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107th Infantry Memorial
Location: 67th Street and Fifth Avenue
Artist/Designer: Karl Illava, sculptor; Rogers and Haneman, base architects
Materials: Bronze, North Jay granite
Funding: 7th Regiment New York, 107th United States Infantry Memorial Committee
The 107th Infantry Regiment of New York fought in Belgium and Germany near the end of World War I. The Germans were being pushed back by the Allies and fought with the desperation of an army protecting its homeland. Before they could put an end to the war, the Allies had to cross many formidable barriers, including one called the Hindenburg Line. The 107th Infantry Regiment spearheaded the charge to break this last stronghold of German defenses at a huge cost, sacrificing almost half its men.
The 107th United States Infantry Memorial Committee, which raised the funds for the monument, chose one of their own, sculptor Karl Illava, to create the memorial. Illava (1896-1954) survived the battles of World War I, fighting on the European front. Already recognized as a talented sculptor in his teens, Illava had volunteered to fight in the war and rose to the rank of Sergeant Major. From his memory of the experience, he sculpted what he called the Hell of War.