Halbe Things to Do
Walk from the railway station to the main road and turn right. After 100m follow the main road round to the right and cross over to the left hand side of the road. After approximately 800m there is a sign post and you turn left. The military cemetery is behind the public cemetery.
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The cemetery is not like other military cemeteries with their headstones standing erect in perfect straight lines. Its easy to walk past without realising this is a military cemetery as the headstones are set into the ground. This is the largest military cemetery on German soil with some 30,000 persons buried in its 17 acres of grounds. Lots of the graves are marked unknown and just the month of April 1945 as the date of death. Its grounds are well looked after with numerous places to sit and reflect.
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The Battle of Halbe was one of the last major battles of WW2 in Europe. It became known as the Halbe Pocket because Soviet Forces surrounded the German Army in the Spree Forest around Halbe. Though the battle only lasted from the 24th April until 1st May 1945 the casualties were high with an estimated 50,000 – 80,000 persons killed from both sides, with a further 10,000 civilians killed who were trying to escape the fighting. The figures will never be known and remains are still being found every year.
It took 3 attempts by the German forces to break out from the Halbe Pocket before they succeeded. Only one third of the German Army managed to escape. The Soviet Troops had occupied Halbe and the German Army had to force its way through the village to escape use the railway crossing in Halbe, which is the only crossing point within a few miles.
I went for a walk in the forest around Halbe to get a feel for the place. You can see the sandy soil which made it impossible for the German Army to dig in. The conifer trees are planted close together and the Soviets fired their shells into the tree tops causing splinters to shower down onto the unprotected soldiers below. It was an eerie silent place, like most battlefields, with the sunlight streaming through the trees, making if difficult to see where you are walking.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Hiking and Walking
Waldstrasse 1, Halbe, 15757, de
Good for: Families
I caught the RB14 from Alexanderplatz to Halbe and the journey takes about 1 hour. It goes to Berlin Schoenefeld first before reversing its journey and turning south to Halbe. You get off the train onto the new platform at Halbe. For the return journey be aware that the platform is on the opposite of the tracks, about 200m closer to Berlin, by an old building. I almost got caught out and would have missed the train.