The Volkstrauertag (People’s Day of Mourning), was founded in 1919 to commemorate those who died in WWI. The day was intended to create a bond between those who did not suffer losses and the dependents of the fallen soldiers. During the National Socialist regime a law was passed making this day of mourning a public holiday with the minister of propaganda overseeing the content and implementation.
After the Federal Republic of Germany was founded Volkstrauertag, the day of commemorating the “German war dead”, celebrated two Sundays before Advent, was reintroduced in 1950, as Germans struggled to rebuild after loosing 5 million countrymen.
Here in the US we gather together with dignitaries to pay tribute to the German prisoners of war, buried on US soil. We honor their sacrifices and pay our respects to them since their families can not.
Approximately 860 POWs, many who died from illnesses while in US prison camps, are buried at 43 sites across the US.
Let Volkstrauertag remind us of the need for reconciliation and tolerance as we strive for world peace.
The photo above was submitted by Donna Lippert, a German Pulse reader. It is from Augusta Michigan where some officers from DANK National and others from the St. Joe Kickers Sports Club presented wreaths to the deceased 26 German soldiers buried at Fort Custer during the war, in honor of Volkstrauertag.
Top Photo © gegenstimme.net