A quiet and sombre place where you can collect your thoughts.
Anyone who thinks that war is exciting and glamorous should come here and see what a price has been paid for wars in the past.
During the battles in Belgium and Western Germany, particularly in Aachen, in the Huertgen Forest and at the Remagen bridgehead, the American Burial Service temporarily buried those fallen German soldiers who they found in four temporary cemeteries: Henri-Chapelle, Fosse, Overrepen and Nueville-en-Condoz. From these four places the dead were then transferred to Lommel in 1946/47. In 1946 the American Burial Service transferred this temporary German facility to the presiding Belgium authorities. The Belgian authorities then transferred additional German war dead from WWII from various parts of Belgium to Lommel. Additionally 542 German WWI soldiers found their final resting place here as part of the dissolution of a small military cemetery in Leopoldsburg.
The park contains over 38,000 graves. One cross was erected for every two burials, so that nearly 20,000 crosses cover the 16-hectare site.
Just outside Lommel is the bridge where the start of the "Market" part of Operation Market Garden began on 17 September 1944.
The bridge is named after Lieutenant-Colonel J.O.E (Joe) Vandeleur, who commanded the Irish Guards infantry, who together with the Irish Guards armour, commanded by his cousin, Lieutenant-Colonel G.A.D (Giles) Vandeleur took the bridge on 10 September 1944.
There is a plaque by the bridge.
This war graves site was developed by the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgr?berf?rsorge e.V. (German War Graves Commission) for the fallen of World War II after it was commissioned to do so by the German government. The Volksbund has to rely on donations and contributions for the maintenance and care of this site. In international youth camps, young Europeans help to care for the site whilst at the same time building bridges of understanding. The centre has the records of most that are buried here, and can help locate the grave of those you seek, however they also help in further research...
Some people are just interested in history and others like myself have family that are buried or remembered in a war grave... One can't put into words the masses of crosses that are laid out..row upon row here in lommel... I was deeply moved by the sheer waste of life that I saw before me, and gave me pause for thought of todays wars and battles that soldiers are ask to fight in... a poem by John McCrae echoed thru my mind when I walked towards my Uncles grave...
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Inside this area you won’t find any walking trails, but the forest roads are always in squares so, it isn’t easy to get lost.
Along the road, you’ll also find several hideouts, which you can use to observe the local fauna.
There are also several oases and pools which the animals use to drink, so when you sit still, you can use them also to observe the birds and mammals.
In Lommel-Kerkhoven you also find the "PIJNVEN forest Reserve".
This forest is mainly used as, forest research- and production area.
This large pin forest is located in opposite of the "Kattebos Forest", the area has got different vegetation types.
Kattebos is a forested area with open bush- and grasslands.
Which you can find in the southern part, along the road Leopoldsburg-Lommel.
When you translate the title you become "cat's forest", although you don't find any wild cats in this area.
You can find a large variety of mammals, birds and insects.