Leignon - the fight of Milo Huempfner
Leignon Travel Blog› entry 69 of 354 › view all entries
On the wall outside the village church there was a metal plaque telling the story of Milo Huempfner, a soldier who served as a private in the 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion of the WWII who had endured a tremendous effort to fight back the Germans in this city. On 23-24 January 1944, Private Milo Huempfner found himself separated from his unit and all alone near the village of Leignon, and facing a major thrust of the German Army in the Ardenne region.
Milos C. Huempfner earned the reputation of ‘One Man Army’ for his attacks against an armoured Nazi column during the Battle of the Bulge. Separated from his unit, Huempfner hid in the village and waged a one-man guerrilla war behind enemy lines, destroying armoured vehicles, Nazi machine gun and artillery emplacements and warning Allied units of impending ambushes.
The reason to why I stopped in this village was that I was driving next to Leignon when I saw this beautiful castle and I just had to take a closer look at it. The plans of this castle, popularly known as the “Le Château des milles fenêtres (castle with thousend windows)” were done by Auguste Van Assche . It was built between 1895 and 1900 as country house for the notary Isidore Eggermont (1844 - 1923) who was from Ghent.
Today the castle is private property of the Brotherhood Albert Karaziwan : a dairy factory with a riding school and stables : recreation (ateliers, stages) of the ATB Topvakanties.
Fascinated by the Flemish-gothic influences of the time, Eggermont Van Assche had ordered to cover the castle completely with rubbles (limestone). He ordered to heighten up the old tower, so that at a height of thirty meters you can go to a terrace, with a splendid view. The adjacent octagonal tower ends at 45 meters height.
The castle possesses 52 rooms.
At one side of the lower part of the domain there are a farm and dairy factory, and at the other side where there used to be a splendid gentry farm, there is now a manage with stables and riding fields. The manage building and the concierge building are in the hands of AEP (aide des enfants prisioner).
After the death of Mrs Eggermont in 1953, the NMBS bought a part of the domain and put the castle and annexes at the disposition of the pensioners. The 9th June 1977 the annexes of the castle were sold to the society of the children of deported. The castle itself was still in hand for some time of the Brabant Mutuality’s for Albert Karaziwan, a Georgian businessman who bought the castle with 11 ha land in 1989. Since 14 October 1992 parts of the castle, with name the facade, de ground floor, the stair case, the chapel and the square tower stood under protection of monuments.