In stark contrast to the grandeur of Commonwealth World War I cemeteries like Tyne Cot are the German War cemeteries in the Ypres Salient. As the enemy, and as the defeated nation, the German war cemeteries are somewhat tucked away and far more low-key with their dark stones and multiple names per marker. Reading the comments of visitors, many particularly appreciate this austerity.
The Vladslo Soldatenfriedhof contains the remains of 25,644 soldiers and is overviewed by a pair of sculptures entitled “Grieving Parents” by German artist Käthe Kollwitz who lost her youngest son Peter to the war and is buried nearby.
To me – and I guess many others – it is this notable and touching piece of art that shows the universality of grief over the loss of a child to a senseless war.
More posts on my trip to Ypres:
The Ypres Salient (B): 600.000 statues, The Ypres Salient (B): Tyne Cot Cemetery, The Ypres Salient (B): Studentenfriedhof