The Mourning Parents – sculpture by Kathe Kollwitz
This sculpture stands a silent vigil over the grave of Musketier Peter Kollwitz, KIA 23/10/1914, 18 years. Kathe Kollwitz deeply distressed by the death of her son exhibits in this work a universal parental sorrow for all the doomed youth of war.
The sculptures stand slightly apart as each parent attempts to come to grips with their own sorrow.
There are few sculptures of this intensity or quality that I saw. The German Cemeteries are quite different to those of the Commonwealth. They are dark and somber with large elms and oaks which enclose the visitor…..but not in an unwelcoming way. The head-stones are black and are often laid horizontally with the remains of from 5 to 25 soldiers in a common grave. There are many soldiers known “only to God”.
Peter Kollwitz was a student at a military academy in Germany. Apparently all the boys volunteered for front line service and with limited training were thrown against seasoned British troops. This cemetery is near Vladslo in Belgium.