Pietá by Käthe Kollwitz

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Pietá by Käthe Kollwitz. This enlarged version of Käthe Kollwitz's "Mother with dead son" was done by Harald Haake and stands in the middle of the "Neue Wache," a building rich in German history.

The "Neue Wache" was built by Karl Friedrich Schinkel from 1816 to 1818 for the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III. The royal guard was housed here from 1818 to 1918.

The Prussian government redesigned the place in 1931. Heinrich Tessenow created a memorial there for those fallen in World War I. In the center of the contemplative room stood a granite block with an oak wreath cast in silver.

Just before the end of the Second World War, the "Wache" was bombed and badly damaged. Since 1960, the restored building served the German Democratic Republic as a memorial of the victims of fascism and militarism and as a warning for future generations.

The remains of an unknown soldier and concentration camp prisoner were interred there in 1969. They are surrounded by earth from battlefields of the Second World War and concentration camps. A plaque on the building reads:

We remember
The peoples who suffered from war.
We remember their citizens who were persecuted
and lost their lives.
We remember the fallen of the World Wars.
We remember the innocent
who through war and consequences of war at home
through incarceration in and
expulsion from their homeland lost their lives.

We remember the millions of murdered Jews.
We remember the murdered Sinti and Roma.
We remember all those who were murdered
because of their descent, their homosexuality
or because of sickness or weakness.
We remember all those whose right
to live was denied.
We remember the people
who had to die because of their
political or religious convictions.
We remember all
who were victims of tyranny
and died innocent.

We remember the women and men
who in resistance to the tyranny
sacrificed their lives.
We honor all those who accepted death
rather than bend their conscience.

We remember the women and men
who were persecuted and murdered
because they opposed totalitarian dictatorship after 1945.

[Translated from the German by Brendan Calandra]

Still photographs. Click on a thumbnail image below to view the full photograph.

Exterior of the Neue Wache.
The Pietá is located in the middle of the Neue Wache's stark interior.
Pietá by Käthe Kollwitz.
Pietá by Käthe Kollwitz.
Pietá by Käthe Kollwitz.
Pietá by Käthe Kollwitz.
Pietá by Käthe Kollwitz.
Pietá by Käthe Kollwitz.
Pietá by Käthe Kollwitz.
Pietá by Käthe Kollwitz.

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