Questionable Historic Restoration
At Verdun

Before & After Photos from Christina Holstein

Aerial Photo of Fort Douaumont
Sites Described Here are Near Markers 8 and 9

Christina Holstein of Luxembourg has been observing and documenting restoration work at Verdun for over a year. Old Fort Douaumont has been a focal point for this construction. It has been very hard, however, to determine what the official program or policy might be. What is undeniable because of the "Before and After" photos Christina has provided here, is that the revisions seem to range from inauthentic to cheesy in appearance and in a number of cases appear unnecessary. Christina writes:

I'm sure you can imagine what I think about all this. How sad that the authorities can just do such things to a historical monument with no discussion of what is being done or even why it is necessary to alter the structure. There is no information at the Fort to say who is responsible, who is in charge, what the plans are or how long the work will be going on.

Here are five examples of what Christina is describing. Just click on the thumbnail to see the full sized before and after images:

Western Barracks Entrance

Damaged Merlon

New Entrances ?

Bourges Casemate

Bourges Gun Chambers

December 2001 Update:

The relentless pursuit of the truth by Christina and her network has finally yielded a response from officialdom. Here is the official position on the Verdun Forts with her English translation of the French text inserted. It presented with permission to translate and publish the letter from M. Altemaire, the original recipient.

I have received your letter of 19 November and am pleased to reply immediately.

on the contrary, the work currently taking place at Fort Douaumont, which is financed by the State, is intended to ensure the conservation of this prestigious witness to our history.

I know that certain people are spreading insidious rumours. I am trying to combat this and your letter helps me to do it, although you know very well that it is difficult to distinguish between stupidity and ill will.

The Poilus who fought at Verdun and elsewhere, and all those who suffered with them, deserve better than that.

It is part of the negative aspect that it is our duty to fight by emphasizing the other side.

Remaining attentive to all these problems of Remembrance, I authorize you to publicize this letter in its totality and assure you of my enduring respect,

(Signed) Colonel A. Bernéde,
Military Delegate to the Department of the Meuse,
Commander of the Place de Verdun.

Do You Have Any Comments?

Christina encourages the public to share their views on the Verdun project with the French government. Based on her experience with the multiple agencies sharing responsibility for the battlefields, she suggest writing: M. le Préfet du Département de la Meuse, 40 rue Bourg, Bar-le-Duc 55000 France. If you have any insights on what is happening at Verdun, please send Christina an email at:

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