André Ruiter Historic Landscapes

Waldlager

German World War I relics in France

About the project

While working on my photo project Verdun 1916, my interest in the First World War grew. I wanted to see more of the remains of the Western Front in France. I visited the battlefields of Argonne and Saint-Mihiel. I found many remains of German camps with bunkers, monuments, tombstones and fountains. Striking was that these relics were often richly decorated. The beautiful ornaments and symbols contrasted with the horrors of the trench warfare. I photographed the relics without having any real purpose with these photos. For the time being it was a kind of "bycatch" of my Verdun project.

This changed when I visited the battlefields on the mountain peaks of the Vosges in 2016. I found several German relics here and I decided that this was a project in itself. From now on these photos were no longer "bycatch" and I started to search for new relics. I named the project Waldlager ("forest camp"), since the remains are often found in the woods.