Ypres Salient Car Route – German Military Cemetery Langemark – Part 2

Time to give a bit more background information about the cemetery.

According to Wikipedia:

The German war cemetery of Langemark (also spelt ‘Langemarck’) is near the village of Langemark, part of the municipality of Langemark-Poelkapelle, in the Belgian province of West Flanders.[1] More than 44,000 soldiers are buried here.[2] The village was the scene of the first gas attacks by the German army, marking the beginning of the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915. During the First Battle of Ypres (1914) in World War I, inexperienced German infantry suffered severe casualties when they made a futile frontal attack on allied positions near Langemark and were checked by experienced French infantry and British riflemen. Contrary to popular myth, only fifteen percent of the German soldiers involved in the Battle of Langemark were schoolboys and students. Legend has it that the German infantry sang the first stanza of what later (1919) became their national anthem “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles“, as they charged. The cemetery, which evolved from a small group of graves from 1915, has seen numerous changes and extensions. It was dedicated in 1932. Today, visitors find a mass grave near the entrance. This comrades’ grave contains 24,917 servicemen, including the Ace Werner Voss.[3] Between the oak trees, next to this mass grave, are another 10,143 soldiers (including 2 British soldiers killed in 1918). The 3,000 school students who were killed during the First Battle of Ypres are buried in a third part of the cemetery. At the rear of the cemetery is a sculpture of four mourning figures by Professor Emil Krieger. The group was added in 1956, and is said to stand guard over the fallen. The cemetery is maintained by the German War Graves Commission, the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge.

You will notice in the pictures that the typical white headstones are not used here in this cemetery. You could see the famous artificial red poppies here too, but also candles, pictures of loved ones and a little note written in Dutch, saying “Peace, please”. One thing is sure: this is a place that we will not soon forget.

10 Comments

  • David December 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing this information and photos. Military history is one of my passions.

    Reply
    • thesweetkitten December 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      You’re welcome!

      Reply
  • petit4chocolatier December 6, 2012 at 2:08 am

    This series is so amazing and a journey. The peace please runs straight to the heart.

    Reply
    • thesweetkitten December 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      It touched me a lot too…

      Reply
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  • Dennis Aubrey December 11, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    The Krieger sculpture is an amazing addition to this cemetery. Was very moved when I first saw it.

    Reply
    • thesweetkitten December 12, 2012 at 9:11 am

      It’s one of the first things you see when you enter the cemetery. We were immediately drawn to it. That’s probably the reason I took so many pictures of it.

      Reply
      • Dennis Aubrey December 12, 2012 at 6:39 pm

        Am intrigued that you and the Viking spent so much time in the Ypres salient. Have you visited Verdun or any of the other great WWI battlefields?

        Reply
  • thesweetkitten December 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Not yet, but we plan to.

    Reply
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