André Ruiter Stereoscopy

Douaumont Cadavre Boche

June 23, 2021
Douaumont Cadavre Boche - B&W photographer and collector of antique photographica
During and after the First World War, huge numbers of stereoviews were published in France. The technical and artistic quality is often mediocre, but sometimes an image stands out and touches me.

Douaumont Cadavre Boche is a 6 x 13cm glass stereoview published by La Stéréoscopie Universelle. It shows the corpse of a German soldier near Douaumont on the Verdun battlefield in France. The word "boche" is a French swearword for German soldiers. It appears frequently on the stereoviews of La Stéréoscopie Universelle and reflects the sentiments towards the vanquished enemy.

Douaumont Cadavre Boche - La Stéréoscopie Universelle
Douaumont Cadavre Boche - 8804
6 x 13cm glass stereoview by La Stéréoscopie Universelle

At first glance, the soldier appears to be sleeping or resting in the mud of the battered battlefield. What touches me most are the paper documents next to him. Are these maps of the battlefield or perhaps letters from his loved ones? Did he read them while he was dying? Who was this soldier? I will never get the answers, but this image remains moving...