, it has a rightful place on the Liberation Route Europe,” said Mayor Ingendahl.

“Remembering the past is to create a better future. This motto of the LRE Foundation is also fundamental for the work of the Peace Museum,” added Volker Thehos, Board Member of the Peace Museum. 

To follow in the footsteps of history in Remagen and to discover more locations along the Liberation Route Europe, visit or download the Liberation Route Europe mobile app here. 

HistoryTreks – Dutch and German students on a trip along the Liberation Route Europe to discover their shared history

At the beginning of May, twenty-seven university students took part in the “History Treks – Promoting European Citizenship and Sustainability along the Liberation Route Europe” project. This initiative, part of the LRE Youth Programme array, was co-organised by the Foundation with LRE NRW and funded thanks to an Erasmus+ grant.

Coming partly from the Radboud University of Nijmegen (Netherlands), the Duisburg-Essen University (Germany) and the Hogschule Rhein-Waal (Germany), the students came together for a 5-day trip along the Liberation Route Europe. As part of this experience, they visited some of the most important sites linked to WWII history and remembrance in the Limburg, Gelderland and North-Rhine-Westphalia regions and reflected on the different perspectives of WWII history and the long-lasting consequences for Germany and the Netherlands.

On the first day, the students, accompanied by LRE Foundation staff and some university professors, arrived at the Vogelsang International Place, a former Nazi training institution used today as a place of active remembrance. They explored the complex, visited the museum’s permanent exhibition, and discussed the propaganda movie ‘Der Herscher’ (1937, by Veit Harlan). After two days, the group moved to the Netherlands, where they were welcomed at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten by Frenk Lahaye from the American Battle Monuments Commission. After visiting this iconic remembrance place, the students continued with a guided tour of the German War Cemetry in Ysselsteyn.

On May 4 – Remembrance Day in the Netherlands – the students joined the commemorations at the Oversteek (‘The crossing’) bridge in Nijmegen. They took part in the emotional Sunset March, a daily tribute to the Allied soldiers who fought for the liberation of The Netherlands. On Liberation Day (May 5), the group continued with a guided tour of the Freedom Museum and Canadian Cemetery in Groesbeek. Finally, the trip ended in Oosterbeek, where the group visited the Airborne Museum and the Airborne War Cemetery in Oosterbeek.

Luisa Röhrich, Professor at the Duisburg-Essen University: “The students experienced an interesting and intensive time. They learned a lot about the cultures of commemoration in the neighbouring countries, which resulted in an important contribution to the German-Dutch friendship and exchange. The German students found the Sunset March particularly emotional. That Germans, less than 80 years after the liberation, have the opportunity to walk along the march, is a strong sign of the friendship between the neighbouring countries and shows the importance and overwhelming significance of projects such as the Liberation Route Europe”.

Liberation Route Europe represented at Italian Parliament

On 9 May 2022, Liberation Route Europe was presented at the Italian Chamber of Deputies during the Plenary Meeting of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Liberation Route Europe is a certified Cultural Route of the Council of Europe since 2019.

Carlo Puddu, LRE Italy Managing Director, and Mirco Carrattieri, President of the LRE Italy Historical Advisory Board, represented the Liberation Route Europe at a joint hearing about two reports on culture, heritage and remembrance, in the presence of Tiny Kox, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and Committee members.

The framework of the first report, entitled ‘The Cultural Routes: a platform for intercultural dialogue’ and chaired by Andries Gryffroy (Belgium), was the occasion to present the Liberation Route Europe as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe. The second report, ‘The role of sites of remembrance: places of commemoration and education for democratic citizenship’, chaired by Roberto Rampi (Italy), discussed remembrance and history teaching challenges. Liberation Route Europe representatives shared their perspectives on WWII remembrance issues in Europe, together with colleagues from ATRIUM and the European Routes of Jewish Heritage, two other certified Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe.

As part of the hearing, Italian Senator and Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre sent a meaningful and poignant letter which was read to the assembly. Contributing to the Plenary Meeting of PACE was an excellent opportunity to present Liberation Route Europe at an international level, discussing the most pressing issues on the topic of remembrance, education and heritage promotion.

EASTory through their Eyes events in Pilsen

The Foundation’s second youth event of the EASTory through their Eyes project took place in Pilsen, Czechia, between 2 and 4 May. The three-day event involved a total of 90 students from Pilsen and its region and took place in the framework of the 2022 Liberation Festival.

After visiting Krakow last month, the EU-funded EASTory through their Eyes exhibition travelled to Pilsen, and it was on display at the Moving Station cultural centre. For three consecutive days, 2, 3 and 4 May, a youth event involved school groups from Pilsen city and region. During these days, the students could actively learn about Pilsen in WWII and the stories of people who experienced it, be it in the form of a diary or from the words of eyewitnesses.

The event included a theatre workshop based on the story of Věra Kohnová, a 12-year-old Pilsen citizen of Jewish origin who was deported and died in a concentration camp. Věra kept a diary, recounting life in Pilsen during the Nazi occupation. Students impersonated some of the scenes described in her diary, and noted down their impressions and feelings on a worksheet.

The day continued with a guided tour of Pilsen, including the house where Věra Kohnová and her family lived, now marked by four stolpersteine. In the afternoon, it was the turn of a very special meeting with two eyewitnesses of WWII: 92-year-old Richard Smola, one of the faces in the EASTory through their Eyes exhibition, and 86-year-old Pavel Hauzner. The eyewitnesses discussed their memories of war, life under the occupation, the liberation of Pilsen by the US Army on 6 May 1945 and the 1948 communist takeover in a lively and inspiring conversation.

The EASTory through their Eyes project continues with a youth event at the Bastogne War Museum (Belgium) on 17 May. You can now watch the recap video of the EASTory through their Eyes event in Krakow on our YouTube channel.

Liberation Route Europe presents its brand-new mobile app!

The LRE Foundation is excited to introduce the new Liberation Route Europe mobile app, an additional milestone for the route’s digital offer. The new app joins the Liberation Route Europe website offering a rich digital experience now both on mobile and desktop.

The new travel planner is the optimum hiking companion to explore the Liberation Route Europe, a certified Cultural Route of the Council of Europe since 2019. Available in six languages, the app presents over one thousand sites and stories linked to the end of World War II in Europe. Thanks to the easy-to-use map interface and search engine, the app makes it simple to explore the European-wide Liberation Route hiking trails designed in collaboration with international hiking associations to follow in the footsteps of the Allied forces. Hikers can experience the trails in two ways: following one of the several suggested themed routes developed with local partners or creating their own trip along selected sites and stories of their interest. The app not only functions as a travel planner but also as a digital archive rich in (audio) stories, memorials, and museums that can be conveniently consulted from home.

Loïc Francois, Digital Manager at the LRE Foundation: “When developing the Liberation Route digital offer, we focused on our audience’s needs and expectations. By creating the app, we wanted to offer a simple and flexible tool to make the route and a part of WWII history even more accessible and appealing to a larger public, especially to the younger generations”.

Now available for Android and iOS devices.

Download it here!