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Search for shot soldiers ended: no finds in Meymac

War Graves Commission and French partner ONAC VG to continue search only if significant new indicators are found

The large-scale joint search by the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e. V. and the ONAC VG (Office national des combattants et des victimes de guerre) did not bring the hoped-for success. It is true that cartridge bullets and casings from French, German, American and Swiss weapons from before 1944 were found, as well as coins from before 1943. These findings suggest that a group of resistance fighters almost certainly stayed there in 1944. However, the remains of the German soldiers have not been found.

Arne Schrader, head of the War Graves Service department at the Volksbund: "The search for the dead soldiers is now over for the time being. We couldn’t find them even though we used technology as well as traditional methods. I am sorry to say that we are all disappointed that this chapter has not yet been closed in a dignified manner. I am very grateful to the Bundeswehr soldiers who interrupted their vacation for us and put all their energy into it, to our 'alumni' who advised us professionally and always lent a hand, to our volunteers who, despite the great heat and after all the setbacks, pulled themselves together again and again, and to our French partners who also worked with us as volunteers. Unfortunately, such setbacks are part of our work, but we are not giving up and are looking for more information."

Rock veins caused radar echoes

The search for the soldiers shot at Meymac in June 1944 and a French woman suspected of collaboration lasted from August 16 to 24. As early as the end of June, georadar surveys identified a 45 x 10 meters suspected area. The arrangement of numerous geoanomalies in the ground suggested a pit.  However, the excavation did not yield a find.  The rock veins lying at a depth of 1.70 meters had caused the radar echoes.

The search teams of Volksbund and ONAC VG extended the radius and investigated a large area of forest. Georadar was used here as well, and new suspicious points were examined more intensively.

Findings provide hope

Then, in an area of about ten square meters, the teams found bullets and shells from French, German, American and Swiss weapons from before 1944, as well as coins from before 1943. But no human remains were found during the soundings near the sites.

The search campaign ended this Thursday. The prefect of the department of Corrèze, Etienne DESPLANQUES, thanked all the German and French teams for their great commitment and cooperation in this special project.

New technology and archive research

The Volksbund and ONAC VG do not want to give up yet. They will analyze all the georadar data now collected, search for any previously unknown archival documents, and explore the possibility of using LIDAR technology to analyze the topography of the sector. If new findings increase the chance of locating the remains of the dead, they will probe again. Arne Schrader emphasizes: "We definitely want to come back - if there is a solid basis."

The Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge (German War Graves Commission) is a nonprofit organization that annually still recovers thousands of war dead abroad, buries them with dignity, and cares for their graves at more than 830 war gravesites in 46 countries. Its work is financed mainly by membership fees and donations.


War Graves Commission needs support

The Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e. V. (German War Graves Commission) is a non-profit organization that searches for, recovers and buries war dead abroad on behalf of the German government and maintains their graves at war cemeteries. It still exhumes thousands of dead bodies year after year - mainly in Eastern Europe. Its work is financed mainly by membership fees and donations. Support the Volksbund through the current campaign: the "One Million Project"!