The Secret American Military Cemetery Where There Are No Names and Flags Are Forbidden

(Photo: Stranger20824)

The Oise-Anise American Cemetery in Seringes-et-Nesles, France contains 6,021 graves, almost all of whom are American soldiers who died in the line of duty during World War I. The United States and France honor these fallen heroes to this day. The cemetery is well-tended and open for anyone who wishes to pay their respects.

Except for Plot E.

It's a small section in the 36.5 acre cemetery, hidden behind bushes. It does not exist on official maps of the cemetery and is accessible only through a door in the superintendent's office. Plot E has tiny marker stones, but there are no names on them--only numbers. The colors of the United States are expressly forbidden there.

And for good reason. These graves without honor are for American soldiers who were executed for crimes during World War II. Atlas Obscura explains:

The soldiers eventually interred in Plot E were tried for rape, murder, and in one case, desertion (although the remains of the deserter, Eddie Slovik, the only American executed for desertion in WWII, were returned to the states in 1987). After being convicted in U.S. courts martial held in Europe, the men were dishonorably discharged and executed via hanging or firing squad. In many cases, the men who were buried in Plot E were initially buried close to the site of their execution. Those bodies were later exhumed and moved to Oise Aisne in 1949 when the plot of shame was established.

Plot E has been referred to as an anti-memorial. No US flag is permitted to fly over the plot and the graves themselves, small in-ground stones the size of index cards, have no names; they are only differentiated by numbers. Even underground they are set apart with each body buried in Plot E positioned with its back to the main cemetery. The site does not exist on maps of the cemetery, and is not mentioned on their website.

-via Ace of Spades HQ

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First of all, rape, though horrible, does not justify execution. Basically they were committing murder as punishment for rape. Second of all, as others have noted, the families should have the option of recovering the body.
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I am with all of the other folks who have commented. This seems wrong to me and makes me question how the military handles bodies of soldiers that commit these crimes today. I am bothered that these bodies were not returned home and I wonder what their families were told? Did the war office send a letter saying their loved one was kia?
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Just to further that -- Eddie Slovik's wife tried to get his remains returned to Detroit until her death in 1979. A local politician took up the cause in 1981 and wasn't successful until 1987. He was interred next to his wife.
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I guess people that believe in a literal hell would see this as just deserts...if you're going to be tortured for eternity, where you're buried is of little consequence. Personally I think it's all in rather bad snuffed them, now move on and let their families grieve.
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