Iron Nail Memorials
(671 words)

Iron Nail Memorials

The creation of Iron Nail Memorials was initiated in Vienna on March 6, 1915, with the Eisern Wehrmann (‘Iron-clad Soldier’). Beginning in mid-1916 and then tapering off until the war’s end, individuals in Germany and Austria-Hungary also began making these crude, symbolic figures studded with nails, sometimes with metal shields as well. Others were occasionally made at the fronts, such as the Adler der Champagne (‘Eagle of Champagne’). Shield-studded iron nail memorials were also undertaken by schools after 1916 as part of a charitable initiative of the association, Jugendspende für Kriegerwaisen (‘Youth Contributions for Soldiers’ Orphans’). Either a copper, brass, or iron nail (depending upon the amount donated) was hammered in for each contribution. The proceeds were intended for war orphans within their own communities. Attempts by the Nationalgabe Nagelung von Kriegswahrzeichen zu Gunsten der Nationalstiftung für die Hinterbliebenen der im Kri…

Cite this page
Schneider, Gerhard, “Iron Nail Memorials”, in: Brill’s Digital Library of World War I. Consulted online on 24 May 2017 <>
First published online: 2015

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