On 8th August 1914, a French division crossed the Pass of Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines heading towards Sélestat. It was driven back by the Germans who gained a foothold on the pass which they maintained until the end of the war. The summits around the pass flared up regularly between 1915 and 1916.
The mine warfare raged in Bernhardstein, at the Tête du Violu and at contour line 607. The engineering units of both armies tirelessly built tunnels to house explosives intended to blow up enemy trenches.
From the summer of 1916 until June 1918, when an American division occupied the area until the Armistice, the area around the Violu remained relatively quiet.
Numerous concrete constructions are still visible, in particular heavy mortar gun emplacements, optical communication posts and shelters of all kinds. They were built by German territorial units (Landsturm) who benefited from a vast communications network (e.g. narrow gauge railway and cable car stations), which they used to transport construction materials and ammunition.
Opening hours: free access all year round
Period: not recommended during the winter
Admission: free. Guided tours (F, D, GB): for groups (3 hours): by reservation. School groups: free
Getting there: D459 - From the Pass of Sainte Marie
Car Park: yes
Coach parking space: 1
Office de Tourisme du Val d'Argent
86 rue Wilson
Tel: +33(0)3 89 58 80 50