P. S. Wyant
I have been in contact with the Volksbund for a number of months now, in
preparation for an extended trip my wife and I took to France earlier
this year, in order to get information on the resting place of my
grand-uncle who was killed on Yom Kippur, 1915. They were most helpful.
>from his military file I had obtained earlier >from the
Bundesmilitaerarchiv, I knew where he had been killed in France and how.
I had assumed his gravesite was in the German military cemetery at
Cernay, some 13 km. WNW of the centre of Mulhouse, on the N66/E512.
Before our trip, we obtained a copy of the 1:200,000 Michelin road atlas
of France and this was invaluable for pinpointing with exact accuracy
the location of even the smallest features, including German military
cemeteries (they're marked as "All.", the abbreviation for Allemagne:
Germany in French).
In any event, the Volksbund clarified for us that this was the wrong
location. He had been killed at an entirely different Cernay ...
Cernay-en-Dormois, on the D-982 some 44 km. WNW of Verdun (or some 54.
km. E of Reims), and had later likely been reburied at the German war
cemetery 1 km. NE of Sechault, some 5 km. NW of Cernay-en-Dormois. This
was most helpful, although it appears as though he was bur. in a mass
grave. The Volksbund says that in the 1920s, the French grave service,
without German participation, disinterred some of the German soldiers
buried in this area and re-interred them at Sechault. At the time of
this reburial, only the dead identifiable by a readable grave
inscription were re-buried in single graves. All others were re-buried
in mass graves.
In German war cemeteries (at least in France) the graves of Jewish
soldiers killed in WWI are marked with a rounded stone marker instead of
a stone or metal cross.
Of possible help, however, to others is that for an (unspecified)
donation, the Volksbund will send you a copy of Am Rande der Straßen
("At the Side of the Road") a 48-page booklet which lists the location
of every German war cemetery in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the
Netherlands. Most cemeteries are described in detail (many have
photographs) and there are detailed finding maps. The only drawback is
that the Volksbund is responsible for maintaining both WWi and WWII
cemeteries, so one is, in fact, sending a donation for the maintenance
of the graves of German soldiers who died in WWII as well. Given the
work of the Volksbund in maintaining the graves of Jews killed for their
country in WWI, I did not consider this to be a particularly troublesome
Regards to all,
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
There is a German War Graves Commission which keeps records of German