Neue Wache, Berlin, then & now

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Neue Wache then & now, 1945 and 2013

Sculpture inside the Neue Wache (New Guard house)
Mother with her Dead Son by Käthe Kollwitz


Neue Wache “served as a monument in three distinctive phases of German history. Until 1918 it was a memorial to the Wars of Liberation. From 1931, under Reichspresident Paul von Hindenburg, Heinrich Tessenow converted the monument into a memorial for the victims of the First World War by covering up an inner courtyard which only let through a slither of light. In the period following the end of the Second World War and the memorial’s destruction the (East German) leadership turned it into the monument for the victims of Fascism and militarism. An eternal flame was placed in a cube above the ashes of an unknown concentration camp prisoner and an unknown fallen soldier.” source

During the Nazi era Neue Wache was central to Heldengedenktag (Day of Commemoration of Heroes) every March, the Nazis changing the spirit from one of remembrance to one of hero worshiping the dead. Volkstrauertag (People’s day of mourning) is now celebrated in November.

See also German Military Cemetery at Cannock Chase, Staffordshire.

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