German cemetery in France symbol of WWI reconciliation

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German cemetery in France symbol of WWI reconciliation

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The message of reconciliation is also very present on Armistice Day in Europe.

In the northern French village of Neuville Saint Vaast, which was destroyed during the war, one can find the country’s largest German military cemetery.

Here lie some 45,000 fallen soldiers, including the remains of 130 who were Jewish.

Horst Howe, the cemetery’s landscaper, told euronews: “After the war, it was normal, France invited Germany to come and collect their bodies. Germany was not organised enough, so France said we’re going to do it for you.”

In the village a former mayor has also set up a museum to keep the memories of the war alive.

87-year-old Donald Browarski has been collecting items to display for most of his life.

He is also keen to highlight examples of reconciliation that began soon after the war. He told euronews: “The German captain sent us a letter that said: we have your wounded and we are treating them; and you can come and recover the dead so funerals can be held.”

Our correspondent, Laurence Alexandrowicz, reported: “Despite the horrors seen here, the small community of Neuville Saint Vaast wants a land of reconciliation. The evidence of that today is a wreath-laying ceremony, the first time since 1960.”