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Neue Wache | by sdkarlson
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Neue Wache

I found this memorial quite affecting, and the photo does not do it justice. The sculpture is "Mother With Her Dead Son" by Käthe Kollwitz. It sits alone at the center of this room, and the room is fronted by a screen of iron bars. I came upon it at dusk and viewed it in the dim light. The memorial plaque reads (my translation, hope it is reasonably accurate):

 

In the years 1816-1818 the Neue Wache (New Guardhouse) was erected from plans by Karl Friedrich Schinkel for the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm III. From 1818 through 1918 the Royal Watch was housed here.

 

In 1931 the Prussian government allowed the Neue Wache to be remodelled. Heinrich Tessenow created a "Memorial For The Fallen Of The World War". At the center of a room for reflection stood a granite block with a silver laurel wreath.

 

Shortly before the end of the Second World War, the Neue Wache badly damaged by bombing.

 

Beginning in 1960 the restored building served the DDR as the "Memorial For the Victims of Faschism and Militarism." From 1969 there stood an eternal flame in the middle of the room.

 

In 1969 the remains of an unknown soldier and an unknown concentration camp prisoner were interred. They were enclosed in soil from battlefields of the Second World War and from concentration camps.

 

Since 1993, the Neue Wache has been the central memorial place of the German Republic.

 

The interior design from the Weimar Republic was extensively restored. In the center of the memorial stands an enlarged sculpture of "Mother With Her Dead Son" by Käthe Kollwitz. It was executed by Harald Haacke.

 

The Neue Wache is a place of reflection and remembrance of the victims of war and tyranny.

 

We remember the peoples that have suffered because of war.

We remember the citizens who were persecuted and lost their lives.

We remember the fallen of the world wars.

We remember the innocents, who through war and the consequences of war in our homeland, lost their lives through captivity and displacement.

We remember the millions of murdered Jews.

We remember the murdered Sinti and Roma.

We remember all of those who were killed becaused of their ancestry, their homosexuality, or because of sickness and disability.

We remember all of the murdered, who were denied their right to life.

We remember the people who had to die because of the religious or political beliefs.

We remember all of those who were victimized by tyranny and innocently went to death.

We remember the women and men who offered their lives in resistance to tyranny.

We remember the women and men who were persecuted and murdered because they stood against the totalitarian dictatorship after 1945.

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Taken on September 10, 2011