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National Day of Mourning in Germany

The National Day of Mourning (Volkstrauertag) is an occasion to remember all victims of war and tyranny. Like the Sunday of the Dead (Totensonntag), the National Day of Mourning is a “silent day” - this means that in some regions of Germany music or dance events are prohibited.

Is National Day of Mourning a Public Holiday?

National Day of Mourning is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, November 18, 2018 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in Germany.

The National Day of Mourning is an occasion to remember all victims of war.

©iStockphoto.com/richardwatson

What Do People Do?

Every year on the National Day of Mourning there is a commemoration ceremony in the German parliament (Bundestag) where the President traditionally holds a speech and the members of parliament sing the soldier's song “Der gute Kamerad”. There are similar ceremonies at many memorial sites for the victims of the nazi regime.

Public Life

The Volkstrauertag is a so-called “silent day” (stiller Tag). In some German states music or dance events are prohibited by law. Like on any other Sunday, offices, banks and schools are closed. Public transport usually runs on a normal Sunday schedule.

Background

The National Day of Mourning was established in 1922 and was initially dedicated to the victims of World War I. The nazis made it a national holiday and redefined it as an occasion to celebrate their heros and glorify war. In an effort to symbolize a clear break with the fascist ideology and the nazis' perversion of the holiday's initial aim, the Volkstrauertag was moved to the second Sunday of the church year after World War II. Today it is an occasion not only to mourn the dead but also to illustrate the tragedy of war and speak out for peace.

National Day of Mourning Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010SunNov 14National Day of MourningSilent Day 
2011SunNov 13National Day of MourningSilent Day 
2012SunNov 18National Day of MourningSilent Day 
2013SunNov 17National Day of MourningSilent Day 
2014SunNov 16National Day of MourningSilent Day 
2015SunNov 15National Day of MourningSilent Day 
2016SunNov 13National Day of MourningSilent Day 
2017SunNov 19National Day of MourningSilent Day 
2018SunNov 18National Day of MourningSilent Day 
2019SunNov 17National Day of MourningSilent Day 
2020SunNov 15National Day of MourningSilent Day 

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