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Educational Trail Rotava

Forest Cemetery

Situační mapa

A forest cemetery for World War I prisoners lies hidden in the forest at the edge of the plateau between Jindřichovice and Rotava. The prisoners were interned in a POW camp, which in 1915 covered the entire plain. It consisted of nearly 300 wooden barracks on an area of 60 hectares. The area was surrounded by barbed wire and equipped with guard towers and lighting. The first 20 Russians arrived on 17 June 1915. The last transport of about 1,000 men had come on 25 November 1917. In the overcrowded barracks were crammed to 28,000 internees. Total passed through the camp around 40,000 prisoners from Serbia and other Balkan nations and from Russia. Prisoners under guard went to work in the forest factory, to Rotava Ironworks, to stone quarry Kernberg and even to Sokolov, where they built chemical plants and the railway siding. Inhumane conditions and epidemics succumbed daily up to 40 men.

POW camp during World War 1

On the forest cemetery Kernberg was founded two fields of graves, one for the Orthodox Serbs and Russians, the second for Catholic prisoners. The cemetery is dominated by two huge concrete cross – Orthodox (with slanted bottom crossbeam) and Christian (rectangular), both supported by basalt columns from the adjacent quarry Kernberg. Forest cemetery has already become overgrown, but crosses towering over the graves of the sky show that the dead have found peace.

Orthodox cross

Latin cross

In 1931, the former POW water reservoir south of Jindřichovice was rebuilt to small mausoleum on the costs of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The building resembling the Orthodox chapel contains coffins of 7,100 Yugoslavs and 189 Russians. A memorial ceremony for the prison camp victims are held here regularly in the presence of the Orthodox priests, family members of victims and representatives of the Jindřichovice municipality.

Mausoleum Jindřichovice (around 1935)

This text was written by Petr Rojík.

GPS position

N 50° 17.922', E 12° 35.631'