We drove south in the rain to another famous city of Saxony, Leipzig. Our destination was Europe’s largest monument, to the Battle of the Nations. Never heard of this battle, from 1813, where more than 600,000 soldiers fought and almost half died or were injured? Neither had most of us.
The battle between Napoleon and his army versus the Saxons, Swedes and Russians, and Germans was bloody, with many dying at this site and thousands more dying of infections after.
“This is a place to remember history. The basic idea is of masses. The nation isn’t only the sum of individuals, it’s the mass of all of the people. It was the Russians, the Germans, and together we are always the victors,” the director told us. “Wars of liberation against Napoleon were fought as a people’s war because a lot of people volunteered to fight, and similarly during the GDR times, this notion was embraced. “
Then he took out an iPhone 4 and hit a button, and the rotunda and giant chamber filled with choral music, ethereal sounds echoing throughout the building. It was magnificent.