Caught by the SS - The Wereth Eleven

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War Documentary hosted by Corey Reynolds, published by National Geographic in 2011 - English narration

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Image: Caught-by-the-SS-The-Wereth-Eleven-Cover.jpg

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The 333rd Field Artillery Battalion was an African-American unit of the then racially segregated United States Army during World War II. The battalion landed at Normandy at the beginning of July 1944 and saw continuous combat as corps artillery throughout the summer. Beginning in October 1944 it was located in Schoenberg, Belgium as part of the U.S. VIII Corps Artillery. Partially overrun by the Germans on 17 December 1944, the remnants of the 333rd FA Battalion were withdrawn to the west, where the men fought in the Siege of Bastogne. Service and C Batteries suffered heavy casualties, and eleven men of the 333rd were massacred near the Belgian hamlet of Wereth. After the war, the battalion was inactivated and reactivated during various Army reorganizations.

The Wereth Eleven retraces the steps eleven black GI's from the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion took when their unit was overrun by Germans at the start of the Battle of the Bulge. Their 10-mile trek from their battery position to Wereth, Belgium would be the last journey of their lives as a local resident turned them in to an SS scouting party. Subsequently all eleven were butchered and killed in one of the least understood, as well as unknown, war crimes of WWII.

The Wereth Eleven is the story of 11 members of the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion who became separated from their unit and were given refuge at a farm in Wereth, Belgium. However, they were betrayed by a German sympathizer who told SS troops where to find them.

They were tortured and then executed after they refused to betray those who helped them, and their bodies were dumped into a ditch beside the road.

The Wereth atrocity was overshadowed by another massacre during the Battle of the Bulge at Malmedy, a Belgian town where 84 American prisoners were executed by SS soldiers.

The story of the Wereth 11 was uncovered by a group of area residents that has been telling it worldwide. It also was discovered by a man who was traveling in Belgium, retracing the travels of his uncle who fought in World War II.

He and a historian conducted their own investigation of the matter, and it eventually came to the attention of filmmaker Frederick Lumiere, who produced and edited this National Geographic special. Lumiere’s previous project, "WWII in HD", premiered on the History Channel in 2009.

The film is directed by award-winning filmmaker, Robert Child, and is produced by Joseph Small of The Ardennes Group, LLC. Small, who worked in the defense industry for 25 years, has researched WW II for 30 years. Despite these years of study, he had never heard of the "Wereth 11" until he saw a small memorial in Belgium three years ago. "I became determined," Small said, "to tell the world what happened to these men."

The slaying of the soldiers at Wereth occurred on December 17, 1944, the same day as an atrocity called the Malmedy Massacre. Although the Malmedy murders and other WW II war crimes were prosecuted vigorously, the Wereth slaughter was not. An investigation into the Wereth events was begun, but it was quickly closed for reasons that remain unanswered. These 11 African American men, like so many others, paid the ultimate price for our freedom. This film is to ensure that their story does not remain untold.

Written and Directed by : Robert Child Narrator : Corey Reynolds Executive Producer : Frederick Lumiere The Ardennes Group, LLC Production (2011)

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Video Codec: XviD ISO MPEG-4
Video Bitrate: 2165 kbps
Video Resolution: 736x416
Video Aspect Ratio: 1.769:1
Frames Per Second: 59.941
Audio Codec: 0x2000 (Dolby AC3) AC3
Audio Bitrate: 192kb/s CBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: english
RunTime Per Part: 45:11.688
Number Of Parts: 1
Part Size: 804,933,190 Bytes
Encoded by: DocFreak08

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