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Second balance: face given to 2,451 American soldiers buried in the Netherlands

Published: Friday, July 04 2014

A new counting has shown that personal photos are available of 2,451 American soldiers buried in the American War Cemetery in the Dutch village of Margraten. In the past two months, 224 new photos of soldiers buried in or memorialized at the cemetery were found and submitted, partly as result of the regional interest for the project The Faces of Margraten around Memorial Day this May. Currently, one about one out of every four soldiers buried in the cemetery a personal photo is available. These American liberators will be finally given a face 70 years after the end of World War II.

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"We are satisfied with the current number of personal photos that we have," says Sebastiaan Vonk, chairman of the Stichting Verenigde Adoptanten Amerikaanse Oorlogsgraven (Foundation United Adopters American War Graves), the organization behind the project The Faces of Margraten. "It is remarkbe to see how many Dutch and American people share photos of these soldiers and how they actively go look for photos to give a face to even more soldiers. We will continue to call for everyone to look out for photos and to submit them to contribute to this unique tribute. Together we will be able to give a face to as many of our liberators as possible."

Photos of soldiers can be submitted in various ways, including via the website Moreover, it is possible to send physical copies of photos to the project. Photos can be sent to Loonsevaert 21, 5171 LL Kaatsheuvel, the Nettherlands.

The graves and the names on the Walls of the Missing at the American War Cemetery in Margraten, the Netherlands will be decorated with these personal photos in a yet-to-be-determined weekend in May 2015, when the Netherlands observe the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation by Allied forces in May 1945. Prior to the event, the Stichting Verenigde Adoptanten Amerikaanse Oorlogsgraven will commit itself to gathering additional personal photos of those who died for freedom.

All photos of those buried in Margraten will also be saved in the free, online-accessible Fields of Honor - Database of the foundation, in which information and photos are collected of American WWII soldiers buried in Belgium and the Netherlands. "The Fields of Honor - Database is an online memorial in which personal tribute pages with more information and photos are created for all soldiers. The Faces of Margraten project will bring the photos of these soldiers to the cemetery to give a face to the names on their crosses and the Walls of the Missing, as a tribute to those who died," Vonk says. Currently, information about more than 8,300 soldiers buried in Margraten can be found in the database, including the 2,451 personal photos.

The project The Faces of Margraten is initiated by the Stichting Verenigde Adoptanten Amerikaanse Oorlogsgraven, a Dutch non-profit organization that consists of the Dutch and Belgian adopters of American war graves at American War Cemeteries in the Netherlands and Belgium. In particular, the foundation conducts research to the men and women buried there. The foundation does, however, not maintain any of the "Adopt-A-Grave" programs that exist for various overseas American cemeteries. In case of the Margraten Cemetery, this program is maintained by the Stichting Adoptie Graven Amerikaanse Begraafplaats Margraten (Foundation Adoption Graves American Cemetery Margraten).


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!