Dead soldiers are never alone -
For true comrades will always be with them!
This is the guiding principle under which the memorial of the „Windhund-Division“, the former 116. Pz.Div. has been placed
The memorial in Vossenack has been set up in 1966 with the help of donations of the members of the „Familienverband“. It has been created by the sculptor Annemarie Suckow von Hydendorff who lives in Bonn.
The memorial's purpose is to remind us of the 30.000 men, who have died, are still being missed, have been shot to cripples and who have been wounded on this division's long away from Augustdorf to Yugoslavia, across the southern part of Russia, up to the grassland of Kalmücken on the Cas-pian Sea and back, on the Mius River, in the white heat of Saporosje, in the Normandy, in the pocket of Argentan, near Arnheim, near Aachen, on the lower Rhine River and here in the Hürtgenwald.
That was over 300% of the effective strength of this division!
This memorial is also supposed to remind us ol the many German and American soldiers who have been killed in the Hürtgenwald and it should also be a reminder to future generations that never again such a nonsensical dying must happen! It’s purpose is also to remind us of this region’s civilians, who have extremely suffered, who have lost their lives through explosives - also after the war - and at the same time it's purpose is to remind us of the dead soldiers, who have given their young lives here in their home country.
A young generation has been abused at that time for a political intention, which they didn't see through themselves. The members of the former „Windhund-Division“ have become victims to an especially large extend of this cynical regime.
Already in 1943 soldiers of this division founded the „Frontdank-Kameradenhilfe“ in order to support orphans and widows of dead comrades. Out of this society grew in 1952 the „Familienverband der ehemaligen Windhund-Division - 116. Panzer-Division“ and they extended their work of „Frontdank“ to the care for families, widows an orphans of former members of the „Windhund-Division“, who had become undeservedly needy.
This „Familienverband“ is a partnership of men, who haven't forgotten their dead and missing comrades. They think in memory of their dead enemies with respect an hold them in esteem, especially the soldiers of the 28. US Infantry Division.
A museum like exhibition, which has been placed together by a member of the former division, will show, why the division has been called „Windhund“, where this division has been im combat - East and West - in the 2. world war and why this division hereby not only demonstrated courage but also because Graf von Schwerin, and with him this division, has repeatedly acted against Hitler's strict orders, which they did in the Kalmückensteppe - in the bridgehead of Saporosje and on the Maas river.
This was also the case in Aachen, where upon his order the evacuation of the civilians was stopped. Thus, he prevented the city from being destroyed and the „Rheinisch-Westfälische“ division saved residents in September 1944 from a severe fate!
In memory of these men three memorial places have been set up in the „Hürtgenwald“: The memorial, a special window in the Catholic St. Joseph church in Vossenack and an exhibition with the title: „Windhunde call for peace“ (the exhibition is unfortunately closed at the time). All of this should help us to learn from the mistakes of the past and make us never forget the cruelties of the war!!!
This place should remind us of all of the victims. The nearby Franziskus monastery, our place of search of one's soul (a chapel in the crypta) offers an opportunity to pray in quiet memory for victims and for peace.