Oberursel Twinning Association in Verdun

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, representatives of the twin towns of Epinay-sur-Seine: Oberursel and South Tynside, recently visited the French town of Verdun together.  Among those from Oberursel taking part were Mayor Hans-Georg Brum and Council Chairman Gerd Krämer.

Verdun was selected for its particular place in Franco-German history.  In the First World War, the Battle of Verdun saw over 300,000 killed and around 400,000 wounded in one of the costly battles of the war on the western front.  The battle began on 21st February, 1916, when German troops attacked Verdun and her defences, and finished almost 10 months later on 19th December, 1916, with hardly any change to the front lines.  Evidence of the fighting can still be found today in the area: trenches, craters, destroyed villages, and numerous graves and monuments.

But Verdun is also a town of peace and reconcilliation.  François Mitterand and Helmut Kohl met there at the German military cemetery in 1984.  Angela Merkel and François Hollande have also paid their respects at the “Douaumont ossuary”, where the remains of 130,00 French and German troops are buried.

These were also some of the places visited by the group.  Together they held a ceremony of remembrance with Verduns Mayor Samuel Hazard.

The participants, moved by their experiences on the trip, were agreed on the importance of defending freedom, tolerance and cosmopolitanism in todays political climate, and that the town twinnings have a role to play in bringing people from different countries together in order to provide for a better understanding of each other.

The hostilities between their countries may have been forgiven, but they certainly have not been forgotten.

The group were given an insight into the horrors of the battle at the Douamont defencesThe group were given an insight into the horrors of the battle at the Douamont defences

At the monument for the fallen children of Verdun, Epinay's Chief of Protocol welcomed the Mayors of Oberursel, Epinay and South Tyneside.
At the monument for the fallen children of Verdun, Epinay’s Chief of Protocol welcomed the Mayors of Oberursel, Epinay and South Tyneside.

Council Chairman Gerd Krämer and his Predecessor Dr. Christoph Müllerleile at the German military cemetery in Consenvoye
Council Chairman Gerd Krämer and his Predecessor Dr. Christoph Müllerleile at the German military cemetery in Consenvoye

The hostilities between the countries may have been forgiven, but not forgotten.

Photos kindly provided by the “Verein zur Förderung der Oberurseler Städtepartnerschaften”.

About Graham Tappenden

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Oberursel in 1993 and returned with his family to live there in 2003. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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