WW II German Soldiers Unearthed

By PAUL DONNELLEY FOR MAILONLINE
Updated March 14, 2016

Still wearing their boots and helmets, and carrying their weapons, the bodies of German soldiers who died in the Battle of the Seelow Heights have finally been unearthed.

A team of archaeologists - the Association for the Recovery of the Fallen - have uncovered the skeletons of men who died defending Berlin from the soldiers of the Red Army in the final days of the Second World War.

The dig, in Klessin, Brandenburg, brought to the light weapons, helmets, boots and the bones of those fighting to protect the Third Reich.


A member of the Association for the Recovery of the Fallen  uncovers the remains of German soldiers in a Soviet trench close to Klessin (Brandenburg), Germany
The work is painstaking: Human beings are buried below the soil. Gradually skulls are unearthed by the archaeologists

In many cases the German soldiers are still wearing their helmets and boots, made of more durable material than their battlesdresses which have worn away.

In keeping with the spirit of respect the Association fosters, a simple wooden cross was set up at the site, topped with a distinctive 'coal scuttle' German helmet found in the earth.

The battle was part of the Soviet assault on Berlin, lasting three days in April 1945.

Almost a million soldiers of the Red Army under the command of Marshal Georgi Zhukov, attacked the position known as the Gates of Berlin.

Defending the German position were110,000 soldiers of the 9th Army.

Seelow Heights was where some of the most bitter fighting in the overall battle took place. Fighting began in the early hours of April 16 with a massive bombardment by thousands of artillery weapons.

On the third day the final line of the Seelow Heights was breached leaving nothing but fractured German divisions between the Red Army and the chancellery in Berlin.

How this soldier met his end is unknown but he fell fighting the Red Army as it advanced on Berlin in the twilight of the Third Reich
A German tin helmet, a boot, a gun, a belt and what looks like a thigh bone are all that is left of a German soldier

The bones pile up as more and more German soldiers are uncovered in the trench near Seelow Heights where the bitterest fighting in the overall battle took place

The association's mission statement on its website says: '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.

'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.'

Comment:

I'm glad this is being done with respect for the dead, and not being used as an attempt to demonize Hitler and National Socialism.

Hopefully some families will be able to get some closure and veterans benefits that have been denied will be restored.

Dan 88!

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