Germany Marks WWI Centenary With Ceremonies

National Day of Mourning commemorates all victims of war and oppression.

Wreath-laying ceremonies have taken place across Germany to remember the fallen. 

The commemorations come a week after major events in London and Paris which marked the centenary of the armistice that ended the First World War.

Germany's 'Day of Mourning' commemorates all victims of war and oppression and always takes place two Sundays before Advent.

Wreaths at Mönchengladbach main cemetery for annual Remembrance
Germany's National Day of Mourning is always held two Sundays before Advent.

At a ceremony in Mönchengladbach, soldiers, civilians and students gathered at the city's main cemetery to pay their respects.

The head of the local branch of the Royal British Legion, retired Colonel Steve Owen, said remembrance events in Germany differ to those in the UK:

"They speak always about the past, the present and the future to warn against war I suppose."

The son of a refugee whose father fled fighting in Sri Lanka was among the speakers at the ceremony. 

Mathushan Sivhganesan echoed the view that countries should try and resolve their tensions peacefully:

"I hope that war will never come again and that nobody has to die without a reason."

Remembrance ceremony in Mönchengladbach
Germany's annual Remembrance ceremonies commemorate all victims of war and oppression.

The Mayor of Mönchengladbach, Hans Wilhelm Reiners, led the ceremony and said it was hard to imagine life in war-torn countries. 

"Life here is so good but we must be careful that our own society never drifts in a direction that leads to people taking up arms."

The ceremony in Mönchengladbach was one of a many taking place across the country, including the capital, Berlin, where the French President Emmanuel Macron joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a wreath-laying ceremony.

Forces Radio BFBS Germany's Heather Lewis also attended the remembrance event in Paderborn.

She spoke to Robert Miller, the Royal British Legions secretary for the Paderborn branch, about the significance of the day:

"We respect the peace on both sides.

"As far as we're concerned now we're just unified but previous conflicts that wasn't the case and I think it's important that we remember our comrades that paid the ultimate price and make sure that these things don't happen again.

"Sadly that's not the case throughout the world, we forget too easily."

Listen to the full interview below:

Picture courtesy of Nawi112/Flickr.