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December, 2006 - Nr. 12


The Editor
Reason for the Season
Friedliche Weihnacht
Christbaum für alle
A Christmas Dream
An den Christbaum
Die Weihnachtsbäume
10th Christkindl Market Kitchener
Opera York's 10th
K-W & Beyond
Neuer Pastor...
Mozart Celebrations
Der November Vortrag
Remembrance Day in Kitchener
Martini Tanz
Carnival is Back
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Hausmann's New Film
Films Germans are watching
Deutsche Kultur...
National Ballet of Canada
Canada's Postal Elves
Private Schools in Germany
Cardiovascular Disease
Fuel Cells by VW
Mexico Honors Beckenbauer
Klinsmann Not Coaching
Blackout Baby Boom
Identity Theft
Ontario Human Rights
Ontario Benefits from Skills

Volkstrauertag 2006 – Kitchener

by Herwig Wandschneider

Herwig Wandschneider

On Sunday, November 19, 2006 as many as 500 people gathered at the Woodland Cemetery in Kitchener at the site of the graves of the German Prisoners-of-War, to commemorate the dead of the World Wars and subsequent wars, victims of intolerant regimes and those who suffer torture and inhumane indignities at the hands of tyrants and terrorists.

The remembrance ceremonies were solemn and dignified. Klaus Koeppen, President of the Remembrance Society, also President of the German Canadian Business and Professional Association, guided the ceremonies from an emotional opening to an equally emotional closing, both provided by The Transylvania Brass Band, conducted by Jerimy Frim, and the Concordia Choirs, conducted by Dr. Alfred Kunz.

Klaus Koeppen guides the ceremonies   [photo: Herwig Wandschneider]

Opening Prayers were said by Pfarrer Heinz Plaum and closing words of encouragement were provided by Father Janusz Roginski.

In his speech, Matthias Höpfner, the Federal Republic of Germany’s Ambassador, reflected on the history of the Volkstrauertag, established after WWI to commemorate the dead, under the Nazi Regime changed to the Heldengedenktag to celebrate heroes, and back to the original Volkstrauertag after WWII. He stressed the importance of remembrance now and in the future. In his eloquent speech, he also quoted Richard von Weizsäcker (Germany’s Bundespräsident 1984-1994, who in 1985 spoke on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Germany’s surrender): „The 8th of May was a day of liberation. It liberated us all from the inhumane Nazi tyranny." ("Der 8. Mai war ein Tag der Befreiung. Er hat uns alle befreit von dem menschen-verachtenden System der nationalsozialistischen Gewaltherrschaft").

His speech was followed by the laying of wreaths beginning with the ambassador, German and Canadian veterans, federal, provincial and local Government representatives, and German associations and clubs from Toronto and various Southern Ontario cities.

As always, the ceremony concluded with the heart-wrenching "Ich hatte einen Kameraden" and the "Zapfenstreich" performed by the Transylvania Brass Band.

Participants were invited to meet for "Kaffee und Kuchen" at the Alpine Club, sponsored for the most part by the club and by the Co-operative Council of German-Canadian Clubs. The club was filled to capacity with lively conversations. Ambassador Matthias Höpfner joined this post-ceremony tradition and was seen in lively discussions with many participants, who much appreciated his visit to K-W on this occasion and the opportunity to talk with him personally.


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