The Kaysersberg valley, witness to the conflicts of Alsace-Moselle
Like many areas in Alsace, the Kaysersberg valley has been involved in the conflicts between the Western powers over the years.
Who has never heard of the eventful history of Alsace, which successively passed under the hegemony of France to that of Germany and vice versa?
The most numerous stigmata, still visible today, are those of the First World War. The fighting, which took place mainly on the crests of the Vosges, has left its mark on today’s landscape: some bunkers, a few trenches and objects from the soldiers’ daily lives are visible to the discerning observer.
But it is certainly at the Linge battlefield, which has now become the Linge Memorial Museum, that you will be able to get an idea of what life was like in the trenches by walking through them and approaching the daily life of the soldiers through the testimonies brought to light in the museum.
The Tête des Faux, also a battlefield, is now a listed monument. The Duchesne cemetery, a national necropolis, contains the graves of the soldiers who fell on this site.
Finally, the Wettstein military cemetery, on the heights of Orbey, also bears witness to the tumultuous past of Alsace-Moselle.
During the Second World War, the Kaysersberg valley was once again at the heart of conflicts and fighting.
Many villages in the vineyards were partially or completely destroyed (such as Ammerschwihr or Sigolsheim), while others were miraculously intact, such as Kientzheim or Kaysersberg. The National Necropolis of Sigolsheim, perched on the hill of Blutberg (literally the mountain of blood), dominates the Alsatian vineyard and reminds us of the fierce fighting for the liberation of the Colmar pocket during the winter of 1944.
These memorial sites are open to the public.
Since 20 September 2023, 3 military cemeteries in the Kaysersberg valley have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
- the French national necropolis of Wettstein (also known as the Wettstein cemetery in Orbey) part of the Linge,
- the German Kahm cemetery at Lapoutroie, on the Tête des Faux site,
- the French national necropolis of Duchesne (also known as the Duchesne cemetery in Orbey).