Sandweiler German Military Cemetery
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"I looked at those dates of birth and the day
they died, and I realized how close I had
come to being there", said Wehrmacht
veteran
Horst Przybilski on his first visit to
the cemetery.  Wounded during the Ardennes
Offensive, Herr Przybilski may well have died
if not for the intervention of an American
soldier.
Sandweiler holds the remains of 10,913 men, 4829 of those unidentified and in a
common grave.
Visitors usually note that the somber Black Forest granite and forested
site are in
stark contrast to the US cemetery a few kilometers away.  Though each cross
lists four names, each body was buried  separately.  
Jean-Pierre Hoffmann owned the land where the
cemetery is now located and remembers the winter of
1944/45 in a booklet at the cemetery:  "The German
corpses were frozen and in that state brought on trucks
and placed on an approx. 500-meters wide strip of
grass along the edge of the forest. The first soldiers,
among them also a woman, were buried there before
the end of 1944.  African-American US soldiers dug
individual graves, wrapped the mostly very young
soldiers in black burlap sacks, and buried them."
"These American soldiers, about 30 men, had their camp
in the nearby forest, and were commanded by white
officers. They applied strict hygiene rules and treated the
dead Germans with dignity. They searched the dead for
identity tags; torn clothes and ruined shoes were removed
and burned."
(L) Recently retired cemetery administrator Rene Croce, who did a
wonderful job improving conditions at Sandweiler during his term.
Wikipedia maintains a helpful page on Sandweiler
Military Cemetery
, with links to additional photo
essays and information. In the photo at right, a
group of ambulatory US soldiers wounded in Iraq
tour the cemetery on a Wounded Warriors day trip.