EASTERN FRANCE: PAST AND PRESENT
During the rapid advances of the Third Army it seems that Grandpa didn't have time to take any pictures at all. There's a large gap in the photo collection between Le Mans and Metz, running from about mid-August until mid-September of 1944. When the offensive finally bogged down, the company ended up spending several months in Eastern France, so naturally Grandpa picked up the camera again and there were a lot of photos of this region. I'd like to thank André Flener of Luxembourg who walked in Grandpa's footsteps and took all of the modern day photos on this page.
This monument to the fallen soldiers of World War I still stands unchanged in the Place Gallieni in Metz. It was inaugurated in 1935 and sculpted by Paul Niclausse.
During the German occupation, large slabs bearing bas relief sculptures on either side of these main figures were removed, apparently because they depicted figures that were distinctly French. It never was restored to its original state.
The Protestant Temple Neuf was constructed on the banks of an island on the Moselle River in 1904 while Metz was under German control.
This period photo of the Fountain at the Esplanade of Metz is from a print that I don't have the negative for. I'm not sure when it was taken, but it seems to have been taken in the summer which would place it in a different timeframe from the photo taken from Grandpa's 35-mm negative shown below.
A comparison of how the Fountain at the Esplanade of Metz looked in 1944 and 2011.
The 25 meter high viaduct in the distance was built in Knutange in 1860.
A view further north on the Rue de la République as the photographer moved towards the towering viaduct. Many of the buildings lining the streets have changed very little over the years.
A section of the viaduct was demolished by retreating French troops in 1940 and the reconstruction took the occupying Germans several years to complete. The viaduct escaped the same fate in 1944 when the Germans withdrew without carrying out their plans for demolition.
Many of the buildings along this street in Hayange have changed very little or not at all. The tower in the distance is that of the Church of St. Martin, built in the style of Italian Renaissance in the 1880s.
This building lies near the center of the Morfontaine Cités. The modern day photo shows that it underwent some extensive remodeling.
Another view of the building near the center of Morfontaine Cités. In this view you can see that the rear of the building has yet to be remodeled and retains the original corrugated metal as seen in Grandpa's photos.
The houses pictured here are not the same house, but of similar design. There's dozens of houses of this design in Morfontaine Cités. These houses were once the homes of the families of officers who were manning the nearby Maginot Line.
This water tower lies at the very north tip of the Morfontaine Cités.
A closer view of the water tower at the north end of Morfontaine Cités. It has changed very little in over sixty years.
These photos were taken from the roof of the Ouvrage Bois-du-Four. The large dome on the left is a VDP cloche which was not armed, but intended for observation and direction of artillery. To the right is what appears to be a retractable machine gun turret.
A view from atop the Ouvrage Bois-du-Four in 1944 and 2011.
The following photos were taken from an observation area which gives a breathtaking view of the industrial town of Longwy situated among the hills and valleys. In the last photo it's interesting to note that the massive slag heap (which I've seen in photos as recently as the 1970s) has been removed.