Memorials to the Dead, the Missing,
and the Survivors of World War I
(most memorials found in Bavaria and Swabia)

Memorials marked * were photographed during their travels by my good friends Luise and Wolfgang Grandel and emailed to me over several years. All others are my photographs, made during excusions with my dear departed friend Waltraut Wollburg, who during many summer excursions between 2000 and 2007 patiently stopped in village after village and at church after church, whenever and wherever there might have been a war memorial for us to visit.
Much has been added to this project, which began as research for my book Bloody Good: Chivalry, Sacrifice, and the Great War (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), thanks to the Onlineprojekt Gefallenendenkmäler, an immense resource that provides transcriptions of hundreds of war memorials naming German and Austrian soldiers. Some memorials below are not included in the OG list. Where a town or city named below also occurs in the OG list, I provide a link (sometimes but not always to the memorial[s] pictured here).

A - D Adelsried
Affaltern
Aichach
*Altomünster
*Anhausen
Augsburg
*Bad Grönenbach
*Bellershausen
Bergheim
*Bernried
*Bertoldsheim
Biberbach
*Bitzenhofen
*Bruchsal
*Buxheim
Dasing
Dinkelsherben
*Dollnstein
Donauwörth
E - N *Ehringen (Wallerstein)
*Eisenbrechsthofen
Eismanberg
*Ettlingen
Friedberg
Gessertshausen
Göggingen
*Hatzenhofen
Inchenhofen
*Inningen
*Kaisheim
Kissing
*Kloster Lechtfeld
*Landsberg
*Landshut
Lauterbrunn
*Maihingen Minoritenkloster
*Mertingen
*Mindelheim
*Minderoffingen
*Neumarkt
*Niederalteich
*Nordheim
O - Z *Oberaltaich
*Pfalzpaint
Ried
Roggenburg
*Rosenheim
*Rothenburg
*Rott am Inn
*Siebenbrunn Nordheim
Sielenbach
*Solnhofen
*St. Florent
*Sulzbach
Sulzberg
*Taiting
Thierhaupten
*Vohburg
*Wallerstein
Welden
Willprechtszell
*Zedtwitz (Thuringen)
Ziematshausen
Zusmarschausen
Adelsried
 
The memorial in this form was creaed for the dead of World War I. A smaller memorial for the war of 1870-71 was then attached
to the back of the base. Stones for the dead and missing of World War II were then added to the front (below, right).
 

Affaltern
Instead of a religious image on this plaque, which is inside the church, a soldier in a helmet. In the cemetery, as if it were its own headstone, a large memorial to the dead of both wars. Click here for more on Affaltern memorials.
 

Aichach

An unusual memorial, centered on images of the Virgin, with a stone commemorating the dead of World War I and World War II, and a Pièta to the far left, under the tree.

 

Altomünster (Petersberg)
Pictures of the soldiers, many from World War II, and a few (e.g., 2nd row, 2 and 3 in) remembered with a memorial.

Additional memorials around Altomünster, courtesy of Onlineprojekt Gefallenendenkmäler, include: Altomünster-Kiemertshofen, Kreis Dachau; Altomünster-Pipinsried, Kreis Dachau, and Altomünster-Wollomoos, Kreis Dachau.

Anhausen
The smaller of the two memorials on the left quotes John 14:2 ("I go to prepare a place for you." The larger remembers
"Our dead 1914-1918, 1939-1945, and all who rest here." The central panels are for three men who died in World War I.
instead.

Augsburg
Church of St. Ulrich, the Protestant Cemetery, and the former Army Kaserne.

Church of St.Ulrich

Not just a memorial, given its size, but a monument, a memorial for a cavalry regiment, attached to the church, downbeat and indeed defeated.
 
The Pr>otestant Cemetery (2002)

The city's main memorial is at the site of an army garrison, now gone. The World War I memorial is usual, of the same brick as the garrison buildings still standing.
There is no piety, and it also shares space with an earlier memorial (which one would expect on a military base).
   
 
This memorial is near another one, a series of short walls with helmets on the outside and the names of soldiers carved into the stones on the inside.
 
Thanks to Wolfgang Grandel for photographing this memorial in Spring 2008.

Bad Grönenbach
A fountain in Marktplatz.
   
Further memorials in this area courtesy of Onlineprojekt Gefallenendenkmäler, include: the memorial shown above, shown at this link with the list of those remembered;
Bad Grönenbach (St. Philippus und Jakobus); Bad Grönenbach (Friedhof); Bad Grönenbach (ev. Friedhof); Bad Grönenbach-Zell (St. Peter und Paul).

Bellershausen

Bergheim
A warrior in classical dress atop a tall pillar, the whole dedicated to the brave sons of the grateful community of Bergheim.
Some memorials are from a parish, others, like this one, from a Gemeinde or municipality.

 
For cemetery memorial with a list of the dead, go to this link, courtesy of Onlineprojekt Gefallenendenkmäler.

Bernried
Perhaps St. Martin (4th century), famous for his military service, being confronted by the beggar for whom the saint divides his cloak. Compare the image at Rott am Inn below.
   
For another view and a list of those remembered, go to this link, courtesy of Onlineprojekt Gefallenendenkmäler.

Bertoldsheim

Biberbach

The church of St. James Major features a commanding "Kreuzigungsgruppe" (hard to see here): a centurion on a horse; Mary Magdalene; Mary, the mother of Jesus; the two thieves; and a large crucifix. The bad thief not only turns away from Jesus but holds up a hand with palm facing Jesus, as if to block him from view. Given the presence of this work, it is appropriate that the war memorial located in a shrine. Nearby is a large Pietà, the mother of sorrows holding the body of her dead son. An iron gate across the front bear the dates of the war, 1914-18. Inside, the walls on either side of the Pietà are lined with four plaques listing the dead from both world wars.



World War II

Bruchsal

An image of uncommon eloquence. It is usual that the sacred figure is shown comforting the wounded mortal who suffers. Seldom does one see a memorial in which a soldier comforts the fallen Christ, which is the case here. We have the impression that it is Jesus who has fallen in the fight. The soldier holding him takes the place of St. John and the Marys who held the body of Jesus when it was taken down from the cross. Compare to the traditional images from Kloster Lechfeld and Sielenbach, below.


Buxheim
This is the memorial in Kirchplatz, erected in 1920 and renovated in 2006.
 
For another view of this memorial, go to this link, and for another Buxheim memorial, go here.

Dasing

Few memorials are so eloquent. This memorial requires the viewer to think about the Passion of Christ as the model for the soldier's experience. At the same time, in using the veil of Veronica rather than the crucified body of Christ, it puts the viewer at a distance from the Passion--a memorial incorporating a memorial. The soldier wears the "pickel" helmet that Germans stopped using after1916. The recently-trimmed trees to the left and right suggest something of the battlefield, too. The tables of names are very large,as one can't fail to notice.


 

Dinkelsherben

The memorial its at the top of a flight of stairs leading from the street to St. Anna's Church. The memorial is crowned by the Iron cross. The two sides of the memorial represent two stages of the military life of one soldier. On the side facing the street, stands a soldier, his rifle at his side, its barrel stuffed with flowers (a conventional gesture for those leaving for the front). He holds a baby. Opposite him, her head resting in her hands, stands his wife, a blanket in her hand. They stand beneath a tree, probably an oak.
On the opposite side is the happy conclusion to this narrative. The soldier has returned and joins his wife and daughter beneath another tree, Christ's body is larger than his. Next to him stands his wife, holding their daughter, now a young child, by the hand. The young girl has folded her hands in prayer. However, the inscription puts a dark cast on what might otherwise be thought of as a happy reunion: "Sie haben ein Besseres, das ist das himmlische Vaterland erwahlt," "They have chosen a better fatherland, the heavenly one." The inscription is presumptive in a way that one often finds in memorials: it claims that the dead have chosen a better fatherland, another way of saying that they have died, and it is not likely that they died by choice. There are 40 dead from the first war, 88 from the second. This memorial is unusual in representing an entire family's experience of the start and end of the war and especially in including children.

 
Additional memorials at this link and here, with the names of those remembered, courtesy of Onlineprojekt Gefallenendenkmäler.

Dollnstein

Also seen at this link, courtesy of Onlineprojekt Gefallenendenkmäler.

Donauwörth

Ehringen Wallerstein

Eisenbrechsthofen
   

Eismanburg

This is a tiny village--a church, no longer open, a few houses, not much more. The church stands on a small rise, and in front of it stands a small memorial, two tablets fixed to a starkly aged rock. The side facing the street lists ten men who died, eight on the Western Front. The reverse, which faces the church, lists the names of the 56 men who took part in the war. From this small village and its surroundings, 66 men went to war, and 56 of them (85%) returned. This memorial suggests that most men who went to war returned with their memories to witness the creation of memorials like this one. In fact, these numbers are representative. The number of men killed as a percentage of all those mobilized varied greatly in the war, from over 26 percent in Scotland to just under 12 percent in England and Ireland, or one man in eight; among the French and Germans, approximately one man in six died.

 

Ettlingen
 

This work is described as a memorial to the dead of World War I, but it is also an anti-war memorial (created in 1927) that goes beyond the sacrifices of the war to focus on war itself. Death appears as the Grim Reaper who tramples soldiers and civilians alike. The memorial is a warning of the horrors of war and was placed in a public place, not hidden in a cemetery (paraphrasing the German below). Actually, most memorials are not in cemeteries in Bavaria, or, if they are, as at Sielenbach (below), they are in burial grounds close to a church, not hidden away. Absent such elements as the names and dates of the dead of Ettlingen, the memorial really does not serve their memory. As to how effective such warnings are to the general public, one need only look to history.
From a guidebook published by the city of Ettlingen: "Oskar A. Kiefer schuf dieses in seiner Bildsprache ungewöhnliche Mahnmal für die Opfer des Ersten Weltkrieges. Der Tod als Sensenmann reitet aufeinem gewaltigen Pferd über Soldaten und Zivilisten gleichermaßen hinweg undschwingt erbarmungslos seine todbringende Sense. Unter dem Eindruck der zahllosen Kriegsopfer des Ersten Weltkrieges kam es dem Künstler daraufan, vor den Schrecken des Krieges zu warnen und dies an einer frequentierten Stelle innerhalb der Stadt und nicht an entlegenem Ort auf dem Friedhof."

Friedberg
 

The soldier's posture resembles that of a knight lying on his tomb, complete with a beast athis feet. On the left in the mandorola above the table of names we see St. George and the dragon.These are pretty clearly elements of an earlier memorial that has been rehoused so they can be protected from the weather. (Photograph below courtesy of W. Grandel.)

Gessertshausen

This memorial seems to have been moved from outside to inside at some point. The figures show age and wear and stand out against a newer setting. Two soldiers in two aspects, one with a weapon, one without. The unifying concept is obscure; the figure on the right seems to be wearing a blanket, but it is hard to be sure.
Also seen at this link, courtesy of Onlineprojekt Gefallenendenkmäler.

Gögginggen (2006)
 
Note the helmet and medals (possibly) on the right, registering the reality of military service in the presence of the Pièta. Local veterans supported the construction of this memorial.

Hatzenhofen

Inchenhofen
Church of St. Leonard.
 

Inningen (2006)
 
A very modern Pièta, with Christ face down on Mary's lap. one hand and both feet turned to center of image, easier to carve than with the extremeties turned out and into space.
   

Kaisheim

Kissing
St. George and the dragon, very handsomely done.

Kloster Lechtfeld
 
The expected relationship between Christ and the soldier is seen at left, the soldier making a petition or praying.
This site is also a cemetery where unidentified soldiers have been buried, including one from Italy (above, right).
 

Landsberg
 

Landshut
Note that the sculpture above the tablet of names at Maihingen is identical to this one.
          Maihingen

(Minoritenkloster) Note that the sculpture above the tablet of names at Landshut
is identical to this one.

Lauterbrunn
It is unusual to find men listed on the memorial buried in the cemetery; Paul Karner and Anton Miller are both buried here.
   

Mertingen

Mindelheim
 

Minderoffingen

Neumarkt
   

Above, left: Inside the church, an unusual mix of materials, including a regimental standard (from 1874?), a simple wooden cross of the kind that served as grave markers, the Iron Cross, a statue of the Virgin Mary, and, on the walls, names of those who served and fell. Above, right, and below: a Pietà without contemporary (i.e., war-related) associations.

 

Niederalteich

Nordheim
 

Oberaltaich

 

Pfalzpaint

Ried (2006)
   
A fine old memorial; the plates on the base (right) show that it has been updated without affecting the memorial's strong period feel.
For those named in this memorial, go to this link, courtesy of the Onlineprojekt.

Roggenburg (2004)
A marvelous memorial to both world wars, but the uniform is from World War II. Four tablets with names. The location, below the ground level of the church (visible, upper left of right picture), even suggests a trench.
 

Rosenheim
The memorial refers to World War II dead and missing.

See also this link, courtesy of the Onlineprojekt.

Rothenburg
Inside the church, partially covered by the right arm of a cross, perhaps.

See another memorial here at this link, courtesy of the Onlineprojekt.

Rott am Inn
St. Martin takes his sword to divide his cloak and assist the man begging for his help. Martin was a celebrated soldier, hence his presence in this memorial and the one at Bernried.

Siebenbrunn
   

Sielenbach

Another example of brilliant, eloquent, unassuming memorial iconography. Sielenbach's St. Peter's Church holds a masterpiece among Bavarian memorials, a bas-relief mounted on the rear wall of the church. The church is surrounded by cemetery where soldiers killed in World War I and World War II are buried along with members of the parish. The inner panels of the monument list the forty-six men from the parish who died in the Great War; the larger outer and bottom panels list the far larger number who died in World War II. In the center, at the foot of the cross, where we might expect to find St. John, a sorrowful young soldier kneels as the sun sets behind the cross. The inscription below him reads, "Erinnerung an die im Weltkriege 1914-18 gefallenen Helden der hiesigen Pfarrei" ('In memory of the heroes of this very parish fallen in the World War 1914-18').
The memorial was dedicated on 5 June 1921 by the "Krieger-, Veteranen- und Soldatenverein Sielenbach" (Soldier,Veteran, and Soldier Society of Sielenbach), which was founded 1898. The memorial was donated by a farmer, Georg Kreppold of Sielenbach, in memory of the four sons his family lost in the war; their names--Martin, Josef, Georg, and Johann--are visible at the bottom right-hand column. Two of Kreppold's sons, Georg and Johann, are buried just a few feet from the monument; unlike most of them men on this list, they have a grave marker of their own, and they rest in the family burial plot of the village they left to fight the war. Georg, called "Bauersohn," "farmer's son," on his gravestone (below) died in March, his brother in July. The family's grief did not stop there, just as it had not with the deaths of Martin and Josef earlier, for the grave also contains the body of Paulus Kreppold, who died at age six in July 1918, two weeks before Johann's death.

 
 
Also at Sielenbach, another view of the memorial discussed above, and this memorial at Sielenbach-Tödtenried, which lists many 19th-century veterans (courtesy of Onlineprojekt Gefallenendenkmäler).

Solnhofen
 
Also at Solnhofen, see this memorial, courtesy of Onlineprojekt Gefallenendenkmäler.

St. Florent

Sulzbach
 
For a cemetery memorial in Sulzbach and for memorials in nearby Dornau and Rosenberg, start at this link and search Sulzbach (Onlineprojekt link).

Sulzberg
 

The center of this grand and heroic memorial is St. George and the dragon, a memorial for a victory. The center table lists the dead of World War II. Smaller tablets to the left and right (visible on the right) list the dead of World War I, year by year. For the lists of names, go to this link. For a cemetery memorial in Sulzberg and for memorials in nearby Moosbach, Ottacker, and Undergassen, start at this link and search Sulzberg (Onlineprojekt link).

Taiting and Bitzenhofen

Of the memorials on this page that juxtapose the German soldier with Christ, this one, I believe, is unique in making explicit reference to the Resurrection and the tomb of Christ on Easter Sunday. The soldier beholds Christ stepping from the tomb. The soldier seems to be holding the Lord's burial cloth. Christ holds what is often called a cross-banner, a symbol of his victor over death and his standard of power (a military reference, in other words). In art the banner often bears a red cross. The round object at the lower left is possibly the soldier's helmet. Dead or missing soldiers from both towns (Taiting, Bitzenhofen) are named on the memorial, which invites us to believe that they too shall conquer death. The sculpture shows a lot of age and weathering and might have been moved to this beautiful, simple shelter after World War II. Since the World War I dead are on one side and the World War II dead and missing on the other, it is possible that the memorial took this form after World War II. Earlier it might have had one of the World War I tablets on either side.
More typical is the memorial at Sielenbach, where, as elsewhere, a soldier kneels at the foot of the cross, not at the tomb, and looks down at the ground, not, as here, up at the risen Lord.


   

Thierhaupten

The church of St. Peter and Paul contains a memorial to the dead of all the nineteenth-century wars, 1805-70. Outside, where one enters through a gate, is a Pieta in painted stone, with angels holding censors on either side of Jesus and Mary. The names of forty-eight dead and four missing from the Great War, and nearly ninety dead and many missing from World War II, are listed. The names from both wars appear on one tablet; if there was a memorial here before World War II, no trace of it remains. The monument is signed by Johan Göschel, with a cross before his name; this is the only signed memorial among those listed here. The monument juxtaposes the names of the dead and the dead Jesus, as does the memorial at Biberbach, and here, as there, nothing links the names of the dead to the body in Mary's arms.

   

Vohburg
Dedicated to veterans and survivors of three wars, 1870-71, 1914-18, and 1939-45. Names are listed at the base, visible behind the flowers.

For more, see this link, and for World War II names, this link.

Wallerstein

Welden

Willprechtszell
Includes the missing and dead from Axlbrunn, Hohenried, and Schönleisen.
 

Zedtwitz (Thuringen)

For those named in the memorial, go to this link, courtesy of the Onlineprojekt.

Ziematshausen

The church grounds are on a rise overlooking the roadway and the memorial is partly overgrown with ivy. It is situated near the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, on the level of the street below the church. In the center a kneeling soldier in uniform grasps the hand of Christ, who stands behind and bows slightly over him. The language addresses the dead men: “You have marched over the battlefield to an eternal home." These words do not valorize the acts of the dead or impute motives to them; rather, the inscription seems a straightforward description of what most onlookers would believe that the men had in fact done: marched through battle to heaven.
Six villages remember their dead on large tablets in the center; smaller tablets on their side hold the names of dead from World War II. The memorial is crowned by a memorial created after the wars of 1870-71, an obelisk with the names of four men from the region who died in that war that was repositioned when the World War I memorial was created. Jesus assumes a protective stance in relation to the kneeling soldier. Here Christ is not the sacrificial victim; barefoot, he wears the robes of the Good Shepherd who will lead the soldiers across the battlefield to their heavenly home.

 

Zusmarschausen

This memorial has older and newer parts--the one on the left recalls the soldier's equipment and nothing more, leaving eloquence to the helmet atop an orderly stack of equipment. The modern memorial, under a circular canopy, lists the names and dates of the men who died in both world wars, using these names to surround a simple drama of a loved one being consoled and an injured or dead soldier being lifted. The dress is, one has to say, conspicuously without reference to the uniforms of a particular army or period.
See also this link to the Onlineprojekt.

 

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