Jos Tholl is Chairman of the General Patton Memorial Museum Ettelbruck
AMCHAM: Please tell our readers the history and present circumstances / activities of the General Patton museum.
MR. JOS THOLL: The museum is named after General Patton, it gives the visitors an insight into what life was like in Ettelbruck during the years of occupation of the Second World War.
The exhibition honors both General George S. Patton Jr., the commander of the US 3rd army and Colonel Lansing McVickar whose troops liberated Ettelbruck on 25th December 1944. The Museum houses an exhibition of the commemoration ceremonies that took place over a period of 50 years.
Several rooms exhibit military artefacts and equipment that has been unearthed on the battle fields in the surrounding area of Ettelbruck. The museum also houses aircraft relics that were downed in the area.
The museum is a place to learn about history, through the medium of film, photos, artefacts, the documentation of years during the occupation; Nazi propaganda, the day to day life under occupation, collaboration, deportations and the oppression of the Jewish population who were deported to the concentration camps. The activities of the resistance are also well-documented.
The museum also provides guided tours and school visits.
The other activities of the museum are: publication of books and documents, research into the young who were forcefully enrolled and research about the town of the town of Ettelbruck during the period of the occupation 1940-45 and the Battle of the Bulge.
Please share with our readers your operating hours, entrance prices and a map to find the Museum.
The opening hours and prices can be found on our website > General Patton Memorial Museum
Are there any dates of special interest or activities associated with your museum and General Patton?
The General is remembered every year on 21st December, the day that he died; and we also remember Colonel McVickar.
On September 20th, 21st and 22nd of 2024, the town of Ettelbruck will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the liberation of the town.
You recently inaugurated a new statue at a location in Ettelbruck within walking distance of the museum. Please tell our readers about that.
Patton Square, this place of remembrance is located here because it is an important historic site. During World War 2, it was here, where the Alzette and Sûre rivers meet, the American Army drove back the German troops during the 2nd liberation of Ettelbruck on the 25th of December 1944.
The town of Ettelbruck, the Association of Research and Study of the War 1940-1945, with a grant from the United States, will be updating Patton Square over the next year. These enhancements will help ensure that sacrifices made here will not be forgotten. We plan to install three silhouettes there.
By placing these silhouettes with QR codes, visitors will be able to see images and hear stories of the Second World War. We think it is important to continue to educate younger generations, so they understand what their ancestors sacrificed for freedom in Europe at that time. The fight against repression continues throughout the world. The need for peace can be found in the experiences of past wars. With these changes, visitors will better understand the liberation of Ettelbruck.
The main aim of this project is to ensure that Patton Square continues to evolve in a way that engages future generations to remember the sacrifices made here.
One silhouette will be of Chaplain Major Harold Prudell of Milwaukee Wisconsin, speaking to soldiers here at the front line near the river.
The second silhouette is of men caring for the wounded on a hill in a nearby field.
The third silhouette is Café Belval
There appears to be more excitement about General Patton in Ettelbruck than in Luxembourg city. Please explain the reason for that.
Ettelbruck is known as “Patton Town,” it is the only town that was liberated twice by the American forces.
Please share with our readers and explain some photos associated with the museum that you find particularly interesting.
Below are some photos that relate to our museum
What most about General Patton would you like your museum to pass along to visitors?
General Patton fought alongside his men and they felt that he was right there with them. He recognised that speed was of the essence and he mobilised his troops quickly. He was a tactical thinker and was able to out-think and out-maneuver the enemy.
General Patton is certainly an iconic figure. What did he stand for that you believe resonates as good advice and guidance for people living today.
He was a decisive person; once he made a decision, he followed through with it.
Please share with us the demographics of your visitors… What percentages of your visitors are Luxembourgish, Americans, Germans and other international passport holders. Are there common reactions from your visitors or in what ways are the reactions and comments different based on origin of the guests?
We have visitors from all over the world – and we have many young American visitors – some of whom are researching their family history.
Many of the students who come are not aware of what happened during the war and the role that the Americans played during the liberation.
Many visitors are surprised that Luxembourg was neutral and that the Luxembourgish population suffered a lot during the war under the repression especially under “Gauleiter”*.
Visitors are surprised that many young Americans and allies gave their lives for our freedom and that we remember their sacrifices. They are surprised that we still commemorate their sacrifices.
* A Gauleiter was a regional leader of the Nazi Party who served as the head of a Gau or Reichsgau. Gauleiter was the third-highest rank in the Nazi political leadership, subordinate only to Reichsleiter and to the Führer himself. The position was effectively abolished with the fall of the Nazi regime on 8 May 1945
Thank you very much for what you do to honor General Patton and share his story with current visitors of all ages and nationalities!