South Carolina, USA
|Death: ||Dec. 17, 1944|
Curtis was a medic from South Carolina, ranked Private in the U.S. Army's all-black 333rd Field Artillery Battalion, serving in Liege, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge (a.k.a. the Ardennes Offensive) towards the end of WWII.
Paraphrased from an article in "Tulsa World" newspaper:
"It was on the second day of the Battle of the Bulge when [he and 10 other black soldiers], faced with an onslaught of Germans [1st SS Panzer Division], became separated from their unit and found their way to the home of Mathius and Maria Langer [at Wereth, a small farming village in southeastern Belgium]."
"The couple took the shivering soldiers into their home and were preparing to feed them when Nazi troops arrived after being alerted by a German sympathizer. The 11 were forced outside and were made to sit on an icy road for two hours before they were marched into a frozen field, where they were butchered by troops bent on amusing themselves with the agony of others."
"Their bodies, covered by ensuing snowstorms, remained at that spot for two months until villagers notified the U.S. Army about the massacre."
"The 11 were buried in temporary graves in Europe until 1947, when their families were contacted about permanent burial options... Seven of the dead are buried at the U.S. Military Cemetery at Henri-Chapelle, Liege, Belguim. The others were returned to the United States for burial."
"Earlier that day, 10 miles northwest of Wereth, at a crossroad near Malmedy, the most infamous massacre during the Battle of the Bulge occurred. More than 80 U.S. troops were captured by the same Nazi division and executed in an open field."
"But unlike at Malmedy, where the American troops were gunned down, the "Wereth 11," as they have come to be known, were maimed and tortured to death. An autopsy report on the 11 is ghastly: broken legs and arms, jaws shattered, fingers severed, bayonet wounds to the face and body and bullet wounds designed to inflict anguish rather than death."
"Unlike at Malmedy, where those responsible were brought to justice, the Germans who perpetrated the horror at Wereth were never found. The U.S. military investigated the Wereth killings but filed away its investigation in 1948. The file remained buried for five decades."
To learn more, see:
Movie Trailer: "The Wereth Eleven"
U.S. Wereth Memorial
Note: Serial Number 34511454
Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial
Plot: Plot C Row 11 Grave 41
Maintained by: John Bauer
Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
Record added: Aug 06, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 56278937