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foto7Maastricht, The Netherlands,
24th December 1944, Christmas Eve.

The initiative to the Mass was an idea of the Brothers of the Immaculate Conception, who, by then, were the owners of the cave. They are better known in Maastricht as `The Brothers of the Beyart’. The Mass was celebrated in a cave, called The Schark Cave, in the neighborhood of St. Pieter’s Mountain in Maastricht.  Between 250 and 280, mostly very young American soldiers, who stayed in Maastricht and its surroundings, attended this Christmas Celebration Mass in the small cave in the neighborhood of St. Pieter’s Mountain.  After the Mass  these young soldiers signed with charcoal their signature on the marl wall. View the pictures of the Mass

The importance of the signature on the marl wall for relatives and other visitors

For relatives and acquaintances of many of these soldiers, who visited the cave afterwards, it is a very emotional experience to see the signature of their father or grandfather or friend, on the wall. View the list with names or read the stories

The foundation

The Foundation Commemoration of the American Christmas Celebration 1944 (SHAK 1944), is founded in September 1994. It  is a volunteer organization and its goal is organizing the annual commemoration of the Mass of the American Christmas Celebration on December 24, 1944. The Board consists of 9 members. The executive committee is formed by the Chairman, the Secretary and the Treasurer. Read more...