On 4 May 1967, Princess Wilhelmina unveiled the war memorial to all the fallen, with Van der Mandele and mayor G.E. van Walsum. Photo Collectie Ary Groeneveld - Rotterdam City Archives CC-BY
Mari Andriessen’s Memorial to the Fallen 1940-1945 – four bronze figures – from 1957 commemorates the victims of the Second World War.
Two men, a woman and a child meet one another on a large plinth. They symbolise various aspects of the post-war years. The woman’s bowed head represents the grief for the past; the man with the shovel represents the optimism of post-war reconstruction. The other man and the child form the link between these two extremes. The sculpture has a strategic location between the old City Hall and the modern buildings of the Lijnbaan.
The plinth bears the inscription: ‘Stronger through struggle’. Wilhelmina spoke these words upon her return from England, and they form the motto in Rotterdam’s coat of arms. On the other side is a poem that Clara Eggink wrote to accompany the sculpture: ‘The work before us demands strength. We must put the disaster behind us and rebuild. As inevitable as the flocks of seagulls to your harbours, the will to live returns. Your prosperity is built upon the untimely graves of those who cannot rebuild. Remember those who have perished and your future generations will eat bread in freedom.’