Nazi monument at Swiss cemetery sparks controversy

For decades the huge monolithic block of granite in the middle of the cemetery in the Swiss town of Chur was ignored by passers-by; no one seemed to know quite what it was.

But the 13-tonne (13,000kg) stone monument that dwarfs the nearby gravestones is now causing controversy – and embarrassment.

Research by a local journalist has revealed links to Nazi Germany, and to neutral Switzerland’s own awkward relations with its World War Two neighbours.

Chur’s cemetery is in the centre of town. Many people, like radio journalist Stefanie Hablützel, pass it every day on the way to work or out shopping.

Nowadays the monument at the cemetery, untended, is covered in moss. The engravings on it are difficult to discern.

The origins of the monument and its links to the Nazi presence in Switzerland were unknown

“At first sight it looks like a war memorial,” says Stefanie, pointing out some faint lettering: “1914 – 1918; hier ruhen deutsche Soldaten… here lie German soldiers.”

Why, though, would German soldiers be buried here?

In fact, thousands of wounded prisoners of war, French and British as well as German, were treated and interned in Switzerland during World War One. Some died from their injuries, others during the 1918 flu pandemic.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here