The German, French and Bulgarian embassies in Romania organised, this year too, a joint ceremony commemorating the victims of violence and war. Other ambassadors accredited to Bucharest, as well as military attaches, also paid their homage.
German Ambassador Werner Hans Lauk, French Ambassador Fracois Saint-Paul and Bulgarian Ambassador Todor Churov took part, on Friday, in the ceremony of commemoration that took place at the ‘Pro Patria’ German Soldiers’ Cemetery, which then continued at the French Heroes Parcel within the Bellu Militar Cemetery.
“The day for the commemoration of victims of war and violence”
The day for the commemoration of victims of war and violence was instituted in 1919 by the German People’s Union for the Maintenance and Upkeep of War Graves, in the memory of the victims of World War I.
The first ceremony took place in 1922 in Berlin, within the German Reichstag.
In 1934, Nazi leaders decreed the day for the commemoration of victims of war and violence a national holiday, under the name “Hero Commemoration Day.” After the German Federal Republic was established, the German People’s Union for the Maintenance and Upkeep of War Graves reintroduced the day for the commemoration of victims of war and violence, the first ceremony taking place in 1950, within the German Bundestag.
Following a convention between the Federal Government, the Lands and the large religious denominations, the day was selected as the penultimate Sunday of the church year (Evangelical), namely the 33rd Sunday of the liturgical year ((Roman-Catholic). The German People’s Union for the Maintenance and Upkeep of War Graves considers this day of commemoration a day of mourning and sadness, even though so many years have passed since the war. The day has also become however a call for reconciliation, understanding and peace. The essence of the day for the commemoration of victims of war and violence does not consist of “forced” sadness, but of the desire to visibly mark solidarity between those who did not suffer losses and the families of the victims.
Over 90,000 German soldiers who lost their lives in the two World Wars are buried in over 1,000 locations in Romania (mausoleums, military cemeteries and mass graves). The most important cemeteries are in Buzau (10,420 persons buried), Iasi (over 5,000), Bucharest (3,855), Braila (3,278), Batinesti-Tifesti (2,782), Targu-Jiu (1,681), Bordesti (999), Dragoslavele-Joseni (911), Ramnicu-Sarat (933), Pitesti (609), Galati (596) and Soveja (529). The ‘Pro Patria’ German Soldiers Cemetery in Bucharest holds the graves of 3,855 Germans (2,292 killed in WWI and 1,563 in WWII), 300 Austro-Hungarians, 165 Bulgarians, 18 Russians, 8 Hungarians, 6 Romanians, 1 Italian, 1 Serb and 38 unknown soldiers.
11 November 1918, the day on which the First World War ended, is celebrated in France. The German Empire, France and United Kingdom signed the first armistice in Compiegne (Armistice de Rethondes in French) on 11 November 1918, putting an end to World War I. At present, the armistice continues to be marked on November 11, a day instituted as legal holiday in 1922, the emphasis however falling on the maintenance of peace and friendship between people.
433 French soldiers who lost their lives in World War I are buried in Bucharest, Constanta, Galati, Iasi, Slobozia and Timisoara. Some of them were part of the unit that accompanied General Berthelot in his mission as advisor to the Romanian armed forces (from 1916 to 1917), however most soldiers died as part of counteroffensives launched by the Danube Army on what was the “Eastern Front.”
In Bulgaria, the day is called “arhangelova zadushnica.” Zadushnica is a day in the Orthodox calendar in which Bulgarians commemorate the souls of the deceased, hence the term “zadushnica,” which means “for the soul/for the sake of the soul.” “Arhangelova zadushnica” is celebrated each year, in November. This day is dedicated to the souls of soldiers killed in various wars. That is why it is also called “mazhka zadushnica” – the day for the commemoration of the souls of men. On this day, commemoration ceremonies take place in military cemeteries and at other memorials in order to pay homage to the heroes that lost their lives in battles and wars for Bulgaria’s freedom.
163 Bulgarian soldiers who lost their lives in WWI are buried in cemeteries in Babadag, Cocos, Pitulati, Batogu, Sarinasuf and Celic Dere.