Roland Gaul ("Rol")
Roland J. Gaul was born in Diekirch, Luxembourg on October 27, 1955. After his elementary school education, he graduated from the "Lycée Classique de Diekirch" (junior college) in 1975 (science/Latin section), whereafter he continued his higher education at the Royal Military Academy (ERM/KMS) in Brussels, Belgium as an officer candidate of the Luxembourg army. After one year as a primary school teacher, Gaul worked at the State Savings Bank for seven years, after which he entered the American Embassy in 1986, where he became the local representative of the United States Information Service (USIS) as the Embassy’s public liaison and information officer. His responsibilities comprised the areas of Public Affairs, Information, and Cultural Affairs. In 1997, Gaul accepted the position as liaison officer of the (SREL) security service of the Luxembourg Ministry of State, a position, which he held until 2004. In this capacity he represented his service in several international fora and acted as a key point of contact for international service liaison in security-related issues. As of 2012, he muted to the Luxembourg army to take over the lead of the National Museum of Military History in Diekirch, as its Director/Curator, which he had founded himself as a volunteer 30 years ago.
Privately as a volunteer, Gaul is the initiator (1982) and long-term curator of the Diekirch National Museum of Military History (depicting the Battle of the Bulge 1944/45 and the history of the Luxembourg army), which he started in 1984 with the assistance of four associates under the initial denomination of "Diekirch Historical Museum". As the President of the "Dikricher Geschichtsfrenn" (Diekirch Historical Society) and the head of a group of volunteers, he is responsible for the museum’s general administration/management, historical- and scientific research, design, new acquisitions, promotion, public relations, international correspondence and liaison, as well as contact with WWII veterans. In this same capacity, Gaul provides guided tours and conducts field studies for civilian and military groups in his area of expertise. He also sits on the board of the joint executive committee of the National Museum of Military History as the museum’s representative and adviser. He is a member of the international advising committee of the “Battle of the Bulge” Historical Foundation and a honorary member of several U.S. WWII veteran organizations.
Gaul is the author of four books*) on the "Battle of the Bulge" on the Southern Flank in the greater area of Diekirch, Luxembourg. He also frequently writes articles on the same topic and provides assistance for students interested in this chapter of history and veterans returning to Luxembourg. In 1994, he co-authored a book on the 50th anniversary of the two liberations of Luxembourg and served as a historical consultant and special adviser for several audiovisual productions generated by the PBS-Discovery Channel, ABC News, RTBF-1, and RTL TV. His expertise was also used during the compilation of a documentary on the "Bulge" by the ‘Lennon Documentary Group’ for WGBH, Boston, 1994-95. In addition, Gaul is the co-author of a special video "Erennerung" in Luxembourgish language, published in 1994 by "Nordliicht Video" Productions. Gaul was also recruited as a technical consultant during the shooting of two major Luxembourg WWII history movies, "Di zwee vum Bierg", and "Schacko Klack". Gaul’s most recent project consisted in the planning and creation of a historical trans-border 18 Km-long circuit on the "Bulge" in the area of Hoesdorf-Bettendorf, featuring descriptive signposts along the trail, which was inaugurated in May 1996. He has also worked on the extension of this project to Germany (Wallendorf, inaugurated in 2000). He is also the coordinator for the military history aspect of the "Lieux de Mémoire 2000" project initiated by the Luxembourg Ministry of Culture.
In 2001, Gaul was one of the initiators and the current president of the Belgian-Luxembourg Association of Museums of the Battle of the Bulge, (AMBA) a bi-national association to preserve the collective memory of the "Bulge" through museums and in the spirit of reconciliation between formerly opposed nationalities. AMBA was later also joined by German- and French partners.
For his commitment in the preservation of local and national history, Gaul was awarded in 1989 the prestigious Lions Clubs International District 113 award. He also holds the commendation medal of the State of Pennsylvania, a distinction by Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), the 50th anniversary commendation medal, amongst numerous other citations and awards. A recent Luxembourg decoration, the "Ordre de la Couronne de Chêne en argent" was awarded to him on June 21, 2001 for his 20 years of volunteer community work. Another recent decoration is the Belgian "Officier de l’Ordre de la Couronne".
In 1994, on the occasion of the national commemoration and observance of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Luxembourg, Gaul served as the U.S. Embassy’s and the museum’s key contact for the planning and coordination of numerous ceremonies, events and veteran tours on a national, regional, and local level. He was also the coordinator general of "Night Vigil 1994", the December 16, 1994 early morning commemoration, staged all over Luxembourg. In 1995, he was selected "Foreign Service National" (FSN) of the year for Western Europe and Canada” by the United States Information Agency (USIA) for his efforts in this regard.
In 2001, Gaul’s efforts in promoting reconciliation and friendship between Luxembourg and Germany were recognized by the Federal Republic of Germany, when Federal President Mr. Johannes Rau, awarded him the "Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande" (Cross of Merit on ribbon). In addition, he was conferred the title of "Honorary Corporal of the Luxembourg army" for his commitment and active participation in assisting with the public affairs’ effort in the interest of the Luxembourg army.
In 2004, Gaul was asked together with two associates by the Luxembourg Government to organize and coordinate the national commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Luxembourg that took place in 2004 and 2005. As the national coordinator of numerous "Battle of the Bulge"-related commemorative events and educational programs, Gaul was the official key contact for Luxembourg for the U.S.’ and other nations’ veteran communities. In June 2005, he was awarded the "Luxembourg Cross of Merit" (knight’s class) for his efforts during the 60th anniversary, followed by the "Knights cross with crown of the order of Nassau" in June 2006. In January 2006 Gaul became the fulltime director and curator of the museum, he once founded himself.
Gaul was a member of the Lions Club, District 113, CENARP (National Circle of Public Relations), as well as the Diekirch Tourist Promotion Office. Apart from his major interest in WWII history, his other favorite freetime activities include: Japanese and Asian studies, scuba diving, small arms target practicing, hiking, and international correspondence. His native language is Luxembourgish. He is also fluent in German, French, English, and has some basic command of Dutch and Japanese. His international travels include: most European countries, the U.S. (12 trips incl. Hawaii), Canada, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Tunisia, Micronesia, Palau, Guam, Saipan, Western Samoa, the Cook Islands, Vanuatu and other places of the South Pacific.
He is frequently asked to conduct lectures and field trips on certain aspects of the "Battle of the Bulge" and leads numerous guided tours in this context, as for example "Elder Hostel" groups or tours in conjunction with the National D-Day Museum, New Orleans, LA. He recently has also directed his interest to the War in the Pacific, as a parallel and counterpart to the U.S. forces’ action in Luxembourg and the European Theater during WWII.
In 2009, he coordinated national, regional and local events related to the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Luxembourg and in 2010 he organized bi-national commemorative events in both Dong Du Cheon /South Korea and Luxembourg to observe the 60th anniversary of the Korean conflict in which Luxembourg participated as a member of the UN forces.
2014/2015 he was a co-organizer of the 70th anniversary of the Bulge on national--regional and local levels. He continues beyond the 70th anniversary as a key local contact for families in the US and Germany on the lookout for information on "their" veterans.
Gaul is married to Silvia Treml (Austrian) who runs GAUL’s LEGACY TOURS Sarl (www.gauls-legacy-tours.lu, facebook: www.facbebook.com/gaulslegacytours). Together with Silvia he organizes individual, tailored legacy tours on WWII history in Luxembourg and the neighboring areas. Roland has retired end of October, 2016 and now fully concentrates on field guiding- and on-site presentations.
As an event manager, together with his wife, he became the coordinator and co-organizer of the high-impact "Thanksgiving Day 1944/2019" and "Keystone in the way" events in Luxembourg during the 75th anniversary "Battle of the Bulge" commemorations.
Roland continues as a field guide in 2020.
Gaul is fluent in Luxembourgish, German, French, English and has a basic command of Japanese and Dutch.
*)His publications include:
• 1944/45 Schicksale zwischen Sauer und Our, Volume I (Imprimerie St. Paul, Luxbg.), 1986
• 1944/45 Schicksale zwischen Sauer und Our, Volume II (Imprimerie St. Paul, Luxbg.), 1987
• The Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg (The Southern Flank): The Germans, Schiffer Publishing, LTD, Atglen, PA 19310, 1995, ISBN: 0-88740-746-3
• The Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg (The Southern Flank): The Americans, Schiffer Publishing, LTD, Atglen, PA 19310, 1995, ISBN: 0-88740-746-3
• "Letzebuerg 1944-45" (co-author), Imprimerie St. Paul, 1995, ISBN: 2-87963-210-2
• "Reisdorf in der Rundstedtoffensive" (co-author),ISP, 1984
• "Bettenduerf erennert sech 1945-1987", ISP, 1987
• "Die Rundstedtoffensive in Hoscheid - 100è anniversaire Sapeurs Pompiers Hoscheid", ISP, 1987
• "Kriegsereignisse in Gilsdorf 1944/45 - Dokumentationsbericht einer Ortschaft", ISP, 1988
• "d’Fiels am Krich", ISP, 1987
• "Kriegswirren in und um Brandenburg 44/45", Imprimerie de l’Est, 1992
• "Luxembourg had to be liberated twice” - 50th anniversary publication of "Voilà Luxembourg", SIP No 6-Winter 1994/95
• "Sentier Historique Hoesdorf, Bettendorf", SI Bettendorf/Reisdorf, May 1996
• "Sentier Historique Wallendorf", SI Bettendorf/Reisdorf, Wallendorf, May 1998
c) Newspaper articles:
• "Kriegsgeschehen in und um Diekirch, Dez. 44 - Jan. 45", Luxemburger Wort, Dec. 17, 1981
• "Weihnachten 1944 - Jubiläum einer Flugzeugtragödie", Journal, Dec. 24, 1981
• "Kriegswirren in Bettendorf, Januar 1945", Luxemburger Wort, Jan 7, 1983
• "Mörderische Stellungskämpfe", Luxemburger Wort, Dec 21, 1983
• "Die endgültige Befreiung der Stadt Diekirch -- die deutsche Abwehrfront an der Sauer bricht zusammen
• 18-21 Jan. 1945", Luxemburger Wort, Jan. 19, 1985
• "Vorstoß bis zum Westwall - Erste Befreiung von Diekirch", Luxemburger Wort, Sept 10, 1994
• "Am Südflügel der Ardennenoffensive -- Angriff und Abwehrkämpfe der 7. Armee Brandenberger" oder der "Arme Leute Krieg der Wehrmacht", Luxemburger Wort, Dec. 16, 1994
• "Ziel Luxembourg – Einsatz der V3 HDP", Luxemburger Wort, January 16 2001
• 60th anniversary commemorative brochure (the two liberations of Luxembourg) – a tribute to veterans
Numerous other articles in various newspapers and magazines on the "Bulge" in Luxembourg
Erennerungen 1944-45 (1995) Nordliicht Video, (co-author) and several other national and international audiovisual publication, where he acted as a historical/scientific researcher/coordinator, including the Discovery channel´s special 50th anniversary feature on the B.O.B.”
Key consultant for a number of special documentaries and audiovisual features on the 60th, 65th- and 70th anniversaries of the Battle of the Bulge
Concept, design and implementation of the museum’s website: www.mnhm.lu and facebook: www.facebook.com/mnhm.lu.