Tag Archives: Labes

Roland War Memorial Mound

heldendenkmal labes lobez

An old picture postcard of the ‘Heldendenkmal’ war memorial and mound in Labes / Lobez, c.1937.

Information and archive images of the ‘Roland’ war memorial and mound in what was when it was construcyed Labes, Pommern, Germany; but since 1945, Lobez / Łobez, Zachodniopomorskie, (western Pomerania), Poland.

kriegerdenkmal labes lobez

The ‘Kriegerdenkmal’ and statue of Roland in Labes / Lobez / Łobez, Pommern, c.1937.

An artificial mound (or hill) of greater than 100 metres height was built in Labes / Lobez in 1922. It consisted of four artificial terraces. The top of the mound could be reached by way of a pair of stone stairs flanked by megaliths inscribed with runes and other Germanic symbols. A statue of the Germanic Knight Roland holding a sword was erected on top of the mound and stood more than ten metres high. In addition to the central statue, inscribed stones and mound itself, benches were put in place and trees were planted. The trees were chosen to symbolise different things. Pine trees symbolised sadness and loneliness, while spruces were connected to life and rebirth, and ash and hornbeam to longevity and pride. The purpose of this mound and its monuments was to commemorate and remember those who died in the 1914 – 1918 war.

The mound and monuments were built by the local community with the recorded help of more than 1,000 people. The whole project was financed by voluntary donations and required a total of 4,850 hours to complete.

The official unveiling of the statue of Roland, along with seven quadrangular columns, and boards inscribed with the names of the 200 or so men killed in the First World war from the immediate Labes / Lobez area was done by the President of Germany, Paul von Hindenburg. This took place on 1 August 1926.

In 1931, Erich Puchstein filmed a silent 12-minute film ‘Die Stadt im Osten’ about the war memorial.

Labes lobez Roland

A front view of the Roland statue, ivy-covered columns, and war memorial in Labes / Lobez, c.1937.

Following the transfer of this part of what was Germany, to Poland, in 1945, the huge statue of Roland the Knight was blown up, and the war memorial as a whole has suffered greatly as a result of theft, vandalism and neglect. This process of decay, unfortunately, continues to the present-day.

war memorial lebes lobez

The War Memorial and Mound in Labes / Lobez photographed just after completion of the main structure in 1926.

Historical note: Roland was a Knight and nephew of Charlemagne. He was part of Charlemagne’s army fighting the Muslims in Spain and was killed at the Battle of Roncevaux. As a result of which Roland was immortalised in the medieval French epic poem ‘Song of Roland’ (La Chanson de Roland). Statues of Roland (Rolande) still exist throughout present-day Germany. Many dating back several hundred years. The most famous surviving monument to Roland is probably the 15th century five metre high limestone statue in Bremen.

Labes / Lobez

Labes Lobez

An early lithographic picture postcard of Labes / Lobez, c.1899.

This evening we present a selection of images scanned from our picture archive of the small town of Lobez (Polish: Łobez / German: Labes) in Zachodniopomorskie, western Poland.

labes lobez zachniopomorskie

An early 20th century picture postcard of the Post Office on Bahnhofstraase in Labes / Łobez / Lobez.

Random information on Łobez:
- Up until 1945 Łobez was called Labes and part of Germany.
- Up until 1945 Labes / Lobez was famous for horses.
- More than 60% of Labes / Łobez was destroyed in the fighting between defending German forces and the Red Army in early March 1945.

labes Łobez

A panorama of Labes / Lobez on an old picture postcard mailed in 1937.

More trivia related to Łobez:
- Fritz Puchstein, the actor and director, was born in the town in 1893.
- Lebes / Lobez was the subject of the German-era film, Die Stadt im Osten.
- The current population of Lobez numbers just under 10,000.


A communist-period photograph of an apartment block and shops on ul. Koscielna in Lobez, Poland, c.1974.

A final point of interest:
- The Roland (Rolande) Mound, a huge monument to the German dead of the First World War topped by a statue of Roland, was built in Labes / Lobez in the 1920s and 1930s. What remains of this once most impressive man-made hill and war memorial (denkmal) can still be seen in Lobez.

Related content on Polish Poland:
- Information and photographs of the nearby town of Drawsko Pomorskie.