Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Frankfurt Memorial

It's not a piece of German history that gets discussed much today.  Maybe one or two Germans out of a hundred might know one or two parts to the story....which is a different story from a century ago.

In 1813.....after the French Revolution had simmered and all the reactionaries had been dissolved....Napoleon arrived on the scene, and waged war, against just about everyone in Europe.  What was to be referred the Battle of Leipzig.....was this big campaign where Prussians, Russians, Swedes, and Hapsburg empire troops fought off France.

For four brief days in October of 1813....this battle carried on, and then France retreated.  The battle, the losses, the epic stories....were all woven into legendary feats.  Most German communities over the next hundred years ended up putting up various memorials to the battle.

This memorial was put up in Frankfurt, near the Romerberg (old part of town) in 1903.  Yeah, I's ninety years after the battle.  Things probably finally caught up with the locals....since all the vets from the war had passed it was a way of honoring the epic battle.

The lady on top of the statue?  Well, there's discussion over this.  No one is really sure.  Most think it's supposed to represent "Germania", which is this invented symbol of German nationality.  Mostly, it's always a Amazon-built gal, with the crown in one hand and some sword touching the other hand (if it's on the belt, then it's a friendly Germany, and if it's a sword raised, then it's a Germany defending itself against invaders).  Usually, the Germania statue gal has a puffy face, is a bit chunky, and has an abundance in terms of boobs.

As for this Frankfurt statue?  If you aim toward Saint Paul's Church and find the square (with ample cafes and coffee houses), then you are there.

It's a good place to discover and spend an hour, and only ten minutes walking to the river.  As for the war history stuff?'s better than some easily misunderstood modern art statue with two ladies tangling with a skeleton dude and a septic tank overflowing in the background.  Just skip asking your German associate about the Battle of Leipzig or the Prussian'll just invite a puzzled look.

Oh, and for reference....this battle in 1813?  It's only thirty-odd years after the American Revolution.

No comments: