This year our annual road trip took us back to Koblenz for some unfinished business.
Last year we underestimated the size and equipment of the Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung Koblenz …. big time. Looking at our maps we discovered that the tiny town of Pfaffenheck was just a 15 minutes drive away.
After reading the book written by Johan Voss about his enduring in world war two, “Black Edelweiss”, we just had to visit the memorial site of the 6th SS Gebirgsjäger Division Nord at Pfaffenheck (or 6 SS Gebirgsjäger in German).
Johan Voss had his training in Austria and near to the Obersalszberg, or Berchtesgaden, where Hitler and his most important crew had their residences.
After his initial training he was send to Finland above the arctic circle in the Murmansk area.
Here he fought side by side with the Finnish forces against the Russian army.
The 6th SS Gebirgsjäger division Nord, or 6th SS mountain Division North in English, had a high regard of the Finnish forces. The 6 SS Nord had to endure long and cold winters, days without daylight and saw the Northern lights, crawled through mosquito infested marshes, the usual thing in an arctic environment.
After the Finnish government turned side to the Russians, the Germans armies had to leave Finland. Fighting off their old comrades, they first walked to the tip of Norway to find out that no transport was waiting for them there.
Next they walked on to the south of Norway and after a march of 1600 km (!!!!) they reached their transports.
That’s about a 1000 miles.
From here they took a transport to the area around Trier, Germany, to defend the German borders against the Allied armies. This time not the Russian but the American army. They had a heroic moment in encircling and capturing a large portion of the U.S. army there.
After this success, they got ordered to defend other strategic locations. Around this time their C.O. was replaced. With hardly any war experience their new C.O.’s gave them suicide orders. They were beaten back and suffered such heavy losses that within a short time frame, the 6th SS Division Nord even seized to exist.
In his book Johan Voss mentions that he visits (or visited) this cemetery yearly to pay his fallen comrades his respect.
This was rudely interrupted for a few years when the media got notion of it. A few years in a row it was hot news that SS veterans came together to pay respect to their lost ones. In the years after the media slowly lost interest and the ceremony is now held in silence once again.
Visit the 6th SS Gebirgsjäger Division Nord memorial and resting place Pfaffenheck
The memorial and cemetery can be found just south of Pfaffenheck in Germany. It is next to the road 327 leading through Pfaffenheck. The exact coordinates to the site are: 52.18958, 5.29524
The cemetery looks overgrown and unattended for, but this is not true. It is just an other style than the neatly trimmed lawns of the American or Common Wealth cemeteries.
The cemetery is open during daytime hours