LINKS WITHIN THIS K.A.H.S. SITE
Here is a list of their names of children interred in the Kindergraves.
E-mail Bob Richmond, Kaiserslautern American High School '55, who maintains this Kindergraves page.
Go to the Frankfurt Kinderfeld page. Bob Richmond also maintains this page for a similar Kindergraves site in Frankfurt.
Go to the Wheelus Kindergraves page. Bob Richmond now maintains this page for a similar Kindergraves site at the former Wheelus Air Base, Tripoli, Libya.
Go to Bob Richmond's site map for his personal Web site.
Return to Bob Richmond's Germany links page.
LINKS OUTSIDE THIS K.A.H.S. SITE
Retired Master Sergeant Terence L. DeLay maintains the official Kindergraves Web site.
John T. Halbert provides a description of the cemetery site, and his page also includes a search engine for the children's names.
posted to the Web April 30th, 1999
updated May 23rd, 2007
The Littlest Raiders
Interments in the Kaiserslautern Waldfriedhof Cemetery 1952-1971
The Kaiserslautern Kindergraves Foundation
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
The remains of 451 American children, mostly infants, who died between 1952 and 1971 are interred in a special section of the Hauptfriedhof (Waldfriedhof), the main cemetery of the city of Kaiserslautern, Germany. Here is a list of their names.
Was ihr getan habt einem unter diesen meinen geringsten Brüdern, das habt ihr mir getan.
- Matthew 25:40b (KJV, Martin Luther)
I am trying to be the stateside contact person for the Kindergraves.
This was the information I had about the Kindergraves in April 2002. (In October 2003 I had the opportunity to actually visit the Kindergraves, and hope to post some more information about them soon.)
CMSgt Terence L. DeLay, the Chairperson, Kaiserslautern Kindergraves Memorial Foundation, writes to me:
For the last two years I've been the chairperson for the Kaiserslautern Kindergraves Memorial Foundation.
Presently, the Kindergraves are under the care of the Ramstein Area Chief's Group and the German-American & International Women's Club. We are helped by virtually hundreds of volunteers each year in maintaining the site. The foundation survives on the generosity of others and is certainly a community project.
Each year, as you probably already know, we hold the Kindergraves memorial ceremony which lands on the Saturday following Mother's Day. This year it is 18 May, 2002. This brief ceremony is highlighted by comments from the KMC Military Commander, the Mayor of Kaiserslautern or designate, and the German-American & International Women's Club president, in addition to the blessings, candle lighting, wreath laying and singing.
One of my goals, while chairperson, is to replace the worn, unreadable grave markers. Last year I was able to raise enough funding to replace 44 markers at a price of $4,500. This year we have donations that will help replace 12 more. The majority of the stones are in satisfactory shape, however, I estimate that up to 25 more stones are in need of replacement this year. The problem is mostly weathering and the fact that the quality of the initial stones was poor. Now, with the advice of the stone sculpturer, we're buying high quality stones from outside the area that have better durability and will last for decades to come.
Contributions may be sent (as of April 2002) to
Kaiserslautern Kindergraves Memorial Foundation
Box 6 Ramstein Community Center
APO AE 09094
checks payable to: Kaiserslautern Kindergraves Memorial Foundation
Bruni Pütz, the president of the Verband der Deutsch-Amerikanischen Clubs
/ Federation of German-American Clubs offers some important historical information:
In the years before 1960 Frau Heidi Lind (the German President of the German-American Women's Club of Kaiserslautern, who had been a member of the Federation of German-American Clubs since 1956) discovered some children's graves in two plots in the Kaiserslautern city cemetery. She was very touched in her heart when she found those graves of little children, and nobody had cared for them.
She developed the idea that the German women of the club and later the American women would go every year in December for a ceremony to honor the little children' s graves and think about the parents we never got to know.
For many years it was the German women (rather than the Americans) in the GAWC Kaiserslautern who cleaned the graves and put wreaths and candles on the graves to shine a little light around Christmas.
The first publication about the ceremony was in the Federation magazine Gazette, No. 1 in 1961. Many articles were published in the Kaiserslautern newspapers in those years. Present at the ceremony that year were Col. Fl. Plate and Capt. George Ambrose and Hochwürden Guntermann, and presidents of the Club Käthe Mörters, Gloria Pyne, and John White.
Over its many years of caring, the club has always invited American dignitaries to come to the ceremonies.
When the lease for the children's graves was about to expire it was Max Pfauntsch (the now retired chief of the Red Cross at Ramstein) who felt very strongly that the graves should be maintained out of respect for the children, and he again approached the club for help.
Both Bruni Pütz and I feel very strongly that the Kindergraves are an important focus for German-American relations in the Kaiserslautern area.
An article in the Air Force News, noted that "Once scattered throughout Germany, the graves were brought together near Kaiserslautern in 1985. The consolidation of the graves in one cemetery resulted in the formation of the American Kindergraves Foundation, which is co-chaired by the Ramstein Area Chief's Group and the German American Women's Club."
"The Kindergraves are in a German cemetery marked by a memorial stone with an inscription that reads: 'In memory of 451 American children buried in Kaiserslautern, 1952-1971.'"
It would appear that some of our "Littlest Raiders" are in truth "Littlest Lions" or "Littlest Eagles."
On a monthly basis, Air Intelligence Agency members from the 26th IG Staff and 426th Intelligence Squadron tend the grave sites on a monthly basis, and the Kisling Noncommissioned Officers' Academy Class 2000-03 has also done maintenance work there.
Dan Nukala, a drama teacher at Ramstein High School, wrote a play, "When the Bough Breaks", about the families of the Kindergraves children. I do not have any more information about this play.
"Kindergraves" is a mixed German and English word that means "children's graves" (correct German would be "Kindergräber", singular "das Kindesgrab"). Please do NOT try to change this word - it's a perfect word for search engines!
Cliff Cizan '59 writes on 11-21-1999 "I have a baby brother, Walter George Cizan, who was born in Landstuhl and died two days later in 1958. He is buried in K-Town." He wrote further "With respect to the interment, all of the grave sites do have headstones with the name and date of each of the "Littlest Raiders" (I like the gentleness of this). I am retired from the Air Force and used to fly into Ramstein plus being stationed there from 1974 to 1978. Have personally seen the grave sites and also my brother's grave. The graves were in a special area and not scattered."
In November 2000 I had a contact from Rod Van Ausdall, who interred the remains of two children there in about 1958.
This notice appeared in January 1996 or earlier, and has been republished a number of times in various publications including Overseas Brats as well as on the Web. I think the address (which I've
struck below) is obsolete
The Kaiserslautern Military Community wants you [to help] locate the families of American service personnel whose infants died while assigned to the Kaiserslautern Community. There are 451 grave sites of American children buried in the Walfriedhof Cemetery between 1952 and 1971. Most are believed to have been buried in Kaiserslautern because there was no financial assistance for their parents to return the casketed remains to the United States. Members of the Kaiserslautern Community along with members of the American military bases have begun a project to lease the land for the sites, to maintain the cemetery facility and to clean the headstones. These same groups have also joined together to hold an annual Memorial Ceremony for these very special children. The records for these children's graves are incomplete. The Kaiserslautern Community Deputy Commander's Office is looking for family members of these children. If you are a family member, or know of one, please write to
86 AW/KCD, Unit 3200, Box 320, APO AE 09094, or call international 011-49-631-536-6741.
E-mail Bob Richmond, class of 1955 representative, Kaiserslautern American High School, and author of this Web page. Bob has an older brother, Albert Marion Richmond, Jr., born and died 14 January 1938, burial in the infants and children's section of the military cemetery at Ft. Sill, near Lawton, Oklahoma.