On This Day in History: May 26, 

2019 – May God Bless and Save the United States of America – Our Constitutional Republic !

German POWs Buried at Fort Sam Houston and Fort Douglas

The 1929 Geneva Convention, which was applicable during World War II states in Title V. Death of Prisoners of War. Article 76. that:

“Belligerents shall see that prisoners of war dying in captivity are honorably buried and that the graves bear all due information, are respected and properly maintained.” (Emphasis added.)

There are MANY POWs buried in National Cemeteries throughout the United States. Only three of these have seemed to garner any attention today. These three were prisoners of war (POW) who died while serving as prisoners within the continental United States during World War II: Georg Forst and Alfred P. Kafka are interred at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and Paul Eilert is interred at Fort Douglas, Utah. All three of their headstones bear an Iron Cross with a swastika, an earned military decoration. Those who gave the information for the headstones obviously felt that this was part of “all due information.” For seventy-five years these three, who gave their lives for their country, have laid in peace along side their fellow “brothers,” who gave their lives for their country, when each was asked to do so by their respective governments.

So it seems strange to me that there is a hue and cry to deface or exchange their headstones today. These three soldiers died as prisoners of war while serving their country. They were interred in their respective cemeteries according to the Geneva Convention. At some point in the process, inscriptions for their headstones were approved by the Army for cemeteries in two states — Texas and Utah. These headstones were then acquired and erected. Those granting approval were members of the Army who were actually in conflict with these prisoners of war. If they had no apparent problem or issue with the headstone inscriptions why should there be an issue today, two generations later?

This Vietnam Vet certainly sees NO issue! Further this Vietnam Vet hopes and prays that they can be left to rest in peace and that these three prisoners of war who died in captivity, who were honorably buried with their graves bearing “all due information” have their graves respected and properly maintained by We the People as our own fallen are around the world by other nations.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), the tally of American war dead buried in Germany totals fifty-nine. They are buried across Germany in the following cemeteries: Kiel War (1), Hamburg (4), Sage War (6), Becklingen War (3), Celle War (1), Hanover War (4), Münster Heath War (1), Reichwald Forest War (15), Rheinberg War (5), Cologne Southern (2), Niederzwehren (2), Durnbach War (3), Berlin South-Western (1) and Berlin 1939-1945 War (11). These graves are maintained by the German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge).

What is happening here is that two former enemies, and now friends, are caring for the fallen with the honor and respect that is due, nothing more and nothing less. This is equivalent to the honor and respect given to Union and Confederate fallen within our nation, who also lie side by side and who were once bitter enemies.

During the D-Day invasion, the 607th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company interred both American and German soldiers at the location known today as the La Cambe German War Cemetery. After the war, the American remains were exhumed and according to the wishes of the next of kin returned to the United States or re-interred at the permanent American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, France overlooking Omaha Beach.

Perhaps a solution would be for the German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge) to request the removal of the three “offensive” remains and their headstones at Fort Sam Houston and Fort Douglas to the La Cambe German War Cemetery where they could once again be interred with their headstones to lie in peace. But what an indictment against We the People who, as I remember it, always treated our enemies in defeat with respect and civility. So why is it that We the People can’t just let these three Rest in Peace where they presently are?

May God Bless and Save the United States of America —
Our Constitutional Republic !