Žilina/Ballenstedt, January 11, 2021. Servare et Manere, the Slovak non-government association, which implements the international project Tree of Peace, in memoriam awarded His Highness Joachim Ernst, Duke of Anhalt (January 11, 1901 – February 18, 1947) from the House of Ascania with one of its highest honours. Duke Joachim Ernest was the last Duke of Anhalt between September 13 and November 12, 1918 and until his death the Head of the House of Ascania, who is currently his son, Duke Eduard, Prince of Anhalt. The House of Ascania is a dynasty of German rulers that ruled in the Duchy of Anhalt until 1918. At present, its territory is incorporated into the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. Duke Joachim Ernest was arrested by the Nazis in January 1944 (the monarchy had already been abolished) and imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp for three months. He was arrested again in September 1945, this time by the Soviet occupation forces, and transferred to the Buchenwald concentration camp, then called NKVD special camp Nr. 2. The Soviet NKVD was responsible for political oppression during the Stalinist era and administered a system of gulags and forced labor camps. According to Soviet records, a total of 7,113 people died in this special camp. Duke Joachim Ernest died here in February 1947. He was not rehabilitated until 1992, when the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office recognized the Duke on the basis of proven innocence as a victim of political repression by the Soviet Union.
Joachim Ernest, as a former head of state, died in a concentration camp as a prisoner. His death after World War II says a lot not only about the horrors of the war itself, but also about the immediate consequences of global military conflicts. Such events should never happen again. Servare et Manere in the international Tree of Peace project does not forget the victims of global military conflicts, including the victims of their aftermath. The project was created on the story of an unknown Slovak soldier in 2018 and since then has been successfully implemented in 9 countries (including Germany) on 2 continents. By the end of 2020, 15 trees had been planted in various places in Slovak and world history. The project commemorates not only victims of ordinary soldiers, but also victims of natural and environmental disasters. The Tree of Peace was established on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War and is being implemented with the kind support of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic. The project also officially represents the Slovak Republic under the brand name “GOOD IDEA SLOVAKIA”.
The non-government association Servare et Manere can recognise important personalities who treasure peace, freedom and mutual understanding and acknowledge the importance of initiatives which serve to enhance the welfare of everyone in society. Servare et Manere honors all those who have made a special contribution to the promotion of the idea of understanding between people uniting nations and preservation of nature. It also honours those who put their lives for peace and democracy or have been victims of war. On the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the birth of the Duke Joachim Ernest Anhalt, Servare et Manere decided to award him in memoriam the Memorial Medal of the Tree of Peace in a Special class with rubies. By awarding the award, he points out that the concentration camps have not shunned the full spectrum of human society – not even the former heads of state, as global military conflicts are tragically affecting all sections of the population. The award given in memoriam will be handed over to his descendants after the current pandemic situation has been satisfied.