The ambassadors of Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Belorussia have this morning each laid a wreath on the Soviet Military Cemetery in Leusden. Thus showing their respect for the 865 war victims from the former Soviet Union that lie buried here.
The Netherlands Ministry of Defence was represented by Lieutenant colonel Peter van Stee. Gerolf Bouwmeester, mayor of Leusden and Lucas Bolsisus, mayor of Amersfoort, also laid a wreath. The commemoration was concluded by Remco Reiding and Alex Engbers of the Soviet Military Cemetery Foundation.
Because of the measures taken against the spread of the corona virus the general public was not welcome at the ceremony. Coverage of the wreath laying will be shown later today at the website of the Soviet Military Cemetery Foundation: www.sovjet-ereveld.nl. “In that way people who visit the military cemetery annually on this special day can still be witness to it, albeit at a distance”, says director Remco Reiding.
Russia and other former Soviet republics celebrate the victory over Nazi Germany on 9 May. During the Second World War over 26 million soldiers and civilians from the Soviet Union were killed. “it is important for us to realise the enormous sacrifices the peoples of the Soviet Union have made”, says Reiding. “In particular we must not forget the 865 war victims that lie buried at this military cemetery in The Netherlands.
The military cemetery in Leusden was long forgotten. Over the past years the Soviet Military Cemetery Foundation has identified more than two hundred soldiers buried there and traced their relatives. The foundation also endeavours to keep the memory of these soldiers alive.