Army experts launch major effort to name 103 Dutch war grave victims

Photo: P.J.L Laurens at nl.wikipedia
Photo: P.J.L Laurens at nl.wikipedia

A last ditch effort is being made to identify the occupants of 103 graves at the war graveyard in Loenen, Trouw reported on Tuesday.

The unidentified graves are among the last to belong to Dutch nationals who died during the war, army expert Els Schiltmans told the the paper. Some 6,000 graves belonging to allied and German soldiers have no name, she said.

Schiltmans and her team will use DNA research in an effort to trace relatives of the people buried there and relatives of those who died in the war are being urged to come forward. All 103 graves will be opened.

‘A grandchild would be a good donor but a brother would be even better,’ she said. ‘It is a race against the clock. If we don’t do it now, we never will.’

An earlier attempt to use DNA to trace war victims in 2009 resulted in six out of 28 bodies being identified.

In total, almost 4,000 people are buried in the graveyard. They include soldiers as well as resistance fighters, political prisoners and the victims of forced labour in Germany.

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