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AliceF

German cemeteries in France

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As I was in Arras, I met an archeologist who is now specialized in WW1. His name is Alain JACQUES. As his colleagues, he was taught to exhume Middle-Age or Roman remnants, but in that part of France, they can't reach those layers without crossing WW1. Of course, they found a lot of bodies of all countries, in cemeteries, massgraves, tombs, or simply fallen "in action". With his permission, I will post some pictures here. With two colleagues he also published a breathtaking book. It is in French but with many pictures and probably can be found online. ISBN is 978-2-7373-7168-4.

 

numérisation0014.jpg

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Here are pictures. Does anyone know where they were shot?

fonds documentaire Alain JACQUES (4)-Avec(c).jpg

 

fonds documentaire Alain JACQUES (5)-Avec(c).jpg

 

fonds documentaire Alain JACQUES (6)-Avec(c).jpg

 

fonds documentaire Alain JACQUES (8)-Avec(c).jpg

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Jan, thank you very much for explaining the figures for the mass graves!

 

Pascal, very interesting photos, great that yo were allowed to post them here!

And the link to the website - extraordinary. 

 

Christine

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On ‎2017‎-‎02‎-‎01 at 22:08, Martin Bennitt said:

By the way, do you have any details about a mass German grave in the 'new' cemetery at Saint Germain-en-Laye, west of Paris, which is about 8 kilometres from chez moi.

Martin,

I found extremely little on the cemetery in Saint Germain-en-Laye. Two very short notes and none giving an answer to your question

The first from 1923 (issue 2):

Several German and French war graves are situated in the new municipal cemetery; they are properly maintained by a keeper.

(„Auf dem neuen städtischen Friedhof liegen mehrere deutsche und französische Kriegsgräber; sie werden ordnungsgemäß durch einen Wärter instandgehalten.“)

The second from 1925 (issue 10):

All the graves of Germans who had died in the hospital are still in place. A reburial has not been carried out.

(„Alle Gräber der im Lazarette verstorbenen Deutschen befinden sich noch an Ort und Stelle. Eine Umbettung ist nicht vorgenommen worden.„)

The Volksbund website gives no answer either. No official description only a short note on practical issues: http://www.volksbund.de/kriegsgraeberstaette/st-germain-en-laye.html

And I must admit I do not understand the text there:

 

In English like: Place du Souvenir Francais. Before the main entrance are some parking spaces. If you turn right after entering the cemetery, you first pass through the French burial ground. Adjacent to the wall of the cemetery there is the burial ground of the Germans. Some of the dead have individual graves, so they do not lie in the burial ground. [????]

 

Probably I do not know what a Gräberfeld is or how to translate it (burial ground???).

 

And I cannot even locate the cemetery in question. Here maybe you could help. The Volksbund webpage shows a map of a cemetery in the North West of St Germain. When I type in Google Place du Souvenir Francais I am referred to Rue du Souvenir Francais, which is a totally different cemetery???

 

Well, I attach an old photo, is this cemetery any of those two or the third one I can see on the map?

 

Christine

 

Source of the photo: https://www.delcampe.net/en_GB/collectables/postcards/france-le-pecq/cpa-78-saint-germain-en-laye-vue-generale-vers-le-pecq-le-cimetiere-102783393.html

 

Saint Germain en Laye_2.jpg

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Hello Christine,

Could it means there are tombs and a

oops! Could it mean there are tombs and a massgrave?

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1 hour ago, AliceF said:

...  Place du Souvenir Francais. Before the main entrance are some parking spaces. If you turn right after entering the cemetery, you first pass through the French burial ground. Adjacent to the wall of the cemetery there is the burial ground of the Germans. Some of the dead have individual graves, so they do not lie in the burial ground. [????] ... Probably I do not know what a Gräberfeld is or how to translate it (burial ground???).

 

Could 'in the burial ground' mean a (or the) mass grave? Gräberfeld is to me a cemetery/communal burial place. Well, that's how we interpret it in archaeology!

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There is definitely a mass grave there, and some individual graves IIRC. I will try to remember to take a camera next time I go past and post a photo

 

Cheers Martin B

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I would in this respect translate Gräberfeld as burial plot eg The CWGC divides the cemeteries into plot 1, 2, 3 etc. In this case I would understand it as the German plot and the French plot and that some of the graves lie separately elsewhere in the cemetery.

 

Charlie

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Great with all the input, thanks everyone.

Thus there is a burial ground with 31 individual graves and somewhere else a collective grave with 158 German soldiers. The link to the monument gives even the names. Photo would be great, but I am still lost which cemetery we are dealing with. Attach a map.

A

this cemetery seems to be shown on the Volksbund website (one of the photos): http://www.volksbund.de/kriegsgraeberstaette/st-germain-en-laye.html

B

this is the cemetery that pops up in Google entering cimetière communal in St Germain en Laye

C

This is a cemetery which has the address Rue du Souvenir Français, the address given at the Volksbund webpage is Place du Souvenir Français.

Christine

Saint Germain en Laye_map.jpg

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ID: 512   Posted (edited)

13 hours ago, AliceF said:

A

this cemetery seems to be shown on the Volksbund website (one of the photos): http://www.volksbund.de/kriegsgraeberstaette/st-germain-en-laye.html

 

Looking at the volksbund site, the photograph with the finger, the finger is pointing to what is shown as a 'purple' triangle on the block plan, and although difficult to see, the caption to the block plan shows this 'purple' triangle with some words that pretty certainly certainly end '14-18', unless I am imagining this:wacko: So that I guess is a monument to the war dead in the cemetery.

 

PS - EDIT: Just checked with http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/25420/ST. GERMAIN-EN-LAYE NEW COMMUNAL CEMETERY and that area on the block plan seems to have the CWGC graves...:blink:

Edited by trajan
Add PS

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It is the one marked A, which is the so-called nouveau cimetière, which has the German graves, indicated by the pointing finger, some CWGC graves and a carré militaire français. B is the ancien cimetière, which has one CWGC grave, and C is not in Saint Germain at all but in neighbouring Le Pecq, which covers both sides of the Seine.

 

Will try to get a picture before the weekend.

 

Cheers Martin B

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Well, then this question is solved as well!

Thanks.

Christine

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Here we go, or should it be heer? Grey and cold in Saint Germain this morning but got some pictures.

 

The individual graves are all of soldiers who died right at the beginning of the war or at the end, or even after the armistice. Similarly, in the mass grave very few died in the middle of the war.

 

Saint Germain German graves.jpg

Saint German German sign.jpg

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One of the name plaques for the mass grave burials

 

Saint Germain mass grave plaque.jpg

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French carré militaire. The German graves are beyond it in the corner. There are also three British graves from 1914, two Queen's Bays and one Royal 

Inniskilling Fusilier

 

 

Saint Germain carré militaire.jpg

 

 

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Cemetery entranceSaint Germain cemetery entrance 2.jpg

Saint Germain cemetery entrance.jpg

 

 

Cheers Martin B

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Martin, thank you very much for all the photos!

So it is really a Gräberfeld and not a Sammelgrab/massgrave.

 

Christine

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18 hours ago, AliceF said:

Martin, thank you very much for all the photos!

So it is really a Gräberfeld and not a Sammelgrab/massgrave.

 

Christine

 The Graeberfeld plaque, post 515, refers to the whole burial ground, including the mass grave and the individual graves, totalling 189. The other plaque, post 516, denoting the mass grave with 158 soldiers, uses the term gemeinsamen Graebe, which translates as  a common grave.

 

Cheers Martin B

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I am looking at the grave map posted here and I am a bit baffled as it only has four zones. I have just got details of my great-grandfather's resting place from the German Dienstelle for relatives of war dead, and it says:

 

Christian Gottfried Göckeler  Unteroffizier

then his DOB and place of birth, then that he was in the 9th Company, Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment 120

Then it says his grave is:

 

Deutschen Soldatenfriedhof Saint Mihiel

Department Meuse/Frankreich

Block 5 Grab 53

 

Are we therefore talking about a position in the relocated cemetery? Can you visit it?

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Hello,

 

He died on 22 April 1915 in the Wald von Apremont (Apremont-la-Forêt). He was buried originally in the German military cemetery at Savonnières (en Woëvre).

I'll try to check a bit more tomorrow as I'm in a hurry now.

 

Regards,

Jan

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On ‎2017‎-‎03‎-‎25 at 16:32, Boffin said:

Deutschen Soldatenfriedhof Saint Mihiel

Department Meuse/Frankreich

Block 5 Grab 53

 

Hi,

 

yes it seems so:

 

http://www.volksbund.de/en/graebersuche/detailansicht.html?tx_igverlustsuche_pi2[gid]=1cbe39c3450a9a47c8b6292a31af8e74&cHash=6c0336e54a82ad480fc916a68ba1bab5

 

Christine

 

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In post  # 149 you can see the location of the German cemetery Saint Mihiel, where it is today (but you have probably done that already).

The German website from the Volksbund does however not include a cemetery plan.

Christine

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The St Mihiel German cemetery is very interesting and unusual. To find it, go to the centre of Thiaucourt (at the north of what was the salient) and in the centre turn off the main road, before you get to the railway arch, which should leave the river to the right. Then turn left heading up the hill. There is a Gendarmerie further up on the right. The cemetery is further on to the left with a small parking area (really just a drop off place).

Once in the cemetery (grave register in the entrance), the main grave area is ahead of you, and in the centre a mass grave.

Turn left at the mass grave, and then right, and as you go down the slope you will see some sandstone gravestones rather than the iron ones. Some of these are for French aviators.

Again on the left you will find a small strange area, which you will find is an 1870 mass grave and a couple of individual graves.

Go around the low wall to an area below it, and there are early individual graves and private gravestones. In the centre there is a mass grave with a concrete block on top. This is a post 1945 grave. There was a PoW camp for Germans in the field next door, and men who died were buried here. Presumably the men were clearing up the battlefield after the war. As the PoW had no means of putting in a proper memorial, they made a concrete block and left it there. There is a small plaque beside it.

So, three wars in the one cemetery.

The US cemetery is on the far side of the village.

In the village centre stands the church and beside it a memorial showing a French soldier and a US soldier shaking hands. On the plinth there are bronze plaques showing horses being watered, and so on. They are taken from photos which were taken at the river at the bottom of the hill. I think the original photos are on the internet.

If the church is open have a look inside. There are stained glass windows showing the experiences of those called up. If the church is locked, the café owner opposite used to have a key or could get the man with the key.

The French cemetery is at Bois le Prêtre well to the east, but just off the main road to Pont à Mousson.

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