National Tribulation Day in Germany (13/11)

National Tribulation Day ( Nem. Volkstrauertag ) is Germany's public memory day. It is celebrated in mid-November and currently serves as a reminder of the need for reconciliation, understanding and peace. The history of this day is not easy and ambiguous.

The day was established by the German People's Society for the Care of Military Graduates in 1919 in memory of almost 2 million fallen and missing during the First World War.

« Unprescribed » sorrow was the motive of this day, a sign of the solidarity of those who did not lose anyone, and who had no one to mourn, with relatives of the dead and missing.

In 1922, the first official solemn meeting was held in the Berlin Reichstag. Paul Lebe, who was the president of the Reichstag at that moment, is holding a speech that had an international response in which he contrasts the warring world with thoughts on reconciliation and understanding. Since 1926, National Tribal Day has been regularly celebrated on the fifth Sunday after Easter, however, it was not a public holiday.

After the transfer of power into the hands of the National Socialists in 1933, this day was legally declared a state day off. The organizers of the new state holiday from 1933 to 1945 were the Wehrmacht and the National Socialist German Workers Party. The nature of the Day of Folk Sorrow has also undergone strong changes. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels issued directives on the content and conduct of the holiday.

Now mourning was no longer its foundation. From now on, the dead soldiers of the First World War with Nazi splendor became famous as « Heroes ». The flags in the country did not fall, but rose completely. The change in the content of the holiday in changing its name was especially clearly expressed: the Nazis renamed the Day of Folk Sorrow in « Day of Remembrance of the Heroes ».

In 1948, the German People's Society for the Care of Military Graves again adopted the tradition of celebrating Folk Day in the form that it was until 1933. The purpose of the holiday, as before, was grief and mourning for the dead, but now there are already two world wars, a reminder of the victims of tyranny and despotism, regardless of nationality.

The first central mourning rally dedicated to the Day of Folk Sorrow was held in 1950 in Bonn. Since 1952, this day in Germany has been considered a national mourning day.

After the Bundestag moves from Bonn to Berlin, the central mourning rally takes place in the Bundestag plenary hall in one of the Reichstag buildings in Berlin. A mandatory part of the rally is the speech of the Chancellor, the heads of government and the diplomatic corps, as well as the musical design: the performance of the national anthem and the song « Der gute Kamerad ». Similarly, rallies are held in all federal lands and most cities in Germany. In all settlements, wreaths are solemnly laid at memorials.

By the way, a week later, the German Protestant Church celebrates Memorial Day of the departed ( Totensonntag ).