On 12 November,1944, Lt. Friedrich Lengfeld was in command of a German rifle group that were against invading US troops. During the attack, a wounded American soldier could be heard from the middle of the minefield crying for help. His unit had already withdrawn and none were nearby. Amazingly, Lengfield took sympathy on his target and ordered his men not to shoot if and when other soldiers came to his aid. However, nobody came, and his cries went on for hours. Lengfield decided he would rescue the man himself. He formed a rescue squad which included Red Cross vests and flags and led them towards the wounder soldier. As they approached, Lengfield stood on a land mine and later died. The account as to what happened comes from Hubert Gees, one soldier who fought alongside Lengfield. He said:
“Lieutenant Lengfeld was one of the best soldiers of the Hürtgen Forest. He was an exemplary company commander, who never asked us to do more than he himself was ready to give. He possessed the complete confidence of his soldiers. Ruggles said Lengfeld’s sense of duty went far beyond the call. You can’t go to any greater extreme than to give your life trying to rescue someone you are fighting as your enemy in war. Compare that to the indifference most people feel about each other today.“
There stands a monument in Hürtgen Forest, Germany, which is the only monument to be placed by an American in a Germany military cemetery. It reads:
No man hath greater love than he who layeth down his life for his enemy.
IN MEMORY OF LIEUTENANT FRIEDRICH LENGFELD
Here in Huertgen Forest on November 12, 1944, Lt. Lengfeld, a German officer, gave his life while trying to save the life of an American soldier lying severly wounded in the "Wilde Sau” minefield and appealing for medical aid.
PLACED AT THIS SITE ON OCTOBER 7, 1994
THE TWENTY SECOND UNITED STATES INFANTRY SOCIETY - WORLD WAR II