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German war graves desecrated in France

AFP · 28 May 2010, 21:18

Published: 28 May 2010 21:18 GMT+02:00

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Crosses were broken and tombstones overturned in the Guebwiller Franco-German cemetery in the Alsace region. The vandalism affected 95 tombs. An offensive message was written on at least one of the tombs, the Haut-Rhin departmental police authority said, without giving further details.

President Nicolas Sarkozy wrote a letter to his German counterpart Horst Köhler, denouncing the desecrations as "revolting and cowardly", the French presidential palace said.

A total of 1,238 German soldiers and as many French are buried in the cemetery, in a region that was controlled by Germany for half a century until the end of World War I.

France's Defence Minister Herve Morin told AFP after visiting the cemetery on Friday that the vandalism was an "insult to the memory of those who died in the two world wars".

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"It is an insult to all that we have built after the European wars, a country of peace and stability based on reconciliation and Franco-German friendship," he said.

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Your comments about this article

22:33 May 28, 2010 by harrylatour
Absolutely disgracefull and gutless,,,these are the graves of the average cannon fodder,,,not the Nazi leaders.I bet it was done by those with no experience of the hardships of those dark times and I am a 70 year old brit,,,those old soldiers should be allowed their peace,,,as in the end,,they brought it to us.
22:37 May 28, 2010 by bernie1927
The French president has reacted honorably. It is just sad that some deranged individual has done this. I don't think that this act will have any serious consequences. The German/French alliance will not be shaken by the act of a madman.
00:11 May 29, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
That offends me in ways I can't even express.
01:14 May 29, 2010 by wetdawg~
"Revolting and Cowardly" describe it perfectly, which also describes the military mentality of the FROGS!
09:47 May 29, 2010 by OkieinBerlin
wetdawg, I can't see why you would be offended -- apparently, you pretty much share the mentality of the vandal dipshits who did this...
11:57 May 29, 2010 by JohnnesKönig
What a shame... These men once fought against each other and now rest together...

@wetdawg~ This place is a memorial to the price of war. The cost was the lives of people who would rather have lived in peace as we all do now. As harrylatour said, "these are the graves of the average cannon fodder,,,not the leaders."

May they rest in peace...
04:21 May 30, 2010 by wetdawg~
...War keeps the population thinned out...only I am not sure that the mentallty of those left are any greater that those lost...
10:06 May 30, 2010 by VolvoV50
"these are the graves of the average cannon fodder"

Not condoning the actions of those that damaged the cemetery but, how do you know that these were just common cannon fodder and not hard core nazi's?

Let us not forget that Germany has invaded Western Europe twice in the last 100 years and caused how many millions of deaths?
10:22 May 30, 2010 by dbert4
""Revolting and Cowardly" describe it perfectly, which also describes the military mentality of the FROGS!"

In contrast to the American military mentality which is sometime to be proud of?

@VolvoV50 - don't be an idiot, if you are so into encouraging "rememberance". France invaded Europe twice and caused millions of deaths. And the Roman's invaded the world and the Catholic church declared war of on most of the world. And England attempted to colonize the world. And America tries to corrupt it for profit.
19:16 May 30, 2010 by Talonx
I like the idea of these graves in france being a memorial to the price of war. I don't see how the German dead soldiers could be put to any better use in the service of rememberance, they died for nothing afterall

I was once asked by a tourist to Germany, if there are any memorials to soldiers from world war II in Germany. I couldn't fathom how there really could be, but certainly as is the case with various meaningless wars fought elsewhere, there are memorials honoring the meaningless service of those that died for nothing.

However, most WWII dead soldiers are only memorialized in Bavaria and generally it seems that only WWII dead soldiers memorials survive when they are parasitic on pre-WWII memorials (e.g. Franco-Prussian war).

20:37 May 30, 2010 by wenddiver
@dbert4- In contrast to the American Military mentality which is sometimes to be proud of?

Wow- I can't believe I'm reading that from a German. You mean the American military mentality that got the Marshall Plan instituted to rebuild Germany? Perhaps you would have prefererred the Government institute the Morganthau Plan and truely destroy Germany? It may not have occurred to you, but Germany didn't have a lot of fans in 1945. Stalin wanted to start by shooting the entire German Officer Corps. Churchill wanted Germany turned into an Agricultural state. The other countries just wanted revenge.

So what would you have preferred that we put up a wall and shoot anybody leaving? Somebody did that, but it was the US Army. Maybe a nice camp like the Jews got.

What a pity that the US set up Democracy, Unions, Paid Labor, Free Travel, Rebuilt the Factories, gave loans and grants. The Army even fed Berlin by air when your Socialist cousins to the east wanted to starve you into slavery. How many women were raped by the Soviets in Eastern Germany in 1945.

That US Military Mentality is awful, we also gave Japanese women the vote and set up the laws legalizing their workers unions. Must be hell to lose to the US Military.
23:02 May 30, 2010 by Talonx
@ wenddiver

The point he was making is that any military mentality that is gung ho is a bad one. Nobody likes an aggressor, which is what the U.S. has been in just about every war since WWII. Not so much the case for the French, to their credit.

As for the rest of your rant. Irrelevant, Dbert was referring to the here and now.

On the French, the U.S. wouldn't exist without their military and monetary aide, why are so many patriotic Americans so quick to forget that.

Regarding the DDR, contrary what you wrote the were actually Communists after the Bolshevik brand. To call them simply, socialists is obfuscation.

Speaking of all the rights given to the rest of the world, what does that have to do with a military, nobody was fighting Japan to try and give their women rights (maybe if G.Dubya was alive then he might have claimed as such). Besides the U.S. also left more dead than would have ever died otherwise (both sides combined) by using Nuclear Weaponry (turns out those cancer clusters all the scientists at los alamos were warning about are still causing problems in Hiroshima and Nagasaki today).

War is hell one way or the other. I don't think anyone would dispute that. And, generally speaking you shouldn't expect more from hell than hell.

Exceptionally, I think it could be said the France, GB, USSR, and eventually the U.S. were fighting for something. But this has no bearing today, just because American soldiers fought and died for freedom once upon a time doesn't mean they do today.
23:27 May 30, 2010 by wxman
These men are guilty of nothing other than dying for their country. Regardless of our personal political beliefs today, let them rest in peace.
00:08 May 31, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Talonx --

I concur. Besides, it's pointless to argue with a chauvinist with a military hardon.
00:15 May 31, 2010 by Talonx
@ wxman

I would rather have died for nothing than for the Nazis. The simple ragedy is that their lives were completely wasted, to forgot that is to truly dishoner them.
01:49 May 31, 2010 by wxman
Let's let the dead lie gentlemen and continue our diatribe on other topics. It is after all Memorial Day, it should be for them too.
02:49 May 31, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I agree with that.
05:05 May 31, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
On that note, I want to bring up a personal request.

Across the world, thousands of war graves in private cemeteries fall into disrepair, or are removed, every year. Family and friends pass away, and after some time, no one is left to take care of the resting places of those that have fallen and sacrificed.

Please, visit your local cemetery and see what you can do for the graves of the fallen. A simple memorial candle, if that is all you can afford, or perhaps, if you are blessed with more money then most, you couls extend the lease on their land or pay for a maintenance schedule.
19:18 June 2, 2010 by Biggseye
In many ways I can not blame any Frenchman from spoiling these graves, These are the graves of men that killed thousands, not in an effort to protect their nation or their people, but as part of the biggest case of mass murder in the history of this planet. These graves should not be in France, they are a constant reminder of the Third Reich and the Kaiser and their attempts to destroy France and the entire concept of freedom. They are not heroes, they are the men that carried out unlimited war on the population of France and so much of western Europe.

The Germans can in no way claim any form of victim status. They were mass killers, they are the villains here and just as one would not the grave of a mass poisoner in their Cemetery, I can understand why some French do not give a damn about these graves and want them gone.
22:10 June 2, 2010 by VolvoV50
"VolvoV50 - don't be an idiot"

Why am I am idiot for pointing out the extreme brutality of the germans? They were animals and while I do not approve of the actions of those that damaged the cemetery, I also shed no tears. I'll save my tears for when I visit allied cemeteries, holocaust memorials, the damaged villages around Verdun and so on...
05:02 June 3, 2010 by Thames
These vandals and their heroic actions against the dead German soldiers should be commended. Since the French Army could not beat the German Army while these men lived why not attack them now since dead men can not defend temselves.

These people who defaced these graves if they are indeed Frenchman do no honor to the truely heroic and magnificant French soldiers who died in the wars.

Attacking the simple soldier who does his duty and is only guilty of believing his government is an affront to all soldiers most of whom died in wars that were not of their making but that of the political leadership.
20:10 June 13, 2010 by ricke1966
Biggseye, there are ancient agreements between Germany and France about these cemteries being where they are. France is a democracy, and if the French governments agreed to such treaties, then this is binding. Same goes vice versa for allied graves on German land, as well.

I cannot understand at all how you can condone what happened. War crimes have been committed by all sides, be it German, be it Allied. I have seen pictures, films and reports about Feodosia, Broniki, Nemmersdorf and the like, where Soviets mutilated and murdered even helpless, wounded German POWs and civilians, and there are also reports about thousands of German women being raped by French (Maroccan) troupers in places such as Freudenstadt. I am German, and I am female. But never ever would I even get close to the idea that this might justify to sneak on one of the non-German cemtereries in my country, and to start desacring graves of people who did nothing but follow orders and who fought and died for what they believed to be the right cause and to be protecting their fatherlands. How filled with inner hatred must one be to trample on a 90 or 70 year old grave, dedicated to someone who has been killed once before already? I have visited thousands of French, British, Canadian, US, Austrialian, Russian, German, etc. war graves, in Austria, Germany, Belgium, France.... if I ever saw anyone doing something like this, it might actually be something to bring the "hun" out in me indeed - no matter what nationality the poor souls on that cemterey should happen to have. If someone has a problem with German graves on their ground, they shall turn to their government and get them to renegotiate with our country about the current status. But this is definitely not the way, it never was and never should be. It is a disgrace, not to the cemeteries, but to those who commit these crimes themselves. The dead will always be remembered for what they did. Desacring their graves won't make it undone, simple as.

Good day.
16:37 October 17, 2010 by bugger
Biggseye and VolvoV50:

I am very impressed by the deep humanity dripping from your comments.

But you are self-righteous a##h##es, after all, so this should come as no surprise to the unbiased observer.

I am just sorry for the multitudes of your countrymen, all of whom you are giving an undeservedly bad name by your rantings.

However, as long as you do not soil my country with your presence, everything is fine with me.
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