Three hundred thirty-one soldiers lie in this military cemetery (Vojenský cintorín), a stone’s throw from the Austrian border. Born in nine different countries, whatever differences they had are buried with them.
Czechoslovakian (122), Hungarian (53), Yugoslav (51), Romanian (43), Austrian (16), Russian (15), Italian (11), Polish (11), and German (3). The remaining six are unknown. And unusually, those six have defined graves.
The 4552 square metre cemetery was established in 1916. Most of those buried here died in the military hospital, nearly all soldiers from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Initially well-preserved, after WWII it was subsumed by the border crossing and generally ignored. The dead were forgotten, their graves given over to the care of Mother Nature.
It wasn’t until 2007 that the city of Bratislava invested in its restoration and preservation.
The authors of the project for the restoration of the military cemetery, Mária Baníková and Imrich Puškár, relied on sketches of the cemetery from March 1922, which they obtained in the archives of the Military Historical Institute in Prague. The landscaping is by Katarína Serbínová.
Spolek pro vojenská pietní místa has the names of those buried in the various sections of the cemetery.
Outside the cemetery, sits a lone grave, that of General Franz Cvrček von Mielec (1857-1934). A general of the Austro-Hungarian army, it is his men who lie inside. While he was posted there, it’s said that he would walk among the graves, stopping at each one. It was his dying wish to be buried with them. His family agreed and a tomb was built. However, when Bunker BS-8 (codename Cemetery) was built, the tomb had to go. The family exhumed his body and brought him home to Austria. They say his soul remains in Petržalka and that he still visits his men each night. The grave that we see today is symbolic and marks the place of the original tomb.
The cemetery is accessible from Kopčianská Street, which leads to a field road leading to Austria. The field road goes along the border and leads directly to the cemetery. The cemetery is open from 1 April 1 to 7 November, Mon-Fri 14.00-21.00 and Sat and Sun 10.00-21.00.
It’s also part of the Soviet Era Post-Communism tour with Authentic Slovakia.