The Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e.V. is a humanitarian
organisation whose task is to register, maintain and care for the graves of
German war dead abroad. The Volksbund counsels dependants in questions of
looking after war graves, provides advice for public and private agencies,
supports international cooperation in the field of war graves care and
promotes encounters of young people in cemeteries for the war dead.
Today, the association has 1.3 million members and donors. It finances
its work through their contributions and donations and through the revenues
from annual household and street collections. The federal government helps
where the Volksbund's own income is insufficient.
This private charity was founded on 16 December 1919. By the beginning of
the 1930s it had already developed numerous war cemeteries. The leadership
of the Volksbund was unable to escape the influence of the National
Socialists after 1933. During the Second World War the work of the Volksbund
was restricted. The Wehrmacht's own war graves service took over the
establishment of military cemeteries.
It was not until 1946 that the Volksbund was able to resume its work. In
a very short time it was successful in establishing more than 400 war
cemeteries in Germany. In 1954, Konrad Adenauer, the German chancellor,
commissioned the Volksbund with the task of searching for, securing and
caring for German military cemeteries abroad.
The Volksbund carries out its work in Europe and North Africa in the
framework of bilateral agreements. It now looks after about 842 military
cemeteries in 44 countries with about 2 million dead. The diverse work of
the association is carried out today by almost 10,000 honorary and 558