Death of last remaining survivor of the German Imperial Army

A war veteran should be remembered Henry de Quetteville, Telegraph online 24 Jan 08.

A discreet announcement made its way into the pages of the Hannoversche Allgemeine earlier this month. It marked the end of an era, but it passed largely unobserved. It was a death notice for a man called Dr. Erich Kästner, and he may well have been the last remaining survivor of the German Imperial army of the First World War. He was 107.

While he just outlived 2007, Dr. Kästner did not outlive Louis de Cazenave, the French Great War veteran who died last Sunday aged 110.

De Cazenave's death, marked in news reports, obituaries and a statement from President Sarkozy, leaves just one surviving French veteran. But the death of his German counterpart was not so marked.

There was no comment from Chancellor Angela Merkel on his death, and on the sacrifices of the millions of young men like him who did not survive. No television pictures of him, bent with age, and the weight of a great number of medals.

Indeed it is impossible to know for sure that he was the last remaining survivor of the Great War because Germany has no official records of its veterans from the two World Wars.

After the 20th century, the reasons for German military bashfulness need no explaining. But Germany's losses in the Great War were extraordinary. It is thought to have lost more men in World War One than any other nation and more than twice those of the UK (whose own staggering casualty figures stand at almost 900,000).

I think it's a shame that Dr. Kästner's death has past so unremarked. However blame is parcelled up for the conflict, surely no one, now, could confuse remembrance with militarism.
God rest his soul.
He should be remembered. Whether he fought on the losing side or the morally wrong side. He still went to war and fought for his country and his mates. More than could be said for alot of our population. (now, not of the same era)
Agreed - the man was a soldier, who served his country when called upon.

I'm sure most of us here know better than most; a soldier does not choose his enemy, he just engages the enemy.


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