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German military cemetery in Bitola (WW1 Cemetery)

During the First World War, on the area of the Macedonian Front, with more than 30,000 soldiers and officers, was stationed the 11th German Army.

After the War the German state showed interest in collecting the remains of their soldiers, and their burial in a common grave or memorial ossuary whose form should be based on the cult traditions of German history.

According to archival documents preserved, since May 1930, the German government demanded land in Bitola shaping the memorial ossuary of dead German soldiers during the First World War in this area.

German military cemetery in Bitola is built on a hill of 1050 feet above sea level on the northwest part of Bitola.

German military cemetery in the press and the public are familiar by different names: Totenborg (City of the Dead), the German fortress of the dead in Bitola, German honorary monument in Bitola, while among the citizens most used the term is German cemetery (Германски гробишта) and the area around the cemetery got the same toponym.

The Totenberg was built for more than a year, and it is an architectural work of the famous German architect Robert Tischler. Construction was under the direct supervision of the German People’s Union for the care of military cemeteries.





A description and a model of the Totenborg were first published in “Neue Baupläne des Volksbundes,” 83-85. They clearly attest to the authorship of the architect Robert Tischler and confirm the early planning date (1929/30). According to the material in the Volksbund archive in Kassel, the building activities started in 1934; the inauguration took place on 25 October 1936.

Several comprehensive articles on Bitola, which became one of the Vorzeigeobjekte of the Volksbund, followed the dedication. See. e.g., F. Hallbaum, “Die Totenburg deutscher Helden in Bitolj, Jugoslawien,” Mitteilungen und Berichte vom Volks bund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge 16 (1936), 3-13; idem, “Ehrenmale um Deutschland.” Zentralbatt der Bauverwaltung vereinigt mit der Zeitschrift für Bauwesen 57 (1937), 49-53.