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“Peace is more than the absence of war”

Text: First Lieutenant Éva Buda-Singer | Photo: by the author |  13:16 November 21, 2023

On Sunday, 19 November, a commemoration coupled with wreath-laying was held on the occasion of the German commemoration day (Volkstrauertag) in the German–Hungarian War Cemetery of Budaörs. Year after year, people remember the soldiers fallen in the world wars – including the victims of oppressive regimes – on this commemoration day.


“Unfortunately, war and violence have become a bitter reality again in Europe and our direct neighborhood. After the horrendous sufferings of the two world wars, for a long time it was inconceivable to us in several European countries that a war could break out in our immediate neighborhood”, pointed out Germany’s Ambassador Julia Gross in her speech. She added that “the places like this one – where we have gathered today to pay tribute to the deceased – serve as reminders for us. More than 14,000 German and some 600 Hungarian soldiers have found their final resting place here, in the Budaörs war cemetery. Their sacrifice must mean an obligation for us.” In her speech, the ambassador also noted that today, when we look back on the causes of present-day conflicts and the sufferings caused by them, we must realize again that peace is more than the absence of war. “Let us use this national day of mourning, the silent remembrance day of all victims of war and violence not only for commemoration but also for concrete meditation. Let us use it to think about how we can personally contribute to the protection and active promotion of humanity, justice and freedom in the peaceful coexistence of nations.”

After the ambassador’s speech, German and Hungarian chaplains said prayers. On behalf of the MoD Catholic Military Ordinariate, Captain Endre Ferenc Nagy prayed for the deceased soldiers. “Our Lord, Jesus Christ, you have shed your dear and sacred blood for us, and gave your life for the life of the world. Behold with mercy our soldier heroes lying here and elsewhere, who sacrificed their blood on the altar of freedom. Let them find their merciful judge in you, and let your infinite love wash all earthly defilement off their souls so that they can stand cleansed before you and infinitely rejoice in the home of eternal peace with you, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.”


First Lieutenant Zoltán Máthé, Protestant field chaplain quoted from Psalm 103: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.”

At the commemoration, besides the Embassy of Germany, the local governments of Budaörs and Budakeszi as well as German and Hungarian organizations, Deputy State Secretary for Defence Policy László Hajnik and Colonel Albert Gróf, Head of the MoD Department for International Cooperation laid a wreath on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, while Chief of the Medical Service Colonel (MD) Dr. Dezső Zsolt Fejes and Colonel József Mudra, Commander, HDF “vitéz Szurmay Sándor” Budapest Garrison Brigade did the same on behalf of the Hungarian Defence Forces.