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Margraten Cemetery

The American War Cemetery and Memorial Netherlands in Margraten, the Netherlands is the only American War Cemetery in the Netherlands. In this cemetery, 8,301 American soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the freedoms of others during World War Two have been buried. The men and women buried here died, for example, during Operation Market Garden in September 1944 and during the Allied push into Nazi-Germany. Other than the 8,301 soldiers buried here, the names of another 1,722 American are inscribed on the Walls of the Missing. The remains of the majority of these soldiers have not been recovered, even after 70 years after the end of the war. They rest in unknown graves. Among those buried in Margraten are six Medal of Honor recipients, the U.S.' highest military award.

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The cemetery is located in the town of Margraten in the province of Limburg, the Netherlands. Margraten was liberated by forces of the 30th Infantry Division on September 13, 1944. Almost exactly two months later, the first U.S. soldier was buried in this new cemetery. By 1946, besides thousands of other Allied and German forces, 17,742 American soldiers had been buried in Margraten. In the following years thousands of U.S. soldiers were repatriated to the United States per request of their relatives. At the same time, the bodies of the allied and German soldiers buried in Margraten were transferred to other cemeteries. The bodies of the remaining American soldiers were reburied in Margraten, which was finished in 1949. The cemetery as we know it today was dedicated on July 7, 1960.

Honoring the soldiers
Over the years, a wide range of initiatives has been initiated that focus on the American War Cemetery in Margraten, which is one of the overseas American War Cemeteries that is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. The foundation of many of these initiatives is the "Adopt-A-Grave" program that was set up in 1945, allowing citizens to adopt the grave of one or multiple American soldiers. Ever since, the Dutch and people from surrounding countries have continued to visit the graves of these men and women, decorating the graves with flowers, to express their gratitude for these soldiers, who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Today, in 2014, all 8,301 graves have been adopted and so have been many names on the Walls of the Missing. It shows the continuous commitment of the Dutch to them, even 70 years after the end of World War Two. The Adopt-A-Grave Program for this cemetery is not maintained by us, the Stichting Verenigde Adoptanten Amerikaanse Oorlogsgraven (Foundation United Adopters American War Graves). Instead, the program is maintained by the Stichting Adoptie Graven Amerikaanse Begraafplaats Margraten (Foundation Adoption Graves American Cemetery Margraten). If you would like to find out whether the grave or the name of your loved one buried or memorialized in Margraten has been adopted, please contact them through their website www.adoptiegraven-margraten.nl.

This continuous commitment is reflected in many other initiatives. A wide range of texts has been published on the history of the cemetery and the soldiers buried there. This includes the books From Farmland to Soldiers Cemetery (2009) by Mieke Kirkels, Jo Purnot, and Frans Roebroeks (Eds.) and The Margraten Boys (2012) by Peter Schrijvers. The documentary Bitter Harvest (2009) is a documentary that offers unique footage of the founding of the cemetery. Moreover, annually in September the Stichting Margraten Eerbetoon organizes a Liberation Concert at the cemetery. Furthermore, there is a wide range of private initiatives that have been set up by adopters and relatives of these soldiers on both the internet and elsewhere. They have created many unique memorials to honor those buried in the Margraten cemetery.

More information and burial listings
If you would like to have more information about the cemetery, please visit the website of the American Battle Monuments Commission at www.abmc.gov. There you will also be able to search in the burial listings of all cemeteries to find out where a particular soldier has been buried, be it either in the Margraten Cemetery or any other cemetery maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. In case of the Margraten Cemetery, and the Ardennes and Henri-Chapelle Cemetery, you can also find burial listings and possibly additional information and photos about soldiers in our Fields of Honor - Database.

Visitors' information
The cemetery is open to the public every day of the year, except for Christmas Day and New Year's Day, from 10 AM to 5 PM. If you are planning to visit the cemetery and the grave of a loved-one, please notify the cemetery prior to your arrival by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., so that they can assist you during your visit and answer any of your questions that you might have. On May 4, the day on which the Netherlands commemorates annualy its war dead, the cemetery is also open in the evening. Each year, on the last Sunday of the month, the cemetery will observe a Memorial Day Ceremony, which will be held on May 25 at 3 PM in 2014. The cemetery's visiting address is Amerikaanse Begraafplaats 1, Margraten (the Nehterlands). 

Other information
Adopt-A-Grave program: www.adoptiegraven-margraten.nl
History of the cemetery: www.akkersvanmargraten.nl. Also valuable is the book From Farmland to Soldiers Cemetery and the DVD Bitter Harvest.
American Battle Monuments Commission: http://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memorials/europe/netherlands-american-cemetery
Fields of Honor - Database: www.fieldsofhonor-database.com 

Donate

Would you like to contribute to this project? By donating 10 dollars, you will enable us to give one soldier a face. You can donate via PayPal by clicking the button below or click here to read more.

About

The project The Faces of Margraten is a project by the Dutch non-profitorganization Stichting Verenigde Adoptanten Amerikaanse Oorlogsgraven (Foundation United Adopters American War Graves), whose aim it is to remember U.S. soldiers buried in various overseas American cemeteries. For more information please visit www.svaao.nl or visit our Fields of Honor - Database at www.fieldsofhonor-database.com.

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