The 'Pompeii' of the Western Front

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#1
The bodies of 21 German soldiers entombed in a perfectly preserved World War One shelter have been discovered 94 years after they were killed.

The men were part of a larger group of 34 who were buried alive when a huge Allied shell exploded above the tunnel in 1918, causing it to cave in.

Thirteen bodies were recovered from the underground shelter, but the remaining men had to be left under a mountain of mud as it was too dangerous to retrieve them.
Read more: Bodies of 21 German soldiers buried alive in WW1 trench found perfectly preserved 94 years later | Mail Online

Looks amazing!!
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
Thanks for the link. Interesting that they can identify the bodies. Anybody know what the German reaction is these days to the discovery of Great Uncle Helmut's remains? Do they do the whole military burial thing that we do?
 
#4
I think people sometimes forget there were 2 sides to the conflict and the German's still have as many missing soldiers without a place of rest as the rest of the countries involved. At least they will now have a permanent place to be laid to rest.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#6
Thanks for the link. Interesting that they can identify the bodies. Anybody know what the German reaction is these days to the discovery of Great Uncle Helmut's remains? Do they do the whole military burial thing that we do?
Apparently so. I've seen footage of the Bundeswehr conducting a military funeral for a previously found WW1 German soldier, but I'm led to believe that this is only at the request of the deceased's descendants.
 
#12
The horror of being buried alive aside (hopefully the concussion would have knocked them on the head first) the really scary thing is that it was a CENTURY ago!
 
#13
Well, as my Grandad would have said:

"That bloody well learned 'em!"
Obviously it didn't; they had a replay shortly afterwards.
 
#14
Apparently so. I've seen footage of the Bundeswehr conducting a military funeral for a previously found WW1 German soldier, but I'm led to believe that this is only at the request of the deceased's descendants.
Yes they do I was in Flesquires in 2007 when a Privately funded Monument to the Battle of Cambrai was concicrated.There was also the burial of a Geman soldier who they found in Burlon wood.Ithink that I´ve still got some photos of it which I will post when I find them.IIRC the family,the Bundeswehr and the German Embassy were represented.
 
#15
I think people sometimes forget there were 2 sides to the conflict and the German's still have as many missing soldiers without a place of rest as the rest of the countries involved. At least they will now have a permanent place to be laid to rest.

I'm sure the German's have many more missing. A visit to Langemark German war cemetry outside Ypres (Ilper) is a real eye-open if you are used to CWGC Cemetries. There are very few of the named headstones, as you would find in a CWGC site and even the ones that are named usualy contain more than on body. There is a mass grave with 25,000 dead buried in it. Even on a summer's day the place has a cold, dank, earie feel.
 
#16
The tact and grace with which the German concentration cemeteries were organised was but a pale shadow of the care and effort the CWGC deployed. Not because of the beastly Hun but rather a distinct lack of will to make it easy for them on the part of the French and Belgians! Which in the circumstances was probably to be expected.

The German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutscher Kriegsgraberfursorge) was formed on 16th December 1919 with the intention of recording and commemorating all the dead of the First World War. Many of the inhabitants of the formerly occupied countries didn't like the idea of so many German cemeteries being scattered across the former battlefields and begrudged their former enemy the land in which they were buried. Some cemeteries were left to ruin and others were being desecrated (many were cared for , however), so the VDK set to looking after these graves and "concentrating" several cemeteries into a fewer number (for example , only 18* WW1 German cemeteries now exist in Belgium out of the 670 + that existed in 1920 (128 cemeteries being concentrated into Langemark alone!), and only 2 from WW2) with a larger amount of "inhabitants". The largest WW1 cemetery exists at Menin in Belgium and contains the final resting place of 47,864 soldiers.

(* These 18 ( Vladslo, Hooglede, Langemarck, Menen, Tarcienne, Maissin, Anloy-Heide, Bertrix-Heide, Neufchateau-Malonne, Bellefontaine, Virton-Bellevue , Musson-Baranzy , Halanzy ,Brussel-Evere ,Eupen, Herstal, St.Vith, Luttich-Robermont ) do not include those in civil cemeteries and British (CWGC) cemeteries.)

After the coming to power of Adolf Hitler in 1933, the work of the VdK was limited as collections for the funding of the organisation were prohibited. After 1940 some "defeatist" or "pacifist" edifices in the WW1 cemeteries were destroyed by the German army and the VdK, as an organisation, was accused of treason and disbanded in 1941 (beginning work again in 1946, but not as a re-constituted body until 1952). In the meantime, the pro-national socialist professor Wilhelm Kreis was appointed (under Albert Speer) as Architect General of German War cemeteries.

After WW2 (1952), the VDK was re-constituted with an even more immense task to achieve - a task which is still ongoing to this day. Similar tasks to WW1 were carried out with the maintenance and relocation and recording of casualties and graves (a task that was even more difficult that that of 1919 due to the immense numbers involved combined with the destruction of so many millions of documents because of Allied air raids), but it wasn't until the 1990's that they were allowed to do their work in the Eastern battle areas. This huge task (in which some graves and cemeteries have been totally lost for 60 years) is being carried out admirably and new cemeteries appear almost yearly. The largest war cemetery in the world is also being constructed , an 80,000 plus "super cemetery" near St.Petersburg (Solugabowka), containing the concentrated remains of soldiers from many of the "lost" cemeteries of this area

The VDK now cares for the graves of several million German war victims in more than 100 countries world-wide. They care for the resting places of more than 1.2 million in over 8,500 cemeteries (military and civil) within Germany alone.

Since July 1966, they have also been responsible for the German graves from the Franco-German War of 1870-71 in France where they care for the resting places of 20,096 war dead buried in 841 mass graves and 1,417 dead buried in 1,178 single graves.

Completely reliant on public contributions for financial support, the VdK receives no government funding but can call upon the support (not always free!) from a variety of organisations (such as the CWGC (when German graves are encountered in their cemeteries) and the French "Sesma") in the upkeep of graves/cemeteries under their care.
 
#17
I saw a documentary about Stalingrad a few months ago that said that no German (or Russian?) dead were buried and their remains can still be seen in the fields around the city.
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
#18
The tact and grace with which the German concentration cemeteries were organised was but a pale shadow of the care and effort the CWGC deployed. Not because of the beastly Hun but rather a distinct lack of will to make it easy for them on the part of the French and Belgians! Which in the circumstances was probably to be expected.
I have been to the German cemetary outside Monte Casino, where they've buried Germans from all over the Italian theatre (dead ones, before any smartarse comments). It didn't have the same poignancy as the CWGC ones. I think it was partly because it was difficult to connect to the names, partly the gray of the headstones and partly because they lack the detail on CW ones - date of birth and an inscription from the family
 
#19
I have been to the German cemetary outside Monte Casino, where they've buried Germans from all over the Italian theatre (dead ones, before any smartarse comments). It didn't have the same poignancy as the CWGC ones. I think it was partly because it was difficult to connect to the names, partly the gray of the headstones and partly because they lack the detail on CW ones - date of birth and an inscription from the family

I felt a distinct lack of recognition of the Allied efforts - apart from the Poles, which may have been due to the shared Catholic BS - when I visited the place a few years back.

Down in the town itself, there was a small poorly funded museum....but the curator couldn't have been more helpful.
 
#20
The German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutscher Kriegsgraberfursorge) was formed on 16th December 1919 with the intention of recording and commemorating all the dead of the First World War. Many of the inhabitants of the formerly occupied countries didn't like the idea of so many German cemeteries being scattered across the former battlefields and begrudged their former enemy the land in which they were buried. Some cemeteries were left to ruin and others were being desecrated (many were cared for , however), so the VDK set to looking after these graves and "concentrating" several cemeteries into a fewer number (for example , only 18* WW1 German cemeteries now exist in Belgium out of the 670 + that existed in 1920 (128 cemeteries being concentrated into Langemark alone!), and only 2 from WW2) with a larger amount of "inhabitants". The largest WW1 cemetery exists at Menin in Belgium and contains the final resting place of 47,864 soldiers.

(* These 18 ( Vladslo, Hooglede, Langemarck, Menen, Tarcienne, Maissin, Anloy-Heide, Bertrix-Heide, Neufchateau-Malonne, Bellefontaine, Virton-Bellevue , Musson-Baranzy , Halanzy ,Brussel-Evere ,Eupen, Herstal, St.Vith, Luttich-Robermont ) do not include those in civil cemeteries and British (CWGC) cemeteries.)

After the coming to power of Adolf Hitler in 1933, the work of the VdK was limited as collections for the funding of the organisation were prohibited. After 1940 some "defeatist" or "pacifist" edifices in the WW1 cemeteries were destroyed by the German army and the VdK, as an organisation, was accused of treason and disbanded in 1941 (beginning work again in 1946, but not as a re-constituted body until 1952). In the meantime, the pro-national socialist professor Wilhelm Kreis was appointed (under Albert Speer) as Architect General of German War cemeteries.

After WW2 (1952), the VDK was re-constituted with an even more immense task to achieve - a task which is still ongoing to this day. Similar tasks to WW1 were carried out with the maintenance and relocation and recording of casualties and graves (a task that was even more difficult that that of 1919 due to the immense numbers involved combined with the destruction of so many millions of documents because of Allied air raids), but it wasn't until the 1990's that they were allowed to do their work in the Eastern battle areas. This huge task (in which some graves and cemeteries have been totally lost for 60 years) is being carried out admirably and new cemeteries appear almost yearly. The largest war cemetery in the world is also being constructed , an 80,000 plus "super cemetery" near St.Petersburg (Solugabowka), containing the concentrated remains of soldiers from many of the "lost" cemeteries of this area

The VDK now cares for the graves of several million German war victims in more than 100 countries world-wide. They care for the resting places of more than 1.2 million in over 8,500 cemeteries (military and civil) within Germany alone.

Since July 1966, they have also been responsible for the German graves from the Franco-German War of 1870-71 in France where they care for the resting places of 20,096 war dead buried in 841 mass graves and 1,417 dead buried in 1,178 single graves.

Completely reliant on public contributions for financial support, the VdK receives no government funding but can call upon the support (not always free!) from a variety of organisations (such as the CWGC (when German graves are encountered in their cemeteries) and the French "Sesma") in the upkeep of graves/cemeteries under their care.
Sorry for requoting the whole lot but I found the wording in bold to be an interesting description.
 

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