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Remembrance Days

On a number of days in the year there are days of remembrance in Germany, which are not public holidays.

27th of January

The Soviet Red Army liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp on the 27th of January 1945. Auschwitz has become a synonym of the holocaust; the murder of more than 6 million European Jews, Sinti and Roma, homosexuals, disabled people and people with a different political ideology to that of the Nazi regime in Germany.

8th of May

The Second World War ended on the 8th of May with Germany’s unconditional surrender to the Allies.

23rd of May

The constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany came into force with what is known as the "Basic Law" ("Grundgesetz") on the 23rd of May 1949.

17th of June

17th of June 1953, a workers uprising ("Arbeiteraufstand") in the German Democratic Republic was brutally crushed by the communist regime. This day was a national holiday in West Germany until German reunification in 1990.

20th of July

High-ranking German military officers lead by Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (1907-1944) attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a bomb attack on the 20th of July 1944. The bomb failed to kill Hitler and the perpetrators were executed.

13th of August

The communist regime in the GDR closed all access to West Berlin on the 13th of August 1961. This was the first day of the construction of the Berlin Wall and the border fence between East and West Germany.

1st of September

Second World War began on the 1st of September 1939 when Nazi Germany invaded Poland.

9th of November

9th of November is a historic day in German history for a number of reasons, good and bad.

The days around the 9th of November 1918 was when the "November Revolution" took place. At the end of World War One, workers and soldiers rose up against the old system and the last German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, was forced to resign. The first parliamentary democracy, later called the "Weimar Republic" ("Weimarer Republik"), was established. The social democrat Friedrich Ebert took over as President.

On the evening prior to the 9th of November 1923, Adolf Hitler proclaimed the "National Revolution" in Munich and declared the Bavarian and national governments to be defunct. Hitler’s improvised attempt at a putsch failed. A march led by Hitler and Ludendorff on the 9th of November ended with the intervention of the federal state police at the Feldherrenhalle.

On the 9th of November 1938, Nazis and their sympathisers attacked Synagogues and Jewish shops, smashing windows and setting them on fire. Numerous Synagogues and treasures of the Jewish community were destroyed. The Nazi leaders described this night as "Reichskristallnacht" (Night of Broken Glass) to symbolise the smashing of windows.

On the 9th of November 1989, the border crossings from East to West Berlin were opened. The Berlin Wall had fallen. This day is considered to be the symbolic start of German reunification.

16th of November

The victims of war and tyranny are remembered on the 16th of November. The "Neue Wache" in Berlin is Germany’s main memorial.

10th of December

On the 10th of December 1948 the United Nations (UN) passed the international declaration on human rights.

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