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War Cemetary „Lohrer Wald“

(49°50'21.52"N; 7°49'38.21“E / 32U 415678 5521508)
 

 

Tucked away in the midst of an untroubled woodland, there is one of the numerous war cemetaries bestowed upon Europe by the savagery of WW II, summoned up by Nazi Germany. This is the final resting place of more than 2.000 bodies gathered from temporary graves at battlefields and POW camps in the vicinity. The serenity of the surroundings is in stark contrast to the circumstances under which those who lie here must have perished. It is almost as if the generation of survivors wanted to hide their sorrow and guilt in the dense patch of forest.

The caption of the memorial plaque in the entrance hall translates „You who were sacrificed no longer see the sun and the stars, but you live in the hearts of those who believe“. This is a somewhat ambiguous statement, to be found in a number of German war cemeteries built in the early 1950ies, when coming to terms with the atrocities of the recent past was still a work in in progress, and the private and public sentiment oscillated between denial and shame.

The fact that this cemetary contains the remnants of predominantly German soldiers, prisoners of war and civilians is not my point here. As in a previous post (https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/257654-black-and-white-image-thread/?p=3490492) I explicitely dissociate myself from any attempts at historic revisionism, relativism or exculpation.

The point is, that this graveyard contains lost lives, many of them cut short in their teens. Their heritage to us should be an obligation towards peace and a comittment to civilization.

 

 


[All images in this thread taken with M10 + Heliar 10mm & M9 + Elmarit 28mm asph]

 


 

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[...] Germany sets the standard for taking ownership of its wrongs and memorializing them so not to be repeated in the future. [...]

 

Thank you, indeed. Until a few years ago, I would have agreed wholeheartedly. From the 1970ies until the early 1990ies this appeared to be an unequivocal and irrevocable consensus at the core of our society. In recent years, however, like in other European countries, nationalism, historic revisionism and even outright fascism have begun to rear their ugly heads again. On the streets, and in the political discourse, the Overton window has been shifted dramatically. Opinions and statements that once were deemed taboo, increasingly enter the public debate. There has been a creeping erosion of civil values, albeit not yet of civil rights. I sometimes do worry, what kind of society my children, currently in their teens and twens, will eventually live in. With the generation of wartime contemporary witnesses fading away, memorials like the one depicted in this thread become more important. The lifespan of the majority of those entombed there will resonate with the youths of today. Moreover, it is a place for silent contemplation in an increasingly harsh and vociferous environment. On the other hand, unfortunately even memorials are defenceless against misappropriation. Edited by schattenundlicht
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Bertold Brecht:

 

DER NACHGEBORENE

lch gestehe es: ich

Habe keine Hoffnung.

Die Blinden reden von einem Ausweg. lch 

Sehe.

 

Wenn die Irrtümer verbraucht sind

Sitzt als letzter Gesellschafter

Uns das Nichts gegenuber.

This is deep.

 

However, I am not yet ready to succumb to fatalism.

 

„If you gaze into an abyss for a long time, the abyss will gaze back into you“.

(Nietzsche)

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