War, art and… humanity – I World War cemeteries in Western Galicia

A century ago, during the I World War, a great military offensive took place in the area of Gorlice and in Beskid Niski mountains. Thousands of soldiers of the multinational armies (Austro-Hungarian, Prussian, Russian) gave their lives away and found their peace somewhere between forests and meadows… Not a long time after the battle many people in Austro-Hungary discussed the problem of buring all of the soldiers with honour. During the battle the temporary graves were made where it was possible and they had not much to do with the honourable war cemeteries.

The Austro-Hungarian Ministry of War decided to established the War Graves Departement which was supposed to tidy up the battlefields and reorganise the makeshift burials and cemeteries. The results of that huge action were also original projects of the war cemeteries which – thanks to the restoration works nowadays – we may admire not only in the towns and villages but also high in the mountains and deep in the forests. However we should remember that they weren’t built in the forests 100 years ago, but in the open spaces to be well seen.

These beautiful cemeteries are unique monuments of soldier’s death and honour. They are also the spectacular sign of old, knightly traditions which seems to be forgotten in our times… You can find the graves of Austro-Hungarian, Prussian and Russian soldiers (former enemies) beside each other. What is more, you will find the burials of Western Christians, Orthodox and Jews together. So you will see not only the Latin cross or the Orthodox cross, but also the Star of David.

Last but not least all of the war cemeteries – also these beautiful ones – remind us about the cruelty which characterise every war.

[If you’d like to learn a little bit more about I World War in Poland please go here. If you’re interested in war cemeteries from that time please check www].

The architects of the cemeteries showed below were: Dušan Jurkovič (Łużna-Pustki: Jan Szczepkowski&Dušan Jurkovič) and Hans Mayr.

Check how some of the cemeteries showed below looked 100 years ago:
Wola Cieklińska, no.11; Przełęcz Małastowska, no.60; Sękowa, no.80 (model; unfinished); Nowy Żmigród, no.8; Męcina Mała, no. 81; Krempna, no.6; Grab, no.4 (model); Gładyszów Wirchne, no. 61; Gładyszów, no. 55; Czarne, no. 53; Długie, no. 44; Łużna-Pustki, no. 123; Rotunda, no. 51.

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P.S. Any language mistakes? Please ignore it or let me know>>  bialavoda(at)gazeta.pl.

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