Valère Gustin

* 1924  †︎ 2022

  • “I think many Germans have remained Nazis in their hearts. I have not met anyone, who somehow regretted, what happened. They remained the Nazis until they were completely defeated. I have not met a single one, who would have claimed, that the war Hitler led had any disastrous consequences. Of course, I did not question them especially, but they knew I was on the other side. Until the end of war, I never heard any honest words of regret with the Germans I met.”

  • "I entered the resistance in 1944. They brought me to the woods near Huy, it was a forest near the small village of Vyle-et-Tharoul. There I started, I got a gun, I was armed! Though I was not old enough to join the resistance, but my cousin helped me get there. So I was in a resistance group that was hiding in the woods around Vyle-et-Tharoul, where parachutes were dropped with guns. Unfortunately, one of the parachutes fell down on the main road leading to Huy, right when the German convoy was passing by. The Germans realized there was a resistance group hiding here and surrounded the forest. Of course, panic broke out. They killed everyone who tried to escape via the narrow lane out of the forest. I didn't run because I had a bullet in my leg, which prevented me from moving, so instead of trying to escape, I hid in the fern, which actually saved me from being killed. I spent the the night hidden in ferns and in the morning came the Red Cross service…"

  • Full recordings
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    Plzeň, 05.05.2019

    duration: 01:23:15
    media recorded in project Příběhy regionu - PLZ REG ED
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

It’s amazing how Czechs remember the liberation

Valère Gustin in 2019
Valère Gustin in 2019
photo: Libor Nesvadba

Valère Gustin was born on 21 April 1924 in the village of Verlaine near Liège, Belgium. In 1944, in the fourth year of the Nazi occupation of Belgium, he was summoned by the Labour Office to be forced to work in Germany. He did not obey the summons and did not attend the office. He found himself in illegality and had no choice but to join a group of resistance fighters hiding in the forest near the village of Vyle-et-Tharoul. The Nazis tracked down the group and murdered its members, but Valère Gustin luckily escaped. After healing the gunshot wound, he joined the Belgian 17th Rifle Battalion as a volunteer in 1945, which operated within the US First Army. With this army he helped conquering the German territory. In April 1945 the Belgian Battalion united with the Third US Army of the General George S. Patton. Along with it, he participated in the liberation of Czechoslovakia and spent the liberation of Pilsen. As a veteran he began to return to Pilsen to take part in the Freedom Festival. Valère Gustin passed away on November, the 5th, 2022.