Day of the Homeland, celebrated annually in the Federal Republic of Germany, takes place on September 13 this year. Although Day of the Homeland is not an official public holiday in Germany, there are observances held throughout the country. Several activities organized by the government mark the event which respects and honors the German expellees, while celebrating human rights and freedom throughout the country.
69 years ago, Paul Wagner, a prominent politician, was responsible for the successful passing of a resolution calling for a Day of the Homeland in the city of Goettingen. Despite all the atrocities conducted by the Nazis during WWII, Germany has rebounded to become a world leader and a country renowned for the arts and an embrace of equality for all its citizens.
Day of the Homeland timeline
A special focus on human rights made for meaningful celebrations
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the most prominent speaker at the rally in Berlin that centered around the motto, "Home Is Human Rights."
- 2003 & 2006
The Pope sends his greetings
The Vatican sends both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI to Germany to offer greetings that acknowledge the non-violence of the expellees and Germany’s commitment to international understanding.
A proclamation honors the Charter of the German Expellees
This charter, introduced at a rally in Stuttgart Castle, was pivotal to creating the Day of the Homeland.
Resolution passes to observe Day of the Homeland as an annual event
Due to the efforts of Paul Wagner, this day gets official status in the town of Goettingen.
How to Observe Day of the Homeland
Read about German history
Educate yourself and your children about the events that shaped Germany by reading a good historical book or novel. Knowledge is power!
Attend community events
Think globally, act locally. Community events bring people together and create an opportunity where everyone can share ideas and values that improve society.
Visit a war memorial
Every citizen must respect and recognize the sacrifices made by soldiers and martyrs in the precious name of freedom. If you visit a war memorial, remember that it's hallowed ground and share a moment of silence with others.
5 Facts To Get You Up To Speed About Germany's Day Of The Homeland
Every year there's a different motto
The Day of the Homeland has a different motto each year. Past examples include "Human Rights," and "Expulsions are Wrong."
Between 13 and 16 million Germans were expelled
During World War II, a shocking number of ethnic Germans were expelled or forced to leave parts of Central and Eastern Europe.
It's all about speeches, rallies, and flags
High ranking government officials and politicians make speeches on this day. All public buildings bear the German flag.
It's a Memorial Day for those affected
Of all the things it celebrates, Day of the Homeland is foremost a day to remember those expellees who passed away, especially during World War II.
It's big on human rights
The Day of the Homeland reminds Germans and others that everyone has the right to citizenship and a home in the country of their heritage.
Why Day of the Homeland is Important
It pays respects to the expellees
Due to both world wars, millions of Germans were expelled or deported to other countries. Day of the Homeland was part of an effort to encourage and assist those who were expelled to return to their homeland and to honor those who have passed away due to hunger and sickness.
It reminds Germans of their homeland's precious values
As good citizens, we occasionally need to stop and think about the values that built our great nations. Whether we're German nationals or Americans, it's important to remember the blessings of home.
It advocates democracy and international understanding
A large number of events follow this day, all with the aim of encouraging democratic values and peaceful international relations. It's a beautiful thing.