Tucked between the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Zeughaus 17th Century German History Museum on Unter den Linden, Berlin’s Neue Wache (New Guardhouse) serves as the Central Memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Victims of War and Tyranny.
Built between 1816 and 1818, the Neue Wache housed the Royal Palace Guard until 1918. In 1931 it was redesigned into a ‘memorial to those who fell in the World War’, with the interior being a single room designed to invite reflection.
From 1960 the building served the GDR as a ‘memorial to the victims of fascism and militarism.’ Since 1993 it has served as the central memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Inside is a replica of a Kathe Kollwitz sculpture called ‘mother with her dead son’.
The inscription reads:
The Neue Wache is the place
where we commemorate the victims
of war and tyranny
We honour the memory
of the peoples who suffered through war.
We remember their citizens who were persecuted
and who lost their lives.
We remember those killed in action in the world wars.
We remember the innocent who lost their lives as
a result of war in their homeland, in captivity
and through expulsion.
We remember the millions of Jews who were murdered.
We remember the Sinti and Roma who were murdered.
We remember all those who were killed because of their
origin, homosexuality, sickness or infirmity.
We remember all who were murdered
whose right to life was denied.
We remember the people who had to die
because of their religious or political convictions.
We remember all those who were victims of tyranny
and met their death, though innocent.
We remember the women and men
who sacrificed their lives in resistance to despotic rule.
We honour all who preferred to die rather
than act against their conscience.
We honour the memory of the women and men
who were persecuted and murdered
because they resisted totalitarian dictatorship