Today, 17th November, 2013 is “Volkstrauertag” in Germany. Remembrance day. And this time last year I wrote about the progress being made on the war memorial in Oberursel for those who served and died in the First World War. I had hoped to post a photo of the restored monument, the “Ehrenmal”.
But although work has progressed since last year, the project is still to be completed.
Having stabilised the column last year, this year has seen work continue on restoring the mosaic, as restorer Matthias Steyer recently explained at a public information evening.
The mosaic had been cut into pieces to allow it to be removed from the column, after which one of the first jobs was to remove a substance that had been applied in the 1980s when a previous restoration attempt had been made.
Since then the stones have been replaced if possible with stones of a similar colour from a factory in Munich which had them left over. The technique used to make them is called “Glasfluß” – Vitrification, where a powder is heated up and cooled down again very quickly, turning it into glass.
However some of the stones had to be cut through to be able to take the mosaic down, so in some places a small gap will be visible when it is re-mounted to the column, although apparently this will only really be visible if you know to look for it.
In total, the project will now cost €260,000. Thankfully this amount has now been raised by a combination of money from the town itself, the Ursella Stiftung, Hessen, and €111,000 from private donations.
But now the race is on, because the mosaic will not be re-mounted this year and instead the column will just be made safe for the winter. It is hoped that to have it finished in the spring, with the ultimate goal to have everything in place by the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on 28th June 1914, leading to the declaration of World War I a month later.