German War Cemetery "Ysselstyn" (L)

During the 2nd World War more then 31.500 German soldiers died in the Netherlands,
most of them are buried here at the German Cemetery.

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1944/45 The American War Graves Service buries those German soldiers who have died in its area of combat already during World War Two. Many German soldiers die in the retreat battles few months before the end of the war.

1946 On 15 October 1946 the Dutch War Graves Service begins to bury all German soldiers
who have died on Dutch soil on the cemetery in Ysselstyn.
Collective cemeteries and all other German military cemeteries
from the Second World War in the Netherlands are dissolved step by step.
Ca. 3000 killed German soldiers from Margraten, where they have been buried by the American War Graves Service, are transported to Ysselstyn.
85 German soldiers from the First World War are buried in Ysselstein, too.
These soldiers have not been killed in the Netherlands but have been found on the bank of the river Maas
(Dutch river which flows for example through Venlo and Maastricht) after having been killed in Belgium or France.
Shortly after the war, these soldiers are buried in Ysselstyn.
The identification of the killed soldiers takes place by finding out age,
height, teeth picture, identification sign and finding place
and the comparison with the details given by relatives in the investigation applications.

1963 Youth camps take place for the first time close to the cemetery.
German young people and members of the German army help with the maintenance of and care for the cemetery.

1976 On 1 November 1976, the Volksbund takes over the military cemetery.
The long-standing administrator Captain Timmermans retires.
The Volksbund continues the successful work of Captain Timmermans and the Dutch War Graves Foundation.
The main aim remains to identify as many "unknown soldiers" as possible.

1977-1981 The concrete crosses are step by step replaced by natural stone crosses ("Petit Granite")
and all cemetery buildings are renovated.
The central memorial place is built.


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There are approximately 6000 unknown soldiers buried on this cemetery.
These are buried in graves with crosses on which it reads "Ein Deutscher Soldat".

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At the entrance of the cemetery rest 85 war dead of the great war 1914 - 1918 they have been brought in from Maastricht.
The rest of the graves are 32.000 fallen men from the Second World War buried here on a territory of 30 hectares.

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Marching to or from the front, and especially when mourning their losses, they sang this song of the "good comrade."

Ich hatt' einen Kameraden,
Einen bessern findst du nit.
Die Trommel schlug zum Streite,
Er ging an meiner Seite
Im gleichen Schritt und Tritt
Im gleichen Schritt und Tritt

Eine Kugel kam geflogen:
Gilt's mir oder gilt es dir?
Ihn hat es weggerissen,
Er liegt mir vor den Füßen
Als wär's ein Stück von mir.
Als wär's ein Stück von mir.

Will mir die Hand noch reichen,
Derweil ich eben lad'.
"Kann dir die Hand nicht geben,
Bleib du im ew'gen Leben
Mein guter Kamerad!
Mein guter Kamerad!

In battle I had a comrade, 
You won't find a better one. 
The drum called us to fight, 
He always walked at my side, 
In step through good and bad. 
In step through good and bad. 

A bullet flew towards us, 
Is it for me or for you? 
It tore his life away, 
He lies now at my feet, 
As though a part of me. 
As though a part of me. 

His hand reached up to hold mine. 
While I am re-loading. 
"I can't give you my hand, 
You stay in eternal life, 
My good comrade! 
My good comrade!


© 2000 The Hins