Kontakt Club declares war on weeds, cleans cemetery
November 15, 2011
By Mark Iacampo
HOHENFELS, Germany -- Armed with rakes, pitchforks, and weed-eaters, members of the Hohenfels German American Kontakt Club set out on a clean-up mission to the Polish prisoner of war cemetery located on post, Oct. 22.
"The Polish POW Cemetery is part of the Hohenfels history and should be preserved," said Andreas Kirschenbauer, German President of the Hohenfels KONTAKT Club. "If the grass gets to high it will push over the tombstones and will destroy the cemetery."
Conceived as part of "Make a difference day", this is the second year the Kontakt club has waged war on the weeds. Held annually on the fourth Saturday of October, Make a Difference Day is the largest community service effort in the nation with over three million people participating worldwide.
"It's really great to be part of an organization that is doing something like this," said Captain Andrea Pratt. "It's really nice to do this project in particular because the Polish cemetery is a little bit hard to get to, not everybody knows where it's at. But every now and then, family members do come back to visit the cemetery and it's nice for them to see that people are maintaining it and taking care of it."
The cemetery is part of the garrisons "box tours" which buses visitors through the historic areas of the training area.
"It's very important that the cemetery gets maintained as a memory," said KC member Edith Vogl. "People shouldn't forget what happened here, it should be honored."
Vogl plans to send photographs of the group's efforts to former Hohenfels Chaplain Donald Smith, currently serving in Afghanistan.
"He said he works with a lot of Polish soldiers and…he wanted to show them that Germans are taking care of a Polish cemetery," she said.
Pratt said the Kontakt club is an excellent way to meet and get involved with the German community.
"This service project is just one other great thing that we get to do with our German friends," she said. "It's a nice demonstration of partnership, Americans and Germans coming together to tidy up the Polish cemetery."