Verdun(by Michael Seitz)
After a long time with planning our trip to the Figure Competition in Antwerp, we started in the early morning of the 9th April 2007. The first part of our journey would bring us to Verdun – the well-known WWI battlefield. We are Jürgen Nirschl, Markus Eckmann and Michael Seitz – from Bavaria, Germany.
After a few short breaks, we arrived at Verdun at lunchtime. Verdun is a normal little town, with lots of shops and super markets. The only thing that made us realize this town was involved into the war, have been some shorter soldiers cemeteries.
The battlefield itself is outside of the town on a hill, to where we drove by car. This was the time our feelings changed. It was this area where our ancestors fought for every meter of the terrain.
We first stopped at the Memorial of Andre Maginot. From there we had an excellent view over the area and to the Tombs House.
Then we went to the Fleury Memorial. This Museum is one point of the 3-corner which marks the death zone of the battlefield. The other two points are Fort Vaux and Fort Douaumont. In this area the battle was extremly horrible.
The Museum opens its doors at 2 pm, so we had some time and visited the tombs house…
The 137 metre long cloister, with each tomb showing a precise area of the Battle of Verdun where the bodies were recovered and the shield where the flame of remembrance burns on ceremonial days. The tombs house the remains of 130,000 unidentified soldiers, where the families can come to gather their thoughts and pray for the dead. Each engraved stone represents the name of a missing soldier.
Then we started a short expedition into the area. When you walk through the area this times, you can see how much this landscape was damaged during the war. And we also found some pieces in the forest – some of them should not be touched.
Finally we went back to the Museum, which we left at 16.30.
Setting off in the early hours of the morning