Commemoration – is remembrance and hope, May 2023

On the weekend of the 12th and 13th May, commemorations regarding the end of World War II and the liberation of the REIMAHG camps took place.

This was preceded by long-term preparations for the organisation of the various celebrations. After Corona, we were finally able to welcome guests from all over Europe back to Kahla.

Our program started on Friday at the Kahla City Museum, which opened its doors to all international guests. Many of them took advantage of this opportunity to visit the museum and especially   the exhibition on the history of the former armaments factory “REIMAHG”, as most of them had family ties to this history. We were happy to answer the questions professionally and competently. We were particularly pleased that the guests were overly impressed by the message and quality of our exhibition and expressed this several times. Special praise was also given to the museum with its city history, which was also explained in an understandable way in guided tours.

Afterwards we met at the Hotel Linzmühle, having many conversations, a toast to the 20th anniversary of our association, tasty food, and many memories from the past 20 years in the best mood.

On Saturday morning, in beautiful spring weather, the official commemoration ceremonies began at the memorial in Leubengrund. The district office of the Saale-Holzland district and the municipality of Lindig had prepared everything perfectly to celebrate this commemoration in a dignified manner.

As in previous years, we had contacted all embassies and asked for wreaths, which were laid at the memorial by our association members on behalf of the affected nations. This year’s highlight was certainly the musical contribution of the Italian male choir Bismantova from Castelnovo ne ́ Monti and the much-appreciated performance of Karl Simoens, a professional bagpipe player.

Afterwards they drove to Kahla, to the monument in the cemetery, with the mass grave of the REIMAHG. Well prepared by the city, Mayor Jan Schönfeld welcomed the international guests and delegates from the Italian twin city Castelnovo ne Monti and municipalities. After the speeches of the mayor, pastor in Elisabeth Wedding and pastor Bertram Wolf and the blessing of those present, everyone laid down their flowers. The Bismantova Choir as well as Karl Simoens ended this commemoration in a dignified musical setting.

They met for lunch in Kleineutersdorf. Ordered by the district office, Jens Fröhlich had prepared everything perfectly and, together with his team, served a very tasty and plentiful meal in the best of moods, which tasted exceptionally good to the guests. They talked, laughed, and promised to be back next year. By popular demand, Karl once again showed his musical skills on the bagpipes.

In the afternoon, the last two celebrations took place. At Camp E near Eichenberg, we were welcomed by Sebastian Schneider, the new mayor. After several speeches, wreath-laying ceremonies and Karl’s musical farewell song, the day ended at the cemetery in Hummelshain, with laying of flowers, the speech of Mayor Stephan Tiesler and the song “Amazing Grace”, played on the bagpipes. For all participants, this successful day will remain unforgettable.

Unfortunately, some of those who say they are committed to commemoration after lunch did not take part in any further commemoration, which is a great pity and incomprehensible.

For their commitment to the success of this day, we would like to thank the following people:

  • our association members for their presence and support
  • the embassies of Belgium, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Slovakia, Estonia, Russia, Poland  
  • City of Bruges (B)
  • Pastor Elisabeth Wedding and Pastor Bertram Wolf
  • Partnerschaftsverein Kahla
  • Krug Floristik, Kahla
  • City of Kahla
  • the municipalities of Lindig, Kleineutersdorf, Eichenberg and Hummelshain
  • Karl and Annemie Simoens (B)
  • District Office Saale-Holzland-Kreis
  • Anna and Daria, from the association “After Silence” from Ukraine
  • Luciano Ferro (B)
  • Family Hellemans (B)
  • Elena Serturini (IT)
  • Waldhotel Linzmühle
  • all guests from Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, and Ukraine
  • Jens Fröhlich
  • Fire brigades from Lindig and Kleineutersdorf

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