Through grave historical research, commissioned by the burial service of the Dutch army BIDKL (Bergings- en Identificatiedienst Koninklijke Landmacht), I contributed to the re-identification of a (then) unknown German soldier at the German military cemetery in Ysselsteyn.

German Embassy The Hague, Thursday 24 April 2014
Among the more than 32.000 graves that can be found at the German military cemetery Ysselsteyn in the province of Limburg, more than 5.000 without a name on the grave cross. In these graves are soldiers of the former German Wehrmacht who fell during the Second World War in the Netherlands and who could not be identified at the time of their funeral in Ysselsteyn in the 1950s. One of these soldiers was Oberfeldwebel Karl Götz, who fell as a paratrooper on 26.09.1944 at Wijbosch in space ‘s Hertogenbosch. His family received his death message at that time, but his grave was never found.

Now this unresolved fate could be solved. The burial service of the Dutch army BIDKL (Bergings- en Identificatiedienst Koninklijke Landmacht) in Soesterberg had, after extensive research and archival searches, determined that the dead man lying in Ysselsteyn in the nameless tomb TF-6-67 was Sergeant Karl Götz could act. With the help of the military attaché staff at the German Embassy in The Hague, a surviving son of Oberfeldwebel Götz was found through the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge and the German office in Berlin, the former Wehrmacht information point. A DNA comparison brought the BIDKL the result hoped for from many sides: The saliva sample given by the son in Stendal / Saxony-Anhalt had the same DNA as the sample taken from the bones of the exhumed soldier in Ysselsteyn!

The now 75-year-old Kurt Götz, who visibly moved with his wife and other relatives could now take leave of his father, had tried for many years to find his father’s grave. As a citizen of the GDR, he had not been able to contact the abovementioned services. But even after the fall of the wall, it took almost 25 years until he could now stand at the grave of his father in Ysselsteyn. The grave with the designation TF-6-67 carries since 24 April 2014 the name of Oberfeldwebel Karl Götz and is provided with its date of birth and date of death.

A Dutch and a German clergyman, a group of students currently present at Ysselsteyn Youth Center and soldiers from Logistics Battalion 142 in Torgelow framed this funeral, during which the bones of Oberfeldwebel Götz were returned to the now-designated grave. For two weeks, the soldiers support the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge with the maintenance of the military cemetery.