German monument in Saint-Charles cemetery

The second square on the left of the Saint-Charles cemetery is dominated by a monument of ancient inspiration. Erected in concrete by the Germans in 1915, it paid homage to the Germanic soldiers buried around it, within a reserved enclosure laid out in terraces.
With the transparent effects of its columns and side entrances, the monument evokes a gateway to heaven for the souls of the heroes. The formal similarity with the Brandenburg Gate, erected in Berlin in 1791, is also worthy of note.
On the outside, the only figurative decorative elements are the stylised fruits that crown the side pillars. Inside, the ceiling features two iron crosses and, in the centre, the Cross for Merit.
The entablature bears a poetic text by Joseph von Lauff:

Fighting for the Emperor and for the Empire, God has taken the earthly sun from us.
Now, freed from all earthly things, his eternal light illuminates us.
Sacred be this place, which you consecrated with bloody victims.
Thrice sacred for us by the sacrifice of thanksgiving.

The bodies of the soldiers were moved to the Noyers-Pont-Maugis cemetery in the 1920s, and the surrounding wall was demolished in 1937. Today, the war memorial is the only remaining reminder of this German necropolis, and is also one of the most important memorials built by the German army in occupied territory during the Great War.
The German monument is one of 139 funerary and memorial sites from the Great War (Western Front) for which a request for inclusion on the World Heritage List has been submitted to UNESCO.
After a century of neglect, during which it had fallen into serious disrepair, the monument is being restored in 2017-2018 by the town of Sedan thanks to French (State and local authorities) and German (Federal State) public funding and a subscription supported by the Fondation du patrimoine.
Historic presentation desks are available on site in French, German and English.
The monument is accessible free of charge during cemetery opening hours.

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