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Visiting the Kléngelbaach and Smugglers' Path, near Troisvierges, Luxembourg: remembering the World War Two Resistance

Updated on November 8, 2013
Flag of Luxembourg
Flag of Luxembourg | Source
The Kléngelbaach
The Kléngelbaach | Source
Map location of Troisvierges, Luxembourg
Map location of Troisvierges, Luxembourg | Source

Scenic and historic

There has been much publicity outside Luxembourg about various aspects of World War Two relating to that country: the dramatic exile of Grand Duchess and her government in 1940, the Nazi German invasion, and the Battle of the Bulge later in the War, fought partly on Luxembourg's territory. However, less is known internationally about the Luxembourg Resistance during the Nazi German occupation.

A stream known as the Kléngelbaach and the Smugglers' Path (French: Sentier des passeurs ; German: Fluchthelferweg ) — now re-created as a recreational hiking route — are but two geographical features with strong associations with the Luxembourg Resistance (1). Luxembourg may look small on a map, but its northern hill country especially is relatively isolated and this, combined with undulating topography, made it difficult for the occupying forces to control the Luxembourg Resistance. I have walked along part of what is known as the Smugglers Path in the vicinity of Biwisch (Létzeburgesch: Biwwesch) and Troisvierges (Létzebuergesch: Elwen; German: Ulflingen), and my footsteps must have traced the those of Resistants, decades previously, heading to the Belgian border. In the course of the hike towards a safe house over the border, when the Resistants along the Smugglers' Path crossed the stream known as the Kléngelbaach , they would know that they had left the territory of the Grand Duchy.

The railroad between Gouvy (in Belgium's Liège province) and Troivierges, which continues to Luxembourg City, crosses the Kléngelbaach shortly after entering the Grand Duchy; this area is on the edge of the Hautes Fagnes (German: Hohes Venn): upland moors which extend along eastern Belgium, and small parts of Germany and Luxembourg. (Coming into Luxembourg by train from Belgium, I have thus crossed the Kléngelbaach many times.)

Interestingly, unlike some other water ways in Luxembourg, I have found only the Létzebuergesch version of the stream's name: Kléngelbaach . (Some of the Grand Duchy's rivers have acquired various spellings in more than one language.) What does need to be watched out for, however, is that fact that (somewhat confusingly) there are, in Luxembourg, three, separate streams, all of which go by the name: Kléngelbaach .

Troisvierges is located in the Canton of Clervaux, in Luxembourg's Oesling (Létzebuergesch: Éislek) region.

October 11, 2012


(1) Luxembourg's National Museum of the Resistance (French: Musée nationale de la Résistance ) is istuated in Esch-sur-Alzette . Interestingly, towards the end of World War Two, some parts of the country were actually liberated by members of the Resistance, rather than by the regular Allied armies; Vianden Castle is one, such location associated with the actions of the Luxembourg Resistance.

Also worth seeing

In Troisvierges itself, the parish church has an interesting, domed spire. The railroad station is important historically because, here, on August 1, 1914, World War One on the Western Front commenced.

Cinqfontaines (distance: approx. 3 kilometres) a sombre memorial recalls Jews deported during World War Two.


How to get there: The nearest large international airport is Luxembourg (Aéroport de Luxembourg ), at Findel, from where car rental is available. The Luxembourg railroad company CFL maintains a regular service to Troisvierges from Luxembourg City. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


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    • profile image

      Allan Wichelman 

      5 years ago

      A charming travel article contributing to the growing literature about the Luxembourg WWII Resistance. Kudos. You might enjoy my blog on Luxembourgian Philately -- .


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