Zoff about the big tattoo of the Bundeswehr at the end of the Afghanistan mission!

ZDF comedian Jan Böhmermann thought the ceremony was “right, right shit” and wrote on Twitter: “Torch marches in front of the Reichstag – let’s agree to disagree”.

Green veteran Christian Ströbele lets his anger run wild at the recognition of those who fell in Afghanistan on the Internet: “What is the militaristic ritual from Prussia and the Nazi era”, Ströbele wrote on Twitter, “Nothing is good in Afghanistan. What is there to celebrate? “

In the case of the Bundeswehr’s tattoo, however, one can hardly speak of “celebrating”.

The drama, which was first performed in Prussia in 1838, serves to pay tribute to the fallen and people who have rendered outstanding services to their country and especially its armed forces.

The story of the tattoo

︎ The origin is the evening roll call of the officers who, centuries ago, went through the pubs at a late hour and hit the tap with a stick to stop serving and send the soldiers back to their tents. This “prank” on the tap was in Prussia by King Friedrich Wilhelm III. Expanded into a ceremony during the Wars of Liberation (1813) in order to unite the troops and to promote the soldiers’ commitment to their army. The ritual was initially extended with the presentation of the rifle, musical accompaniment by wind instruments and a silent prayer. The model was based on similar customs in the armies of Russia, Austria and Sweden.

In 1838 a forerunner of the Great Zapfenstreich, which is still valid today, premiered in Berlin – in honor of the Russian Tsar Nicholas I. Since then, the “Yorcksche March” and a Zapfenstreichmarsch have been part of the traditional process. In 1871 the hymn “Heil Dir im Siegerkranz” was added in honor of the German emperor. In the Weimar Republic it was replaced by the national anthem.

Even in the time of National Socialism, the honor was part of the standard program of the Wehrmacht – and the murder troops of the SS. Until 1940, Hitler’s police corps also held a similar ritual to strengthen their position against the Wehrmacht.

After the founding of the Bundeswehr (West) and the People’s Army (East), the tattoo was taken over by both armies. Federal presidents, federal chancellors, defense ministers and generals have been dismissed from office with the ceremony to this day – sometimes with wishes from the honorees.

The ceremony is “part of maintaining tradition”

According to the Defense Ministry, the ceremony is “part of maintaining tradition” of the Bundeswehr, it “strengthens the solidarity of the soldiers” and “strengthens the bond between the Bundeswehr and the population”. Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) emphasized that all constitutional organs of the state – Bundestag, Bundesrat, Federal President, government and constitutional court – pay their respects to the fallen soldiers during the Zapfenstreich.

Nevertheless, the drama repeatedly meets with criticism. In particular, the prayer (“I believe in the power of love”) as part of the tattoo disturbs critics. In 1996 the PDS (later Die Linke) and the Greens tried to erase the religious part of the ritual or to delete the tattoo completely from the tradition of the troops – without success.

At the Afghanistan tattoo on Wednesday evening, however, critics were particularly bothered by the pictures of burning torches in front of the Reichstag. This torchlight procession reminded international observers in particular of the march of the SA troops after Adolf Hitler’s “seizure of power” (1933).

Moving the ceremony from the Reichstag to other places in Berlin also seems problematic. Because the Bundeswehr is a parliamentary army and cannot become active without being sent by the Bundestag. The forecourt of the Reichstag was therefore deliberately chosen to illustrate this relationship.

Grünen-Lindner: “Right, that Zapfenstreich takes place in front of the Bundestag”

If, however, many in the country would like a different, less martial form of honor by the Bundeswehr, ZDF comedian Böhmermann would like to see a “Zapfenstreich innovation” in the “land of inventors”.

Green defense expert Tobias Lindner holds against it: He thinks it “absurd to equate the torchlight procession of the Nazis with a thank-you event of a parliamentary army in the presence of democratically elected members”, Lindner told BILD.

Lindner: “We are responsible for what was. Just like for the lessons one draws from the mission. That is why it is right that the big tattoo should not take place in a barracks yard, but in front of the Bundestag. “

“The Big Zap has its origins in the Thirty Years’ War and especially commemorates the soldiers who died in battle. To equate a commemoration of a parliamentary army in front of democratically elected members with the unspeakable torchlight procession of the Nazis is absurd. “

FDP politician Johannes Vogel (39) also wrote on Twitter that Wehrmacht comparisons were “an unbearable derailment vis-à-vis our soldiers and our democracy”. “That just doesn’t work – period.”

But: “We shouldn’t condemn the fact that many people at first have a queasy feeling when they see polished helmets and torches in front of the Reichstag building – the fact that we have this particular sensitivity really speaks for our society.”