Belgium / Cemetery

​​Eupen War Cemetery​




​​This cemetery of honour is located within the municipal graveyard of Eupen. It was established in August 1914 and contains 178 graves of former soldiers of different origins (some of which died in the local hospital) from both World Wars.

​​When Eupen, Malmedy and Sankt Vith became part of Belgium in 1920, the population was faced with a curious situation: How could soldiers who had worn the German uniform be honoured within the new fatherland? The sites and monuments commission, aware of the problem, asked the transitional government to keep monuments and cemeteries of honour free from national references. The imposing monument at the back, created by Raoul Lambeau from Antwerp, was added in 1931.

On the right-hand side, the grave of Léon Van Zuyt stands out because of a commemorative plaque added by the regional association of Political Prisoners. Van Zuyt worked as a gendarme officer for the Belgian military intelligence. Made prisoner during the war, he became police commissioner of Eupen in 1945. His predecessor, Fritz Hennes, had died in 1941 in a concentration camp. A Stolperstein in his honour can be found on Simarstraße 124.

On the left-hand side, you may find the resting place of Peter Schmitz from Eupen: a soldier in 1914 to 1918, first president of the local history association founded in 1922, writer and journalist for pro-Belgian newspapers and author of the anti-war novel Golgatha (1937), which was burned by Nazis in 1940. Moreover, Schmitz was a key figure for allied intelligence services in the area. At the time of his death in 1938, he was on the Gestapo's Sonderfahndungsliste. In 1940, the National Socialist mayor decreed the removal of his grave from the cemetery of honour.

While it was restored in 1945, another one was removed: that of SS-Hauptsturmführer Josef Kerres. This fanatical National Socialist from Eupen had encouraged East Belgian soldiers to defect to the Wehrmacht in 1939 to 1940 in order to prepare the ‘liberation’ of the Heimat. On the morning of 10 May 1940, he rode on his bicycle through town, with a swastika flag attached to it. Passing the military barracks, he was shot by a Belgian soldier. His funeral in the cemetery of honour was largely documented in the German press, which celebrated Kerres as a martyr.

​​Simarstraße, 24​, 4700, Eupen

​​+32 87 595887​