Thursday, May 17, 2012

Neue Wache Memorial

Last Saturday on our way along Unter den Linden to Museum Island, John and I noticed this little building in the style of a Roman temple and decided to peek inside. 
It is the National Memorial to all the Victims of War and Tyranny. The spare, open, interior space has at its center two graves, one to an Unknown Soldier and one to an Unknown Concentration Camp Victim.
 It also features a bronze pieta sculpture of Mother and Son by Käthe Kollwitz under a circular opening in the ceiling. Very moving.
The building is the most celebrated creation of Neo-Classical architect, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, built in 1818 as a new guard house for the Royal Watch when the island housed the Imperial Palace. Previously it has been a memorial to World War I dead in the 1930's and during Russian GDR days, a Memorial to Victims of Fascism and Militarism, complete with a goose-stepping change of an honour guard in the 1960's.


  1. I think I remember a reference to this Kollwitz sculpture on a recent documentary. She's amazing.

  2. She is, Shelley. Her own son died in the First World War, I believe. We hope to visit the museum of her work next week.