Emily from Perth (Australia)
“Their faces and postures really make me feel their pain. It makes me shiver,” Emily from Perth, Australia says, looking at Käthe Kollwitz's ‘The Grieving Parents’ memorial at Vladslo Cemetery.
Käthe Kollwitz's - The Grieving Parents

The Grieving Parents is a pair of statues, a mother and a father (portraits of Käthe Kollwitz herself and her husband Karl). They kneel before the grave of their youngest son Peter and the graves of 25,644 other German WWI soldiers at Vladslo Cemetery. The artist, who fell into a prolonged depression after the death of her son, completed the memorial in 1932. 

Emily, a history of art student, has travelled to Flanders Fields with her family to visit the battlefields of the Great War. 295,000 Australian soldiers fought and lost their lives in the four-year conflict. 

“I’m visiting as an interested Australian but also as an art student,” Emily explains. “For me it is really fascinating to see how artists creatively expressed their experiences of the war,” she continues. “So much art was created from all the pain and terror. It is moving and mesmerising at the same time.” 

For Emily it is hard to imagine what it must have been like for her fellow countrymen to arrive here in Flanders Fields some 100 years ago: “For me it is somehow easier to understand it through the eyes of people who have created things, books or memorials.” 

Earlier today, Emily visited the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres: “I really liked the way how history is told through interactive displays and gadgets. It makes it much more engaging.” Emily’s next stops during her three-day visit will be the Käthe Kollwitz Museum in Koekelare and the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 with its reconstructed trench system. 

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