Friday, June 29, 2012

Cemetery Amersfoort in the city of Leusden

At the Amersfoort cemetery is a special field of honor, it's dedicated to Russian victims of the second world war.
It is the only Russian War cemetery in the Netherlands.

Here lie 101 Russian soldiers mainly from the Central Asian Soviet Union.
They were prisoner of war, captured during the Second World War on the eastern front. Transported to the Netherlands by train to Camp Amersfoort.



These soldier never fought in the Netherlands or on the western frontier.
Within 5 months of detainment 24 prisoners died of malnutrition.

The 77 remaining prisoners were put to death without trial on April ninth 1942. All shot at the execution stand near Camp Amersfoort. A memorial pillar at the exact location is the only thing that remind us of their gruesome fate. After the war the Dutch reburied the Russian soldiers on the Amersfoortse cemetery near the town of Leusden.

Upon arrival at the cemetery there is a plaque with the history of the Russian soldiers. It stands just in front of the fence, next to it you will find a registry with the names (if known) and location of the victims on the resting place.



The unknown soldier

Memorial

In the back of the field of honor stands a commemorative column. The column is made out of marble from Russian soil, and donated by the Russian Government.
Our visit was just after the 9th of May. The ninth of May is Victory day in Russia, it is celebrated with grand military parades to bring honor to the hereos of the war, and to remember the fallen.


We even encountered one casualty of the First World War.

Gravestone of a World War One casualty



Next to the side exit on the right of the Russian field of honor is a monument for all the Amersfoortse and Leusdense civilians who have fought for peace, freedom and safety.

A little further, still on the same cemetery there are other Dutch war casualties. The grave stones stand in a crescent shape. In addition to soldiers, resistance fighters and civilians there are forced labourers, political prisoners, hostages and victims of the notorious Camp Amersfoort. The cresent counts one hundred and fifty graves in total.



Slowly we walked on to a monument for English pilots, on top is a propeller from one of the downed aircrafts.

 

Behind us is a commonwealth war cemetery, yes we are still at the same cemetery in Amersfoort. More than 230 allied pilots are buried here, 238 to be exact. Around the field lies a walkway, all the Commonwealth pilots are inside the field, others casualties are buried on the outside of it. Characteristic at the field of honor of the Commonwealth is the "Cross of Sacrifice". In addition to English, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand pilots you see gravestones with Belgian, Polish and French pilots, which all served the RAF.

On the outer ring of the commonwealth field of honor are gravestones with even  more nationalities. Here you will find, Italians, Portuguese, Romanians, Hungarians and other nationalities.







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