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The National Memorial to the Victims of Tyranny and War - Neuewache

The Neuewache or 'new guard' was designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel in 1818 and is situated on Unter den Linden in Berlin. A temple-like, domed neo classical building it was originally built as a guardhouse for the troops of the Crown Prince of Prussia, the building has been used as a war memorial since 1931. 

Under the domed roof there is a sculpture by Käthe Kollwitz entitled Mother with her Dead Son which was installed in 1993.  This sculpture is directly under the oculus, and as such is exposed to the rain, snow and cold of the Berlin climate, symbolising the suffering of civilians during World War II.

‘Located just behind the Berlin wall in the Eastern sector it had served both the Nazis and Communists as a 'national memorial' and wreath laying site during their respective regimes in Berlin.
After the fall of the Berlin wall and re unification of Germany Chancellor Helmut Kohl decided it could be a central monument to all victims of war and tyranny and thus provide a common site for the re- unification of a people, as well, a reconciliation of victims and perpetrators, East and West, all united now in their hatred of tyranny and war.

When critics protested the impropriety of remembering Jewish victims alongside their perpetrators – both in the quintessentially Christian image of sacrifice – Kohl responded simply that Kollowitz’s was a universal figure of mourning appropriate to all who would mourn their losses at the Neuwache.’[1]


There is however a bronze plaque specifically commemorating Jewish, homosexual and gypsy victims of the Nazis underneath the Doric portico.

[1] James Young, At Memory’s Edge, (USA: Yale university Press, 200) pp 186-187