Enter your search

A piano under the bombardments of Bastogne

Default Anecdotes
A family and their piano escaped unscathed from the von Rundstedt offensive in Bastogne.

This Gessler upright piano belonged to Joseph Massart (1907-1986), pianist, organist, and music teacher at the Petit Séminaire de Bastogne. Before the war, the musician lived and worked in Ireland. Mastering English, he put himself at the service of the American staff installed near his home, today the Bastogne Barracks. His bilingualism facilitated relations with the civilian authorities. In these circumstances, he met General McAuliffe. The Massart family kept good contact with the famous character of the NUTS story until his death in 1975. Each time he visited Bastogne, the American general and his wife came to share a meal at the Massarts’ home. During the offensive of December 1944, the musician and his family lived through the intense bombing of the city, holed up in the cellars of their house. Thankfully, they all escaped unscathed. And yet, like the rest of the town, the Massarts’ house was shelled. Luckily, the piano also came out intact at the end of the attack as well. Jean-Benoît Massart, one of the six children of the musician, wanted to donate the piano to preserve and share this story. The piano is now in the Bastogne War Museum.

Piano of the Massart family in the Bastogne War Museum

Discover other sites of memory

Back to all stories

Share your story

Do you have information about events experienced by your family during the world wars? By sharing your story, you will enrich our “Drawing inspiration from heroes” section.

I testify

Follow the Land of Memory community