The World's Strangest Monuments
Kindlifresser (Child Eater) Fountain, Bern, Switzerland
What It Commemorates: Legends abound, but no one is sure what it means.
What Makes It Strange: Though it sounds like an outlandish piece of modern art, the
Kindlifresser, or “Child Eater” fountain, has scared the children of Bern
since 1546. Dressed in vibrant red and green robes, the rotund Kindlifresser is munching
on an infant’s head, while more distraught babies await their grim fate in his knapsack. Some
postulate that the statue served as a warning to Bern’s Jewish community, because the
cannibal’s hat resembles the yellow pointed version Jews were forced to wear in that era.
Others say it is Kronos the Titan from Greek mythology, who ate his children to prevent them from
usurping his throne. Most likely, though, the fountain was created as a sort of boogieman to remind
the town’s children to behave.