I was surprised when, on the way to the grocery store (it’s in the street between Migros and the Co-op at Eaux-Vives 2000 across the street), I saw this in the road. It reads “Here laid an anti-personnel landmine.” It stopped me dead in my tracks. A land mine? In Geneva? Has anyone else noticed this? Does anyone know anything about this? I’d love to know who placed it there and why.
During the second world war, Geneva was virtually surrounded by nazi-occupied France. Switzerland developed the National Redoubt plan to defend the country from the Nazis, but everyone knew that Geneva would have been left to occupying forces as it was not easily defended. Landmines as we know them were developed during World War II (1939 – 1945). They were widely used as anti-tank devices. Smaller anti-personnel mines prevented the removal of anti-tank mines. Even today, some land in France is not useable because of the mines on it. Could it be from that period?
Since World War II the proliferation, production, sale and trade in landmines grew. Today, there an estimated 110 million anti-personnel mines in the ground around the world, another 100 million in stockpiles and 5-10 million more mines produced each year. The Swiss Confederation signed and ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It took effect on the 1st of January 2013.