The Battle of Verdun in 1916 was the second bloodiest battle of World War I: more than 700,000 dead in total.
That brutal battle was surpassed by an even greater one that same year: the Battle of the Somme, in which more than a million soldiers died. In the case of Verdun, combatants from both sides (French and German) are buried in several cemeteries. The largest burial site from that battle is the Douaumont Ossuary, the largest military cemetery in France. It was built in 1920 and contains the graves of 16,142 identified French soldiers who fell in that battle. In addition, it contains the remains of more than 130,000 French and German soldiers who could not be identified. Let's imagine for a moment the tragedy of so many families who did not even know where their loved ones were buried.
On the occasion of the construction of the Douamont Ossuary, the corpse of an unidentified French soldier was selected on November 8, 1920 by Auguste Thin, a 21-year-old soldier who belonged to the 132nd Infantry Regiment. The remains of that anonymous soldier were transferred to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, being buried under the arch, in what is known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which represents all the soldiers who fell for France.
A few days ago, The History Underground published an interesting video covering some of the French military cemeteries of Verdunand also visiting the tomb of the unknown soldier in Paris:
Here you can see some screenshots from the video. Below these lines, the graves of soldiers identified in the Douaumont Military Cemetery. In the background we see the monumental building that contains the ossuary in which the remains of unidentified soldiers are buried.
A grave of a Jewish soldier, specifically a Captain, who fell in 1916. The stone on the tombstone is a reminder. This is how Jews remember their dead, placing stones instead of flowers on their graves (stones are more durable, of course).
The Faubourg-Pave Military Cemetery, located in Verdun and with a large Latin Cross, contains the remains of 5,095 French soldiers, 14 Russian soldiers, a Belgian soldier and a Romanian soldier.
The tomb of the unknown soldier in Paris. The tombstone reads: "Ici repose un soldat français mort pour la Patrie" (Here rests a French soldier who died for the Fatherland), and the dates 1914-1918 , the year of the beginning and the year of the end of the First World War.
Don't miss the news and content that interest you. Receive the free daily newsletter in your email:Click here to subscribe