The plans for a visitor centre at the Soviet Military Cemetery in Leusden ware well advanced. This place is where the stories of the 865 war victims buried at the Dodeweg site will be told.
At present the Soviet Military Cemetery provides hardly any information. Save for a small notice board at the entrance.
Over the past year the Soviet Military Cemetery Foundation has worked hard on the plan. The project is estimated to cost 1,7 million euros. The foundation expects to attract 15.000 visitors annually. The precise location of the visitor centre near the Soviet Military Cemetery is still in debate.
“These soldiers fought against Nazi-Germany far from home, leaving wives and children in the dark”, says Remco Reiding, director of the Soviet Military Cemetery. “We wish to tell the stories behind these grey headstones, lest we forget.”
The 865 Soviet soldiers at the Dodeweg in Leusden are among the 26 million war victims that the Soviet Union suffered. Over ten million died on the battlefield or under appalling circumstances in a POW-camp as a captive of the Germans.
Partly due to the Cold War not enough is known in the West of the enormous sacrifices made by the Soviet Union in the fight against Nazi-Germany. “Nowhere in The Netherlands is this story told and nowhere in The Netherlands can it be told better than at the only Soviet military cemetery”, according to chairman Alex Engbers.
The Soviet Military Cemetery Foundation is currently engaged in obtaining financial support for the visitor centre. “We ‘re happy with the positive reactions we get and expect to achieve quick results”, says Reiding.
The visitor centre aims for a novel way of presenting, that ties in with today’s wishes. The visitors are going to experience the story through the eyes of the soldier, as though they were there. This will be the first time in our country that visitors are immersed in a ‘first person experience’ of the horrors of war.