- Simonskaller Str. 1, 52393 Hürtgenwald, Allemagne
The Vossenack Cemetery was constructed on a strategic site, Hill 470, by the German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge) during the years 1949 to 1952. Today the cemetery contains the graves of 2.347 war dead. Among those are 35 men who lost their lives during post-war operations as members of a ‘Ammunition Search and Removal Team’.
From mid September 1944 till the end of February 1945 fierce battles raged in the region between the ridge line of the Hautes Fagnes and the Rur River, a phase of the Second World War better known as ‘The Battle of Huertgen Forest’. Ten thousands of American and German soldiers died during the six months of the fierce and bloody fighting. Following the request of the next of kin, the remains of most American soldiers were repatriated to U.S. soil for interment in a National or private cemetery.
The remains of the German soldiers who lost their lives during the Huertgen Forest Campaign found their eternal resting places on German War Cemeteries, especially Huertgen and Vossenack, or communal cemeteries in the area. A larger part of fallen German soldiers had been transferred by elements of the American Graves Registration Service, a military branch of the Quartermaster Corps, to Belgium and the Netherlands on German War Cemeteries there.
The Vossenack Cemetery was constructed on a strategic site, Hill 470, by the German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge) during the years 1949 to 1952. Today the cemetery contains the graves of 2.347 war Dead. Among those are 35 men who lost their lives during post-war operations as members of a ‘Ammunition Search and Removal Team’.
Since 21 May 2005 a monument at the entrance to the cemetery commemorates Julius Erasmus, a German Engineer Captain who – mostly under risking his life – recovered 1.569 sets of remains of his former comrades from the Huertgen Forest battlefields and personally buried them on this hill.
The war took his family and his home. In 1945 Julius Erasmus returned to the Hürtgen Forest. On his own initiative he started to salvage the bodies of the soldiers who had died during the fighting. Altogether he buried 1.569 German soldiers who nowadays rest in the military cemetery in Vossenack.
The state of North Rhine-Westphalia, in western Germany, holds a deep industrial heritage. During WWII, the region housed the industrial Ruhr district, which was vital to the German war production, and therefore several cities and towns were totally destroyed. Nowadays,
During the autumn and winter of 1944/45, the longest battle of the Second World War on German soil took place in the Hürtgen Forest. With this battle, the war precipitated by the Nazi regime returned to Germany. The battle caused numerous casualties on both sides. For the American soldiers, it’s very name – with its first syllable ‘hurt’ – became a byword for injury and death.
Helene Palm’s family was unwilling to evacuate their ancestral village of Vossenack, but the fighting made it impossible to stay. When they finally felt forced to flee, their escape route took them to Sachsen (Saxony), where they had to live through the onslaught of the Soviet Army and once again had to fear for their lives. When they returned in 1945, they found their home in ruins.