The Monument of Remembrance, usually known by the nickname of the Gëlle Fra (Luxembourgish for 'Golden Lady'), is a war memorial dedicated to the thousands of Luxembourgers who volunteered for service in the armed forces of the Allied Powers during World War I.
The centrepiece of the monument is a 21 metre-tall granite obelisk. Atop of the obelisk stands a gilded bronze statue of a lady, holding out a laurel wreath as if placing it upon the head of the nation. At the foot of the obelisk are two (ungilded) bronze figures, representing those Luxembourgish soldiers that volunteered to serve for France; one lies at the base of the statue, having died in service of his country, whilst the other sits, mourning his dead compatriot.
The sculptor of the three bronze figures was Claus Cito, a native Luxembourger. The model for the Gëlle Fra is unknown. The monument was opened in 1923.
During the First World War, Luxembourg pledged itself to neutrality, but was occupied by Germany, which justified its actions by citing military necessity. However, most Luxembourgers did not believe Germany's good intentions, fearing that Germany would annex their country in the event of a German victory; these claims were substantiated by Bethmann Hollweg's Septemberprogramm.
When Luxembourg was occupied by Nazi forces in World War II, the Germans dismantled the memorial on the 21st October 1940. Several portions of the memorial were rescued, and after the war, the monument was partially restored. The Gëlle Fra herself however remained unaccounted for until January 1980 when she was found hidden beneath the main stand of the national football stadium. Later additions were made to honor Luxembourger forces who had served in World War II and the Korean War.
The monument was not fully reconstructed and restored to its original design until 1984 and then finally unveiled to the public in the presence of Grand Duke Jean on the 23rd June 1985, Luxembourg's national holiday.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.