Bel­gian WWII nurse who saved many Amer­i­can troops dies, 94

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY LORNE COOK

A Bel­gian nurse who helped save hun­dreds of Amer­i­can sol­diers dur­ing the Bat­tle of the Bulge at the end of World War II has died and will be buried near where thou­sands of Al­lied troops fell.

Au­gusta Chiwy, who died Sun­day at 94, will be laid to rest Satur­day in a fam­ily plot at a ceme­tery in the town of Bas­togne, south­east Bel­gium, fol­low­ing a civil­ian and mil­i­tary cer­e­mony, her fam­ily said.

Chiwy, por­trayed as the char­ac­ter ‘Anna’ in the book and TV se­ries “Band of Broth­ers,” re­ceived a Bel­gian knight­hood and a U.S. award for valor in 2011.

The Bat­tle of the Bulge was a fe­ro­cious en­counter dur­ing the fi­nal stages of World War II when Adolf Hitler launched a ma­jor of­fen­sive against Al­lied forces. About 80,000 Amer­i­can sol­diers were killed, cap­tured or wounded.

Chiwy vol­un­teered in an aid sta­tion in Bas­togne, where wounded and dy­ing U.S. sol­diers by the thou­sands were be­ing treated by a sin­gle doc­tor from De­cem­ber 1944 through Jan­uary 1945. The diminu­tive Congo-born nurse braved the gun­fire, help­ing who­ever she could.

The Nazis hoped the sur­prise at­tack would reach the Bel­gian port of An­twerp and cut off the ad­vanc­ing al­lied armies. Bas­togne, a mar­ket town at a crit­i­cal road junction, was quickly be­sieged. U.S. troops — led by para­troop­ers of the 101st Air­borne Di­vi­sion — were sur­rounded but re­sisted and the key cross­roads was never taken.

Bas­togne was heav­ily shelled and re­duced to ru­ins. Another Bel­gian nurse — Chiwy’s friend Re­nee Le­maire — was killed along with about 30 pa­tients when a bomb hit a cel­lar full of the wounded.

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