During the two world wars, Spain was a neutral country, but many German soldiers were buried on its soil.
In those two wars, there were German submarines that sank off the Spanish coast or that ended up mooring in Spain before being sunk. The bodies of many of its crew members washed up on Spanish beaches, and some of the survivors of those shipwrecks died in Spanish hospitals.
In total, 26 crew members of the German submarine U-39 of the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) were buried in Spain, under the command of Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Metzger, which arrived seriously damaged at the Cartagena Military Arsenal on May 18, 1918 after being attacked by Allied aircraft.
U-39 was held by the Spanish authorities and its crew was interned until the end of the war, after which the submarine was repaired to be taken to the south of France. It so happened that on November 14, 1917, that submarine had sunk a Spanish schooner, the "Buenaventura", in waters southwest of Sicily, despite flying a neutral flag.
During the Second World War, 154 German soldiers were buried in Spain. Most of them belonged to the crews of the submarines U-77, U-447, U-454, U-755, U-760 , U-955 and U-966 of the Kriegsmarine (the German Navy). In addition, the crews of several Luftwaffe planes, the German Air Force, that crashed on Spanish soil, were also buried in Spain.
The graves of those German soldiers were scattered throughout different parts of Spain, since they were buried in the places where their ships sank or their planes crashed. On the contrary, the graves of the German aviators of the Condor Legion, who fought on the national side during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), were transferred to Germany after the end of that war.
In 1981, the German War Graves Commission decided to gather the remains of German soldiers buried in Spain in a single cemetery. The chosen place was Cuacos de Yuste, in the province of Cáceres and in the southern area of the Sierra de Gredos. This cemetery was inaugurated on June 1, 1983, with black gratin crosses for each soldier and there are other unnamed graves like those at German Military Cemetery of Recogne that we saw here recently.
As in the Regogne Cemetery, in Cuacos de Yuste there are eight unnamed graves, corresponding to soldiers who could not be identified. In them is the expression "Ein Unbekannter Deutscher Soldat" (An unknown German soldier). In the cemetery there are 180 graves (26 of combatants from the First World War and 154 from the Second). There is an austere metal cross and a plaque in German and Spanish, which at the end reads this phrase: "Remember the dead with deep respect and humility." Today, the cemetery is still in charge of the German Graves Commission. of War, dependent on the German federal government.
You can see here a video about this cemetery published by Antonio Lara Arco in 2012:
Main photo: JnCrlsMG.
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