Rosch, Karl-Heinz.

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Rosch, Karl-Heinz.

Rosch, Karl-Heinz, born 03-10-1926 in Meißen, was a German Wehrmacht soldier who saved the lives of two children on 06-10-1944.

Rosch was an unwanted child. When both his parents got married again, he spent the rest of childhood with his grandparents in Nerchau. He was very interested in nature and later wanted to become a forest ranger, but the war would obstruct this..

Shortly after Rosch had finished high school exams, he had to perform his military service in the German army. He was placed as a gunner with a Fallschirmjäger artillery regiment. He was stationed on a farm in Goirle in North Brabant; he got along well with the family who lived in the farm. On 06-10-1944, Rosch saved the lives of two children (4-year-old Jan and 5-year-old Toos Kilsdonk)

Death and burial ground of Rosch, Karl-Heinz.

On Friday, 06-10-1944, the village vibrates. Allies and Germans are battling. In the yard, Toos (5) and Jantje Kilsdonk (4) play at the well. A source of happiness? Karl-Heinz Rosch and his comrades run out of the farm on their way to their cannon. They see the children in the yard. Everyone runs further, except the German from the porcelain city. He takes Toos and Jantje under his arm and hurries to the basement, where he reunites the children with their mother. Moments later, Karl-Heinz runs out again. But yard and death are close together: a mortar shell hits.  hit him under his arm; it was exactly where he had just been carrying the children. Karl-Heinz is hit deadly. He is eighteen years old and three days old. The broken-up body of Rosch was buried at the vegetable garden in the yard of the farm at the Hoogeind in Goirle. The farm has since burned down and been demolished. At the request of Karl-Heinz’s grandfather, eyewitness Leo Vermeer took care of the temporary grave until it was transferred in 1947 to the German war cemetery in Ysselsteyn (Limburg). His parents were divorced and Karl-Heinz was raised by his grandfather, who could not visit his grave because he lived behind the Iron Curtain. Rosch was reburied in 1948 at the German military cemetery in Ysselsteyn. However, his relatives cannot visit the place of death and resting place. They live in East Germany. Only after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Karl-Heinz’s father can see the farm with his own eyes. But the Kilsdonk family is silent about his son’s saving act. She fears knotty reactions. A damn Kraut is a damn Kraut, it sounds in the village.

On 04-11-2008, the statue was unveiled that reminds us of the heroic act of Karl-Heinz Rosch. In the beginning it provoked a lot of controversy between supporters and opponents. The statue stands in the garden of the neighbor of the peasant family where Rosch was billeted at the time and can be seen clearly from the street side. It should be the only WWII memorial to honor a German soldier in Europe and probably in the whole world, but there is another one.

Leutnant Friedrich Lengfeld (29-09-1921 – 12-11-1944) was a Wehrmacht soldier during World War II. He was company commander of the 2nd Company of the 275th Infantry Division’s Fusilier battalion and is known for sacrificing his life while trying to save a wounded American soldier who had stepped on a landmine. He wanted to help him and when Lengfeld crossed the street at the level of the seriously wounded American, a rifle mine tore him to the ground. The shrapnel effects of the anti-personnel mine caused serious internal injuries to Lengfeld and he died age 23. There is a Memorial stone for Friedrich Lengfeld on the war cemetery in Hürtgen.

The following inscription can be found on a plaque attached to the pedestal: This image is a tribute to him and all who do good in bad times.Karl Heinz Rosch is buried now on the Ysselstein German War Cemetery, Section BF-Row 10-Grave 238.

The German military cemetery at Timmermannsweg 75 in Ysselsteyn (Limburg) is the largest military cemetery in the Netherlands with more than 31,598 dead. It is also the only German military cemetery in the Netherlands. German soldiers of World War II who were killed mainly are buried there. There are also Dutch people who fell in Nazi-German military service (in particular the SS).

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