Catherine Welbes, born in 1881, lives together with her husband Alex Krieps in Differdange, rue de la poste. They had three children, Marguerite, Mathias (better known as Albert) and Emile. They ran a small agricultural farm and a sawmill. In 1932, the family was put to the test for the first time: Alex Krieps lost his life in a tragic accident.
A few years later, the invasion of the German troops inflicted further misfortune on the family, which had joined the Resistance and offered refuge to the rebels. The daughter Marguerite and her husband François Graeve, who also live in the family house, become smugglers. Together with Josy Goerres, the son Emile created the organisation "Service d'Action et de Renseignement des Patriotes Indépendants" (SAR-PI-MEN). Their mission was to smuggle Luxembourgers and prisoners of war to France.
Emile Krieps was arrested by the Gestapo, released from the Hinzert camp, and finally managed to reach London. Following a denunciation, the Graeve couple had to flee. The Germans questioned Catherine Krieps-Welbes in her kitchen about her daughter Marguerite's whereabouts, without suspecting that under the kitchen bench was a young Luxembourger. The situation becomes critical when a photo falls out of the interrogator's hand: the young Luxembourger might be seen. Catherine Krieps-Welbes quickly picks up the photo before the refractory can be found.
The German occupiers are determined to find her daughter and even arrest Catherine and her son Albert. In the Villa Pauly, the woman, aged about 60, and the young man are subjected to horrible torture. Albert is taken to the concentration camp in Hinzert. Catherine Krieps-Welbes was imprisoned in the Grund for six days, only to be released later for lack of evidence.² Although she found refuge with her sister in Vianden, she was increasingly uncertain about the fate of her children.
It is a great relief when the mother finds her children safe and sound after the war.
Catherine Krieps-Welbes was awarded the Resistance Cross. She died in 1954