Volkstrauertag observed across the Midwest

Nov 13, 2016

Kaufmann speaks at Volkstrauertag Enlarge image Volkstrauertag is observed in Fort Sheridan, IL (© germany.info) Consul Franz Kaufmann spoke Sunday, November 13, at a ceremony commemorating Volkstrauertag (National Day of Mourning) in Fort Sheridan, IL

Volkstrauertag is observed every year in Germany to remember victims of war, terror, and political violence. The Lake County chapter of the German American National Congress (DANK) hosts an annual Volkstrauertag ceremony at Fort Sheridan Cemetery, the final resting place of nine German prisoners of war from World War II.

Volkstrauertag observed Enlarge image Consul Kaufmann speaks at Fort Sheridan Cemetery (© germany.info) Kaufmann spoke on Sunday of Germany’s “historic responsibility” to remember and honor the soldiers and civilians who fall victim to war, from the millions who died in combat and under oppression during the First and Second World Wars to casualties of war and violence today.He dedicated this year’s ceremony to those who have been displaced by war and violence and lost their lives in the course of that displacement. “While war has become something rather distant for us, the large number of people fleeing their home countries in terror and seeking refuge in Europe these days reminds us of the fate and sacrifice of the civilian population implicated by war and terror,” he said. “May this mourning for the dead induce us to care for the living who seek our help today.”

Kaufmann also paid tribute to the work of individuals and organizations striving to promote peace. “Nearly everywhere in the U.S., in Germany and all of Europe there are monuments commemorating the victims of war and violence,” he said. “But the best monument that we can build is a society based upon tolerance, mutual respect and humanity across all boundaries. Klaus Oberweg Enlarge image Lt. Col. Klaus Oberweg salutes at Fort Custer National Cemetery (© Klaus Oberweg ) Paul Obernuefemann Enlarge image Honorary Consul Paul Obernuefemann lays a wreath at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery (© Paul Obernuefemann)

Volkstrauertag was also observed on Sunday at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan. Consul General Herbert Quelle sent a speech to be read in his name, and Lt. Col. Klaus Oberweg, German Air Force Liaison Officer, laid a wreath on his behalf.

On Friday, November 11, there was a ceremony at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetary in St. Louis, MO, where Honorary Consul Paul Obernuefemann placed a wreath between the headstones marking the graves of German Army Sgt. Max Suemnick and Cpl. Gustave Pfarrerr, who died in June and October of 1944.The German national anthem was also played in their honor at the ceremony. Members of the German American Heritage Society of St. Louis and the St. Louis-Stuttgart Sister Cities organization were also in attendance.

Volkstrauertag has been officially observed in Germany since 1922.

© germany.info

Historic Responsibility

Historic Responsibility

Germany is profoundly aware of the historic responsibility it bears toward the Jewish community and toward the State of Israel as a result of the crimes of the Nazi regime. This responsibility, a cornerstone of German policy, requires remembrance, reconciliation and ongoing vigilance - now and in the future.