German Military Cemetery

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After having talked about the Polish Cemetery, now I will present the German military cemetery. This cemetery is a huge war memorial dedicated to the fallen Germans, and despite many mistakenly believe is located in Cassino, actually located in the nearby town of Caira, five kilometers from the town martyr.

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The cemetery welcomes the remains of the Germans have fallen into southern Italy, except Sicily, most of them dead in the bombing in the area of Cassino. Construction began in 1959 to give definitive accommodation to the fallen Germans that at first were taken to makeshift cemeteries. The first to find rest in the Caira war cemetery were the Germans died during the four battles of Cassino (of which I have spoken briefly in previous article: Military Polish Cemetery of Montecassino). The witnesses of the time tell of unforgettable scenes, piles of corpses in a State of decomposition, with cemeteries set up hastily to give a first home to these fallen. The first to be found and buried were of course the dead which were in the sight of all, while it was much more difficult to recover those that were under the debris, in bunkers or in tunnels collapsed. It took a long time to retrieve the fallen, and still finds are made along the Gustav line. Work on the construction of the German military cemetery, begun under the supervision of the architect Tischler, went on for several years, until 1964, but only on 4 May 1965 the cemetery was open to the public.

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To date, the German military cemetery counts 20080 fallen German. Of these many were recognized, have a name, date of birth and a death, while others were buried with the words “En Deutscher Soldat – A German Soldier”.

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Before entering the cemetery, stop right in front of the entrance to the cemetery  at the Memorial Room. Here you will find a large stone mural reminiscent of various German war cemeteries spread throughout Italy, the map of German military cemeteries, registers with alphabetical lists of the fallen and learn more about curiosity and historical events.

Once inside the shrine, you’ll have to travel a short staircase which leads to the real cemetery. Before arriving to the tombs, you will enter a room where there is a cross stained glass and the imposing sculpture called “Affliction and Comfort” (a sculpture depicting a father and a mother who mourn their son died in the war) with the names of fallen soldiers buried in the cemetery.

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The German military cemetery occupies more than half of the anterior part of the Hill of Colle Marino, consists of five ascending terraces and two semiterrazze, divided into 34 fields, as featured on the map found at the entrance to the cemetery. On its summit stands out among tall cypress trees a 11 metre high bronze cross, beyond which lie the common graves.

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The Germanic Caira cemetery attracts a pilgrimage of people from all over the world, not only by European countries, and the number of visitors increases every year more and more, also as a result of initiatives taken by various organizations. During each year take place in the shade of the cypresses towering solemn at the tombs several commemoration involving not only survivors and authorities, but also many inhabitants of the country, called by solemn call of bells.

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The German military cemetery of Caira is today a haven of peace that invites to prayer and reflection all people desiring to be United by a single spirit of love and brotherhood. For this like last time I invite you to visit these places with due respect.

Good light to everyone.

Carlo

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