Trying to Save Berlin Relic From the DustbinBreaking News
But by any standard, the Palace of the Republic here is a particularly tough case. Opened in 1976 as the home of the East German Parliament, the huge steel-and-concrete building, clad in bronze-colored windows, has become an emblem of a failed ideology. The government padlocked it soon after reunification of the two Germanys in 1990, gutted its interiors toward the end of the decade and has since been trying to tear down what's left of it. Now, after years of delays, demolition could begin as early as this month. Yet in the last year or so, a growing chorus of voices has been rising in defense of the building.
These are not grizzled old Communists hoping for a return to the glory days of socialism. They are architectural activists, mainly in their late 30's and early 40's, who refuse to see the Palace in purely ideological terms. Less dogmatic than their elders, they have cited elements of the building's beauty that many Germans - conditioned by decades of cold war oratory - find difficult to to see.
Their cause is broader than a single building: it is a revolt against historical censorship. Like preservationists struggling to save 2 Columbus Circle in New York or late-Soviet landmarks in Moscow, they are fighting those who insist on pitting history against modernity, people who would seek to smooth over historical contradictions in favor of a more simplistic narrative. Their battleground is the world their parents left them: the oft-maligned Modernist buildings of the 1960's and 70's.
comments powered by Disqus
- Obama May Create Monument to Gay Rights Movement
- China to release last prisoner jailed over Tiananmen Square protests
- Marine Corps investigating photo of iconic flag-raising on Iwo Jima
- Scholars Blast New Study Tracing Ashkenazi Jews to Khazars of Ancient Turkey
- Legendary Explorer’s Long-Lost Ship May Have Been Found Off Rhode Island
- The Historian Whitewashing Ukraine’s Past
- Andrew Roberts wins $250,000 prize from the conservative Bradley Foundation
- Daniel Aaron, Critic and Historian Who Pioneered American Studies, Dies at 103
- Liz Covart's amazingly popular podcast helps her audience understand early American history
- Justus Rosenberg is still teaching at age 95