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Publication . Article . 2021

Genforeningens mindesmærker – at forme et erindringsfællesskab

Wienberg, Jes;
Open Access
Published: 01 Jan 2021
Publisher: Jysk Arkæologisk Selskab
Country: Sweden

At the 100 years anniversary in 2020 of the Reunion around 650 memorials have been protected. The memorials are to be found all over Denmark, where they constitute the largest group. The time of their erection, the localization, design, inscriptions, pictures and initiators are relatively well known. The article investigates two main questions. Firstly, why have so many memorials for the Reunion been erected – the very first in 1919, by far most in 1920 and the years immediately afterwards and the last one as late as 2010? Has it been an expression of national joy, as it was been claimed the and even later until today, or might there be other explanations? Alternative perspectives are presented, which call into question both the Reunion as a concept and the joy. The memorials are interpreted as an effort to create a community of remembrance. The Reunion was highly disputed and a few of the memorials even express discontent. Thus, the memorials of the Reunion might also be interpreted as expression of a crisis. Secondly, the article looks into the present preservation of what might be called a modern heritage. There is nothing unique in protecting modern remains seen in a global perspective. The memorials had in many cases become “invisible”, e.g. neglected or forgotten. Some had been moved and others had disappeared. The protection was also motivated with reference to their unique Danish character, being evidence of local urge and sense of community. Still, I wonder if also the present, just as the age of the Reunion, is a period of crisis in need of an anniversary and acts of protection to divert attention.Added to the article is an appendix with a catalogue of 642 known memorials of the Reunion 1919–2020 presented by the year of erection and/ or inauguration. And the article is illustrated with five figures showings examples of memorials: The memorial column at Skamlingsbanken built in 1863 and blown up in 1864, not being a memorial of the Reunion, but an example of the harsh treatment of memorials in the borderland between Denmark and Germany (fig. 1); the very first memorial of the Reunion built in Tarm in 1919 (fig. 2); a memorial at the location where the king Christian X started his ride over the old border (fig. 3); a memorial erected in 2020 at the church of Rømø (fig. 4); and finally, the Reunion Tower at Ejer Bavnehøj built in 1924 (fig 5).



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