Few Americans know my German friend and tour guide partner Markus Klauer, so here’s a brief update on his activities during the Coronavirus crisis. I have known Markus since 1994—26 years—and his knowledge base and research intensity for WW1 and WW2 continues to grow. Markus is a retired Bundeswehr officer Living in Lille, France. This gives him the advantage over Americans because he CAN visit the battlefields! (I should add that Markus speaks German, French and English fluently; and that Markus has led tours and presentations to groups in all three languages.
In mid-August Markus gave a presentation on the German Army in Winter 1944-45 during an on-line seminar sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. (Konrad Adenauer was the first Chancellor of West Germany, and a strong proponent of repairing relations with other European countries.) Approximately 30 VIPs from France and Germany participated in this event. Before Covid-19 the three-day Seminar was going to be held in Strasbourg, with Markus guiding participants to “Operation Nordwind” sites for one day. Plans were modified to an on-line seminar because of the virus and Markus’ topic became “The Western Front in Winter 1944/45.”
In early September he will lead a two-day small group tour in the Ardennes, visiting key sites in the Battle of the Bulge.
Markus has also been busy visiting Verdun, making drone flights, and editing a “Virtual Tour of Verdun;” which he plans to offer as an online web seminar. Two of Markus’ five books have covered Hill 304 and Mort Homme on the West Bank of the Meuse. Markus has led many tours of the Verdun battlefield.
Finally, Markus has been invited AS THE ONLY GERMAN REPRESENTATIVE to a small meeting of historians and experts with the French Office National des Forêts (ONF), the governmental body that maintains France’s forests. The bark beetle has attacked major parts of the pine trees on Verdun’s former battlefields. For that, larger areas of trees will have to be cut down. This group of experts is identifying sites and zones that require particular attention by the ONF. More meetings will take place on this complex subject in the near future.
Given his more than 30 years of work with the Deutsches Erinnerungskommittee Argonnerwald, les Amis de Vauquois, the German War Graves Commision (Volksbund.de), the Mission Histoire (the historical division from the Meuse Department) and the development of the town twinning between Douaumont-Vaux and the city of Rheinbach in Germany, Markus is well known to local and regional officials.
Markus and I both look forward to getting knee deep into history with you once travel begins again!
Thanks to Georg Snatzke for his wonderful photo of Markus Klauer underground during our 2018 Small-Group Battlefield Tour!
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