The Russian cemetery in Allinge

The Russian cemetery in Allinge

When World War II ended, Bornholm was invaded by Russian troops. The reason for their presence was that the German occupying troops in Denmark had to surrender to the British troops, which also happened in the rest of Denmark, just not on Bornholm.

Something went wrong in the communication, so the English troops never came to Bornholm, the Russians did.. But the German troops on Bornholm would not surrender to them, only to the English. As a result, Rønne and Nexø were bombed on 7 and 8 May 1945 by the Russians, to make the Germans surrender, which they did, even though the war had originally ended a few days before. The Russians stayed on Bornholm until April 1946, and during that period some people lost their lives, not because of war, but for other reasons.

The establishment of a Russian cemetery in Allinge was not originally planned. The reason is that in May 1945, 4 burial sites with Russian soldiers were found in the North Forest near Rønne. Medical officer Sv. E. Kofoed inspected the graves and then contacted the Soviet Russian authorities with a proposal to establish a cemetery in the north forest or to move the bodies to a special Russian cemetery. On 2 June 1945, the Soviet Russians expressed the wish for a burial place close to Allinge Church, but outside the consecrated ground. The request was processed and approved very quickly, as the cemetery was to be used immediately.

As a result, a burial ground was built just outside the cemetery wall. There are 29 graves here, but all are without crosses, instead a tree is planted for each grave site. No official funeral was held for these soldiers until 1997, when a memorial service was held at the Russian cemetery.

In the middle of the cemetery stands a 4 m high memorial obelisk of polished Rønne granite. On the plinth it says: Eternal fame for the Russian heroes who sacrificed their lives fighting the German occupiers. Fatherland 1945. Further up is carved the Soviet mark – hammer and sail. At the top is the five-pointed star in polished steel. In the 1970s this star disappeared, possibly a collector’s item, fortunately the original mould for the star was found by a collector in Gudhjem, so a new star could be made.

In the 1980s, a large memorial wall was erected on the cemetery, bearing the names of the 30 soldiers who died. One may wonder why there are 30 names but only 29 burial places. In the 1970s, the Soviet Russian Embassy was asked for the names of the soldiers who had died during their stay on Bornholm, but the list that was sent contained 30 names.

Every year, on April 8, official Russian representatives come and lay wreaths on the graves.

None of the Russian soldiers have died in combat, but death from other causes. When they arrived on Bornholm, they appeared to be healthy and well, but later they turned out to be emaciated and hungry.

A story is told about one of the soldiers, he did not die naturally but was liquidated by a commander. The reason was that in an area in Allinge there was an apple orchard at the time, and a soldier apparently went in and stole apples. At one point, the woman who owned the orchard got tired of them stealing her apples, so she went to the commander in chief and complained about her distress. The result was that all the soldiers were ordered to line up and the one who had taken the apples had to step forward. But no one came forward, they were afraid of what might happen. The result, since no “sinner” came forward, was that the commander drew his pistol and shot a random soldier. The woman then stated countless times that had she just kept quiet the soldier might have survived and after that incident, she never said anything to anyone when the Russian soldiers took apples to appease the worst hunger.