The cemetery has been relocated, the houses abandoned, and the main street is deserted. The tiny western German ghost town of
is making room for the hungry excavators of one of the country’s biggest coal mines. In this rural area wedged between the Ruhr metropolitan area and the Dutch border, Immerath and nearby towns will soon be wiped off the map to allow energy giant RWE to enlarge its huge open-pit lignite mine of Garzweiler. Producing coal is once again lucrative amid a sluggish market for CO2 certificates. Lignite extracted at Garzweiler directly feeds the RWE plants, which are belching white smoke into the sky.Some 7,600 people are being moved in all. Of Immerath’s 900 inhabitants, about 20 are still waiting to leave. The rest have resettled into Immerath-Neu (New Immerath), which has sprung out of the ground in the same district of Erkelenz, or gone elsewhere.Their dead have been relocated to a new cemetery here, and a new school and kindergarten have been built.
Copyright © 2019 Martin Hierck