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German children killed in WWII remembered

The Local · 6 Mar 2012, 09:29

Published: 06 Mar 2012 09:29 GMT+01:00

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Local authorities said they organised the ceremony near Lake Resko, on Poland's Baltic coast, to remember the 76 youngsters and four crew members who died on March 5, 1945.

The Dornier 24 aircraft and the bodies of the victims have remained in the lake since the end of the war, with amateur divers sometimes discovering personal items such as children's drawings preserved in the mud.

But there are now plans to recover the remains and give them a decent burial, provided local authorities and a German foundation can raise the €150,000 ($198,000) needed.

The plane was involved in an air-bridge set up to try to evacuate civilians to the Baltic island of Rügen during Nazi Germany's retreat in the face of a massive Soviet offensive.

As German troops were driven back, civilians fled in fear of reprisals by the Soviets and Poles, whose homelands had suffered a brutal Nazi occupation.

Much of present-day Poland's Baltic coast was part of Germany until the victorious Allies shifted the borders after the war.

If the bodies can be raised from Lake Resko, they will be laid to rest in a cemetery in Szczecin, a city in northwest Poland near the German border.

Almost 67 years after the end of the war, over a million German soldiers and civilians from the Eastern Front and former German territory are still unaccounted for.

Efforts to resolve their fate were hampered by postwar tensions between West Germany and the Soviet-led communist bloc, of which Poland was a part.

But the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989-1991 brought a thaw, opening the way for the restoration of German cemeteries and a renewed drive to locate long-lost burials.

Story continues below…

War dead are discovered regularly in Poland - whether by historians or construction workers - and an official exhumation programme for Germans is governed by a 1991 accord between Warsaw and Berlin.

Since then, some 150,000 Germans have been reburied, the bulk of them soldiers.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:24 March 6, 2012 by Ondrej Kuncar
Sorry, but the photo is not quite appropriate. It's from the Czech Republic from village Lidice, which was completely flattened during WWII by SS. The statues of children on the photo commemorate 82 Czech children from Lidice who died in Chełmno concentration camp.

Check this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lidice
19:36 March 6, 2012 by mikel taylor
@Ondrej Kuncar

You are 100% right this is the statue in Czech.

But nowhere in the article did it say the statue was in lake Resko It only stated a memorial was being held there for the children lost in the Baltic

You observation is very good

I was born in Schreiberhau in German occupied Poland in April 1944 my mother from Bremen and my father an Austrian solder. Of the 120+ new born and children under two years old that were in the area where my mother was ordered to evacuate to when she was pregnant with me only 4 survived, I am lucky to be one of the 4,

I think the important message here is the remembering of the innocent children. This statue should act as a symbolic statue to all the children who died.

Happy to have survived, Sad for those that didn't
01:20 March 7, 2012 by Den Maskin
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
14:16 March 7, 2012 by Sastry.M
Yes, children allow themselves to be nipped in bud for the ignorance of elders in wars waged with ego centered vehemence. Let prudence prevail and blame pardoned so that the posterity may learn to live peace.
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