A former Nazi army captain rode his bicycle back to the French village he helped destroy 50 years ago to apologize and "make peace with his conscience before dying," officials said Saturday.
Helmut Eckhoff, 76, arrived in Crapeaumesnil last weekend after a six-day, 360-mile journey from Aachen, West Germany. Eckhoff spent two days in the village, where crowds held a welcoming party, then returned home by bicycle.Crapeaumesnil, about 40 miles north of Paris, spent three days under fire in June 1940 as the 41st Panzer division confronted the 109th French infantry regiment. The village was razed.
"Since then, I live with the memory of that battle, how we set everything afire and how we wronged the inhabitants and their defenders," wrote Eckhoff in an August letter to Crapeaumesnil Mayor Hubert Detavernier.
"I always wanted to return to Crapeaumesnil in a civilized manner to ask for pardon from the residents."
Detavernier invited Eckhoff to visit the village so he could "make peace with his conscience before dying," officials said.
He spent last Sunday with a French veteran who fought at Crapeaumesnil.
- Dad who placed ad for a wife for his son gets...
- Wyoming authorities to speak about Utah rail...
- Costco begins new credit card agreement
- Utah man building Disneyland out of Legos...
- Immigration ruling called hurtful, a...
- Fruit Heights to shut off water system...
- Deerlodge Road to undergo $5.6M in improvements
- 8 Utahns given Bronze Minuteman Awards
- Immigration ruling called hurtful, a... 75
- U. stadium gets bigger scoreboard,... 57
- 45 new locations open to provide free... 35
- Love won't go to GOP national convention 34
- Arches Health Plan shutdown leaves $33... 30
- Will 'Brexit' vote help Trump in Utah? 26
- Supreme Court abortion decision could... 26
- Utah GOP brings up father's bank... 25