Gëlle Fra

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Coordinates: 49°36′34″N 06°07′44″E / 49.60944°N 6.12889°E / 49.60944; 6.12889

The Gëlle Fra monument commemorates the thousands of Luxembourgers that volunteered for service in the armed forces of the Allied Powers during the First World War.
The statue of a lady at the top of the monument

The Monument of Remembrance (French: Monument du souvenir), usually known by the nickname of the Gëlle Fra (Luxembourgish for 'Golden Lady'), is a war memorial in Luxembourg City, in southern Luxembourg. It is dedicated to the thousands of Luxembourgers who volunteered for service in the armed forces of the Allied Powers during World War I.

The Gëlle Fra is situated in Constitution Square, in the Ville Haute quarter of central Luxembourg City.

Description[edit]

The centrepiece of the monument is a 21 metre-tall granite obelisk. Atop of the obelisk stands a gilded bronze statue of a lady, holding out a laurel wreath as if placing it upon the head of the nation. At the foot of the obelisk are two (ungilded) bronze figures, representing those Luxembourgish soldiers that volunteered to serve for France; one lies at the base of the statue, having died in service of his country, whilst the other sits, mourning his dead compatriot.

The sculptor of the three bronze figures was Claus Cito, a native Luxembourger. The model for the Gëlle Fra is unknown. The monument was opened in 1923.

History[edit]

First World War[edit]

During the First World War, Luxembourg pledged itself to neutrality, but was occupied by Germany, which justified its actions by citing military necessity.[1] However, most Luxembourgers did not believe Germany's good intentions, fearing that Germany would annex their country in the event of a German victory; these claims were substantiated by Bethmann Hollweg's Septemberprogramm.[2]

Although Luxembourgers left under German occupation at home could do little to aid the Allies, those overseas, outside Germany's control, could volunteer to serve against Germany. In total, 3,700 Luxembourgian nationals served in the French army, of whom, 2,000 died.[3] As Luxembourg's pre-war population was only 266,000,[4] this death toll amounted to more than 1% of the entire national population, which is a relatively greater percentage than many combatant nations (see: World War I casualties).

After the First World War[edit]

When Luxembourg was occupied by Nazi forces in World War II, the Germans dismantled the memorial in October 1940. Several portions of the memorial were rescued, and after the war, the monument was partially restored. Later additions were made to honor Luxembourger forces who had served in World War II and the Korean War.

The monument was not fully reconstructed and restored to its original design until 1984.

The statue of the gilded lady was exhibited at the entrance of the Luxembourg pavilion of the Expo 2010 world exhibition in Shanghai.[5]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Speech by Bethmann Hollweg to the German Reichstag (in German), 4 August 1914
  2. ^ (German) Septemberprogramm des Reichskanzlers Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg. 9 September 1914. Retrieved on 2006-07-27.
  3. ^ "'National Museum of Military History in Diekirch, Luxembourg'". Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  4. ^ Lahmeyer, Jan. "Luxembourg: Country population". Retrieved 2006-07-27. 
  5. ^ "Reise nach Shanghai: Gëlle Fra wird vom Sockel geholt." Wort.lu, 2010-02-25 15:03, Version of 2010-02-25 16:03. (de)

References[edit]

This article incorporates information from the revision as of 28 July 2006 of the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.

See also[edit]

  • Media related to Gëlle Fra at Wikimedia Commons