Nearly 70 years after the end of World War II, a group of volunteers working in eastern Germany near the Polish border is trying to uncover the remains of fallen soldiers.
Heinz Mutschinski, now 88, is one of them. As a 19-year old German soldier he nearly became one of the buried soldiers in the fields in Klessin.
“Helping here is my therapy,” he said. This is the fourth time he is working with a non-profit group that works to uncover fallen soldiers in eastern Europe.
“We want to give the dead a name and their dignity back, regardless of their nationality,” said Albrecht Laune, the head of the group. Decades after the war ended it is still important for the families, he said.
The group consists of volunteers from Germany, Russia, the Ukraine, Holland and Switzerland. This is the seventh time they are working in Klessin and this time around they uncovered about 30 dead in a mass grave.
This is the largest number of remains the group has uncovered, Laune said. He thinks the dead are former Soviet soldiers.
It isn’t always possible to identify the remains. The Soviets often did not have identification with them. Therefore the searchers look for numbered medals or engraved cooking utensils.
The Association for the Recovery of the Fallen in Eastern Europe was founded in 1992. It is headquartered in Hamburg and is active all over Europe. The 200 members work on a volunteer basis and often take their own holiday time and spend their own money to work on the projects.
Laune wants the area around Klessin to be researched further. In the Spring of 1945 there were hard battles fought here between the German and Soviet armies. Laune thinks there are “still thousands of dead” soldiers in the area.
TheLocal.de | 14 Apr 13 10:53 CET
The Assosiation for the Recovery of the Fallen in Eastern Europe welcomes all interested in this subject. We are searching for the nameless dead, who lay without commemorative stones in the mass graves of War or were buried somewhere, as individuals and are considered as missing. We want to restore people to their name, which was taken from them over 60 years ago.
The dignity of man is untouchable, especially after death
We are not looking for soldiers of the Wehrmacht, not for U.S. GI’s, Marines, soldiers of the red army or Polish Military- not for infantry soldiers, sailors or airmen- not for Good or Bad. We are looking for people- Sons, Fathers, Brothers. Fallen soldiers are also victims- victims of a gruesome war, which they had not caused and had not wanted.
The commemoration of their death shall always be a reminder, to make a contribution to understanding and the peaceful coexistence of nations.
I am really grateful for these efforts! But I must add that, what the authors of the article refer to as “Eastern Germany near the Polish border” was and is, as far as I am concerned, Central Germany. Poland still occupies land that was stolen from us after WWI, and again after WWII (plus much more).
There is no mention of the Waffen SS troops which consisted of about 2,000,000 foreign nationals. The remains of German Waffen SS are still not welcome back on German soil. Talk about a crime against humanity by those who claim to be “humanitarians”! These men were human beings, not monsters, and their surviving families, friends and relatives are humans and have rights too! Deanna Spingola had a wonderful German gentleman on her show a few years back, Gerhard Strauch, who several times helped to give some of the remains of the fallen German soldiers, still strewn about on the former Russian Front, dignified graves. God bless these volunteers! Even the Russians gave them more respect than A. Merkel & Co GmbH. Oh how I despise that woman!
Meanwhile you can look on Ebay and find their clothing, helmets and medals and anything “Nazi” are sold as “memorabilia” by heartless money-grubbing scavengers everyday, much as the remains and relics of the indigenous peoples of North and South America, Africa etc have been disrespected and gathered in American and British museums and private collections. Somehow, I guess they think that putting the adjective “Nazi” in the description makes it OK. I think not. Is it OK if we disturb your war dead and steal from them?? Those are NOT left over props from some old Hollywood war movies. They are valuable artefacts belonging to our cultural heritage. Shame on all of you heartless scumbags It makes me sick! Grrrrr