Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Soldats allemands, britanniques, français et musulmans

Tombes soldats allemands cimetière des Gonards Versailles
Today is 1918 Armistice Day (a holiday in France), marking the end of just over four years of absolute horror in the trenches, where three of VDP's great-grandfathers died (one French and two German). VDP visited Gonards cemetery on Allsaints (1 November), it was a glorious, warm, sunny autumn day and it had been a while since she last went, in 2009. This time, she walked all the way up the hill to see the German military graves. 534 German soldiers of both World Wars are buried here, including a few unknown ones. Sorry, this is going to be one of those slightly longer posts but lest we forget... and don't we seem to forget all too quickly? Helmut Schmidt, who died yesterday and whom VDP greatly admired, said we need Europe as an institution for various reasons, one of them being to avoid war between European countries... He was so right. Schmidt: ''Um Gottes willen, diese Scheiße darf sich niemals wiederholen!' (For God's sake, this shit [meaning WWII] must never repeat itself!)

En ce jour d'Armistice de la Grande Guerre, (durant laquelle trois des arrière-grands-pères de VDP sont morts dans les tranchées, deux allemands et un français), ayons une pensée pour tous les soldats de toutes nationalités et confessions morts en Europe au XXème siècle. Le 1er novembre, il faisait beau et presque chaud, VDP s'est rendue au cimetière des Gonards où elle ne s'était plus promenée depuis 2009. Cette fois-ci, elle est montée en haut de la colline, jusqu'au cimetière militaire allemand où sont enterrés 534 soldats des deux guerres mondiales, dont quelques inconnus. Désolée, ce billet va être un peu long, mais n'oublions jamais... Comme le disait Helmut Schmidt, décédé hier, dont VDP a lu plusieurs ouvrages et qu'elle admirait, nous avons besoin d'une Europe institutionnelle pour éviter la guerre entre pays européens... Il avait raison. "Um Gottes willen, diese Scheiße darf sich niemals wiederholen!" (Mon Dieu, cette merde ne doit jamais se reproduire !" a-t-il dit.)
Cimetière militaire allemand, Gonards Versailles
Cimetière militaire allemand, Gonards Versailles
'In this cemetery, 534 German soldiers are resting - 1914-1918 ; 1939-1940'
The white crosses you see behind the German ones in the above shot are tombs of French soldiers. Actually, all the tombs are white, except the German ones.

Les croix blanches que vous voyez ci-dessus derrière les tombes allemandes sont des tombes de soldats français. A vrai dire, toutes les tombes sont blanches, sauf les allemandes.
Tombes soldats allemands cimetière des Gonards Versailles deutsche Gräber
At Gonards cemetery, there is also a Muslim patch of World War I soldiers:

Il y a également un carré dédié aux soldats musulmans de la première guerre mondiale :
Tombes de soldats musulmans cimetière Gonards Versailles
Tombes de soldats musulmans cimetière Gonards Versailles
Of course, there are British/Commonwealth tombs (VDP had shown them before, and had chosen a few random ones to honour English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh men who died on French soil. Click here to see the post).

Bien sûr, il y a aussi les tombes britanniques et du Commonwealth (VDP les avait montrées sur ce blog en 2009, et choisi à l'époque quatre tombes au hasard pour rendre hommage aux anglais, écossais, gallois et irlandais tombés en terre de France. Cliquez ici pour voir ce billet).
Tombes britanniques British WWI tombs cimetière Gonards VersaillesTombes britanniques British WWI tombs cimetière Gonards Versailles
Finally, there's a sea of 811 WWI and 75 WWII French soldiers buried here. Just one photo below, VDP had shown you several back in 2009, including the monument to the fallen, click here to see them. Oh and VDP only noticed the car once she was back home...

Et pour finir, il y a beaucoup de soldats français enterrés ici. Juste une photo ci-dessous, VDP vous en avait montré plusieurs en 2009, y compris le monument aux morts, cliquez ici pour les voir. Ah et VDP n'a remarqué la voiture qu'une fois rentrée à la maison...
Tombes de soldats français cimetière des Gonards Versailles
The signs at the entrance of the cemetary:

Les panneaux à l'entrée du cimetière :
Cimetière militaire des Gonards Versailles
And for further war tomb pictures, you can click here to see the Prussian tombs of the 1870 Franco-German war at Notre-Dame cemetery.

Et pour d'autres photos de tombes de guerre, cliquez ici pour voir les tombes prussiennes de la guerre de 1870 au cimetière Notre-Dame.

20 comments:

William Kendall said...

Beautiful shots, Ciel. We need to remember them.

Geoff Wilkinson said...

You are so right about not forgetting, we must never...beautiful words and pictures, if that's the right word on such a day...

Lowell said...

An amazing place, and terrific photos! It reminds me a bit of Florida's National Cemetery some 30-40 miles south of Ocala. Maybe if everyone would walk through one of these places every year we'd have less war?

Michelle said...

So many people sacrificed their lives. You captured this cemetery very well.

Revrunner said...

So much heartache represented by those stones.. .

RedPat said...

Somehow the lessons never get learned. A very sobering post, Ciel.

Small City Scenes said...

Thanks.
MB

llandudnopictures said...

Very poignant... Lest We Forget indeed.

Josette T said...

tant de larmes de tous cotes ... c'est toujours très émouvant les cimetières militaires c'est là qu'il faut emmener les jeunes pour qu'ils en prennent consciennce

Stuart said...

Fantastic reporting. Your shots and words are very moving.

Thérèse said...

Des terres de Souvenirs qu'il faut relayer comme tu le fais si bien et à compléter malheureusement jour après jour.

EG CameraGirl said...

Great post. Here in Canada today is called Remembrance Day. Not a holiday but many people do pause at the 11th hour to remember. And there are many Remembrance services across the country.

Sharon Anck said...

Beautiful post today! You've really given us a look at the magnitude of the loss.

VP said...

Great post, beautiful images!

Roseann said...

I was in Etretat, Normandy on Rememberance Day in 2013. I was so touched by the citizens of Etretat who were so grateful to me and other American travelers that day. It really did help me understand what our soldiers did for the French in WWII. We Americans really have no idea.

Wayne said...

A touching and fitting tribute for this most solemn day. Thanks you for pointing out the diversity of the tombstones, that's one I never imagined.

Halcyon said...

Really touching post today. I haven't visited this cemetery, it's well done (even the connards part ;)).

Halcyon said...

Ok, I had to come back and look again. I see that it's really a G... ooopsie! I take it all back. ;-)

LOLfromPasa said...

Wonderful photographs. It is so sad when you think of the lives that have been lost.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Beautiful images Ciel, particularly the 8th. Too many graves, and it goes on.