Reichswald Forest CWGC Cemetery
Reichswald Forest War Cemetery was created after the Second World War when burials were brought in from all over western Germany and is the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the country. Some of those members of the land forces buried there died in the advance through Reichswald Forest in February 1945. Others died crossing the Rhine, among them members of the airborne forces whose bodies were brought from Hamminkeln, where landings were made by the 6th Airborne Division from bases in England. Some of the airmen buried in the cemetery lost their lives in supporting the advance into Germany, but most died earlier in the war in the intensive air attacks over Germany. Their graves were brought in from cemeteries and isolated sites in the surrounding area. There are now 7,594 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 176 of the burials are unidentified. There are also 78 war graves of other nationalities, most of them Polish. Special Memorials to 9 airmen are located at the East boundary wall, near Plot 10. Further Special Memorials to 7 airmen are located within Plot 31, near the Cross of Sacrifice.
We "invaded" from Holland as we were on an operation Market Garden tour. We were visiting a good friends Uncle who was buried here. A quiet spot, as you would expect, well taken care off by the Germans.
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
The castle and the church
From my research (which I did AFTER I visited Kleve...sigh!), there is a Schwanenburg, or Swans' Castle in the center of the city, said to have been founded by Gaius Julius Caesar. Then there is also the 14th-century Gothic church. So if you are into ancient architectures, then keep a look out for these two sites (which obviously I've missed), when visiting Kleve.
- Castles and Palaces
Climb to the top of the Swan-borough-tower
When you're in Kleve, you can't miss it. The castle / borough on top of the hill in the centre of the town. Dominating the view from all sides, this castle is already there from the 10th centure and belonged to the dukes and counts of Kleve. This dynastie claims to be descendants from the legendary "Swan-knight" (Elijas) Lohengrin (about whome Wagner wrote one of his famous opera's).
The story in short: Beatrix, a young lady of royal blood, is left behind after her father dies and leaves her with his ducy (Nijmegen and surroundings, among which Kleve). She has to defend it as many are attracted by this rich land but she doesn't know where to begin. Then at the river a swan, pulling a little boat, brings her a knight in shining armour that offers her his help. She falls in love with him and he agrees to merry her, but ... she never has to ask about his background (familyline). They merry and have three children, all boys (a profecy had told her this already and fortold that they would be victorious in every battle they fought (like their dad). 21 years long count Elijas and his family lead a prosporus time for Kleve, but then Beatrix asks her husband - for the sake of the children - to reveal his past. He disappears and has never been seen after.
On the top of the Swan-castle one sees a swan and the innercourt has a fountain, where a swan is towering over the bassins. From the tower one has a spectacular view over Kleve and surroundings, being almost 100 meters up above the Rhine valley.
The "Moritzgrab" near Kleve, the funerary monument of Prince John Maurice of Nassau-Siegen (1604-1679).
- Historical Travel
Of course,it's worth to go up;but there are other things to do in Kleve as well:Walking in the gardens,the zoo,drinking a bier,going to Nijmeggen...
Statue of the Elector on horseback
The great Elector on horseback (or, to say it in German, Der grosse Kurfuersten zu Pferd) - it's Frederik William of Brandenburg's statue in front of the Swans' Castle.
- Arts and Culture
Matare - 'the Fallen Warrior'
Erected as part of a World War I monument, this statue (by Matare) was pulled down by the Nazi regime. It has found a new place in front of the Assumption Church in Kleve.