The Ehrenmal – Restored at last to comfort, honour, warn and teach

For the past three years, I have been following the restoration work of the memorial to those from Oberursel who died in the First World War: The Ehrenmal. The war memorial, which stands next to the Christuskirche at the crossing of the Oberhöchstadter Straße and the Füllerstraße, was badly in need of restoration when the Hessentag took place in the town, but now, thanks to the donations of not only the town itself but many private families, once again is glittering in the evening sunset. With the mosaic pieces returned to the column and the column itself now stabilised, it was a solumn ceremony that took place on Wednesday, 23rd July, 2014 to commemorate the war dead and officialy re-dedicate the memorial.

Crowds in front of the Ehrenmal at the ceremony

Crowds in front of the Ehrenmal at the ceremony

A music ensemble from Oberursel’s music school opened the proceedings, watched by many of those who had donated money for the restoration, before the town council Chairman, Dr. Christoph Müllerleile, welcomed the guests.  He saw the the memorial as an example of what happens when the citizens of the town act together to get something done. The vicar of the Christuskirche, Pfarrer Gopfert, followed with his interpretation of the day, that it was one of commemoration, but also one joy at seeing the restoration completed.  He took the listeners through the story of the Ehrenmal, of how during the First World War around 2,000 people injured in the conflict had been treated in the town, with even one of the schools turned into a temporary hospital. He also touched on the wording on the column, which translates as “Comfort the bereaved, Honour the dead, Warn the living and Teach the youth”.  The inscription is not just a commemoration, it is a warning.  A warning against war and a call for peace, something that was obviously important to the people of the town in 1930 when the monument was erected.  As we now know, the town peoples’ wish was not to last for long.

Representatives from the town and the army laying wreaths

Representatives from the town and the army laying wreaths

It was left to Mayor Hans-Georg Brum to tell of the 224 names that are listed on the base of the column.  The names list the 224 people of the town who died during the war, out of the 1,600 who left the town to go and fight.  Many of them were buried in foreign fields, and many were never found.  Sadly, the base of the momument is still waiting to be restored, so that the names are once again be clearly read. The Ehrenmal, he said, shows that peace is not something that can be taken for granted.


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 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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