The city of Cassino, during the Second World War, was protagonist of one of the bloodiest battles of the war. Like many other cities that are known also because of tragic episodes of this kind, in Cassino the memory of what happened is still alive, also because to remind the inhabitants and visitors of the city of what occurred not many years ago there are not only museums and buildings, like the Abbey of Montecassino, which were destroyed during the fights, but also cemeteries, which silently but heavy cover the territory of Cassino working not only like memorials but also like warning for all of us.

In Cassino many soldiers coming from different countries died, young men that died in battle for something they believed in, or maybe because they had no choice other than taking the field and risking their own life. Young soldiers that now are resting in Cassino, in the various cemeteries of the city: the Polish, the German and the Commonwealth cemetery, which is probably the most famous one.

In the Commonwealth Cemetery 4,266 Commonwealth soldiers are resting; most of them died during the battles of Cassino, which took place from January to May 1944. A wide cemetery, the second largest Commonwealth cemetery in Italy, in which British, Canadian, New Zealand, South-African, Indian, Pakistan soldiers, along with one soldier of the Red Army have been buried. 284 of these soldiers have never been identified. Apart from soldiers’ graves, which form long lines of white stones on a green field, the cemetery also hosts the commemorative monument of Cassino, which was built in 1956 to honour the Commonwealth soldiers that took part in the Italian Campaign.

In addition to the Commonwealth Cemetery, also known as Cassino War Cemetery, you should also visit the Polish cemetery, north of the Abbey of Montecassino. This is where 1,052 soldiers belonging to the 11th branch of the Polish Army are resting, and this is where General Anders, who died in 1961, and archbishop chaplain Gawlina wanted to be buried. You can enter it through a lane lined with cypresses, and the crosses that remind us of the dead soldiers are placed in a semi-circular way.

In the German cemetery, in Caira, north of Cassino, the corpses of 20,035 soldiers of the Third Reich who died in Italy, notably in the area of Cassino to Frosinone, Pescara, Lecce and Reggio Calabria (excluding Sicily) are resting. Started in 1959 by architect Tischler, works went on with Prof. Offemberg. Crosses are placed in a circular way in a sort of amphitheatre, which spreads upwards like a hill, and at the entrance there are the statues of a man and a woman expressing the desolation caused by the tragedy of war. On the top of the hill there is a 11-meter high bronze cross.

Cassino war cemeteries, just because they host the corpse of soldiers of different nationalities, should be seen as monuments against the war in its totality, without any distinction of nationality and boundaries.

This article was written by Francesca Tessarollo with help of battles during ww1. For more information, please visit world war victims or second world war documentary.