79th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge – Youth and Press Event in Bastogne launches New Vectors, Themed Routes, and Podcast series 

On December 15, 2023, the historic town of Bastogne hosted the Liberation Route Europe Youth Event as part of the Nuts Weekend, commemorating the 79th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. Organized by the LRE Foundation, the Bastogne War Museum, the Bastogne Memorial Association, and the City of Bastogne, the event marked the launch of new initiatives related to the Liberation Route Europe project in the Wallonia region, which were made possible thanks to the support of the U.S. Embassy in Belgium. 

The expansion of the project aims to highlight the historical significance of the region, paying tribute to the pivotal role of the U.S. Army in the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of the area. Walking along several new routes, which vary in size and theme, visitors get the chance to witness the most significant locations and stories in and around Bastogne, following the footsteps of U.S. troops.  Additionally, many new Floor Vectors have been installed, along with two Wall Vectors in Mons and Leopoldsburg, and three in Bastogne. The Vectors of Memory mark out some of the key historical sites in Belgium.

More than 100 students from Henallux College and numerous press representatives actively participated in the event at the Bastogne War Museum and Bastogne City Hall. Attendees had the opportunity to explore new Liberation Route itineraries and historical content thanks to guided walking tours along the Liberation Route trails in Bastogne. The tours led past numerous newly installed Vectors along the route, including the three sites where the new Wall Vectors were officially unveiled: the Bastogne Barracks, the 101st Airborne Museum, and Bastogne City Hall.

At the last of these locations, the City Hall Vector was unveiled in the presence of Mr. Michael M. Adler, U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, Benoît Lutgen, Mayor of Bastogne and Rémi Praud, LRE Foundation Managing Director, following a ceremony at the Bastogne City Hall. This ceremony wrapped up the day and marked the official launch of the new Liberation Route Europe Podcast “In the Footsteps of History”, which provides an audio dimension to the historical journey. Through vivid soundtracks and a collection of stories and interviews, the first episodes of this podcast series enable visitors of the Liberation Route to immerse themselves in the profound history of the area. The day was made even more special by the presence of a US veteran and concluded with a reception and warm drinks providing an opportunity for reflection and further discussion.

“The Liberation Route Europe Youth Event in Bastogne exemplifies the collaborative efforts dedicated to expanding educational initiatives and commemorating historical events in Wallonia. The project’s expansion now stands as a tribute to the sacrifices of the Battle of Bulge, inviting visitors to engage with and learn from the shared history of the region.”, says Rémi Praud, LREF Managing Director.

This initiative marks a significant stride in preserving and sharing the rich historical heritage of Bastogne, made possible through the collaborative efforts of the LRE Foundation, the Bastogne War Museum, the City of Bastogne and the support of the U.S. Embassy in Brussels.

“In the Footsteps of History “– The new podcast series of the Liberation Route Europe

We are delighted to finally release our latest Liberation Route Europe project initiative – the Podcast Series In the Footsteps of History. This new audio experience is designed to accompany listeners on their journey along the most fascinating and historically relevant landmarks on the Liberation Route, helping them immerse themselves in the WWII history of remembrance sites across Europe. 

Together with the French audio production company natif. and thanks to the contributions and support of the LRE network, we have created a new format for historical reflection and learning. The podcast uses a lively soundtrack to illustrate the wartime experience in various forms. From the sofa or on location, the podcast allows listeners to immerse themselves in the rich WWII history around us. The podcast is designed to be a companion for those hiking or biking along the trails and actively exploring the remembrance sites and as a documentary for those who want to experience it from the comfort of their homes.

In the first five episodes of the series, listeners are transported to Bastogne and some of its numerous Second World War sites, where they are immersed in the conflict through conversations with historians, eyewitnesses and through the extracts of stories and letters from people who lived through that time.

Hosted by the British journalist Rich Woodruff, the Bastogne series takes listeners on a historical journey through time. Along the way, the experience is enriched by interviews with Peter Schrijvers, Historian and curator of the Liberation Garden Museum in Leopoldsburg, Mathieu Billa, Director of the Bastogne War Museum, and Henry Mignon, an eyewitness of the battle. Additionally, the podcast includes the story of a German soldier and the nurse Renée Lemaire, offering a diverse engagement with the events in Bastogne from different perspectives.

We’re happy to welcome this new addition to our Liberation Route Europe project and look forward to seeing it grow, covering more stories and remembrance sites across Europe.

If you want to dive into the podcast, you can find the first episodes on the major streaming platforms.

Read more about the project and how to get involved at www.lre-foundation.org/podcast 

“When Memory Meets Dialogue”: The LRE Foundation’s memory project conference at the EDJC 2023 

On December 11-12, the LRE Foundation is organizing a memory project conference titled “When Memory Meets Dialogue – Role of Remembrance Sites and Contemporary Challenges” in Krakow, Poland. This event, in partnership with Oscar Schindler’s Enamel Factory, a branch of the Museum of Krakow, is part of the EU-funded European Days of Jewish Culture (EDJC) 2023. 

 Originating over two decades ago in the Alsace-Lorraine region, the European Days of Jewish Culture began as a small transnational initiative. Its purpose was to shed light on European Jewish heritage, fostering awareness among local audiences. Today, the event has evolved into a continent-wide celebration showcasing the diversity and richness of Judaism. Through conferences, concerts, performances, guided tours, and various activities, the EDJC promotes dialogue, recognition, and exchange on a European scale.  

Embedded within the EDJC 2023, the LRE Foundation proudly presents the two-day project conference “When Memory meets Dialogue.” The conference agenda encompasses diverse sessions focusing on Jewish and WWII heritage. Discussions will revolve around memory transmission and the contemporary significance of remembrance sites. The primary goal is to offer a meaningful platform for idea exchange, nurture cross-cultural understanding, and stimulate international discourse on historical memory and contemporary challenges. As part of the programme, participants can also explore guided tours and historical city walks in Krakow. 

This event will bring together significant experts and representatives from cultural institutions across Europe to ensure various perspectives and a comprehensive and enriching exploration of the conference themes. The conference has free entrance upon registration. Only after completing the registration process will attendees be able to attend the conference. Registration and more information about the program are available here.

The LRE Foundation’s contribution to the EDJC 2023 extends beyond the memory project conference in Krakow. In January 2024, we will launch the virtual exhibition “We Remember: A Virtual Exhibition on the Liberation of the Concentration Camps.” Stay tuned for more information.