Memorial for the "Unknown Deserter" - Potsdam, Germany
N 52° 23.864 E 013° 03.527
33U E 367924 N 5807049
Quick Description: Germany's first monument for "...a man who refused to kill his fellow men."
Location: Brandenburg, Germany
Date Posted: 8/18/2007 8:37:34 AM
Waymark Code: WM2110
This is not about racial equality in the first place but considering that the cruelest episode of World War II, if not the cruelest incident in human history, was the genocide of six million Jews, I think it fits.
This is Germany's first monument for deserters. It was designed in 1989 for the then German capital Bonn, but right after the wall came down, it was decided to display it in Potsdam, the cradle of German militarism.
According to German Wikipedia, there are now seven deserter monuments in Germany - this one paved the way.
Between 1939 and 1945, about 400,000 German soldiers (2% of the 18.2 million total) deserted or attempted to desert, not counting those surrendering in battle. 30,000 of them were caught in the act, 23,000 of those were executed. It wasn't until 1999, that the German government actually rehabilitated deserters from the Nazi army thus recognizing the courage and the sense of humanity of those who refused to kill others.
Of all the missing plaques, we specially miss this one:
This is for a man who refused to kill his fellow men.
Kurt Tucholsky, The Plaque (1925)
For the Unknown Deserters
Designed by Mehmet Aksoy