The path to the Friedensmal Foundation

The article describes the beginning of practical implementation after 7 years of association work. It is a report on the association meeting in 2008.

About us / Path to the Foundation

A journey of 22 years

The following presentation provides a deep insight into the creation, implementation, and significance of the Peace Monument, an idea and initiative by Thomas Zieringer. Spanning from the initial idea to its realization as a non-profit foundation, it highlights the challenges and successes of this unique project. It shows how a vision for peace and human dignity turned into a concrete work of art and eventually a foundation that carries both into the world.

Idea und Vision

In 1998, the idea of building a "Peace Memorial for Germany" was born in the mind of an artist. Thomas Zieringer did not want to build another admonishing memorial, but he thought that "learning from the past" should mean creating spaces for peace and human dignity. He said that these were spaces in which people could meet honestly and freely on the basis of shared values. It should also not become a religious project with a claim to salvation, but art on the level of the human being, which inspires, encourages and shows the way of a liberation from within. The monument shall be surrounded by a "Threshold of humility": The knowledge of not knowing (according to Socrates) only opens the door to the deeper insight of man about himself and a higher reality. More about this… (Spirituality)

So it should become a
Friedensmal (Frieden=peace), a "going into peace"-Memorial  for man, dedicated to life. Because the affirmation of life and the awareness of an inner holiness is the prerequisite to master the future. A culture expresses itself in its monuments, which in turn have an effect on the culture. That is why it is so important that, in addition to all the admonishing memorials in Germany, such a peace memorial be given its place in the culture of monuments. In 1999, Thomas Zieringer published his book "The Vision of a New Humanity" (Jahn & Ernst Verlag) with these thoughts in order to present them to the public.

Implementation and Challenges

In 2001, he founded the association Friedensmal Wendepunkt to find supporters for the idea and to obtain a permit for the construction. After the implementation of the project in Berlin and Fulda failed due to a lack of interest or excessive fears, the right site for the peace monument was finally found in Bensheim-Hochstädten in southern Hesse in 2005. The city of Bensheim was open to the unusual idea. Nevertheless, it took 6 years from the political preliminary work and the planning of the project to the application for a building permit in 2007. At the end of 2009, the building permit for the project, which was privately financed with donations from the Zieringer family, was finally granted and construction work could begin in 2010. The construction time was 5 years, as numerous difficulties had to be overcome, mainly due to the private nature of the project. But there were also always positive surprises and support: The picture shows the meeting with friends in Israel on the occasion of a publication on the Jerusalem Friedensmal on March 22, 2013.

Inauguration and Significance

On September 27, 2015, the inauguration of the Jerusalem Friedensmal took place in Germany with a school class from the Bensheim Goethe Gymnasium and a class from its partner school in Haifa, Israel. The patron was Mrs. Batsheva Dagan from Israel. - The Jerusalem Friedensmal was realized purely through civic engagement and with our own funds. Let art be free! This should also be an encouragement for people to live their freedom and bring their good dreams into life.

Transformation to a Foundation

Already on December 3'th 2012, the then 2nd chairwoman of the association Friedensmal Wendepunkt and former chairwoman of the Jewish community in Fulda, Mrs. Linde Weiland, had proposed in the general meeting that the association transforms into a foundation after completion of the peace monument. The legal form of the foundation would be the more suitable form for the further work with the Friedensmal monument. There was again a long way to go. With the assets of Margret and Karl Zieringer (picture) and Thomas Zieringer, the foundation was established on December 10, 2020. The non-profit Friedensmal Foundation was recognized by the Darmstadt Regional Council on January 28, 2022.

Here you can find the Statutes of the Friedensmal Foundation


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