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RUSSIAN FIELD OF HONOUR

In the Russian Field of Honour in Leusden, near the Rusthof cemetery of Amersfoort, 865 war victims from the former Soviet Union have been buried.

In September 1941, 101 prisoners of war from mostly Uzbekistan arrive at the cattle discharging-berth near the railway station of Amersfoort. The German occupier wants to show the Dutch that our ally in the east consists of dirty, badly dressed ‘Untermenschen’ with Mongolian appearances. Locals are appalled by this propaganda stunt and try to help. The 101 Soviet prisoners are brought to the concentration camp Kamp Amersfoort, where 24 of them die. On April 9, 1942 the remaining 77 are executed. After the war their remains are reburied in the Rusthof cemetery.

In the American Battlefield of Margraten another 691 Soviet prisoners of war have been buried. They have died from illnesses in the last days of the war or directly after their liberation in hospitals in Germany. After the war the authorities want the Battlefield to become a permanent cemetery exclusively for American soldiers. The Soviet victims are brought to Amersfoort, where already 101 Soviets have been buried.

So Amersfoort becomes a collecting point for victims from the Soviet Union who are buried in the Netherlands. Also, the remains of 73 forced labourers and Soviet soldiers in German service are reburied in Amersfoort.

A separate cemetery is created, because Rusthof has insufficient place. This Russian Field of Honour is opened by minister of defense W.F. Schokking on November 18, 1948.

Who does what?

  • The Russian Field of Honour is located next to the Amersfoort cemetery of Rusthof on the territory of the municipality of Leusden.
  • The graves are military state graves of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
  • The Dutch War Graves Commission is responsible for the management and maintenance.
  • The gravestones and obelisk are owned by the Russian authorities.
  • The Foundation Russian Field of Honour is a non-profit organisation that aims to trace and inform relatives, facilitate visits to the graves and keep the memory of the soldiers alive.
Remco Reiding 01-04-2009