German War Cemetery Bad Bodendorf

German cemetery (Kriegsgräberstätte) with 1212 graves. Most of them died in the Prisoner of War Temporary Enclosure "Goldene Meile" at Remagen.

Following the unexpected crossing of the river Rhine by American troops in Remagen on March 7, 1945 and the long prepared Rhine crossing near Wesel on March 23, 1945, the whole Ruhr area was surrounded including more than 300,000 German soldiers. The number of German prisoners of war was increased tremendously by the advance of Allied Troops.

To the west of the Rhine, Prisoner of War Temporary Enclosures (PWTEs) housing 50,000 each were created near Rheinberg, Remagen and Bad Kreuznach. After a short time, these proved to be too small. More enclosures were created, 17 in all.

Terrible conditions prevailed the camps. Drinking water and food rations were lacking. Only few of the inmates had coats or shelter. It was a damp, cold spring with lots of rain. To protect themselves from the weather, prisoners dug holes in the ground. Lack of hygiene caused the spread of diseases such as dysentery. The 62nd US Field Hospital, 120 German military doctors and 750 paramedics tried to fight diseases.

The dead were removed daily from the holding cells. On April 28, a field near Bodendorf was turned into a cemetery, which was closed again on July 15, 1945. By then 1,090 dead POWs were buried here.

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