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16

MARCEL GONIVA

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1926:    born in Goeblange (L)

1942-1943:    expulsion from school for refusing the Nazi salute

1944:    conscription into the Reich Labour Service 

1944-1945:    training in Denmark, transfer to Poland to fight against the Red Army 

1945:    British prisoner of war, early release, adventurous return to Luxembourg

Marcel Goniva’s places of deployment as forced recruit

Work
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Nach 14 Tagen Wehrmacht auf dem Transport nach Dänemark. Gestern Nacht Fliegerangriff auf Berlin. Noch zu 20 Luxemburger und 100 Elsässer. Dauernd Fliegergefahr.

Marcel Goniva, diary entry, 28 Nov. 1944

17-year-old Marcel Goniva was drafted into the Reich Labour Service in July 1944 and sent to Poland. There he was trained for military service in a camp. In November 1944 he was drafted into the German army as a machine gunner. He survived the fierce fighting against the Red Army near Kolberg (now Kołobrzeg in Poland). In April 1945 he was deployed in the “Final battle for Berlin” and wounded. One of the last ambulance trains took him out of the city, after which he fell into British captivity near Lübeck. Marcel Goniva was released early with two other Luxembourgers. Meeting French units while on their way west, the three pretended to be forced Alsatian recruits. They returned to Luxembourg via Paris in early summer 1945.
“Red white and blue” ribbon that Marcel Goniva always carried with him during his deployment as forced recruit
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Unglaubliches Glücksgefühl, dieser Hölle entronnen zu sein.

Marcel Goniva, diary entry, 14 May 1945

Da mein Bruder Robert (geb. 1922 ) während seiner Zwangsrekrutierung 1943 schwer verwundet wurde (Bauchschuss) und nach seinem Genesungsurlaub nach Frankreich desertierte, blieb mir, als ich den „Stellungsbefehl“ zu RAD und Wehrmacht erhielt, keine andere Wahl, als dem zu folgen und dies, um meine Eltern vor einer „Umsiedlung“ nach Ostdeutschland zu bewahren.

Marcel Goniva, contemporary witness interview, 2020

Marcel Goniva’s military identity document
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