Alsace

the newest region to join the LRE family

We are proud to announce that the French region of Alsace and the Alsace Tourism Board (Alsace Destination Tourisme) is the newest member to join the LRE network. Alsace has traditionally been a point of contention between France and Germany, yet since the end of World War II, has been a symbol of Franco-German reconciliation.


After the fall of France, the Germans occupied Alsace and incorporated it into the German Reich. In November 1944, the northern part of Alsace was liberated by U.S. 7th Army, while Belfort in the South was taken by the French 1st Army. Between them, around Colmar, a large pocket was formed. Clearing it required heavy fighting in January-February 1945.


On 31st December 1944 Germans launched operation ‘Nordwind’, hoping to capitalize on the weakening of American front due to the Battle of the Bulge. The Allies stopped the assault on northern Alsace after a vicious fight in winter conditions. On 20th January 1945, French forces began their assault to reduce the Colmar Pocket.


Having overcome fierce German resistance, on 3rd February French troops liberated Colmar, and by the 9th all German troops to the West of the Rhine had either been eliminated or forced into Germany. Alsace was liberated at last.


Following the war, Strasbourg became the seat of many European institutions, including the Council of Europe and the Parliament of the European Union. Today the Alsace region is viewed as a symbol of international reconciliation and the success of European integration following World War II.


Here is a list of the most important sites in Alsace pertaining to World War II and the subsequent liberation:

Natzwiller, France

Centre Européen du Résistant Déporté / Struthof Camp

Since the end of the war, the site’s history and the way it perpetuates memory have changed with France’s collective consciousness. Struthof is now a national site for remembrance of the deportation. The Centre was inaugurated in November 2005 and is exclusively dedicated to the history of the former camp. The collections include photos, archival documents, original objects and drawings. Remains of the camp can be seen when leaving the museum.

Photo credit: Tourisme Alsace

Schirmeck, France

Memorial Alsace-Moselle

The Alsace-Moselle Memorial is the result of regional desire and effort. It attempts to explain the complicated history of Alsace and Moselle, particularly during the Second World War. From 1940 to 1945, Alsace and Moselle were the only areas of the French territory to be annexed by the Third Reich and to experience the extreme violence of a totalitarian regime. The agony cannot be understood without retracing the historical steps of a region long disputed by France and Germany, whose culture is richer today because of this long struggle.

Photo credit: Tourisme Alsace

La Wantzenau, France

MMPark

MMPark is a mix between a museum and a play park themed on the Second World War. 12 kilometres away from Strasbourg, this unique exhibition spread on an area of more than 7000 m² presents a huge collection dedicated to the Second World War and to the main belligerents: hundreds of mannequins, armoured vehicles, trucks, light vehicles and motorcycles, personal belongings, and more. The secret services of Free France are also presented through the Sussex Plan collection.

Photo credit: Tourisme Alsace

Niederbronn-les-Bains, France

German Miliary Cemetery

International Youth Centre Albert Schweitzer

In 1966, 15.835 German soldiers who fell in the northeast of France were exhumed and transferred to the German Military Cemetery in Niederbronn-les-Bains. The adjacent International Youth Centre Albert Schweitzer is an educational youth hostel financed by The National Service for the Maintenance of German Military Tombs. It also serves as a meeting centre for school groups, associations, enterprises, carrying out projects of intercultural mediation, historical transmission and political and civic training.

Photo credit: OT Niederbronn

La Wantzenau, France

MMPark

MMPark is a mix between a museum and a play park themed on the Second World War. 12 kilometres away from Strasbourg, this unique exhibition spread on an area of more than 7000 m² presents a huge collection dedicated to the Second World War and to the main belligerents: hundreds of mannequins, armoured vehicles, trucks, light vehicles and motorcycles, personal belongings, and more. The secret services of Free France are also presented through the Sussex Plan collection.

Photo credit: Tourisme Alsace

Niederbronn-les-Bains, France

German Miliary Cemetery

International Youth Centre Albert Schweitzer

In 1966, 15.835 German soldiers who fell in the northeast of France were exhumed and transferred to the German Military Cemetery in Niederbronn-les-Bains. The adjacent International Youth Centre Albert Schweitzer is an educational youth hostel financed by The National Service for the Maintenance of German Military Tombs. It also serves as a meeting centre for school groups, associations, enterprises, carrying out projects of intercultural mediation, historical transmission and political and civic training.

Photo credit: OT Niederbronn

Hunspach, France

Maginot Line Museum and Fort

Ouvrage Schoenenbourg is a Maginot Line fortification that was heavily bombarded during the Battle of France in 1940. In 1987 the French Army allowed the Association des Amis de la Ligne Maginot d'Alsace (Alsace Association of Friends of the Maginot Line) to conduct tours around the fortification. Since 1981, the group has been working on the restoration of the Ouvrage Schoenenbourg. The information point for visitors is located in Block 7, starting with self-guided tours.

Photo credit: Tourisme Alsace

Turckheim, France

Memorial Museum of the Battles of the Colmar Pockets

Located in the heart of a medieval city in a magnificent small cellar of the 18th century, the Memorial Museum of the fight in the sector of Colmar documents on the events of two hellish months around Colmar in the winter of 1944-1945. The Memorial Museum presents the actors of this confrontation and the technology of the equipment of this age.

Photo credit: ADT

Uffheim, France

Memorial Casemate of Aschenbach

The Casemate of Aschenbach in Uffheim is an interval infantry casemate of the Maginot Line, composed of two firing chambers. Built in 1938, the casemate was not entirely completed in 1940 but it had its armament and was occupied by its crew which consisted of about twenty men. Between 1990 and 2005, the casemate was restored by the Memorial Ligne Maginot Association of Haute-Alsace. The association currently offers guided tours of the casemate and organises a military re-enactment show.

Photo credit: MMHA

Lembach, France

Four-a-Chaux fortress (Maginot Line)

Designed to defend the Valley of the Sauer, the fortress of the Four à Chaux was built on high ground dominating the village of Lembach. The name comes from a lime kiln that was on the site. The 3 kilometres of galleries are situated 30 meters below the surface. The garrison was made up of 24 officers and 600 men who belonged to a specialised regiment of fortress infantry. They were mobilised on a number of occasions before occupying the fortress permanently on the outbreak of WWII at the end of August 1939.

Photo credit: ADT-C.FLEITH

Uffheim, France

Memorial Casemate of Aschenbach

The Casemate of Aschenbach in Uffheim is an interval infantry casemate of the Maginot Line, composed of two firing chambers. Built in 1938, the casemate was not entirely completed in 1940 but it had its armament and was occupied by its crew which consisted of about twenty men. Between 1990 and 2005, the casemate was restored by the Memorial Ligne Maginot Association of Haute-Alsace. The association currently offers guided tours of the casemate and organises a military re-enactment show.

Photo credit: MMHA

Lembach, France

Four-a-Chaux fortress (Maginot Line)

Designed to defend the Valley of the Sauer, the fortress of the Four à Chaux was built on high ground dominating the village of Lembach. The name comes from a lime kiln that was on the site. The 3 kilometres of galleries are situated 30 meters below the surface. The garrison was made up of 24 officers and 600 men who belonged to a specialised regiment of fortress infantry. They were mobilised on a number of occasions before occupying the fortress permanently on the outbreak of WWII at the end of August 1939.

Photo credit: ADT-C.FLEITH

Saint-Avold (Lorraine), France

Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial

The Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial in France covers 113.5 acres and contains the largest number of graves of our military dead of World War II in Europe, a total of 10,482. Their headstones are arranged in nine plots in a generally elliptical design extending over the beautiful rolling terrain of eastern Lorraine and culminating in a prominent overlook feature. Most of the dead here were killed while driving the German forces from the fortress city of Metz, France toward the Siegfried Line and the Rhine River.

Photo credit: Avold-Zairon via wiki-commons

Share this page