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Ehrenmal der Bundeswehr
© Bundeswehr, Foto: Andrea Bienert

Bundeswehr Cenotaph

Memorial to fallen servicemen and women

The Bundeswehr Memorial in Berlin commemorates fallen German servicemen and women. A memorial installation lists their names and restores their individuality to them.

The memorial for soldiers and civilian employees who have lost their lives in service is in the grounds of the Ministry of Defence. In a memorial installation, you can hear the names read out of all those who have fallen since the establishment of the Bundeswehr.

The history of the monument

On 8 November 2009, the German President Horst Köhler inaugurated the memorial in the grounds of the Ministry of Defence adjacent to the Bendlerblock. The plans for a memorial had been submitted in 2005 by Franz Josef Jung, the Minister of Defence. Until then, there had been individual memorials, but nowhere in honour of all the Bundeswehr’s dead. Both the idea itself and the choice of location initially received criticism. A commission chose the proposal from the Munich architect Andreas Meck, considering it suitable for both public visits and private mourning.

The memorial

The memorial has more in common with a video installation than a conventional memorial. It is a publicly accessible rectangular concrete structure, 41 metres long, eight metres wide and ten metres high, covered by a bronze mantle, reminiscent of the identity tags that are cut in half when a soldier dies. Inside, there is a black contemplation room with an inscription commemorating the members of the Bundeswehr who have given their lives for peace, justice and freedom. The installation projects the names of the fallen – each for five seconds – so that they are no longer anonymous, but have their individuality restored to them.

This means the names are listed individually, but only briefly displayed, unlike the names engraved on traditional war memorials. This is to consciously distance the memorial from hero worship and the glorification of war, and to emphasise the transitory nature of being.

The Bendlerblock, seat of the Federal Minister of Defence, also contains the Memorial to the German Resistance, commemorating the attempted assassination of Hitler on 20 July 1944.
Guided tours for groups can also be booked by calling 030 1824-22276

Opening hours

Monday 9:00 – 18:00
Tuesday 9:00 – 18:00
Wednesday 9:00 – 18:00
Thursday 9:00 – 20:00
Friday 9:00 – 18:00
Saturday 10:00 – 18:00
Sunday 10:00 – 18:00