Philip W. WEIS
My name is WEIS Fernand and I wanted to tell you an interesting, unbelievable but true story about a soldier having belonged to the 328th Inf. Regiment of the 26th Yankee Division! His name is Philip W. WEIS – ASN 37555522 and he was a PFC.
In September 1977 I found the 2 dog-tags close to the village of Berle, in the Luxembourg Ardennes. They were unearthed at exactly the same spot were Phil was killed on January 6th 1945.
At the moment of the discovery I didn't know all this - only read immediately that on the disc was the soldier's name, Philip WEIS and it was the same as my last name: WEIS !!!
At first I thought I was somewhat dreaming, so unbelievable this was, as you can imagine! I made researches about Phil at the US military cemetery in Hamm, Luxembourg and found his grave in plot E, row 3, grave 12.
It was only then that I dared to ask (I was young!) the supervisor of the Cemetery to give me further information about the next of kin. Principally this is not allowed as the next of kin are protected from any contact as it often happened in the past that people asked for money to take care of the grave-site etc. In my case however, they made an exception when I told my story and proved it with the dog-tags in my hand!!
So I received Phil's father's address from Paris and was able to write to Sartell, Minnesota. Unfortunately the father had died in 1968 and normally the letter would have been returned - if - by another strange coincidence - Janette, Phil's sister in law still living with Rollie WEIS in Sartell,had not been working for the Post Office.
She took the letter home to show it to Rollie, Phil's brother. They were very sceptic at the beginning - quite normal - as my story sounded unbelievable to both of them too. After answering my first letter rather distantly, I sent a second one containing several pictures of the dog-tags, the forest of the finding etc. Then immediately I received a very positive answer with pics of Phil and themselves during WWII.
In 1980, Rollie and Janette visited Luxembourg for the first time. Then they also met Marcel BARNICH, another Luxembourger, who had discovered Phil's body on Novermber 2nd 1945. You have to know that Phil had been missing in action from January 6th 1945 until November 2nd 1945 when Marcel discovered his body in the woods. Together we drove up North as
Marcel had to show the two visitors the exact spot were Phil had been killed.
It was only then that we found out that it was exactly the same spot where I had discovered the dog-tags only 3 years earlier.
Phil and Rollie are not related to me, we have made interesting researches, although their great-grandfather emigrated from Luxembourg in 1858 and my mother's maiden name was also WEIS but not related either.
An additional sad fact is that great-grandpa WEIS came from Insenborn, Luxembourg. It is a small village at the Sauer River in the North of Luxembourg. Phil's regiment, the 328th Inf. Reg, 26th Infantry Division, spent Christmas Eve 1944 in this village of his ancestors and Phil knew about INSENBORN as village of his roots !!
10 days later he was killed only 5 miles away at Cafe Schumann (Mon Shuman in US documents) - a very sad fact!!?
Until today I'm in constant contact to Rollie and his wife Janette from Sartell, MN. It is really a long, almost unbelievable but true story !!!
I have to close now, do hope my story was not too detailed and too long for you!! It also does some good to tell it to someone who is or might be really interested.