Page last updated at 09:57 GMT, Thursday, 13 November 2008

Czechs bury German WWII soldiers

By Rob Cameron
BBC News, Prague

Priests stand by cases with remains of German soldiers in Cheb
The burial was the first of many over the next few months

The remains of several hundred German soldiers killed during World War II, discovered in a disused factory, have been buried in the Czech Republic.

Czech and German officials attended the ceremony at a newly consecrated military cemetery in the western town of Cheb.

The remains of some 5,500 Wehrmacht troops will be buried at the site by the end of the year.

Most are unidentified and were found over the last few years in boxes.

Fresh memories

Small charcoal-grey containers, each about the size of a baby's coffin, were laid end-to-end in freshly dug trenches in Cheb.

"After 63 years, the time has come," said the mayor of the Czech town.

It was just over two-and-a-half years ago that the boxes were discovered in the disused factory in the north of the country.

They were found to contain the remains of thousands of German soldiers, most of whom died on Czech territory.

Even today, only around 1,300 have been identified.

But finding a suitable resting place for them was far from easy - memories of the German occupation are still fresh in many people's minds.

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