Healing wounds of the past and releasing the futureThe Jerusalem Friedensmal in Bensheim, 33 miles south of Frankfurt on Main, is a call for peace, freedom and new life. The idea for this monument was presented to the public in the year 1999 with the book "Wendepunkt - die Vision einer neuen Menschlichkeit" (Turning Point - the Vision of a New Humanity) on the Berlin memorial debate. As a result of the debate, Peter Eisenmann's Holocaust Memorial was erected in Berlin in 2005. The Jerusalem Friedensmal developed as an artistic response to it and it was built in 2010 - 2015.
Peter Eisenman himself calls his field of stelae the "terror of loneliness". It consists of 2,711 stelae that show a solidification cast in concrete: the representation of fascism in the souls of men. In the meantime, however, it is no longer clear whether this symbolism stands only for the past or whether it is not even a vision of a gloomy future. That's how little people have changed.
The Holocaust Memorial shows a NO to life, the Jerusalem Friedensmal, on the other hand, is a YES, because it shows a path of healing and new life in the awareness of past suffering.
Can we not let the past rest? Who does it help to look at the pain and to talk about it? No! Turning the page on the past and denying the wounds, would only be self-deception, not real freedom.
In the Third Reich, most people did not want to recognize the anti-human beliefs they had been seduced into, and until beyond the end of the war, many believed they had been on the side of good. Politics and the media had taught them that way for 12 years.
Then one day people woke up to the harsh reality and lamented the misfortune and destruction inflicted on other peoples AND coming upon their own country. Without the many people who ran along and participated until the bitter end, this would not have been possible.
There is no doubt that today in Germany much attention is placed on emphasizing "Never again!". It is a lesson that belongs to the new, better Germany.
But where does that leave man? One cannot "learn from the past" and make it understood by building memorials, if the change and the insight is only a new ideology imprinted in the mind. The change cannot be forced either. It only works if people are involved completely with their hearts.
Overcoming the Terror of Loneliness
The German past left deep traces in the souls of the descendants. Traumas were inherited from the parents and little attention was paid to the late effects of the Second World Warthat are described here. With the culture of remembrance, the topics Holocaust and German war guilt were taught intensively. This shook the sense of own identity painfully. The German admonishing culture focused on past and guilt, and the future with the hope of new life was missing. As a result, many people closed the mind for this topic or they got stuck in the pain of the past. Both could not help a necessary cure, but destroyed relationship; first the relationship to oneself.
What has been learned from the past that leads us into the future? How about the important insight that our freedom is lost without a constant struggle for it? Appreciating freedom, that is much more the impression one has, does not correspond to the German mentality. Anxiety deeply rooted in the soul makes people rather want to be in the safety of a herd with the proper ideology; it's still like that. But that is precisely why Germany today is eroding, which we knew as a safe country. So did we Germans only turn around in a circle instead of having a real insight?
The past is part of every person. The past can become repressed, held on to it, or it can be accepted in love so that a wound heals in living the answer.
This wound is inside the human being. Healing is possible, which means to have really learned something from the past. Only that opened the space for peace and freedom. Scars remain only in the collective memory.
Here a message of peace becomes tangible in the outer world. From the Blossom of Shalom in the middle of the Friedensmal (monument) you can look into the German Rhine plain, where the Jewish "Jerusalem on the Rhine" had once been. So it is about healing the wounded root Jerusalem, an essential root of German and European culture.
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