(Hamburg) King Charles III ends his historic visit to Germany on Friday with a memorial stopover in Hamburg, a gesture of high symbolic significance 80 years after deadly raids by the allies.
To conclude his first foreign visit as king, Charles III took an ICE high-speed train in the colors of Germany on Friday morning with Queen Consort Camilla. Destination Hamburg, the country’s second city, with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
At the end of a journey of nearly two hours by train, extremely rare in the context of a state visit, the sovereign laid a wreath in the rain at the Dammtor station at the foot of a monument in memory Jewish children sent to Britain to escape Nazism.
He then went to the Saint-Nicolas church, destroyed by British and American aerial bombardments in 1943, for a moment of meditation alongside the German president, a moral authority in the country.
Charles III will complete his three-day trip with afternoon tours of eco-responsible facilities in the Port of Hamburg, followed by a short performance by a cover band from the Beatles, the legendary English quartet that started his career in the port city.
Visiting the ruined St. Nicholas Church, which serves as a memorial, is seen in Germany as a sign of responsibility and reconciliation of “great significance”, more significant than “any speech”, according to the popular daily Bild.
“The sign of reconciliation between two war enemies and the common commemoration of the victims is an important signal,” said the Bishop of Hamburg, Kirsten Fehrs, who gave the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation on Friday.
On July 24, 1943, Britain and the United States launched Operation Gomorrah, which claimed the lives of over 30,000 people in Hamburg. It was one of the deadliest air attacks with the bombardment of Dresden, in the East.
Elizabeth II, who died last year, visited the Church of Our Lady in Dresden in 1992, a symbol of the destruction of war and rebuilt since. But she had been received at the time by egg throws.
Addressing the suffering endured by German civilians during the Second World War remains a very delicate and often taboo subject in a country responsible for the death of six million Jews under Nazism.
These aerial bombardments nevertheless remain among the most controversial war actions undertaken by the Allies, because they were intended to terrorize the population and force the Hitler regime to surrender, at the cost of tens of thousands of civilian victims. .
German-British rapprochement and the future of relations between the two countries were among the main themes of Charles III’s three-day visit, his first abroad as king.
His arrival is also an important European gesture after the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.
The first monarch to speak on Thursday in the Bundestag, Charles III deplored the return of the “scourge” of war in Europe by referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, stressing that the allies can “draw courage in their unity”.