Category Archives: Germany

Freemason

This gravestone in Melaten Cemetery, Cologne, Germany is the resting place of Dr. Franz Leuffen, a medical doctor who wrote a book in the 1860s on the subject of post-mortems. He was also a high ranking Freemason which explains the reason for Masonic symbols on his headstone.

The top of the gravestone is adorned with foliage and a snake. Although religious groups consider it a symbol of sin and Satan, a snake also represents everlasting life. The sprig of Acacia, an evergreen whose leaves fall neither in summer nor in winter, is also symbolic of everlasting life.

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Engraved letters beneath the snake are from the Greek alphabet and spell the word GNOSIS meaning inner knowledge.

A five-pointed star, also known as a pentagram, represents the five senses. This symbol has been adopted throughout the world with different meanings, one of which is a protection against evil.

During the Renaissance period in Europe, it was common to illustrate the Eye of God surrounded by a triangle to represent the Holy Trinity. The 25 radiating rays of the sun are used to symbolize the holiness of the Supreme Deity.

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Holocaust Memorials in Paris

The city of Paris has acknowledged the plight of Jews in the multitude of memorials dedicated to the victims of the German concentration camps. Within the grounds of Pere Lachaise Cemetery each concentration camp is recognized on its own memorial.

AUSCHWITZ, the main camp, was located in Oświęcim in southern Poland to hold Polish political prisoners. The camp went on to become a major site of the Nazis’ Final Solution to the Jewish Question. Most of the Jews from all over German-occupied Europe who were sent to the camp were gassed on arrival. More than 1.3 million men, women and children died in the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps, the vast majority of whom were Jews.

Auschwitz was also known as Monowitz-Buna, Buna and Auschwitz III. The memorial consists of five emaciated figures in bronze bearing witness to the suffering and exhaustion of the deportees. A body carried in a wheelbarrow reminds us of the frightening mortality of this camp.

BIRKENAU This memorial is in the form of a column with the featureless silhouette of a human figure standing over an engraved plaque. Written in script are lines from the poet Paul Eluard: When we will no longer kill, they will be avenged … The only vow of justice has life as its echo.

BERGEN-BELSEN in northern Germany was an “exchange camp” where Jewish hostages were held with the intention of exchanging them for German prisoners of war held overseas.

The memorial represents the railway tracks leading to the gates of the camp. Between the ‘railway tracks’ are footprints in various sizes representing all age groups arriving at the camp. It was in this camp that the young Anne Franck died along with her sister.

1943 They suffered and hoped. You fight for your freedom. 
1945 We broke their bodies never their minds. 

BUCHENWALD near Weimar, Germany, was one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps within Germany’s 1937 borders. Many actual or suspected communists were among the first internees. All prisoners worked primarily as forced labor in local armaments factories.

The memorial expresses the horror and violence in the concentration camp system. Three emaciated prisoners define suffering, death, solidarity and resistance.

DACHAU, north of Munich in southern Germany, was a forced labor camp which imprisoned Jews, German and Austrian criminals, and eventually foreign nationals from countries that Germany occupied or invaded.

The two pillars forming a gateway are symbolic of the gates of Heaven. The red granite triangle represents the patch worn on political prisoners’ clothes.

A plaque to the left of the stairs is inscribed with a quotation by Edmond Michelet. We have surveyed abysses in ourselves and in others.

DRANCY was an internment camp run by the French located in a northeastern suburb of Paris. It was an assembly and detention camp for confining Jews who were later deported to the extermination camps.

The Memorial reads in translation Inscription engraved at Ninth Fort of Kaunas deported by Convoy 73. In memory of 878 Jews deported from Drancy May 15, 1944 to Kaunas (Lithuania) and Reval-Tallinn (Estonia). 22 returned in 1945.

FLOSSENBURG A map identifies the location of the camp which unlike other concentration camps was located in a remote area in the mountains of Bavaria. Quarries, arms and aviation factories surrounded it. Although the camp’s initial purpose was to exploit the forced labor of prisoners for the production of granite for Nazi architecture they eventually produced armaments for the war effort.

The imprint of a staircase of ten steep steps are visible at the base of the monument in addition to four blocks of cut stone.

MAUTHAUSEN This concentration camp was located on a hill above the market town of Mauthausen in Upper Austria. It was one of the first massive concentration camp complexes in Nazi Germany, and the last to be liberated by the Allies.

Seven blocks of were used to reproduce the monument. Stairs carved into the granite from the quarry of Mauthausen represent 186 uneven steps known as the staircase of death that prisoners had to mount with stones weighing more than 20 kilos on their backs. A bronze statue depicts an emaciated prisoner collapsing under the weight of his load.

NATZWEILER-STRUTHOF located in the Vosges Mountains in France was the only concentration camp established by the Nazis on French territory. Prisoners were mainly from the resistance movements in German-occupied territories. This labor and transit camp eventually became a place of execution.

This memorial is the form of a triangle. The red triangle identified political prisoners and the letter F was an indication to the Germans that the prisoner could speak French and could be called upon to translate. The bronze sculpture of an emaciated figure lies beneath a stone wall with the letters NN, acronym for Nacht und Nabel (a Nazi directive targeting political activists).

NEUENGAMME This camp was located near Hamburg in Northern Germany close to railway and metallurgy factories. With over 85 satellite camps the Neuengamme camp became the largest concentration camp in Northwest Germany. The memorial is created in white granite and the plaque reads in translation under this stone is a bit of ash from the seven thousand French martyrs murdered by the Nazis at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp – they died for us to live free – their families and comrades, survivors have erected this monument to their memory November 13, 1949“

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Source: https://untappedcities.com/2012/03/13/the-treasures-of-the-pere-lachaise-cemetery-part-ii/

ORANIENBURG AND SACHSENHAUSEN Used primarily for political prisoners from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May 1945. The prisoners were also used as a workforce, with a large task force of prisoners from the camp sent to work in the nearby brickworks to meet Albert Speer’s vision of rebuilding Berlin. At the base of the monument, a symbolic barbed wire fence impales an emaciated prisoner.

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Source: http://historichouston1836.com/holocaust-memorials-at-pere-lachaise-cemetery-paris-france/

RAVENSBRUCK was a camp exclusively for women from 1939 to 1945, located in northern Germany. The prisoners were used as slave labor. Two hands linked in captivity and solidarity emerge from roughly hewn stones one of which is engraved; Here lies the ashes of deported women martyrs of Nazi barbarism.

Fritz Family Tree

Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum in Cincinnati, Ohio is the third largest cemetery in the United States. Within its gates is the 9-10 feet tall Fritz Tree Memorial carved in sandstone by H. Suhre in 1873. His mark resembles a tire, H. Suhre/Maker. Herman W. Suhre was a German immigrant who established the Suhre & Oberhelman monument company.

The oak tree (Germany’s national tree) is embellished with ivy (symbolic of immortality), and oak leaves and acorns (ripe old age). Ivy vines emerge from the ground giving the impression of four legs. A sculpture near the ground reveals two hands holding a long handled axe which undoubtedly created the hatch marks on the trunk and the severed limbs with smooth cut surfaces for engraving.

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Source: https://www.facebook.com/pg/sgcemetery/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10150383943175536

The marble figure on top of the monument represents the Fritz family’s German heritage and is a representation of ‘Germania’; historically a robust woman with long, flowing, reddish-blonde hair, wearing armour, wielding a sword and holding a shield. This statue holds the sword in her right hand and in her left hand is a wreath resting against a shield decorated with stars and stripes.

Directly beneath Germania is the statue of a priest dressed in long robes with lace trim. Standing on two severed branches, it gives the impression that he is in a pulpit. An open book resting on a log at the base of the tree may have fallen from his hands. Depictions of an open book are often used on the gravestones of ministers or clergymen. However, it is sometimes found on gravestones of very devoted religious people.

The memorial, adorned with iconography, contains many epitaphs to members of the Fritz family.

Oak leaves and acorns droop over a joint epitaph for Wilhemina/Fritz/Wife Of/J. Fritz Born/June 18, 1837/Died January 1/1876/Age 38/Years 6/Months. A feminine hand denoted by the flower on the cuff points with outstretched finger to Wilhemina’s inscription. Her husband, Jacob/Fritz/Born Aug 2/1833/died March 20/1884 was a butcher at Salisman Sausage Co. in Cincinnati.

Katharina/Fritz/Born Oct 30/1841/Died Jan 29/1904. A hand descends from Heaven with outstretched finger pointing to her epitaph.

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Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zachsdame/sets/72157603320074532/with/1215132407/

A joint epitaph for William and Elizabeth is attached to a sculptured log. A vine separates the two inscriptions, Wm Fritz/April 11, 1858/April 29, 1911 and Elizabeth/Fritz/1863-1937. Situated at the stump of a branch is a padlock attached to three links of a chain (everlasting love) or it could be symbolic of the key to the gates of Heaven.

A hand emerges from within oak leaves and acorns with outstretched finger pointing to the epitaph of a young boy named H.E. Charles Fritz Born/Nov 15th 1862/Died May 18th 1873/Age 10 years 6 months 3 days.

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Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zachsdame/sets/72157603320074532/with/1215132407/ource:

A hand with outstretched finger pointing down symbolizes the hand of God descending from Heaven. The finger points to the epitaph of Jacob F. Fritz/Oct 31, 1884/May 24, 1927. The scroll also contains a Masonic symbol.

jacob F_hobgoblin
Source: http://hobgoblintaphophile.blogspot.com/2015/11/fritz-tree-stone-spring-grove-cemetery.html

A hand descends from Heaven with outstretched finger pointing to the epitaph of Lillian Fritz 1889-1963.

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Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zachsdame/sets/72157603320074532/with/1215132407/

In the upper regions of the tree is an anchor with entwined snake (symbolic of immortality). The anchor is suspended by a chain hanging from a protruding scroll. The scroll contains an inscription using Blackletter font, part of which reads Geboren Warden which means to be born.

The fight between good and evil is represented by a dove (peace) pecking at the tail of a squirrel (Satan). There is what appears to be a padlock above which is also a Freemasons icon.

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A ribbon wreath encircles a small bouquet of flowers.

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Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zachsdame/sets/72157603320074532/with/1215132407/

Anti Communist

Melvin Jonah Lasky was born on Jan. 15, 1920 in the central Bronx at Crotona Park, New York to Jewish immigrants. With origins in an anti-Communist Russian-Jewish community he fought against communism on an intellectual level. He was a literary editor of the anti-Stalinist magazine, the New Leader, at age 22 and was also editor of Berlin Der Monat (The Month launched in Berlin in 1948), which was one of a cluster of magazines promoting a liberal, anti-Communist, pro-American line.

The devoutly anti-communist magazine Encounter, which was launched in London in 1953, flourished under his editorship, attracting leading thinkers and writers, but it’s prestige plummeted after 1967 when it was revealed that the magazine received financial support from the CIA.

His books include a widely translated volume on the Hungarian revolution, Reisesnotizen und Tagebucher, Africa For Beginners, Utopia And Revolution, The Use And Abuse Of Sovietology, his autobiography On The Barricades And Off, and Voices in a Revolution.

He died aged 84 on May 19, 2004 in Berlin, Germany and is buried in the Friedhof Heerstrasse in Berlin-Charlottenburg, Germany.

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Depictions in Marble and Stone

I am always awestruck by the astounding talent of artists and the intricacy of detail in statuary. Some of the most beautiful statues are found in the Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno, an extensive cemetery located on a hillside in the district of Staglieno of Genoa, Italy. Covering an area of more than a square kilometre, it is one of the largest cemeteries in Europe and is famous for its monument sculpture.

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The tomb of the Consigliere family is attended by a woman praying on her knees. The sculpture was created by Luigi Orengo who worked extensively with funerary sculpture, especially in the Cemetery of Staglieno where he created dozens of tombs and funeral graves. The mausoleum is decorated with laurel leaves representing the “evergreen” memory of the deceased, and a Greek cross with four arms equal in length which is the traditional symbol of Christian faith.

 

This sculptural group was created in bronze and Carrara marble by Mariano Benlliure. The sculpture represents the funeral procession of the famous bullfighter Joselito el Gallo. The body of the deceased is carved in marble to highlight the figure. At the head of the procession a woman carries a bronze miniature of the Virgin Macarena to whom the bullfighter was very devoted.
Cemetery of San Fernando, Seville, Spain

 

christ going to tomb
I can’t find any source information on this second representation of a funeral procession. It is recorded as ‘Christ going to the tomb’, but I have no confirmation of this data. Translation of the script reads; Proceeding towards the resurrection.
Cemetery Viersen, Germany

 

Cimitero Monumentale Di Milano
This statue depicts a WWI soldier ‘s grave. Luigi Fossati (31-1-1896 – 28-10-1918) who lost his life in the battle of Somme in the Montello hills of Italy. Translation of the dedication reads: Gloomy night enveloped the heroic soul of Luigi Fussati who experienced unspeakable torments under the red dust of the Montello.
Momma and brothers Giullo, Pietro, Giuseppe, Arialdo.
In everlasting memory.
Cimitero Monumentale, Milano, Italy.

 

cypress lawn
This large monument is the burial site of lawyer LLoyd Tevis who was also a successful American business man who headed the Wells Fargo Banking and Pony Express lines for more than 20 years. The “Tevis Cup”, an equestrian endurance ride held annually which requires riders to make the 100 mile Pony Express journey from Tahoe to Auburn in one day is named for him.
Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, CA, USA.

 

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Charles-Joseph Pigeon (29 March 1838 – 18 March 1915) became famous due to his invention and manufacture in 1884 of the Pigeon lamp, a non-exploding gasoline lamp. He commissioned the family grave sculpture to hold up to 18 family members. The sculpture is a life-sized image of Pigeon holding a notebook and pencil in his hand. An angel overlooks the vignette of him as he lays beside his wife on a bed.
Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, France

 

Montparnasse3This marble sculpture entitled “The separation of the couple” is not a funerary monument. Until 1965 it was situated in the garden of Luxembourg and was removed because it was considered obscene. I guess they thought the dead wouldn’t mind the obscenity.
Montparnasse Cemitiere, Paris, France

 

Schaub
Heinrich Schaub, born 5 May 1843, died 29 Jan 1909
Schaub commissioned Leipzig architect Emil Franz Hänsel to design a tomb which was sculpted by Otto Wutzler and August Rantz. The monument features fluted pillars and a bronze framed bronze door. A bronze sculpture of a youth kneels in front of a door  representing the eternal kingdom of the dead.
Südfriedhof Cemetery, Leipzig. Germany

 

Staglieno
The figure which rests upon the Burrano tomb was sculpted by Piero da Verona.
Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, Italy

The Mythical Sphinx

The sphinx is a mythical creature with the head of a human and the body of a lion, protector of the dead, it is historically connected to the pyramid, the ultimate in tombs.

There are two types of sphinx; most famously the Egyptian sphinx modeled after the Great Sphinx at Giza which represents a male. The head is dressed with a neme, the striped headcloth worn by pharaohs in ancient Egypt.

Occasionally a false beard is displayed. As beards were associated with the gods, Pharaohs wore false beards for ceremonies to express their importance and divine ranking.

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In March 1865 Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Jacob Bigelow proposed that the Mount Auburn Cemetery commission “a public monument in memory of the heroes who have fallen in the present war for the preservation of the Union.” When the trustees postponed making a decision he commissioned the Irish-born sculptor, Martin Milmore, to create a Sphinx to be cut from a single block of Hallowell granite, 15 feet long and about 8 feet high.

The Sphinx was chosen as it represented the strength of a lion and the beauty and benevolence of a woman. The inscription was composed by Dr. Bigelow “American Union Preserved; African Slavery Destroyed; By the Uprising of a Great People; By the Blood of Fallen Heroes.”

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The Brunswig tomb in Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana was built to commemorate Lucien Napoleon Brunswig’s wife, Annie Mercer Brunswig and their son Lucien Mercer Brunswig (1882-1892) who died within a month of each other. His testament instructed his family to bury him inside the tomb with his wife and child. Brunswig is also interred with his two daughters, Henrietta Rosalie Brunswig (1879-1963), and Annie Brunswig Wellborn (1881-1982) and her husband.

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Source: http://www.lacarmina.com/blog/2015/04/metairie-cemetery-tombs-pyramid-statues/

In Greek tradition, the sphinx was in the form of a female who was often bare-breasted and is therefore associated with maternal love.

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Many neo-Egyptian designs in modern cemeteries feature the Greek variety which is often portrayed with the wings of a bird.

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Creative Commons License, Joachim S. Müller. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/74743437@N00/8695400390

Within the Hildburghausen Cemetery in Germany a winged Sphinx sits atop the headstone belonging to the 19th century Egyptologist, Doctor Friedrich Carl Ludwig Sickler.

A pyramid marks the Schoenhofen Tomb in the Graceland Cemetery, Chicago. The entry door with a snake coiled on the handle is flanked by a sphinx and an angel. It is the final resting place of Peter Schoenhofen, a Chicago brewer.

The Drake Mausoleum contains members of the family and extended relatives. Originally at Laurel Hill Cemetery it was moved to West Laurel Hill, Philadelphia where it is guarded by a winged Sphinx at each corner of the roof. Thomas Drake Martinez Cardeza and his mother Mrs. Charlotte Drake Martinez Cardeza were surviving passengers of the Titanic shipwreck in 1912. Charlotte was a rich philanthropist who donated millions of dollars to the poor.

female winged_Drake Mausoleum
Source: https://www.mausoleums.com/portfolio/drake-mausoleum/

Tolling of the Bell

 If you go looking for a bell in the cemetery the easiest discovery will be a gravestone engraved with the surname Bell. However, if you are looking for the symbol of a bell unrelated to the surname it will be a long search. A bell is one of the rarest symbols found on headstones and quite simply represents mourning.

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The Dead Bell in the Middle Ages was believed to frighten away evil spirits.

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Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_bell

When someone died the bell ringer passed through the streets of villages, towns or cities ringing the bell slowly and repeatedly while announcing the name of the recently deceased person and details of the funeral. The solemn ringing of the bell led mourners from the home of the deceased to the church where the funeral was held.

In 16th century Britain land for burial was sparse. Coffins were dug up and bones taken to the bone-house so that the grave could be reused. Upon opening the coffins, it was noticed that several had scratch marks on the inside. The realization that people were being buried whilst still alive led to the practice of tying a string on the wrist of the corpse which was attached to a bell above ground while a sentry sat in the cemetery overnight.

A little grave humour:
Harold, the Oakdale gravedigger, upon hearing a bell, went to go see if it was children pretending to be spirits. Sometimes it was also the wind. This time it wasn’t either. A voice from below begged, pleaded to be unburied.
“You Sarah O’Bannon?”
Yes! the voice assured.
“You were born on September 17, 1827?”
“Yes!”
“The gravestone here says you died on February 19?”
“No I’m alive, it was a mistake! Dig me up, set me free!”
“Sorry about this, ma’am,” Harold said, stepping on the bell to silence it and plugging up the copper tube with dirt. “But this is August. Whatever you is down there, you ain’t alive no more, and you ain’t comin’ up.”

The Bell of Hope was a gift from London’s St. Mary-le-Bow, which is the sister church to St. Paul’s Chapel in Manhattan. Installed in the churchyard of St. Paul’s Chapel in September 2002, the Bell of Hope is rung at a ceremony every year on September 11th. It has also been rung after the bombings in Madrid, 2004; London, 2005; Mumbai, 2008; Moscow, 2010; and the Boston Marathon, 2013; and for the shootings at Virginia Tech, 2007 and in Norway, 2011.

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Source: https://walkaboutny.com/2016/09/11/the-bell-of-hope-at-st-pauls-chapel/

The bell is inscribed:
“To the Greater Glory of God
And in Recognition of
The Enduring Links Between
The City of London
And
The City of New York”
“Forged in adversity—11.September.2001”

The La Cambe German Cemetery in Normandy, France where there are 21,222 burials with 207 belonging to unknown soldiers. A peace garden with 1,200 maple-trees is adjacent to the cemetery.

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La Cambe German War Cemetery, Normandy, France. Source: http://www.dday.center/cemetery_de_lacambe.html

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Death in the Camps

There are many memorials around the world commemorating those killed by Hitler and his Nazi party during the Holocaust (Holocaust is a word of Greek origin meaning sacrifice by fire.) Most of these memorials recognize mass graves or those killed en masse.

The following gravestones identify individual families who were killed at the whim of a madman during an era in human history which is shameful and abhorrent.

Mielec, Poland
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Memorial to the Stroch family.

Early on the morning of March 9, 1942, the transportation of Mielec’s Jews commenced. That morning, all the remaining Jews were marched at gun point out to the aircraft hangers at Cyranka. The elderly, sick and certain prominent people in the community, including the rabbi, were shot. For the next three days, while Mielec’s Jews were deported by train, those remaining at Cyranka were marched around the compound. Any that appeared weak, sick or injured were shot. Those killed during the transportation were buried in a mass grave near the aircraft factory. (from Mielec Through The Holocaust by Howard Recht).

Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, France
Montparnasse
For My Dikerman family
Exterminated in Auschwitz-Birkenau
Moise aged 53, maria aged 52, Abel aged 30 and Regine aged 29
Note: Prisoners being held at Auschwitz were used to build the Birkenau camp crematoriums. In 1942, Auschwitz-Birkenau was a killing center.

Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania

traces of war
Source: https://www.tracesofwar.com/sights/84108/Graves-Jewish-Victims-Holocaust.htm

Remembering the Kallos family
In Auschwitz 28 May 1944
He was martyred for being a Jew
Kallos Dezsone
Parent Szalpeter Roza 1884
Kallos Jolan 1909
Her husband Lebovits Bela
Kallos Jeno 1911
Kallos Helen 1913
They have memories to be remembered
Note: In November 1944 the gas chambers were being dismantled.

Germany and Europe
In 1993 German artist Gunter Demnig had a simple and effective idea to honour those who were persecuted and murdered during the Holocaust. After locating the former residence of a Nazi victim, and with permission of local authorities, he installed a small commemorative cobblestone topped with a brass plaque in front of the residence. The title of each plaque Hier wohnte (Here lived) records the individual’s name, date of birth and death, and fate. The premise is ‘One victim, one stone’. The project which began in Germany can now be found throughout Europe.
A few fateful words which are found on the brass plaques.

  • Verhaftet : arrested
  • Enthauptet : beheaded
  • Tot : dead
  • Ermordet : murdered
  • Uberlebt : survived.

haaertz
Here Lived
Fredy Hirsch
Circa 1919
Deported 6.9.1943
Auschwitz
Flight into death (this phrase is used in cases of suicide)
8.3.1944
Note: Auschwitz was located in South Western Poland

rockysmith
Source: https://rockysmith.net/2012/10/02/hier-wohnte-here-lived/

Here lived
Ida
Arsenberg
Maiden name Benjamin
Circa 1870
Deported 1942
Murdered
On the 18.9.1942 in
Theresienstadt
Note: Theresienstadt was a Czechoslovakian camp/ghetto.

Anyone who did not fit Hitler’s model of the perfect Aryan race was routinely arrested, tortured, and eradicated. Those at risk were:

  • the mentally ill and physically challenged who were viewed as useless to society were euthanized in gas chambers.
  • homosexuals were segregated to prevent the spread of homosexuality, and were identified in the camps by pink cloth triangles. Nazis interested in finding a ‘cure’ for homosexuality conducted medical experiments on those prisoners.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses whose beliefs did not allow the bearing of arms refused to swear allegiance to the Nazi state. Identified with a purple triangular patch they were considered enemies of the state.
  • Gypsies were considered racially inferior on a level with the Jews.
  • Jews were considered racially inferior and a threat to German community. The persecution began in 1938. They were identified within the camps by a yellow star on a white band worn on the right sleeve.
  • Children were routinely killed on arrival at the camps unless they were considered useful to the medical doctors. Twins were subjected to cruel medical experiments.

Grant them Peace o Lord. MAY WE NEVER FORGET.

CWGC Graves

Following the two World Wars, discussion and agreement by Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom (member countries of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission) on the burial of the dead created a standardized format encompassing burial sites, layout and size of the gravestones, and the legend on headstones.

Commonwealth countries built burial sites close to combat zones to preserve the link with the battlefield, whereas the United States and France created huge regional cemeteries intended to make a significant impression on people’s minds.

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National Cemetery, Los Angeles, USA

The graves were arranged in straight rows and designed to be perpetual and permanent. The material used in the headstones varied due to the requirement of a weather resistant substance or occurrence of earthquakes.

The standard used ensured that every grave was marked with a headstone, originally 76 centimetres (30”) tall, 38 cm (15”) wide, and 7.6cm (3.0”) thick,  with upper case lettering designed by MacDonald Gill.

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Graves in Germany. Image Source: thebignote.com

Each stone contained the national emblem or regimental badge, rank, name, unit, date of death and age of each casualty. In the case of burials of Victoria Cross or George Cross recipients, the regimental badge was supplemented by the Victoria Cross or George Cross emblem.

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Image Source: thebignote.com

An appropriate religious symbol was included; most often a cross denoting Christianity, and sometimes a personal dedication chosen by relatives.

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Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. J. F. Kennedy

Far away in a distant land,
Suddenly struck by death’s strong hand
A loving son, strong and brave,
Lies buried in a soldier’s grave.

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Image Source: thebignote.com

No one knows the silent heartache,
Only those can tell
Who have lost their loved ones
Without saying one farewell.
We pictured him safely returning,
We longed to clasp his hand,
But God has postponed the meeting,
Till we meet in a better land.

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Image Source: thebignote.com

No one knows the silent heartache, 
only those that have lost can tell
Of the grief that’s borne in silence
For the one we loved so well. 

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Image Source: the bignote.com

And when he gets to Heaven,
To Saint Peter he will tell:
‘Just another soldier reporting, Sir.
I’ve served my time in Hell.’ Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland

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Do not ask us if we miss him,
There is such a vacant place;
Can we e’er forget that footstep,
And that dear familiar face.

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Image Source: thebignote.com

No loved one stood beside him to bid a last farewell,
No word of comfort could he leave to those he loved so well.
We little thought his time so short in this world to remain,
Nor that from when his home he went he would never return again.

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He marched away so bravely, His young head proudly held;
His footsteps never faltered, His courage never failed,
There on the field of battle, He calmly took his place,
He fought for King and Country, And the honour of his race.

…And decades later, the men and women who served are still remembered and accorded the same burial.

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Anne Frank

The Frank family were Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Although Anne was born in Germany, the family moved to Holland in the 1930s when the Nazis came to power. During the German occupation they were forced to hide in concealed rooms aided by trusted employees of Otto Frank (Anne’s father). During this time Anne documented the daily struggles of life during the German occupation.

In 1944 when Anne was only 15 years old, the family was betrayed and transported to the concentration camps in Poland where they were transferred from Auschwitz (the killing camp) to Bergen-Belsen (the work camp). In 1945 a typhus epidemic spread throughout the camp killing 17,000 prisoners including Anne and her sister Margot.

The diary which was a voice for her feelings and beliefs was discovered in the attic by one of the helpers and published in 1947 entitled, The Diary of Anne Frank. She prophetically stated in the diary, ‘I want to go on living even after my death!’

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‘After May 1940, the good times were few and far between; first there was the war, then the capitulation and then the arrival of the Germans, which is when the trouble started for the Jews.’

‘I’ve reached the point where I hardly care whether I live or die,” she wrote on February 3, 1944. “The world will keep on turning without me, and I can’t do anything to change events anyway.’ 

Several monuments have been erected to commemorate Anne Frank.

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