Networld WWI CA Database (Demo)

“War Nailing Gate” (town hall of the borough of Melk), Lower Austria, Austria

In Melk the town authorities decided to install a “defence gate”, suggested by the academic painter Ernst Stöhr and according to his design. This was intended to be decorated with nails for the benefit of the widow and orphan fund, and as a visible sign of donations given and the willingness to make sacrifices. The gate wing was positioned into place in August 1915. According to the generosity of their donation, donors were allowed to attach a nail or a small copper plate with their name. 

Austria, Lower Austria

Type of WWI-heritage

  • Non-Military Site of World War One Relevance

Dimensions

The entrance gate to the town hall of the borough of Melk measures 2.5 x 3 metres.

State of repair/preservation

The gate is in a good condition.

Historical WWI Context

From spring of 1915, many towns and villages in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy set up wooden figures to be decorated with nails if a donation was given to the war welfare fund. The initial impulse for this was supplied by the “soldier in iron” presented in Vienna on 6 March 1915. In addition to soldiers, military signs and crosses, other objects were also used for nailing purposes, e.g. figures of historical personages, forges, holy figures and animals as well as tables and doors.

The number of nailing actions suddenly increased from April 1915 – they also fulfilled an important social function by appealing to the common call for holding out. The time between July 1915 and April/May 1916 was deemed to be the “zenith” of these nailing campaigns.

In Melk the town authorities decided to install a “defence gate”, suggested by the academic painter Ernst Stöhr and according to his design. This was intended to be decorated with nails for the benefit of the widow and orphan fund, and as a visible sign of donations given and the willingness to make sacrifices. The gate wing was positioned into place in August 1915. According to the generosity of their donation, donors were allowed to attach a nail or a small copper plate with their name. In March 1919, 4,077 crowns were transferred to the fund.

According to an Austrian source of the time, around 700 iron soldier and iron sign campaigns were carried out in Austria up to June 1916.

State of legal protection

The town hall gate is not under protection.

Owner

The town hall gate is owned by Melk town council.

Kind of cultural use of WWI

No touristic use.

Opening

The entrance gate to the town hall is situated in the old town area of Melk and can be viewed for free.

Entrance Fee

The entrance gate to the town hall is situated in the old town area of Melk and can be viewed for free.

Information regarding cities, villages, other touristic attractions (non-WWI) nearby

Further information:

Stift Melk: www.stiftmelk.at

Wachau: wachau-urlaub.com

 

 

Accomodation

Further information:

City of Melk: www.hotels-und-pensionen.at/niederoesterreich/hotels_melk

Wachau: wachau-urlaub.com

 

 

 

 

Public Transport

Further information:

ÖBB: www.oebb.at

Further information sources

Publicationen:

Alfred Benesch & Gerhard Floßmann (Hg.), Vor-Stadt. Melk 1848–1898, Melk (2008).

Gerhard Floßmann, Melk an der Donau. Stadtführer, Melk (2000).

Hans-Christian Pust, Vergessenes Phänomen. Kriegsnagelungen in Österreich, Deutschland und darüber hinaus, in: Christian Rapp & Peter Fritz (Red.), Jubel & Elend. Leben mit dem Großen Krieg 1914–1918. Ausstellungskatalog, hg. v. d. Schallaburg Kulturbetriebsges.m.b.H., Schallaburg (2014), S. 298–301.

Museums Private Collections

Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand Museum Schloss Artstetten (near Pöchlarn)
Further information: www.schloss-artstetten.at

Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (HGM), Vienna
Further information: www.hgm.at
 

 

Location

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