The Landshut - A Symbol of Memory to the victims of terrorist assaults

written on 27/11/2020
by Friedhelm Schulz

As humans we prefer to present the bright side of life, but to show the complexity of Germany every aspect of history must be shown. As November is inherently a grey period, this month in Germany is in various ways dedicated to mourning, to memorize grief and loss.

The chosen symbol of this week’s Riddle pic, the “Landshut” is kind of a bright spot in a daily reality influenced by terrorism during the so called German Autumn in 1977 – it was the first and most successful strike of the civil society against hostage-taking and extortion by a terrorist group.

How times changed may show the example of the “Hansa Stavanger” case just a few years ago .

The probably most known and even international attended commemoration day is the nationwide “Volkstrauertag” (people´s day of mourning) in the middle of the month – two Sundays before the start of the Christmas season.


Similar to other European Nations (with similar dates nearby), this is nowadays the established occasion to memorize the fallen men and women in armed conflicts, as well as the victims of violence and terrorism. 

There is no law or rule which defines the sense or content, but since 1952 the German Parliament celebrates a commemoration event with diplomatic character and paragon for the Nation.

This public event is flanked by two religious dates: The last Sunday before Advent is the so called “Totensonntag” (last Sunday before Advent commemorating the dead) or synonymous “Ewigkeitssonntag (Eternity Sunday).

This day was established by the Protestant Churches, to terminate the “Church Year” which starts with the celebration of the arrival of the Saviour – usual known as Christmas.

It is just 4 weeks before the Catholic Church celebrates “Allerseelen” -  All Souls on 2nd of November. But this religious day gets lost in the public perception by the increasing celebration of the preceding “Halloween”.

Also in November is celebrated the very evangelic “Buß- und Bettag” (Day of repentance and Prayer), for more than hundred years the date is set on the Wednesday 11 days before the 1st sunday of Advent.

This date was established during the German Empire to unite the various commemoration days and to encourage the christian population: to reflect their behaviour and giving them the chance to correct it.

In 1990 it became an official holiday in united Germany, but in 1994 this holiday was canceled by the government for economical reasons: financing the new statutory nursing-care insurance.

It is still a “quiet day” of commemoration with voluntary participation (by unpaid leave) for those who wish.

Finally, coming back to the “Landshut” – it is intended and an agreed political purpose to exhibit the original aircraft as a public accessible place for commemoration.

But unfortunately this project is still captured inside the ministerial bureaucracy.

Today the news came in and it looks like little steps have been made to finance the restauration of the aircraft.