Josef Mayr-Nusser

“Hey, there’s a church. Want to go in?” she asks you.

You have some time to kill in Bolzano before a train ride back to Munich. So, you’re walking around town, arm in arm, wandering, really, with no destination.

You enjoy the cool mountain air and the charm of a town plaza filling with Italians, Germans and Scandinavians. One last walk, filled with gratitude and peace as your trip stretches towards a book-end.

Clouds and mist are among the mountains.

The church is beautiful and silent inside. You see some people praying.

You do the same for a bit, and your eyes wander to the right, where you see this.

It is a memorial to someone, and you take a closer look.

It is hard to imagine such a decision, to announce that you cannot swear an oath to Hitler and know, as a result, that you will be executed, that you will not see your family again.

By going off the beaten path on this trip, such as going to the church at Predoi Prettau, you’ve seen serendipitously memorials. You wonder why at two churches these scenes move you so.

That war, while in the past, evokes memories today. The untold human cost. The sustained suffering. It is truly unfathomable to imagine the ubiquity of horror.

Such a war. Such an ugly, ugly war.

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