Names on the wall

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Last week I spent a couple of days in Gladbeck, Germany for some business gathering with our customers and partners. During the late afternoon we formed teams and competed against each other in this geocaching contest.

As we explored the area and zigzagged our way through the dense forest, we came upon this arena-like building in the middle of nowhere. Upon closer inspection, I realized that it was an old and deteriorating monument. To commemorate all those pour souls who had lost their lives in the two world wars. Senseless losses were everywhere to be seen on the walls.

names-on-the-wall-1.png names-on-the-wall-2.png
Gedenkstätte für die Toten der Kriege von 1914-1918 und 1939-1945.

No one else in our group seemed to notice. They just went on with the game antics, laughing and shouting. Of course, being one who is sensitive to the surroundings and interested in history, I meandered around and took a closer look. I could see that the monument had been neglected for many years. I mentioned it later to a German person during dinner, and he explained that the Germans were not proud of their past, even embarrassed you could say. That's why such monuments were pretty much ignored, so that one was not reminded about the past too much.

On the walls completely around the whole circumference of this arena thousands of names were inscribed in stone (see picture). The passing of time had meant lots of erosion. Half of the names were faded and illegible, maybe more. That made me very sad. These poor folks had nothing left to give the world except for these inscriptions. As the letters faded away, no one would ever remember them again.

Here is the exact location.

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This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

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