When I went on a walk visiting the war memorials in Oberursel last year, the one that we started at happened to be the one that I did not publish a photograph of. This was partly due to the weather but also because it was undergoing restoration work at the time.
A year has now passed, and it is still being restored. However, being „Volkstrauertag“ in Germany today, the equivalent of Remembrance Sunday, I decided to take a look at the progress that has been made in the past year.
The „Ehrenmal“ is located next to the „Christuskirche“ church, at the junction of the Oberhöchstädter Straße leading out of the town centre and the Füllerstraße, which used to be part of the main B455 road from Königstein.
Unveiled on 12th October 1930, it was designed by an artist from called Lina von Schauroth, who had already designed the monument for a location in her home city of Frankfurt. But in the end, as we know, it ended up in Oberursel.
The „Ehrenmal“ is a concrete column, placed on a block inscribed with the names of the town’s war dead in the First World War. On the top there is a copper sphere. But what makes the monument particularly special is the mosaic on the outside of the column.
The mosaic depicts the image of Jesus Christ, with a smaller image beneath of soldiers in uniform. There is a colour photo taken before restoration began on Wikipedia.
But the years took their toll on the momument. Cracks began to appear and pieces of the mosaic began to fall off.
So back in August 2010 an initiative was set up called „Rettet das Ehrenmal“ („Save the Ehrenmal“) with the aim of restoring the monument. The town put €35,000 towards having the monument measured and documented, and for the mosaic to be put into storage.
Work began in April 2011, when scaffolding was put up. The plan was to remove the mosaic pieces in segments, restore them and replace the missing ones, and then re-attach the segments to the column.
But while this work was being carried out, it was noticed that the column itself was swaying. After being secured, the copper sphere was removed to open up the top of the column. At this point it was discovered that the base – like the column – was actually hollow.
Luckily the ground below the base was deemed to be stable enough to take the weight of the monument even if it was filled, and so this summer a steel rod was placed inside the column connecting the top of the monument with the foundation.
After that each section – the foundation, base and column – were filled with cement, a process that had to be done in stages to avoid too much pressure building up on the inside and cracking the outside even more.
With this work complete, all that now remains is to finish the restoration of the mosaic pieces and re-attach them to the monument.
That, and collecting enough money to pay for it to be done. According to the „Rettet das Ehrenmal“ website, over €100,000 has now been raised, although with the estimated cost of the entire project being around €160,000 donations are still needed.
To this effect a benefit concert is being held on „Volkstrauertag“ this year (18th November) at 5pm in the Christuskirche next to the Ehrenmal, with performances by soprano Shen Shen and trumpet player Rudolf Oppermann. The organ will be played by Gisèle Kremer.
Donations can also be made to the following bank account:
Recipient (Empfänger): Ursella-Stiftung „Ehrenmal“
Account (Konto): 70 300 70
Sort Code (Bankleitzahl): 512 500 00
Bank: Taunus Sparkasse
Hopefully the work can be completed in the spring of 2013 and I can finally publish a photo of this war memorial in all of its restored glory.