Memorial to 1945 Refugees in Darmstadt Forest Cemetery

Pictures and text by Mark R. Hatlie

These pictures were taken on 12 February, 2006 in the forest cemetery of the city of Darmstadt. It is located just opposite the general war memorial complex. If the viewer of this memorial simply turns around, the entryway to the other memorial is right in front. It is so full of text, it is pretty much self-explanitory. It might only be added that it is typical for memorials to the refugees of 1945 in that it mentions the larger context of the war and Naziism, without which the events of the mid to late forties cannot be fully understood, only indirectly and implicitly, not explicitly.

I don't know why I neglected to photograph the plaque at the base of the cross. It is, unfortunately, illegible.
The small wall on the right bears the words, "1945 / Flight, Deportation, Expulsion". The coats of arms represent six areas from which Germans were expelled: Hungary, Siebenburgen (in Romania), Bukovina (Buchenland in German), Swabians from the Danube, Upper Silisia and Silisia (formerly Germany, now Poland).
The plaque reads, "50 years agowe were, as Germans, deported from our homeland and interned in work and death camps. We had to endure grave injustice, need and death. / Having grown from the purifying power of suffering we demanded in our charter of 5 August 1950 the rejection of revenge, the reconstruction of Germany and the creation of a unified, peaceful and free Europe in which all people and peoples can live without fear and coercion. / We called and call on the people and peoples of good will to labor that out of guilt, unhappiness, suffering, poverty and misery a better path to the future may be found for all of us. / We remember our dead."
The small wall on the right bears the words, "1995 / 50 years / new home". Here, the coats of arms represent six more areas from which Germans were expelled: Sudetenland (now part of the Czech Republic), Weichsel-Warthe (now Poland), Pommern (now Poland), Danzig (now Poland), West Prussia (now Poland), East Prussia (now Poland and Russia).
The plaque begins, "Sometimes one of us, who had to endure injustice, may recall a child, a woman, a man to whom we want to say: / I thank you!". It then continues, "Whether in the old homeland / Or in the work and death camps / After 1945 or during flight / Whether after finally reaching freedom / In Germany or in one of those countries / Into which a friendly power steared our way: / Everywhere we also met people / Who helped us survive / Who encouraged us - as in teh city of Darmstadt / And in the counties of Darmstadt and Dieburg - / To build a new home / Association of Refugees".

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