The Forest of Remembrance

The Forest of Remembrance near Potsdam is dedicated to the Bundeswehr’s dead. It is a place for personal grief. The Bundeswehr’s groves of honour from the mission areas have also been rebuilt here. The Forest of Remembrance complements the Bundeswehr Memorial at the Federal Ministry of Defence in Berlin.

Erkennungsmarke eines Bundeswehrsoldaten auf dem Waldboden
Bundeswehr /Isabell Kurtze

The Forest of Remembrance is probably unique among memorials for the armed forces throughout the world. It is located on the premises of the Bundeswehr Joint Forces Operations Command in the Henning von Tresckow Barracks near Potsdam. The project was implemented in cooperation with the Berlin architecture firm Rüthnick.

Bänke vor der Gedenkstätte

Place of silence at the Forest of Remembrance memorial

Bundeswehr/Jane Hannemann

Comprising some 4,500 square metres, the site is embedded in the natural wooded setting by the barracks’ main gate. All Bundeswehr members who lost their lives on operations or in the course of their regular service are commemorated here. The site includes an exhibition building and a memorial site described as a place of silence, which are connected by the 150-metre-long Path of Remembrance. The path leads past the Bundeswehr’s groves of honour from the mission areas, which have been rebuilt here.

The Path of Remembrance

The Path of Remembrance is like a common thread linking the different parts of the grounds. It is lined with steles made of earth-coloured bricks. They commemorate the military personnel who died on operations. The full names, years of death and mission areas of the deceased are inscribed in bronze letters. The Bundeswehr’s groves of honour are located on either side of the path. They have been embedded in natural forest clearings and are surrounded by trees.

The Forest of Remembrance is not only dedicated to the Bundeswehr personnel who died on operations. The families of all Bundeswehr members who lost their lives in the line of duty are allowed to put individually designed commemorative plaques for their loved ones on the trees. In the future, it should also be possible to plant new trees.

Namensstelen am Weg der Erinnerung

The steles with the names of those who lost their lives on operations line the path.

Bundeswehr/Marc Tessensohn

The idea came from the bereaved

The idea for the Forest of Remembrance came from bereaved family members such as Marlis Böken. Her daughter Jenny, a German Navy officer candidate, had a fatal accident during an exercise in 2008. The relevant working group at the Federal Ministry of Defence soon decided to also integrate the groves of honour from the mission areas into the memorial site.

Trauerkerzen vor den Namensschildern im Ehrenhain

Memorial at the camp in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan for the military personnel who lost their lives during their deployment there.

Bundeswehr/Martin Stollberg

Thirteen Bundeswehr sites in the greater Berlin area were on the short list for this memorial. On the one hand, the area had to be suitable for personal mourning in a natural environment but, on the other hand, it also had to meet formal requirements such as accessibility. Following discussions with the bereaved, a decision was finally taken for the wooded area near the main gate of the Henning von Tresckow Barracks.

The Forest of Remembrance was officially inaugurated in November 2014 and complements the Bundeswehr Memorial at the Bendlerblock in Berlin. This is the official place of remembrance of the Bundeswehr’s dead. The Forest of Remembrance is dedicated to the personal grief of the bereaved.

Contact

The Forest of Remembrance is located on the premises of the Bundeswehr Joint Forces Operations Command near Potsdam. It can be visited daily between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. To do so, visitors must deposit a government-issued ID or passport at the main gate.

Erkennungsmarke eines Bundeswehrsoldaten auf dem Waldboden
Bundeswehr /Isabell Kurtze

Registration

Visitor groups are asked to register in advance by phone or e-mail. The site remains closed during storms. No visits are possible between 21 December and 5 January.