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FRIEDENSMAL: Unionists Support Initiator Zieringer
DGB Opposes Demolition of the Memorial Stone
Bensheim. The local association of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) in Bensheim has expressed its support for the preservation of the Friedensmal in Hochstädten "in its current form" in a press release. The unionists have inspected the "stone of contention" (as previously reported) and state in their announcement:
"The Friedensmal, located on a property acquired by initiator Thomas Zieringer, aims to emphasize how people, in all their diversity, can still interact peacefully with each other". However, the authorities have dealt with the project "in their usual bureaucratic manner". Instead of supporting him, Zieringer has faced much resistance. According to the DGB Bensheim, Zieringer has created not just a place for reflection and meditation along the European long-distance hiking trail above Hochstädten, but also—“long overdue”—a memorial stone to remember the former forced laborers and concentration camp prisoners "who had to toil in the valley below Hochstädten". The unionists criticize that this symbol of remembrance should now be removed because there is no permit for it. Zieringer argues that he has built 21 fewer memorial stones in the actual Friedensmal area than he was permitted. The DGB also considers the presence of a memorial stone outside the Friedensmal circle to be negligible. Neither the common good nor landscape protection would be affected.
"No politician in the district could really want the demolition plans currently under discussion", says DGB Chairwoman Jutta Mussong-Löffler. A memorial for the victims of National Socialism at this location was long overdue. The former sub-camp in Hochstädten had been assigned to the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp. Moreover, the district building authority, with its demand for demolition, is "playing into the hands of revanchist, anti-Semitic, and nationalist forces".
The DGB is confident that there is room for administrative discretion. It should be in the interest of district politics to "support progressive artworks committed to peace".
The article appeared in the Bergsträßer Anzeiger (March 27, 2014)
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