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Killed American WWII Soldiers given a Face in the Netherlands

Published: Wednesday, April 09 2014

Almost 70 years after the end of World War Two, a new Dutch project will remember the thousands of soldiers that have beenn buried in the American War Cemetery and Memorial Netherlands in Margraten, the Netherlands. In 2014, the year in which the Netherlands celebrates and commemorates the 70th anniversary of the liberation and Operation Market Garden, the Dutch non-profitorganization Stichting Verenigde Adoptanten Amerikaanse Oorlogsgraven (Foundation United Adopters American War Graves) will collect the photos of the American soldiers who sacrificed their lives during World War Two and who found their finding resting place in Margraten through its new project The Faces of Margraten. As unique tribute to the men and women who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the Netherlands and the rest of Europe, as many graves as possible will be decorated with a personal photo, finally giving the American liberators a face.

The American War Cemetery and Memorial Netherlands is Margraten is one of the 24 overseas American cemeteries maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission and the only American cemetery in the Netherlands. 8,301 soldiers have been buried in the cemetery and the names of 1,722 missing American soldiers have been memorialized on the Walls of the Missing there. The soldiers buried there were, for example, killed during Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands in September 1944 and during the Allied push into Nazi-Germany. Almost 70 years after the end of war, all graves still have been adopted by grateful citizens from all throughout the Netherlands and outside through an Adopt-A-Grave program that has been existent since 1945.

Through the project The Faces of Margraten, the Stichting Verenigde Adoptanten Amerikaanse Oorlogsgraven aims to give a face to as many soldiers as possible. After all, beneath each white marble cross on the cemetery, a soldier with its own life story has been buried. The foundation will cooperate with adopters, the soldiers' relatives and veterans' associations to collect as many photos as possible, which can be submitted through the website In May 2015, these photos will be put at the graves as a unique memorial tribute. The foundation will do so with the help of local Dutch and American youth to make them aware of the human cost of war, as well as a reflection of the longstanding friendships between the Netherlands and the United States and their citizens.

The Stichting Verenigde Adoptanten Amerikaanse Oorlogsgraven is a group of Dutch and Belgian people who have adopted the graves of American soldiers in American War Cemeteries in both the Netherlands and Belgium. The foundation's primary aim is to collect and preserve information about the American soldiers buried in the online-accessible Fields of Honor - Database. The foundation does not maintain any of the numerous Adopt-A-Grave programs that exist for American Cemeteries throughout Europe. In case of the Margraten Cemetery, the program is maintained by the Stichting Adoptie Graven Amerikaanse Begraafplaats Margraten (Foundation Adoption Graves American Cemetery Margraten), which will be able to tell relatives of the soldiers buried in Margraten by whom the grave of their loved one has been adopted. 


Would you like to contribute to keeping the memory alive? By donating just 12.50 dollars, you will enable us to give a face to one soldier. You can directly donate 12.50 dollars via your credit card or PayPal by clicking the button below. Click here if you want to read more or donate another amount. Thank you for your support!