Krieg 1916



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

11 thoughts on “Krieg 1916”

  1. Dag Hendrik Jan

    bedankt voor je initiatief en veel succes. Een goede gedachte om via een familieverhaal een algemeen thema aan te snijden. Ik bljf je site volgen.

    Met vruendelijje groet

  2. Dank voor je bericht en het (blijven) volgen! Geeft vertrouwen. Hopelijk spreken we elkaar tijdens een WFA bijeenkomst en wisselen van gedachten over het thema en meer.

    Hartelijke groet, Hendrik Jan

  3. Prachtig project en fraaie website. We delen blijkbaar (minstens) twee passies: WO1 en muziek, het laatste via Carl. Mooi om over jouw Duitse invalshoek te vernemen, de mijne was tot nu toe voornamelijk Brits, Belgisch en Frans. Maar het Duitse volk heeft niet minder zwaar geleden tijdens en na deze verschrikkelijke oorlog.

  4. I was privileged to be able to listen this summer to the CD Krieg by Hendrik Jan Vermeulen. A personal and impressive document triggered by the death of his grandmother’s brother Bernhard Kronauer in 1916. Texts by German (!) poets (Heym, Trakl) put to music in original and varied ways in an altogether strong and convincing concept. Original songs by Hendrik Jan but also historic melodies & marches & signals. Serious, grotesque, tonal, a-tonal (e.g. Angriff is based on a 12-tone row): a document which has a unique colour and power. Warmly recommended!

  5. Dat je met die achtergrond een zo beladen thema durft aan te snijden verdient alle lof. Heb even wat snippets gehoord en ga zeker de CD bestellen. Heb je ook Robert Graves’ memoires en de gedichten van Siegfried Sassoon gelezen? Birdsong van Sebastian Faulks is ook de moeite waard. Nou kan ik ook weer een kunstuiting vanuit de andere zijde gezien, tot mij nemen. (Veel Joseph Roth gelezen, Remarque moet nog). Bas heeft het mooi opgenomen.

    1. Dank je Dick! Goodbye to all that heb ik gelezen en ook Memoires of an Infantry Officer (Sassoon). Roth (Joseph) ken ik nog niet! Van Remarque is naast de klassieker, ook Der Weg zurück en Der Feind aan te raden.

  6. My great-uncle was also was also killed in WW1. July18, 1918. He was very young. I am responsible now for his last photos and letters. His letters always mentioned the rain in France. They went to France in April 1917,and lost several men to the measles on the journey. My grandfather was on the trip also but it was discovered he was underage, so he was sent to an engineering outfit, chopping wood.

    1. Hi Mike, that sounds great to me, having photos and letters helping imagining what they went through! Do you now where your great-uncle was killed and were he is resting now? Regards HJ

  7. Hallo Hendrik Jan, jouw vader Henk was de halfbroer van mijn vader Jan Maximiliaan Olthuis (Gé) en mijn oom Hans. Ik zou heel graag contact met jou willen hebben om op vragen mijnerzijds misschien een antwoord te krijgen. Jouw verhaal op de internetsite roepen die op.
    Misschien wil je contact met me opnemen op via mijn mail.
    Met groet

  8. This sort of art project is a very good way to remind everyone that peace, prosperity and progress should not be taken for granted. World War I ended an era of globalisation and rapid improvements in almost every respect, and this can of course happen again. My own contribution to remembering this catastrophe is a piece for piano that follows a soldier on the Western Front through a day of fighting:

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