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Monument to the Victims of the Great War

Theodor von Gosen1922-11-06

Polish History Museum

Polish History Museum
Warszawa, Poland

The statue "Christ Risen" on its sandstone obelisk, by the sculptor Theodor von Gosen (1873–1943), was first unveiled on 6 November 1922 in the courtyard of what was then the Matheaneum school. It memorializes professors, scholars and students of the school who perished in the First World War. On the obelisk, 183 names (German, Polish and Jewish) are placed along with an inscription in German (quoting the Romantic poet Theodor Körner), “Frei wolln wir das Vaterland wiedersehn oder frei zu den glücklichen Vätern gehn” (“We want to see the Fatherland with our own eyes or join as free men our brothers up in the sky”).
The monument had been lost in 1945. During reconstruction work in 1995 at the former school building, which in 1946 had become the seat of the Ossoliński National Institute, plans were developed for reconstructing the monument. However, in 2001 a previously discovered statue was identified, and in 2003 during renovation in the courtyard, the obelisk was unearthed. After restoring and matching both parts, the monument to “Victims of the Great War” was returned to its place – the present baroque garden between the Ossolineum and rectorial church of St. Matthew. The ceremonial unveiling and consecrating of the monument was held in the evening of 18 November 2007. Taking part were Prof. Norman Davies, the German consul Helmut Schoeps, Wrocław Metropolitan Archibishop Marian Gołębiewski of Wrocław and the Ossolineum director, Dr. Adolf Juzwenko.

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