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Krieg 1916 is an ongoing project about the impact of war. The project is called Krieg because it is a statement made in a language obviously connected with the phenomenon – as Krieg is the German word for War – and 1916 because that’s the year an ancestor of mine met his fate in the ‘Great War’.
The motivation for this project is my granduncle Bernhard Kronauer, an Unteroffizier (NCO) in the Imperial German army. He died in 1916 on the eastern front, after two years of hard fighting in France. For me, Bernhard Kronauer stands for the ‘universal soldier’ who fought for what he believed was right and made the supreme sacrifice in doing so. In addition, my father fought in the German army during the Second World War as a Dutch volunteer, following in his German ancestors’ footsteps. He survived the war but the trauma he sustained was a dominant factor in our relationship, and has had a major impact in my life.
Being a descendent of these men who fought for Germany I feel a certain responsibility for what happened during the two World Wars. As a European and a world citizen I therefore want to do my part to keep alive the memory of the suffering war brings. By doing so we may remember what happens when we let nationalism and intolerance prevail.
With Krieg 1916 I want to stimulate the public debate about our common responsibility for peace. I aim to do this by creating a platform on this site for sharing thoughts and artistic/creative concepts about the impact of war. Besides being an archive of Bernhard Kronauer’s (military) life, a blog about my endeavours during this project and a discussion forum, the site is also a web shop for project products.
I look forward to sharing thoughts and products related to Krieg 1916 with you.
Hendrik Jan Vermeulen
Groningen, The Netherlands