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German war memorial about to be demolished


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#51 Hedley Malloch

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:55 PM

Can I pass on some information gained in my experience of memorial building in France?

This is a German memorial in a French civic cemetery. Any project to restore it will therefore be ... European.

Leave Sedan to one side. Much will depend upon the motivation and interests of key players in the town hall. If they can't be bothered then you are on a loser. In any event, they can be over-ruled by the Préfecture if it is pitched as something other than a local matter.

Every French region - and I don't know which one Sedan is located in (Champagne-Ardenne?) - has a someone in the main Préfecture or regional HQ whose job it is to extract funds from the EU. Put the restoration of this memorial to them as a cultural - or better still - as an educational project aimed at young people, and ask them to go to Brussels for some funds. 'War', 'France' and 'Germany' are sensitive, emotive words even today, especially in Sedan. But nobody can argue with 'education' and 'youth'.

It's all right discussing it - but who will do it?

#52 egbert

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 01:40 PM

Steve the inscription above the stone cross is not readable, but the military graves in foreground. These are "Soldat Arthur Müller" and "Unteroffizier Utffz. R.Wetzig". The picture must have been taken between November 1918 and relocation

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#53 SteveMarsdin

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 02:35 PM

Hi, Egbert and Hedley,

The letter that Egbert copied signed by the French academics etc. referred to marble plaques and I couldn't figure it out where they had been; you can just make them out on the rear wall in the most recent photograph Egbert posted.

I agree with Hedley, all our postings amount to little if we don't write to the regional government (it is Champagne-Ardenne, Hedley):

http://www.champagne.../index.php/sgar

Just because they have heard from French, Belgian (and some German) historians doesn't negate the value of others (and particularly other nationalities) making their voices heard. I would agree with Hedley on the best aspects to concentrate on. I will write before I return to the UK; I would suggest others do the same.

#54 egbert

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 02:46 PM

Chris,

At some time between the wars the WW1 graves were re-interred elsewhere. The plot was then re-used when the Germans occupied the area from May 1940 onwards. It would be interesting to find a date for Egbert's photo, not only for regards to the maintenance issue but because in it the German plot seems to extend beyond the memorial itself, with a rear wall and large cross. I can't read the inscription above the cross, which should confirm whether it is indeed part of the plot or just the rest of the cemetery.

Steve, got it. It says "To all the German combatants from 1914-15"

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#55 SteveMarsdin

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 12:55 PM

Today's "Remembered Today", Gunner D McLeod, is buried in the cemetery.

Remembered

:poppy:

#56 John Gilinsky

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 12:31 AM

After viewing the photos (great comparison btw) and skimming through this thread topic it appears that age, lack of money and lack of super or potent enough political jurisdiction will doom this apparently French municipally owned controlled German WWI memorial. Sadness doesn't begin to percolate here: the paths of glory may but lead one to the grave BUT we as inheritors of the man built historical environment have a fundamental moral historically based obligtation to preserve as much of the past as possible. With no apparent developer in the wings and no pressing substantial safety reason only the potential due to poor condition (at least in part contributory by the French municipality of Sedan) may I suggest the following: -

The Sedan Municipal Council request private funding including German (and anywhere else in the world for that mattter) so that they can formally authorize a local French restorer or builder to fully restore OR demolish AND thereafter reconstruct this simple but elegant 1915 German memorial in part as Franco-German friendship and peaceful intentions and European cultural heritage solidarity.

Danke und/et Merci!

John
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#57 ph0ebus

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:34 AM

John has an excellent point...private funds can and do often get done what public funds cannot. Before any fundraising though you need buy in by those who are the local decision-makers...without that, no amount of money in the world will save this memorial. Who, if anyone, is taking that part on?

-Daniel

#58 John Gilinsky

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 01:52 PM

Thanks and precisely Daniel: Local tourist PR, local contractural work(employment) all up the alleyway of the local powers that be PLUS national and international interests evoked and perpetuated through restoration and/or rebuild of an early war German memorial(1915). Remember the bitter feelings during 1870-1871 "revanche" and the like: now with EU a great opportunity to distant themselves from such feelings and to engage in practical historical conservation locally based.
John
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#59 John Gilinsky

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:16 PM

Perhaps Sedan, France currently has a German twin city(n'est ces pas ville?)OR it might based on the incentives with this particular German WWI memorial restoration project in mind get such a German twin city or even a temporary acting German twin city that is partially willing to subsidize restoration or rebuild. In addition great pr such as a documentary on the restoration or rebuild, unveiling and ceremonies and thoughts and feelings of the DESCENDANTS traced of those buried (especially German but also must be present French soldiers of the WWI as well)as to their thoughts and feelings.
Come on France and Germany!
John
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#60 Verrico2009

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 03:53 PM

Today's Times carries an article on this, setting out both sides. Apparently the Sedan mayor now says the monument can stay if someone comes up with funds to make it safe, but doesn't want the bill to be footed by local taxpayers and the German authorities had declined to pay for it. An appeal may be launched to fund the restoration.

#61 MartinBennitt

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 10:59 AM

The Times will have picked up the story from the French national daily Libération which had a full page piece on it last week. Agence France-Presse has also done something, though not in English, so interest is growing in the fate of this monument. It may yet be saved.

cheers Martin b

#62 John Gilinsky

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 01:51 PM

Identify all known individual known graves,names and units and then trace their relatives wherever possible.
Then distribute this list of a couple hundred French and German soldiers as widely as possible asking explicitly in all advertising and funding requests
if their modern descendants of these soldiers wish the cemetery to be paved over, destroyed or demolished. Local architectural historians, local history buffs, - veterans organizations as volunteers, local high school students, organize an ad hoc committee to get the facts straight then promote the cemetery burial names and their descendants' interests and funds enabling a viable financial plan for the
conservation / restoration of this major military funeray monument from WI.
John

#63 egbert

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 03:45 PM

John , may I refer to my post#2 for the whereabouts of the German graves today.

With respect to the future of the monument, there will be a public hearing in Sedan some time soon.

Another aspect that might be of interest, although I am not proficient in legal matters of WW1, may be the possible application of Versailles Treaty Article 225 from 1919/1920.
(The picture shown earlier with the neglected graves clearly shows that the monument and the ancient war graves were not cared and not maintained for as the Treaty Article 225 demands.)
Article 225: « The Allied and Associated Governments and the German Government will cause to be respected and maintained the graves of the soldiers and sailors buried in their respective territories.
They agree to recognise any Commission appointed by an Allied or Associated Government for the purpose of identifying, registering, caring for or erecting suitable memorials over the said graves and to facilitate the discharge of its duties.
Furthermore they agree to afford, so far as the provisions of their laws and the requirements of public health allow, every facility for giving effect to requests that the bodies of their soldiers and sailors may be transferred to their own country. »


#64 John Gilinsky

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 08:28 PM

Thanks Egbert. Does anyone know of Article 225 from the Versailles Treaty ever being used to obtain the applicable relevant remedies for paying sufficient support and international legal compliance to such funerary, burial and commemorative purposes? I know that in the inter-war years that both French and I think especially Germans did compalin using or citing Article 225 in part for justification in requesting proper commemorativeness to the graves.
John

#65 egbert

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 08:31 AM

In June some sort of conference will take place in Sedan on the memorial subject. Local and other historians versus the city of Sedan...

#66 John Gilinsky

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 02:45 PM

Thanks Egbert for your update. While I do understand your inference about "...historians versus the city of Sedan." let us hope that the fundamental principles of legitimate and individual commemoration, namely: judeo-christian religious based principles of respect for the dead, honour to our direct ancestors and/or family members, acknowledgement of individual and family contributions and sacrifices to a major world historical event, respect for funerary based historical contemporary commemorativeness through modern day basic conservation or preservation of such funerary commemorations, respect for previous generation's artistic interperation(s) locally based of major world historical event(s) etc...will dominate unreservedly such "discussions." In reality this is about proportioning : Where's the beef - or who PAYS? for all this conservation/preservation!
John

#67 khaki

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 03:55 PM

John , may I refer to my post#2 for the whereabouts of the German graves today.

With respect to the future of the monument, there will be a public hearing in Sedan some time soon.

Another aspect that might be of interest, although I am not proficient in legal matters of WW1, may be the possible application of Versailles Treaty Article 225 from 1919/1920.
(The picture shown earlier with the neglected graves clearly shows that the monument and the ancient war graves were not cared and not maintained for as the Treaty Article 225 demands.)
Article 225: « The Allied and Associated Governments and the German Government will cause to be respected and maintained the graves of the soldiers and sailors buried in their respective territories.
They agree to recognise any Commission appointed by an Allied or Associated Government for the purpose of identifying, registering, caring for or erecting suitable memorials over the said graves and to facilitate the discharge of its duties.
Furthermore they agree to afford, so far as the provisions of their laws and the requirements of public health allow, every facility for giving effect to requests that the bodies of their soldiers and sailors may be transferred to their own country. »


What legal status does 'the treaty' still have or is it now only a prescedent in law?
khaki

#68 viking_raid

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 04:29 PM

Terrible shame

#69 Story

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 01:44 PM

Since Saint-Etienne-a-Arnes has been mentioned in this thread, re-posted in order to give maximum exposure to this craven act.

The more folks who know about it, the better the chances of the culprits being caught.

The graves of 40 German soldiers who died during World War I have been vandalised at a military cemetery in northern France, officials say.
Wooden crosses were pulled up from the Saint-Etienne-a-Arnes cemetery and some were later used for a camp fire.
http://www.bbc.co.uk...europe-18758900

#70 Lazerdude

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 07:38 PM

That's a shame; it looks quite nice.

#71 egbert

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 04:07 PM

In June some sort of conference will take place in Sedan on the memorial subject. Local and other historians versus the city of Sedan...


Found a news videowith latest pictures and excerpts from the debate of earlier mentioned June conference in Sedan (scroll down to bottom).
Sadly I do not understand much French......

#72 Keith Knight

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 06:03 PM

The graves of 40 German soldiers who died during World War I have been vandalised at a military cemetery in northern France, officials say.
Wooden crosses were pulled up from the Saint-Etienne-a-Arnes cemetery and some were later used for a camp fire.
http://www.bbc.co.uk...europe-18758900


I see the reporter in the enclosed link made the mistake that annoys me most - confusing east with west !!

#73 egbert

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 07:52 PM

And I see in my today's video link , post #71, the uniformed German Army captain which indeed is renowned WW1 book writer Markus Klauer presented as a member of the French MoD.

#74 Kitchener's Bugle

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 01:39 AM

It's of the greatest credit to those who paticipate on this forum that they care so deeply about this monument - a German monument.
Never let it be said that those who truely appreciate the sacrifice of the common soldier cannot cross international boundaries with compassion and respect. The "old enemy" still more than ever carries our thoughts and our respects.

#75 Chief_Chum

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:24 AM

A friend of mine was so disgusted at the state of the Great War German Cemetery in Gradsko, Salonika, that she donated €1,000.00 to the local Mayor via The Salonika Campaign Society. They have now done a lot of work to improve the Cemetery. Hopefully the locals might now take an interest and keep it in good order.

One interesting point did crop up during the discussions about it. Apparently the German version of the CWGC do spend huge amounts of time and money commemorating their dead but sadly, with so many Germans buried across Eastern Europe and Russia, and consequently with many more relatives asking for burial details, etc much of their effort is spent there. Consequently tiny cemeteries in far flung places often get left to return to nature.