The Garden of Freedom ... as a framework for the Friedensmal

Chapter: Project / Garden of Freedom

Image: Framed by two angel wings, the 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


The Garden of Freedom, representing a culture of freedom in Germany, frames the Friedensmal. This allows for contact with the environment, even where memorials today, due to their number and design language, already provoke 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 encapsulates the diversity of themes addressed in this text. From the significance of the Friedensmal to the role of the Garden of Freedom, and the universal questions of freedom and responsibility – this text invites you to explore the various facets of the Friedensmal. In doing so, we will engage not only with its external design but also with the deeper meaning and spiritual backgrounds of this special place.

Freedom and Boundaries

This first chapter addresses the concept of freedom and how it is connected to boundaries. It explains what the German word 'Freiheit' originally meant and that the term was associated with love and protection. How are freedom and healthy boundaries interlinked? The inscription on the Stone of Encounter is explained, and how it invites the promotion of freedom and respect. It is shown how freedom and boundaries come together in a 'Garden of Freedom,' thereby creating 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 of the Friedensmal symbolize the blockages and entanglements that stand between a person and their freedom on their life's journey to self. Those who are not free are identified with their entanglements, thereby contributing to the world being as it is today. The liberation from these entanglements is symbolized in the Friedensmal by the central element of the Tree of Life. (The roots of the 'Tree of Life' are in the earth and its branches in the sky. It thus connects heaven and earth, spirit and matter. This represents the enlightened human being in whose nature liberation towards life takes place.) Society, too, is trapped in its entanglements and must confront them.

"To be free is condemned to be free." (Sartre)

Healthy Boundaries - The Inscription on the Stone of Encounter

'Yerushalayim - a call full of love for freedom for mankind. That we recognize the fences in our interactions and not seek our life in the past' - is the full inscription on the Stone of Encounter. It is a call of longing for freedom and peace, and for a respectful interaction among people. It means not being stuck in an ideology of boundlessness, where protected spaces that provide freedom dissolve. Boundaries are perceived and respected. Thus, we can come closer to each other in a feeling of security and good interaction. We 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 broadens the understanding of freedom at the European and global level. It explains the significance of the peace project in Europe and its connection to experiences from the past. It also raises questions about German politics and the shared values among Christian European nations. It demonstrates how ideas of freedom and peace are carried into the world simply by embarking on the inner journey oneself.

A Vision of Peace and Freedom for Europe

The freedom and peace site is located on the European long-distance hiking trail No. 8. This location is intended to highlight the solidarity of the European peoples and the necessity of embarking on the path for peace and freedom. The '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 seeking a vision of peace and freedom in Europe. What influence does German politics have, specifically, in fulfilling its responsibility for peace and freedom in Europe and in international politics? Is the danger of a potentially totalitarian ideology of boundless unity imposed from above recognized, which would again divide nations and peoples in reaction? And as a proposal for a healthy path: What foundation of values is common to the Christian European nations, upon which a long-term successful peace project of the European peoples can be built? In Christian Europe, ideas of Jerusalem have become the cultural foundation through the teachings of the Jew Jesus. For Jesus did not dissolve but confirmed and explained the Torah of the Jews with its idea of Jerusalem (Matthew 5:17).

On the Path of Freedom

There are many memorials, but this peace and freedom site in the Geopark Bergstraße-Odenwald is a next step towards peace, leading to healing. The monument is built along the hiking trail in nature, for life too can be seen as a journey, and one must embark on the inner path for peace and freedom. 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 effect on the world. Societies, like individuals, are always changing. The Friedensmal in the Garden of Freedom is a reminder, but also an encouragement and sign for positive change towards freedom and light; towards life.

Morning Light - Jerusalem Friedensmal
The 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 path.

Significant steps in understanding often occur in silence. For a monument with some aspiration, it does not always have to be the political capital, Berlin. Here, on the European long-distance hiking trail No. 8, one can find peace - beyond the terror of consumption and beyond the noise of the capital - to come into peace with oneself.

The Friedensmal is located in the Geopark Bergstraße-Odenwald, on the edge of the path. For peace, one must set out on the journey… The large memorial stones and natural stone slabs in the Friedensmal are made of Odenwald quartz. This comes from the Borstein mine in Reichenbach, only 1.7 km away (26 walking minutes). There are only two quarries left where this rock, characteristic of the Odenwald, is extracted.

Short film with landscape images - Hike to the Friedensmal

Closing Words

Having explored the various facets of the Garden of Freedom and the Friedensmal in these chapters, an important message emerges: The Garden of Freedom symbolizes a longing for connection, understanding, and freedom in a world often marked by division 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 call 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 commit to peace and freedom. The
Friedensmal, quietly situated amidst nature, reminds us that significant steps in understanding are often realized in silence. Here, we find tranquility and peace, beyond the terror of consumerism and city noise, to come to peace with ourselves and find the path 'with the light' into the 'light'.

May the
Garden of Freedom with the Friedensmal remind us that freedom and peace remain an illusion without connection, respect, and the recognition of boundaries. Let us work together towards a world where these ideals of freedom and peace become reality, and where all people have the opportunity to live them.


Stone of Encounter

  © 2023, Text & Images, Friedensmal Foundation | Contact & Imprint | Deutsche Website
Besucherzähler kostenlos