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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 November, 2004, 19:46 GMT
Queen calls for German friendship
The Queen laid the wreath at the Neue Wache in Berlin
The Queen laid the wreath at the Neue Wache in Berlin
Britain and Germany should learn from history but not be obsessed by it, the Queen has told a state banquet in a hall where Hitler honoured Nazi heroes.

Both nations should look beyond simplistic stereotypes to build an enduring friendship after the suffering of war, she said in Berlin's Zeughaus.

President Horst Kohler held the banquet to honour the Queen, at the end of the first day of her three-day state visit.

Adolf Hitler had used the same venue to honour Nazi heroes during World War II.

The Queen, 78, told the banquet: "In remembering the appalling suffering of war on both sides, we recognise how precious is the peace we have built in Europe since 1945.

"It is difficult for someone of my generation to over-emphasise this."

We respect and admire you for the... commitment you demonstrated to the reconciliation of our countries after the war
German president, Horst Kohler

The post-war partnership between Britain and Germany, within the European Union and Nato, was one of the bedrocks of peace, she added.

"We owe it to those who built that partnership to continue the process into the 21st Century - to learn from history not to be obsessed by it, to look beyond simplistic stereotypes, to realise how often we share the same outlook, above all to recognise the way in which that vital partnership of the post-war years has evolved, and continues to evolve, into a mature and enduring friendship for the 21st Century."

Stereotypes withered when human contact, particularly among the young, flourished, the Queen said.

President Kohler told his guests the Queen, descended from the Electors of Hanover, had always been interested in the Germans.

I am glad that I was able to do something for the relations between Britain and Germany in a difficult time
Bert Trautmann OBE

He told her: "We, for our part, respect and admire you for the impressive and dignified way you have represented your proud nation over this past half century, for the commitment you demonstrated to the reconciliation of our countries after the war, for the way your government over decades helped to guarantee the freedom of Berlin, for the support you signalled with your state visit in 1992 for a Germany that had recently regained its unity."

Earlier on Tuesday, the Queen laid a wreath at a memorial to the victims of war and tyranny.

Accompanied by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, she laid the multi-coloured flowers at the Neue Wache in Berlin.

The remains of an unknown soldier and a concentration camp victim lie buried at the memorial in earth from World War II battlefields and Nazi death camps.

The Queen and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
The Queen visited the Schloss Charlottenburg presidential palace

On Wednesday, the Queen will attend a benefit concert to restore Dresden Cathedral.

During the Queen's last state visit to Germany in 1992, two eggs were thrown at her car when she was in Dresden for a church service of reconciliation.

This time she will not be visiting the city.

The Queen requested that proceeds from Wednesday night's gala concert at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall be donated to the restoration of Dresden's Frauenkirche, which was destroyed in the wartime bombing.

Some years ago, she made a personal donation to the cathedral's rebuilding fund.

Footage from the Queen's visit to Berlin

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