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Do you know why November 9th is a day of reflection in Germany?

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Proclamation of the republic, pogrom night, fall of the Berlin Wall: November 9th is “German Day”, according to the Federal President. He also urges regular commemoration.

November 9th is “a day that provides information about our country like no other,” said the head of state at a memorial event in Bellevue Palace.

November 9th is a day that traverses German history

The day stands for three decisive dates in German history:

▶ On November 9, 1918, Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed the republic from a window in the Reichstag building, the monarchy was a thing of the past.

November 9th

▶ November 9, 1938 went down in history as the day of the National Socialist pogroms and stands for the persecution and extermination of the Jews. 

November 9th

▶ And on November 9, 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall ushered in German reunification

November 9th

How do Germans feel? “there is no end to our responsibility”

Steinmeier emphasized the importance of the three dates in his speech. 1938 urged the Germans to keep alive the memory of the victims of National Socialism and to counter anti-Semitism, hatred and agitation wherever they show up. “There is no end to our responsibility,” he said.

1918 and 1989 were a reminder that democracy and freedom had been won by courageous democrats “and are never guaranteed forever.”

“A patriotism of soft tones”

To accept both, shame and grief over the victims and respect and appreciation for the pioneers of our democracy, that is what it should be about. “That is the core of enlightened patriotism. Instead of trumpets and trumpets, a patriotism of soft tones. Instead of triumph and self-assurance, a patriotism with mixed feelings.”

November 9th commemoration

Representatives of all constitutional organs took part in the commemoration: Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), Bundestag President Bärbel Bas (SPD), Federal Council President Bodo Ramelow (Die Linke) and the President of the Federal Constitutional Court, Stephan Harbarth (CDU).

▶ Three speakers recalled the historical events. The youngest member of the Bundestag, 23-year-old Emilia Fester from the Greens, referred to November 9, 1918. In her address she emphasized that the current problems such as the climate crisis and the unequal distribution of wealth can be solved. But “a continuation of the way” is not possible. November 9, 1918 was also a reminder of this.

▶ The Holocaust survivor Margot Friedländer, who turned 100 a few days ago, described how she experienced the morning after November 9, 1938 and saw the devastation of Jewish shops in Berlin. The former Stasi records officer Roland Jahn told how he experienced November 9, 1989 as a reporter in West Berlin as a deportee from the GDR.

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