A Garden of Freedom ... for mankind - Jerusalem Friedensmal

Chapter: Project / Garden of Freedom

Image: Framed by two angel wings, a Garden of Freedom surrounds the 26-meter large Friedensmal in its center, symbolizing the inner journey. At the border of the garden to the European long-distance hiking trail No. 8 (the path through the world), there is the Stone of Encounter with the inscription "Yerushalayim" on the "Side of Hope." On its other side, the suffering of the past and present is addressed. Below it, a slate stone in the ground with the inscription "Where Dust Turns to Light" points towards the Friedensmal. On the entrance step of the Friedensmal, it reads: "Recognize the Sacred in Your Midst." As you walk around the circle of the Friedensmal, you always end up at the same point. You keep turning around yourself until you pause and step into the center, into the Tree of Life. There, in the center, you find the inscription "Chai," which is Hebrew and means "alive".


For a Culture of Freedom


Introduction

A Garden of Freedom, representing a culture of freedom in Germany, frames the Friedensmal. This allows for a connection with the environment, even where today's memorials, due to their number and form, already elicit resistance: we find a language with each other again. In the midst of the Garden of Freedom stands the Friedensmal, which as a central element bundles the diversity of topics covered in this text. From the significance of the Friedensmal to the role of the Garden of Freedom, to the universal questions of freedom and responsibility—this text invites you to explore the various facets of the Jerusalem Friedensmal. We will deal not only with the external design but also with the deeper meaning and spiritual background of this special place.



Freedom and Boundaries

This first chapter addresses the concept of freedom and how it is connected with boundaries. It explains what the German word for freedom originally meant and that the term was associated with love and protection. How are freedom and healthy boundaries linked? The inscription on the Stone of Encounter is explained and how it invites the promotion of freedom and respect. It shows how freedom and boundaries come together in a "Garden of Freedom" to create an atmosphere of mutual understanding and protection.


What the word Freedom means

The word freedom in German originally had to do with love in terms of its meaning. People who were loved were given protection and the right to independence. This meant that even back then in the Germanic tribe among "the free", service was rendered out of love rather than due to compulsion. Interestingly, in the original understanding of the word, there was no contradiction to delimited spaces of protection and care; rather, they are connected with freedom. Here you will find a brief linguistic treatise on the word freedom. So what is necessary for a person to live freely and self-determinedly? What constitutes our mental and emotional prison?


Garden of Freedom with Friedensmal and Stone of Encounter

Eleven large stones in the Dark Ring within the Friedensmal symbolize the blockages and entanglements that stand between a person and their freedom on the path of life. People who are not free are identified with their entanglements, and it is precisely this that allows the world to be as it is today. The liberation from these entanglements is symbolized in the Friedensmal by the central element of the Tree of Life. (The "Tree of Life" has its roots in the earth and its branches in the sky, thus connecting heaven and earth, spirit and matter. This represents the enlightened human being in whose essence liberation brings life.) Society, too, is trapped in its entanglements and must confront them.

"Being free means being condemned to be free." (Sartre)



Healthy Boundaries - The Inscription on the Stone of Encounter

"Yerushalayim - a cry full of love for human freedom. That we recognize the fences in our interactions and do not seek our lives in the past" - this is the full inscription on the Stone of Encounter. It is a cry of longing for freedom and peace and for a respectful interaction among people. It does not mean being stuck in an ideology of boundlessness, where the protected spaces that provide freedom dissolve. Boundaries are perceived and respected. In this way, we can come closer to each other in a feeling of security and good interaction. We thus overcome fences without tearing them down.


New Fence in front of Jerusalem Friedensmal
Citizens from the village of Hochstädten visit the new memorial stone "Yerushalayim."


European and Global Perspectives from 'a place of silence'

This chapter expands the understanding of freedom at a European and global level. The significance of the peace project in Europe and its connection to experiences from the past are explained. It also raises questions about German politics and shared values in Christian European nations. It is shown how the ideas of freedom and peace are carried from here into the world, simply by embarking on the inner journey.


A Vision of Peace and Freedom for Europe

The site of freedom and peace is located on the European Long-Distance Path No. 8. This location is intended to highlight the unity of the European peoples and the need to embark on a journey for peace and freedom. The "Friedensprojekt Europa" (Peace Project Europe) emerged as a lesson from the past. It was the experiences of war, genocide, and the captivity of the German nation in the ideology of fascism that united the European peoples in striving for a vision of peace and freedom in Europe. So what influence does German politics have in fulfilling its responsibility for peace and freedom in Europe and in international politics? Is the danger of a top-down, potentially totalitarian ideology of boundless unity recognized, which would again divide nations and peoples in reaction to it? And as a suggestion for a healthy path: What common foundation of values do Christian European nations have that could be built upon, so that a peace project of the European peoples can succeed in the long term? In Christian Europe, ideas from Jerusalem have become the cultural foundation through the teachings of the Jew Jesus. For Jesus had not dissolved the Torah of the Jews with its idea of Jerusalem, but confirmed and explained it (Matthew 5:17).


On the Path of Freedom

There are many memorials; this site of peace and freedom in the Geopark Bergstraße-Odenwald is a next step towards healing. The monument is built on a hiking trail in nature, for life itself can be considered a journey, and for peace and freedom, one must embark on the inner path. They are not found in the noise and importance of the world, but in inner peace and one's own mental clarity. But this has an impact on the world. Societies, like individual people, are always changing. The Jerusalem Friedensmal—the Friedensmal in the Garden of Freedom—serves as a reminder, but also as encouragement and a sign for positive change towards freedom and light; towards life.


Morning Light - Jerusalem Friedensmal
The Jerusalem Friedensmal at the beginning of spring early in the morning.


UNESCO Geopark Bergstraße-Odenwald

"He did not appear to Moses at Pharaoh's palace, but in the countryside by the side of the road

Significant steps in understanding often occur in silence. A monument with some claim doesn't always have to be in the political capital of Berlin. Here, on European Long-Distance Path No. 8, one will find the peace—beyond consumer terror and the noise of the capital—to come to terms with oneself.

The Jerusalem Friedensmal is located in the Geopark Bergstraße-Odenwald by the side of the road. One must set out on the path for peace... The large memorial stones and the natural stone slabs in the Friedensmal are made of Odenwald-Quarz. This comes from the Borstein mine in Reichenbach, only 1.7 km away (26-minute walk) . There are only two quarries left where this rock, characteristic of the Odenwald, is extracted.


Short film with landscape images - Hike to the Jerusalem Friedensmal



Conclusion

After exploring the various facets of the Garden of Freedom and the Jerusalem Friedensmal in these chapters, an important message emerges: The Garden of Freedom in the Jerusalem Friedensmal symbolizes a longing for connection, understanding, and freedom in a world often marked by separation and misunderstandings. It invites us to recognize and respect our own boundaries while simultaneously overcoming the fences of mistrust and prejudice.

The inscription on the Stone of Encounter, "Yerushalayim—a cry full of love for freedom for mankind", calls for a world where freedom and peace go hand in hand. It reminds us that true freedom does not lie in an ideology of boundlessness, but in the recognition and appreciation of healthy boundaries.

In the European and global perspectives, we have seen how important it is to learn from the past and to commit to peace and freedom. The Jerusalem Friedensmal in the Geopark Bergstraße-Odenwald reminds us that significant steps in understanding often occur in silence. Here we find peace and quiet, beyond consumer terror and city noise, to come to peace with ourselves and find the path "with the light” into "the light.”

May the Garden of Freedom and the Jerusalem Friedensmal remind us that freedom and peace without connection, respect, and recognition of boundaries remain an illusion. Let us work together on a world where these ideals of freedom and peace become reality, and it will be possible for all people to live them.




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