Garrison Church, Potsdam
Kevin Kennedy highlights a controversial project to rebuild a one-time Prussian ‘national monument’.
On April 14th, 2005, the cornerstone will be laid for the reconstruction of the Garrison Church (Garnisonskirche) in Potsdam. An embodiment of ‘Prussian values’, the church still fuels debate over the Prussian legacy. Here, on March 21st, 1933, ‘Potsdam Day’, Adolf Hitler reconvened the new parliament, the ‘Reichstag’, after the notorious Reichstag fire the previous month: by shaking Reich President Hindenburg’s hand, Hitler wanted to show he would respect Prussian values. Today the attitude one takes to the proposed reconstruction of the church reflects one’s attitude toward Prussia, a subject that still evokes powerful emotions. Those who support this project tend to be conservatives; those who view it with a more critical eye tend to stand further left on the political spectrum. As is so often the case, many involved in this discussion project their own political values onto the past, and historical reality becomes blurred as emotions take over the debate.
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