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Photographer's Note

The Neue Wache (New Guard House) was built as a guardhouse for the troops of the Crown Prince of Prussia, yet it has been used as a war memorial since 1931.

The building served as a royal guard house until the end of World War I and the fall of the German monarchy in 1918. In 1931 the architect Heinrich Tessenow was commissioned by the state government of Prussia to redesign the building as a memorial for the German war dead. He converted the interior into a memorial hall with an oculus (circular skylight). The Neue Wache was then known as the "Memorial for the Fallen of the War." The building was heavily damaged by bombing and artillery during the last months of World War II.

The building was located within the Soviet zone of occupation of Berlin, and after 1949 was part of the communist German Democratic Republic. In 1960 the repaired Neue Wache was reopened as a Memorial to the Victims of Fascism and Militarism. In 1969, the 20th anniversary of the GDR, a glass prism structure with an eternal flame was placed in center of the hall. The remains of the unknown soldier and of an unknown concentration camp victim from World War II were enshrined in the building.

After German reunification, the Neue Wache was again rededicated in 1993, as the "Central Memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Victims of War and Tyranny." The GDR memorial piece was removed and replaced by an enlarged version of Käthe Kollwitz's sculpture Mother with her Dead Son. This sculpture is directly under the oculus, and so is exposed to the rain, snow and cold of the Berlin climate, symbolising the suffering of civilians during World War II.

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Additional Photos by Deniz Taskin (rigoletto) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3083 W: 399 N: 6739] (34107)
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