Enemies have become friends

Day of National Mourning Enemies have become friends

Representatives of the federal government and the state of Berlin have paid tribute to the victims of war and tyranny on the Day of National Mourning. Prince Charles was the first member of the British Royal Family to lay a wreath at the ceremony at Berlin’s Neue Wache memorial.

Laying wreaths at the Neue Wache

Laying wreaths in Berlin. Federal Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (at left) represented the German governmentl. 

Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

On Sunday, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Federal Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer paid tribute to the dead at Käthe Kollwitz’s bronze statue "Pietà", or "Mother with her Dead Son", along with the representatives of the constitutional organs of the Federal Republic of Germany and the state of Berlin.

The fact that the Prince of Wales, first in line to the British throne, attended the wreath-laying ceremony, underlined the excellent relations between German and the United Kingdom. 75 years after the end of the Second World War, the one-time enemies have long become friends.

Since 1993 the Neue Wache in Berlin has been the Central Memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Victims of War and Dictatorship. Across the country, flags fly at half-mast on federal agencies and their downstream authorities.

Central memorial ceremony in the German Bundestag

After the wreath-laying, the central remembrance ceremony to mark the National Day of Mourning was held in the plenary chamber of the German Bundestag. Prince Charles gave the memorial address this year, while Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier gave the address in memory of the dead.

A day of quiet mourning to honour the victims of war

The National Day of Mourning is a state day of remembrance. It is one of the "days of quiet remembrance" and has been celebrated since 1952 two Sundays before the first Sunday in Advent. Every November it is organised nationwide by the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge. Celebrations have the wide support of the people and of the country’s major political and social institutions.