Russians want sample of ‘sacred’ Leusden soil

The Russian authorities want to collect some soil from the Soviet Military Cemetery and bring it to Moscow. There it will get a permanent spot in a monument to commemorate the victims of the Second World War.

The Soviet Military Cemetery in Leusden is one of over 15.000 burial grounds from which soil will be gathered. During World War II more than 26 million Soviet citizens died, 865 of whom lie buried in the cemetery on the Dodeweg.
The Russians consider the Soviet Military Cemetery hallowed ground. Therefore on Tuesday 12 November in an official ceremony the Russian ambassador will accept a sample of soil that has been secured from the cemetery. This event is freely accessible to the public. Representatives of other nations have been invited.

Remco Reiding, who set up the foundation, has been asked to present the Russians with the soil sample. In the past years he generated a lot of publicity for the war cemetery by identifying soldiers, tracing their relatives and arranging visits to the graves.

Ambassador Alexandr Shulgin and mayor Gerolf Bouwmeester of Leusden will address the attendees. After the meeting the soil sample will be sent to Moscow, where a monument will be inaugurated in the coming year.

The Foundation Russian Military Cemetery, in cooperation with among others the Oorlogsgravenstichting (War graves commission) and the embassy of the Russian Federation, is currently engaged in a complete renovation of the cemetery. On the new headstones mistakes in names will be rectified, and dates of birth and death will be inscribed. The renovation is due to twenty years of research by Reiding and the Foundation Russian Military Cemetery.

For more information:

Remco Reiding
Secretary Stichting Sovjet Ereveld
31 6-14393859