Our history

The original idea to adopt graves of the American liberators came up in February of 1945. To this effect the “Burger Comité Margraten” (Citizens Committee Margraten) was formed. The committee’s goal was to support the set-up of the American Cemetery with an extensive adoption campaign. The adopters were supposed to regularly visit the adopted grave and, in case this was appreciated, keep in touch with the next of kin in the U.S.

The campaign gained massive support. At the first Memorial Day in 1945 every grave was decorated with flowers. At the second Memorial Day one year later all graves (at the time an incredible amount of 18,764) had been adopted. Captain Shomon, the founder of the American Cemetery, praised the members of the committee for all the work they had done.

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The people behind the foundation

The “Citizens Committee Margraten” is partially responsible for the correspondence that developed between the adopters and the descendants of the fallen soldiers. It often resulted in connections and friendships that have survived to this day. Due to the ageing of the members of the Citizens Committee and to the arrival of new means of information and communications, the committee’s work was taken over by the specially formed “Foundation for Adopting Graves at the American Cemetery in Margraten”. The new foundation is mainly staffed by persons who are part of Margraten-Eijsden’s social and economic network. Its intention is to carry on the activities of the former citizens committee in the best possible way.

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Books about phenomenon adoption in Margraten

History that matters

For an extensive historiography of the phenomenon of adoption in Margraten we kindly refer to a recent publication by Peter Schrijvers named “The Margraten Boys”, How a village refused to forget its American liberators. The book can be ordered from our webshop.

The Margraten Boys

How a village refused to forget its American liberators. By Peter Schrijvers

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Take a look at our webshop for more publications on this subject.

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