One of the sweetest and strongest signs of friendship between Germany and America happened in Kaiserslautern. From 1952 to 1971, approximately 451 American infants who died at birth or shortly after at the American military hospital in Landstuhl or at nearby civilian hospitals were buried in the Kaiserslautern main cemetery, Waldfriedhof, adjacent to Daenner Kaserne.
Unlike cemetery plots in the States, a plot in Germany is leased for only 20 years at a time. When the lease for the “Kindergraves” came up for renewal, the German-American and International Women’s Club Kaiserslautern and the Ramstein Area Chiefs Group negotiated the terms of the new lease and maintenance in order to prevent the children’s remains from being removed.
Today, the Kindergraves are located in the heart of the cemetery and are maintained year-round through the generous help of volunteers. A yearly ceremony is held in remembrance of the children buried there.
This year’s ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. May 14 at Daenner Kaserne Chapel, with a procession to the cemetery directly afterward. Cake and coffee will be served at a reception in the church.
The ceremony is a public event, and all members of the community are encouraged to attend. Cake donations are always welcome.
For cleanup dates, visit the Ramstein Area Chiefs Group Facebook page. Upcoming cleanup dates are scheduled for May 7 and May 13. The May 13 cleanup day will be in preparation for the May 14 memorial ceremony and will start at 3 p.m.