Cemetery section for air raid victims at the Steinhalden cemetery in Stuttgart

Pictures and text by Mark R. Hatlie

These pictures were taken on 18 March, 2010. This cemetery section has the remains of almost 1000 bombing victims, most of whom were killed in September of 1944. This is the main site of remembrance for the bombing raids in Stuttgart, but there are dead buried elsewhere in the city, for example at the Waldfriedhof

The bodies were taken here immediately after the attacks and originally marked with simple wooden crosses. When the French took their dead back to France in 1948 and locals began to complain about the poor state of this gravesite, the abandoned wooden French crosses were used to mark the buriel plots here. In the late 1950s there was a contest for designs to put the site into a final and presentable form. The design by the only woman among the 13 submissions, and the youngest entrant, Käte Haag, convinced the jury and that is what we can still see at the site today. There were plans for a few years to add a verticle element to the memorial complex, a statue of some kind. It was put off and then, in the early 1960s, given up.

Due to the lack of verticle elements at the site, it is rather difficult to photograph.

As we approach from the center of the cemetery, the site is vaguely visible off to the right. The distant tree line with the buildings is the northern edge of the cemetery. The memorial site is visible in the background in front of that tree line to the left of the pine tree.
This simple sign points the way to the "Field of honor for air victims" ("Ehrenfeld Fliegeropfer").
There were discussions in the city council about making room for large ceremonial events between the graves and the main cemetery walkway. This is approximately where that space would be.
The graves are all marked with flat stones. The smaller stones have single names with dates of birth and death. Most of them have become very difficult to read.
Some are marked "unknown."
A few show evidence of recent visits by friends or relatives.
This is a view from the south looking north across the site.
You have to get really close to read the name: Eleonor Boning, killed at the age of 25 in the large September 17th, 1944 attack.
Some graves get so much attention, they can't be read at all.
The larger stones show several names.
This shot is looking back from the south east corner of the site.
The artwork is in the center. It consists of a meandering walkway between the two fields (north and south side) with three wider, rounded sections. The jury which picked this design noted favorably that these could be used for small ceremonies.
This one shows the years in which Stuttgart was bombed - every year of the war except 1939.
Here are some graves on the left, northern side of the site.
This is the central and largest of the sections.
The jury wanted a tasteful and artistic Christian element in the memorial.
The first stone reads, in large letters, "Our missing" ("Unsere Vermissten"). The rest are covered with the names of people whose bodies were never found.
Looking toward the east.
This is the third section. It reads, "For the victims from a difficult time" ("Den Opfern aus schwerer Zeit").
Here the pathway with the three "stations" is fairly clearly visible.
I was actually done with this site, but then the light changed, so I went back for more photos.
The "shadow" of a candle which had probably rested on the face of the stone for many months.
In the sunlight, the names come out much more clearly in white.
Here lie the remains of three members of the Metzler family and four unknowns.
From here, in the south east corner, looking to the south, you can see a few black, square stones in the distance. That is the gravesite for the victims of Nazi euthanasia.

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Mark R. Hatlie (ViSdM)
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sitesofmemory @ hatlie.de



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