Fraternization Monument WallFraternization Monument Wall
©Fraternization Monument Wall|CUA
The Fraternization MonumentSymbol of peace

Monument of the fraternizations of Neuville-Saint-Vaast

Located on the commune of Neuville-Saint-Vaast, the monument of the Fraternizations is at the heart of the high places of the Great War in Artois.

Inaugurated in 2015, it was born of the wish of Corporal Louis Barthas, who fraternized with the enemy right here in 1915. A strong symbol of humanity, a universal and timeless work.

Winter break

Since the beginning of the war, French and German soldiers are buried in their respective trenches, facing each other on the front line. Exhausted by the cold and the fighting, stuck in the mud of the trenches, these men leave their shelters and fraternize. Thousands of truces lasting a few hours or a few days took place at Christmas, from Belgium to Alsace. They sang, they exchanged tobacco and drinks. These moments of humanity were censored, voluntarily forgotten.

Louis Barthas

A 35-year-old cooper from the Aude region experienced the “truce of the mud” on December 10, 1915, here in Artois. As a corporal, he was subjected to the violence of the fighting and survived the four years of war. When he returned to civilian life, he wrote about his day-to-day experiences from his notes. His “War Diaries” mark a turning point in the historiography of the Great War. In them, he recounts this episode of fraternization, accompanied by a wish for recognition of this courageous and fraternal surge of humanity.

First, one must walk through the heart of a symbolic trench and then, after reading Barthas’s words engraved in the ground, encounter two groups of glass sculptures – a symbol of the fragility of fraternization – in which the silhouettes of French, British, and German soldiers stand out. This invitation to enter history is completed by an extremely realistic immersion thanks to the Timescope. This time machine literally plunges us into the heart of this day of December 10, 1915, before taking the height to discover the great sites of memory of the Artois.