Vladslo

Location

This German Military Cemetery is sited about 3 kilometres north east of the village of Vladslo. It is quite well signposted along the N363 from Beerst.

Vladslo friedhof
Vladslo friedhof
 

Historical Information

It was created in 1914 by German troops for those killed in battle during the battle of the Yser (Referred to by the British as the 1st Battle of Ypres).

It originally held the remains of 3,233 German soldiers, however in 1956 a number of smaller cemeteries were concentrated into Vladslo and it now marks the resting place of 25,644 soldiers.

The burials were brought in from as far away as Antwerpen, Namur and Liège and the cemetery is now one of the four great German concentration cemeteries in Belgium.

Visitors to Commonwealth Cemeteries in Belgium will always note the inscription that the land has been donated in perpetuity, in remembrance of the sacrifice to save Belgium.

Vladslo friedhof

Gothic crosses are dotted about the cemetery

The situation for the quarter of a million German dead from the battles in West Flanders is somewhat different. Originally the Soldatenfriedhofs were as numerous on the ground as Britain's. However the territory was rented and initially for only 30 years.

After the Second World War an agreement was reached in 1954 between the two governments and Belgium allowed four cemeteries which would act as concentration cemeteries. This land has also been given on a permanent basis.

The old wooden crosses have been replaced by blocks of Belgian granite each inscribed with up to twenty names.

There are however along the edges of the cemetery a number of original headstones.

Vladslo friedhof

German wreaths are very different from our own

 

The Kollwitz Statues

The grieving parents

The grieving parents of Käthe Kollwitz

These two figures mourn over their sons and one in particular.

Peter Kollwitz was a Musketier when he was killed on 23rd October 1914 during an assault at Dixmude. Until the concentration of the cemeteries he had lain in the Cemetery at Eesen Roggeveld.

His mother, Käthe Kollwitz, a noted sculptress wanted to give some form of expression to her grief and in 1932 these two statues were placed in the Cemetery at Eesen Roggeveld. As time went by the symbolisation of one pair of parents became more symbolic of all parents grieving over a lost child.

When Peter's grave was moved to Vladslo the statues were brought with him. His grave is just in front of them.

 
The grieving parents look down upon the tombs of the fallen

The grieving parents look down upon the tombs of the fallen

Peter Kollwitz Musketier 23 10 1914

Peter Kollwitz Musketier 23 10 1914

 

The other three major Soldatenfriedhof are situated at:

Langemark Langemark
Menen Menen
Hooglede Hooglede