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Commemorative stone from Wetterfeld

The US Military Government initiated plans for a cemetery to hold the almost 600 casualties of the death march of Flossenburg Concentration Camp in the community of Wetterfeld (today Roding/Upper Palatinate) in 1945. The archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS) still keep the drawings made for three commemorative stones with the symbols of the Latin and Russian-Orthodox crosses and the Star of David on them.

In mid-April 1945, the concentration camp Flossenburg was given up by the SS and more than 10,000 prisoners were forced on "evacuation marches” south. They reached Wetterfeld on 23 April where the marching columns were split and further driven by separate routes. Over 3,000 prisoners were still in and around Wetterfeld, when American troops caught up with the last of these marches. Hours before the SS guards had shot 46 prisoners in the woods of Wetterfeld. They were buried together with another more than 500 dead bodies that were found along the routes of the death marches near Wetterfeld.

The drawings for the commemorative stones in the ITS archives were part of the statistical information which the Allies got hold of in the communities, in order to identify unknown dead prisoners from concentration camps and their burial places. On 4 November 1950, the cemetery was officially opened in a celebration event. Following the exhumation of the 567 corpses in July 1957 and their re-burial in Flossenbürg, the cemetery was closed, and the graveside became a memorial. The three commemorative plates carved from wood are standing there still.