Gardelegen Military Cemetery
Almost all of the graves in the Gardelegen Military Cemetery have Christian crosses with the word Unbekannt (unknown) on them. A few are marked with a Jewish Star of David with a prisoner identification number. Only Jewish prisoners, who had been registered at Auschwitz, had their numbers tattooed on their bodies. This photo shows seven Stars of David in a sea of crosses.
Major General Frank Keating ordered that the graves be kept green, and originally the graves were covered with pine boughs by the Gardelegen citizens. In May 2002, all but a few of the graves were covered only by dirt. The dirt paths are raked every morning to wipe away the footprints of visitors.
The cemetery looked a bit shabby with the Christian crosses badly in need of paint when I visited in May 2002. Only the Jewish Stars of David had been recently painted.
Only a few of the graves were planted with greenery in May 2002, including the four that are shown in the photo above. The grave in front has the prisoner number of the man who is buried here. None of the markers have names and only a few Jewish graves have identification numbers. Gardelegen is the only place where concentration camp prisoners were ever buried in a military style cemetery.