In a front garden, at the corner of the streets Dorpstraat and Beatrixstraat in Riel, this small statue of the German soldier Karl-Heinz Rosch is located.
Karl-Heinz Rosch saved the lifes of two small children during an allied mortar-attack. Some moments later he was killed at the exact place where the children played. He was only 18 years old. The parents and grandparents of Karl-Heinz lived in Eastern Germany. A visit to the family farm where the field grave was located was therefore impossible. Years later, the father of Karl-Heinz visited the farm, he was not told about the heroic deed of their son. This deed was kept inside the family for 60 years because the family was scared of convictions of the people in the village. Until the rescued children made their story public. The remaining family of Karl-Heinz was detected and they were told about the heroic deed of Karl-Heinz. Unfortunately, his parents and grandparents never knew this. Karl-Heinz was a few years after his death, reburied at the German War Cemetery in Ysselsteyn, you see his grave on photo 5.
The memorial is controversial because it shows a German soldier in uniform. Because of that, the municipality did not wat to erect it in public space. The statue is also not financed with public money.
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- Text: Fedor de Vries & Paul Moerenhout
- Photos: Anneke Moerenhout (1,2,5), Fedor de Vries (3) & Jeroen C. Koppes (4)