Football scarves tied together in unity: Ambassadors Dr Eckart Cuntz and Alison Rose at the Christmas truce memorial outside the Peace Village, Messines, Belgium (Photo: courtesy of the Peace Village)

Christmas truce: schools host UK & German envoys for memorial opening

Posted on on 08 December 2014
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The German and UK Ambassadors to Belgium have unveiled a new memorial to the 1914 Christmas truce at a ceremony organised by students from British and German schools.

Dr Eckart Cuntz and Alison Rose tied football scarves together to symbolise the ties between their countries and the two schools who designed the monument at the Peace Village in Mesen (Messines.) 

For pupils from Mildenhall College Academy in Suffolk and the Gymnasium Theodorianum in Paderborn, the event on December 6th 2014 marked  the culmination of a project which started with a joint visit to the First World War battlefields of the Ypres salient.

The memorial stands outside the Peace Village, an international hostel close to the scene of the football game played by British and German soldiers 100 years ago when the shooting briefly gave way to exchanges of Christmas greetings.

Featuring a stone football, the monument bears the words of the German carol, 'Stille Nacht, Heilige Nicht,' and the English inscription 'A lull in the hate."

The Mildenhall and Paderborn students hope it will be seen by the many other schools who follow them on tours of the battlefields. Visitors are encouraged to leave behind their own souvenirs.

It's described as 'not a just a memorial to the historic Christmas truces but also a symbol of hope to the future and an everlasting reminder of this international project.'

The Peace Village is located at Nieuwkerkestraat 9, Mesen (near Messines Ridge Commonwealth cemetery, and also close to the Island of Ireland Peace Park)

Information & images supplied by the Peace Village, Mesen

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News