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Thoughts to prepare for the construction of the Garden of Freedom

Here, you can explore the thoughts that inspired the project in a bundle of short texts written before 2010. Only then did the journey of the ideal into the world begin with the construction of this place of peace and freedom and the confrontation with the surroundings.

Culture develops along certain cultural signs, symbols and monuments. These make development steps binding and root them into the cultural tradition. There are many monuments, often war monuments or memorials. This Freedom and Peace Site for our country will be the first of its kind, also because it is constructed through a private initiative and not by decree from “above”. That’s actually the most honest way to do it. A healthy foundation must grow from the bottom-up.

What kind of monuments do we construct as a culture and how do they affect the collective consciousness? I published a book in 1998 that attempted to offer a contribution to the debate surrounding the plan to build a Holocaust memorial in Berlin by answering this question. Might an honest dealing with this theme not lead to the realization that integration is a prerequisite for “learning from the past”? Does this not mean that our country, besides "Mahnmale" (admonishing memorials to remind us on the atrocities against the dignity of man), also requires "Friedensmale" (monuments that remind us on peace)?

The Mahnmal, the admonishing memorial to remind us, addresses a painful theme. Suffering is brought forward, but it does not integrate those elements that divide people in their souls and in society at large. In the Garden of Freedom, suffering is addressed as well, but always related to the question of how the suffering from the past might become a Turning Point for restoration; for life. Only then can we feel free to change things; where the “dust of our yearnings is turned to light” (Nelly Sachs).

1) Identity: Who am I?  —>  2) Mahnmal (admonishing memorial): Rupture / Tree of Recognition —>  3) Peace Memorial (in face of great injuries): Integration into the Tree of Life (central symbol of the Garden), healing.

If it succeeds in establishing this Garden of Freedom – from the bottom-up, as a result of civic engagement – it would trigger a paradigm switch in commemorative culture. Besides the usual memorials, further monuments and works of art could then be erected that represent a peace agreement, for a new life in peace and freedom. When linking this to the German sense of identity, it is the opposite of drawing a line under the past: it means taking responsibility out of a dark past in the present, a rejection to again cause harm in another ideological delusion.

The project is an appeal to live out peace in freedom, with healthy boundaries, to dare encounter others and recognize and honor the potential in others and oneself. The Threshold of the Peace Memorial bears an inscription that points this out: “Recognize the Holy in your midst”.





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