French, German leaders to jointly mark WWI dead

Presidents of one-time adversaries France and Germany will stand together to honor those killed in the 'Great War' when the two countries mark the 100th anniversary of WW1 that killed millions in August this year.

French, German leaders to jointly mark WWI dead
Fran├žois Hollande (left) pictured here with German President Joachim Gauck (right) and a survivor of the Nazi massacre at the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane. Photo: Pierre MullerAFP

German President Joachim Gauck and his French counterpart Francois Hollande will commemorate the victims of World War I together on August 3 in eastern France, the German president's office said Friday.

"The president will travel to Vieil-Armand on August 3," a spokeswoman for Gauck said, referring to the former battlefield in the French region of Alsace.

Hollande will receive Gauck on the 100th anniversary of the first day of the war at the strategically important mountainous location where German and French soldiers fought during the 1914-18 war.

A national monument to the 30,000 victims now stands at the site, which is known in German as Hartmannsweiler Kopf. Gauck will travel the following day to Belgium – invaded by German troops on August 3, 1914 – at the invitation of King Philippe for a further commemoration, his office said.

And a German-British ceremony at a soldiers' cemetery in Liege, Belgium is also planned.

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