Statue dedicated to Wehrmacht soldier in Dutch city of Riel.


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Dutch Honour 'humanitarian deeds' of Wehrmacht soldier.

Amsterdam - A memorial sculpture was unveiled on Tuesday in the southern-Netherlands city of Riel to honour the "humanity" of a soldier from the German army during World War II. The initiator of the memorial in Riel in the southern Netherlands, Herman van Rouwendaal, 76, said the sculpture "honours the humanity displayed by a soldier of the German army, or Wehrmacht, during WW II".
Karl Heintz Rosch was an 18-year-old soldier when he saved the lives of two young Dutch children on October 6, 1944. The two, brother Jan and sister Toos Kilsdonk, then both toddlers, found themselves on the frontline between the Allied and German forces. Rosch brought the children to safety. Shortly afterwards he was killed by Allied artillery fire.
Both children, now elderly Dutch nationals, were present at Tuesday's unveiling of the memorial sculpture. The bronze statue shows the actual rescue scene, with soldier Rosch, wearing the typical steel German army helmet, carrying the children under his arms. Two of Rosch' half-brothers, Diethelm and Ingold Rosch were present at Tuesday's ceremony. Van Rouwendaal said both were "very emotional and honoured to be present."
The bronze sculpture, made by Dutch sculptor Riet van der Louw, was financed entirely by Dutch private citizens. The sculpture marks another step a new Dutch way of commemorating World War II. Until the mid 1990s, the Dutch attitude towards Germans was largely hostile. The Dutch consistently considered all Germans as the "occupiers" in World War II, describing themselves as "innocent victims". From the mid-1990s onwards, the Dutch increasingly supported Dutch-German commemorations of World War II that focus on common humanity.

It caused quite a bit of commotion in the community of Riel, but it's finally there, financed by private citizens and placed in someone's garden.. :stare:

It's amazing how hard it is for people to admit that a righteous person cannot be held accountable for the crimes of a whole regime. This man was a hero, whether he was a Wehrmacht-soldier or not, it doesn't matter.

It's good to see we are finally starting to come to terms with the past, or at least with the German past.. it's still hard for us to face our own. Our inability (or was it unwillingness?) to save the jews.. it's still clouded with vague, though strong sentiments of discomfort and guild.
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