Back to all war memorials
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War memorials from
1. Irancy
2. Chablis Lichère-près-Aigremont, & Vézelay
3. Noyers & Semur  
4. Dijon
5. Pontigny & Montigny-les-Resle
6. Avallon & Beaune

1. The Irancy war memorial

The obelisk holds tablets naming the dead of 1870-71 and the Great War, whose dead are listed by year. By attaching the tables to the monument, the village was able to add names and probably to make corrections.

2. War memorials in Chablis, Lichère-près-Aigremont, and Vézelay

A heroic memorial in the center of town,
at the foot of the market.
The memorial at Vézelay is very large and seems unbalanced, squat, and in need of a top of some kind. But it makes a massive statement against the front of the cathedral, whose squatness it seems to echo.

The parish memorial inside the cathedral


War memorials in Noyers and Semur

Outside the old town.
The memorial unusual both in its use of color
and in its typeface, and in naming
those deported during World War II.

There is also a memorial in the church to those

"Fallen on the field of honor." It's not everywhere you see the palm of victory
joined to a cross


The memorial is centered on Joan of Arc. It's very well done--a poilu in the notorious red trousers (early in the war) on the left, one more soberly dressed on right, each being given the crown of martyrdom. The accompanying placard spells this out: "une couronne de martyr" for each of them.

At Joan's feet, two powerful mottos, one French, one classical:

Consilio firmata dei: It is established by God's decree. This phase is explicitly linked to an emblem associated with Joan of Arc in Claude Paradin's emblem book, Devises heroïques (1557). For more discussion, see this Glasgow University emblems page.
The second is from Virgil: "Bellatrix audetque viris concurrere virgo": The Amazon who dared to vie with men. (Virgil, Aeneid, Book 1).

Dedicated March 19, 1922.

There's another memorial in a chapel on theother side, this one dedicated to the Americans. As I read it, we see armed soldiers standing over a fallen German (note the difference in uniform colors) on the left and, on the right, the injured (with an ambulance in the background--Edith Wharton would be proud!). The shocker is the central window, which depicts the Resurrection, with the three Marys at the tomb of Christ on Easter morning (note the spices the brought with them to embalm the body just below the hand of the blue-clad woman with her back to us--she all but points to them).

It also seems that the soldier in the left-hand window might be falling back in amazement at the Resurrection, as though he were one of the Roman centurions (bad iconography if so). In the central window, an open tomb stands behind the angel; the juxtaposition of this tableau to the Pietà at the right (photograph below) is therefore pointed. The very top shows the French Tricolor and Stars and Stripes intertwined.

The plaque below
(given in English, then French) readsIn memory of the dead of the 310th Infantry 78th Division United States Army who fell in the Great War 1917-1918 and of whom the greater part rest in France. Unfortunately, I did not get the date of this memorial, but it's not likely that the greater part of this unit is still buried in France; the remains of about 2 out of 3 war dead were repatriated.

The memorial for the village of Benoisey, which is somewhere in the maze of little roads between Monbard and Semur.

War memorial in Dijon


On the road into town, a real giant

War memorials in
Montigny-les-Resle and Pontigny

Pontigny, at the entrance to the monastery

Inside the church at Pontigny

War memorials in Avallon and Beaune
In the center of town
The memorial juxtaposes a survivor
with a fallen soldier,
one to point to the victory,
one to the cost.

The arch includes victims of World War II

In St. Martin's, across the street from the memorial, you'll find a small wall tablet and then a very ambitious fresco.

The fresco is centered on a tablet with names of the dead. Resting above it is a soldier in his tomb, his helmet resting on his feet. Above him is the deposition of Christ with the two Marys and St.John. Angels stand on either side, with barbed wire and grenades and other weapons scattered around them. A stunning memorial, meant I think to evoke the Isenheim altarpiece in some way.

Grünewald's Isenheim Altarpiece (Colmar)

and its deliberate echo in Otto Dix's "Der Krieg"
(1929-32) (Dresden).

Stacked rifles, rucksacks, grenades, a pail, fence posts,
a shovel (near the angel on the left)
--an artist painting in 1920 with keen memory of the Front,
its drama, and its daily routines.
The artist's name is Jean Stival,
and "Alp." might well be a military abbreviation.

Allen J. Frantzen

Photographs July 14-20, France
Web pages July 22-27, Chicago