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#lichtfenster: Germany starts campaign to honour corona victims

#lichtfenster: Germany starts campaign to honour corona victims

#lichtfenster: Germany starts campaign to honour corona victims

More than 50.000 people in Germany have now lost their lives to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. The Federal President is planning a memorial service after Easter, but in the meantime he has called upon everybody to take part in a mass campaign to commemorate the dead. 

German President wants to highlight human side to statistics

Over the past year, it has sometimes felt like the brutality of this pandemic has been masked by the cold objectivity of figures. With case numbers and death tolls steadily ticking up each day, it has become all too easy to lose sight of individual, human tragedies, behind a wall of statistics.

Germany’s Federal President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, would therefore like to counter the silent anonymity of these deaths with the new #lichtfenster campaign. It starts today, January 22, at 4.30 pm. Everybody in Germany is asked to take part by placing a light or a candle in their window as soon as it gets dark - so that the whole country is literally shining a light against the dark times. 

In Bellevue Palace in Berlin, a light will be clearly visible in the central window above the entrance. “We will place a light in the window,” Steinmeier said. “A light of sorrow, a light of sympathy, a light of compassion.” 

“Too many people have been mourning in isolation”

He said that recent weeks had been “dark weeks” for far too many people in Germany, for those having to mourn relatives in isolation, or struggle through working in intensive care units and care homes. “This darkness is not abstract, not somewhere far away,” Steinmeier said, "It affects our relatives and our friends, our colleagues and neighbours, our fellow citizens - every day.” 

The “light windows” are therefore intended to convey a message to those in mourning, that those who have died during the coronavirus pandemic are not mere numbers or statistics: “Each number stands for a loved one who is infinitely absent,” Steinmeier said. 

“Light windows” to light up every Friday until Easter

After Easter, Steinmeier wants to organise a central memorial service in Berlin for those who have lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic in Germany - but no date has as yet been confirmed. 

Until the commemoration can take place, therefore, the light windows should continue to shine in the dark every Friday evening. If you choose to also place a lamp or light a candle, you are encouraged to share a picture of it on social media, using the hashtag #lichtfenster

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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