Media / Commentaries

Commentary of a visitor

It is a place of silence, contemplation, inner contemplation ... - it is a power place, it is a very special place. But you can not feel that with your head and realize, no, that's only possible with the heart. We humans are called to slowly go on this way. A Chinese proverb says, "No way is longer than the way from the head to the heart." But ultimately, everyone will arrive there, it's just a matter of time.

I enjoy being here and I often watch people stop. Pedestrians stop, cyclists dismount, they linger for a few minutes and look at the Friedensmal (monument), many also sit on the benches. It is obviously accepted. I am very grateful to the initiator and to everyone else who helped to create this place. Keep up the good work, because there are many more people who like this place and which feel that this place does good to them than you may think.  Sigrid

Thomas Zieringer and the Dalai Lama
Strengthen peace - Zieringer with Dalai Lama

“The (Jerusalem) Friedensmal is the convincing, successful representation of an idea after 50 years of Israeli-German relations. Chancellor Willy Brandt summarized it as follows: “Peace is not everything, but everything is nothing without peace”. Anyone who circles the monument in this landscape and follows the challenge: "think!", will discover some enrichment and perspective for their own lives. That is to wish every visitor.”

Kind regards, Egon Bahr, July 15th, 2015 Berlin

Letter from Otto von Habsburg

Without the contributions of Jews, neither our Middle-European culture nor our Christian Occident would be possible. As Christians, we owe a special debt of gratitude to the Jews. The Old Testament, a vital part of our Holy Book, forms the fundament on which we rest. The Christian faith is rooted in the history of the people of Israel... (Otto von Habsburg, German Section of the Pan European Union 1991, Article: “Fundamentalist or believer?”)

Ephraim Kishon

Supporter Ephraim Kishon

Letter of Ephraim Kishon

Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich Geschwister-Scholl Institute
Prof. Dr Julian Nida-Rümelin, Secretary of State (retired),
Chair for Political Theory and Philosophy

Dear Mr Zieringer, I meanwhile had the opportunity to have a look at the interesting project developed by you. It is a delicate and thought-provoking project. I wish you all the best for its future development; however, I must add that I can play no part in its success as I no longer carry any cultural policy responsibilities. Kind regards, Julian Nida Rümelin, January 13th, 2005

These references and commentaries show the path of an idea for the Berlin memorial debate to realization in Bensheim. The commentaries are arranged in reverse chronological order. - The Friedensmal calls for responsibility. That we never slacken and are courageous in our living together to strive for peace and freedom based on justice, may be learned from a dark past.

First Commentaries

In the year 1998 I wrote a book with the concept of a new perspective in German commemorative culture. Its Title: "Wendepunkt - die Vision einer neuen Menschlichkeit". It was published in 1999 as a contribution to the Berlin-Memorial Debate at this time. Though i live in a free country, all the big media agreed, to avoid this new perspective to become public. I did engage a PR-agency which was well established in Berlin. They gave up with the justification: „We have never experienced such a cowardice.”

Just three short comments of people from the media:

„You won't have any success. Your new approach is too complicate for the present-day world of the media in Germany.” Chief editor of a local journal, 1998

„We can not publish an article about your work. You have a completely new perspective. We can not publish this, because otherwise the debate about the Berlin Memorial could not be brought to an end.”
Chief editor of an important German journal, 1999

We had a meeting of the chair and made the decision, not to publish about this issue in general. Editor of one of the biggest german publisher groups, 1998

But what the common media and politics did ignore at this time, had been already taken serious by reputable personalities.

President of the internationalen Auschwitz Committee
"I was extremely pleased by your proposal for the construction of a memorial for the victims of the Nazi mass murders. Indeed, it represents a psychological/philosophical approach, which touches deeply. As an individual who cannot give an opinion of the association without the consent of the Chair of the International Auschwitz Committee, I consider the solution you propose as particularly worthy. I am not able to draw comparisons to other solutions, since I don't have enough information about the discussion in Germany. However, I think that the selection panel would be well advised to consider your concept with particular emphasis.”

Privy Councillor Kurt Hacker, Vienna, 1998

Former general manager of the Socialdemocratic Party and former Federal Minister
„...I do understand fully your concerns, that one had to work in and think through your concepts, to understand your proposal. Also i understand your argument, that this needs time. Nevertheless i advice you not to forget, that in the reality of politics, things are urging to decisions. This day the german chancellor has devolved the decision to the German Bundestag. To say it in other words: the time you would like to have and you think you need, is just not available.

It was a pity, if an interesting and reasonable matter for reflection can not be considered, because the initiator feels he needs more time than there effectively is availlabe. Who comes late, becomes punished by life, Gorbatschow (the Russian president) once said.”

Egon Bahr, Social Democratic Party, 1999

News magazine "Stern": Architect Eisenman conceptualizes, Steven Spielberg contributes - doesn't it appear odd, if Jews organize the commemoration of the Germans about their Jewish victims?

Friedman: Apparently the Germans (still) can't do it alone. What a pity.
[Taken from an interview with Michel Friedman, Member of the Central Council of the Jews in Germany, Stern 4/1999, page 121]

(By the way, Friedman was wrong. Not "the Germans" can't do it alone, it's not the people, but German politics and the German media did not allow it.)

Comment of the author Urusla Roeder-Wolf
By now, there has been a big discussion about the establishment of a national Holocaust Memorial in the heart of Berlin. The wounds which also were struck and burned into the people of the country of the perpetrators obviously didn´t admit any solution meeting all sensibilities. Certainly, this has to do with a still close proximity of the elderly people. And now, out of the blue, a very notable, interesting concept is presented by a representative of the grandchildren´s generation and with which you should deal seriously, as it is evident, that the successor generation is able to respond in a historically unencumbered way. The proposal of Thomas Zieringer offers an incredibly conclusive memorial design which develops a memorial site contrary to modern time monuments demonstrating clearly the interrelated processes in the various rings and correlating them to flowing movement, which expresses not only death and horror or the numbness but also the other light polarity in which the human being is posed at birth and from which it can find ways out, expiation in humility and hope.

We must appreciate this view of the young people and keep in mind that what we build today, should be built primarily for the sake of our children. If we want to raise a memorial, then the grandchildren´s generation should have a comprehensive access to the content of the memorial and get help in coping with their own life. We have to bolster them up for a good and comforting future, and we have to show them confidence that they are responsible life carriers for a just and good world.

Through the vision of the Friedensmal (monument) developed by Thomas Zieringer in unrest and excitement we experience the good and right direction for solving inner problems, uptightness and difficulties, and precisely because he directly and immediately rolls up the Friedensmal from the all-encompassing human individual and explains the aberrations of the people with the polar natures in every human being, which due to unprocessed injuries, mortifications, inferiority feelings etc. result in an ill being or with the power of love result in a safe and sound being, you can describe the Friedensmal as a successful symbiosis: it is a worthy memorial of the past Holocaust and a silent mediation place for people of all ages seeking for answers for their own life challenges.

Despite great efforts, it was not possible to break through the blockade. As a result, the project detached from the theme of the Berlin Holocaust Memorial debate and I tried to address this blockade with the language of art. This is how the Friedensmal was finally created within the Garden of Freedom that gives it the space.

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