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Erinnern und Nachdenken am Kriegerdenkmal Hofgarten

This is the second part of our remembrance postings for 2022 from the collection. This photograph with a focus to World War One remembrance of German Soldiers with the other post of Germans reflecting at a Common Wealth War Graves. The act of Remembrance is something we take seriously at KB41 Collection and honour every year across November but also on every post we share to honour the people and lives in the posts we share.


The photograph here shows the inside of the “Hofgarten Kriegsdenkmal” in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. The “Hofgarten” also known as a courtyard garden is located in the centre of Munich, notably neighbours to both “Residenz” (A former royal palace to the Wittlesbach monarch's of Bavaria) and “Englischer-Garten" (Translating as "English Garden", a large park in the style of a informal landscape that similar to one of England.)

The Kriegsdenkmal was first unveiled in 1924 in the eastern area of the Hofgarten. Located nearby to this was also the Bavarian military barracks, which stood at its location for nine decades. The Bavarian Army Museum was founded in 1879 is also located next to the Bavarian military barracks. With this taken into consideration it was declared that the monument should be built within this area. The surrounds of this rich with Bavarian military sentiments and atmosphere, it was here that the monument to honour those who volunteered , served and gave the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War of 1914- 1918. The monument commemorating and honouring the fallen soldiers of the First World War honours some 13,000 soldiers of the Bavarian and Munich citizens of the period and would later (Post WW2) To honour 22 000 fallen, 11 000 missed and 6 600 victims of the air war of the city of Munich 1939-1945.

The monument was opened by SKH Rupprecht Maria Luitpold Ferdinand, Kronprinz von Bayern, Herzog von Bayern, von Franken und in Schwaben Graf von der Rheinpfalz (His Royal Highness Rupprecht Maria Luitpold Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Bavaria, Duke of Bavaria, of Franconia and in Swabia, Count Palatine of the Rhine) , more commonly known as The Crown Prince of Bavaria. The Crown Prince, As the Former Commander of the Bavarian Army, was the main guest at the opening in 1924. Crown Prince Rupprecht had become taken command (as Generaloberst) of the 6th (Bavarian) Army on the Western Front on 2 August 1914, having been the peacetime commander of 1st Bavarian Armee-Korps (as a General der Jnfanterie). His baptism of fire was his Command of their fighting at the Battle of Lorraine from the 14th to the 25th of August 1914. He would be promoted to General-Feldmarschall in July 1916, and thence to Commander of the "Army Group, Rupprecht of Bavaria" from August 1916. Rupprecht was considered one of the best Royal Commanders of the Imperial German Army in World War One, certainly the only one who merited any rank above Colonel. He was one of the first to realise that the First World War for Germany couldn't be won and he also notably apposed the "Scorched-earth" policy when withdrawing from territory. Rupprecht resigned from his command on the 11th of November 1918, the day of the Armistice, which we now commemorate and know as Remembrance Day. To this, The Crown Prince’s attendance at the opening was symbolic as a veteran and a popular, and notable figure, of the conflict seeing thousands of soldiers die under his Command, but not being seen as a Wasteful General. The statue of the Imperial German Army solider seen here is the tomb inside of the memorial. The memorial and tomb held historical important in both the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. The photograph here is suggested to be taken during the Weimar era of Germany due to the lack of NSDAP symbolism.

The Solider as seen in the photograph is decorated with floral and wreath tributes surrounding and on the solider in the tomb. These tributes, much like modern day wreaths and floral tributes to monuments shows remembrance and an acknowledgement of the sacrifice that was given by the soldiers of Bavaria and Munich from World War One. This showing respect to the fallen soldiers to which many laying such tributes would have stood shoulder to shoulder with in the trenches on the Western Front. During such events an honour guard would be held at the monument to which serving soldiers would guard the monument as a sign of respect, unfortunately this is not seen in this photograph.

The monument itself would see some destruction during the Second World War as the area was frequent to air raids seeing heavy bombing. This unfortunately saw the memorial damaged. The monument was repaired Post war to the design it once was. This is a description of the modern day monument that can be visited at the same location in Hofgarten, Munich. The Kriegerdenkmal is presented with a right-angled pit which is made of marble and two meters deep. Four stone staircases at the corners allow for access to the deepening part of the monument. In position facing the statue of Otto Von Wittelsbach (Duke of Bavaria) the left side of the wall depicts a formation of the Bavarian Army marching in shoulder to shoulder order with the opposite right wall showing details of twelve crosses. These crosses symbolizing the graves of the fallen soldiers with death at the end of the march. The memorial crypt being made of stone, four right angled stones are located in each corner to which a 2 meter thick stone is centred on top. Both East and West sides are architecturally detailed with four stones with engravements of four armed soldiers. The large 2 meter thick stone on top has two inscriptions, the side facing the Bavarian State Chancellery reads " Sie Werden Auferstehen" which translates to "They will be resurrected" and the other sider reads "Unseren Gefallenen" which translates to " Our Fallen", Inscriptions that show honour and respect to the memory of the fallen soldiers and civilians of the monument. Some of the fallen Bavarian soldiers who are remembered at the Kriegerdenkmal are buried at Langemark, Belgium close to Ypres.

The atmosphere and mood can be felt inside the crypt as the stone staircase and marble creates shadows within that creates a cold temperature around the solider, an eery feel that is symbolic of death. The architectural details of the tomb are furthered by the inscription in red marble bearing the words "Bayerns Heer Seinen Toten" meaning "To Bavarian Army and its Fallen" (Which is just out of shot in this photograph unfortunately).The same atmosphere can be seen in this photograph, the silhouette of the statue laid peacefully in the centre with the contrast of the light shining in. The light contrast having a moving and striking effect on the fallen solider monument. The Kriegerdenkmal having some notable flowers and wreaths laid in remembrance that can be seen in this photograph showing the gratitude and appreciation for their fallen soldiers. The memory and sacrifice these soldiers gave will not be forgotten then as the same monument stands now to honour the fallen of World War One and World War Two. The monument of Kriegerdenkmal surviving the harsh bombing of World War Two and was repaired post war and amended to remember the fallen from the Second World War of Munich.

Lest we forget the fallen

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