Gedenken diesseits und jenseits des Ärmelkanals. Die Erinnerung an den Ersten, den Großen, Weltkrieg ist in Großbritannien stärker im öffentlichen Bewusstsein verankert. Die Erinnerung an die Opfer des Zweiten Weltkriegs wird in Deutschland zusammen mit dem Gedenken an die Opfer des Holocausts wachgehalten. Einige Gedanken bei der Feier in Oxford gingen zu den Kriegstoten der Familie Henschke, die in Frankreich und England liegen.
What impressed me most was the presence and the words of the representatives of the Church of England as well as those of the Oxford Jewish Community, the Muslim, the Hindu, the Quaker and the Humanist Communities. They represented the great diversity of Oxford’s population and solemnly showed their loyalty to Great Britain and its Queen. Led by the Lord Mayor of Oxford and framed by the military they all paid their tributes to the dead and laid down their traditional wreaths of poppies on the War Memorial. At the end of the First World War the poppy was the first flower to be seen in the mud of the Western Front amidst the devastation and desolation of the landscape of Flanders. The Royal British Legion adopted it in 1929 as a symbol of remembrance, sacrifice and hope after the first Armistice Day service took place on the 11 November 1919 on the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
It has always been a moving event. This time I went there to remember in silence my father and my uncle, my godfather. But could these two German soldiers, who fought and died in France and in the air over Great Britain, be equally remembered in Oxford as in Germany? After 1919 German politicians discussed the painful outcome of the First World War and wanted to remember the dead soldiers. In 1952 the so called “Volkstrauertag” was established as the day of mourning and ever since remembers the dead of all wars and all victims of violence.