German Cemetery Memory SitesGerman Cemetery Memory Sites
©German Cemetery Memory Sites|Cituation et Ensemble
White House German Military NecropolisNeuville-Saint-Vaast

White House German Military Necropolis


The German military cemetery of Neuville Saint-Vaast was created at the end of the war, between 1919 and 1923, by the French authorities. The Treaty of Versailles of 1919 provided for the mutual maintenance of the graves and, in 1922, France granted the “ex-enemies” who had fallen on its soil the right to a perpetual burial.

In this cemetery, the largest of the country’s German necropolises, were gathered the remains of 44,833 soldiers (including 8,040 unidentified, grouped in a mass grave). They were previously buried in small cemeteries close to the front, in more than 110 communes of the Pas-de-Calais.

Most of these combatants died during the violent fighting in Artois, on the heights of Lorette (1914-1915) and around the hill of Vimy (1917-1918).

"Ich hatt einen Kameraden

In 1926, France authorized the VDK (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, Service d’entretien des sépultures militaires allemandes, subsidized by the German federal state) to operate on its territory but under the control of its administration. The VDK is developing the White House Necropolis, until then a simple unenclosed field, respecting the movements of the land and leaving a large space for trees.

In the center of this eight-hectare plot, a stone monument recalls the first words of Uhland’s poem, famous in Germany: “Ich hatt einen Kameraden / I had a comrade.”

"Reconciliation over the graves."

Since 1966, the maintenance of German military cemeteries has been the sole responsibility of the VDK. Between 1975 and 1983, the association completely redesigned the necropolis at Neuville Saint-Vaast. Cast iron crosses replaced the wooden ones, each bearing the names of four soldiers. Stone steles were introduced for soldiers of the Jewish faith.

Working for “reconciliation over the graves,” the VDK organizes youth work camps each summer for the maintenance of German necropolises in France and Europe.