Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Thursday, August 21, 2003
Courage Shown for War Confession by Putting up A Stele Forest
On August 16 a ceremony was held for laying the foundation stone of the "Genocide Stele Forest" with the construction to be started in September. The move shows the determination of a country to shoulder up, of its own accord, the responsibilities for the crimes committed and never to forget the history of the past.
The 10-year-long debates among circles in Germany on whether to erect a stele forest to the six million Jews massacred during the World War II has finally come to an end. On August 16 a ceremony was held for laying the foundation stone of the "Genocide Stele Forest" with the construction to be started in September. The move shows the determination of a country to shoulder up, of its own accord, the responsibilities for the crimes committed and never to forget the history of the past.
This monument, designed by an American architect, Peter Eisenman by name, will consist of 2752 steles of at a height ranging from 0.5 to 4.5 meters. Similar to a tombstone in hue and shape, the monument looks like a maze if viewed from a distance or a cemetery if somewhere nearby. Located in the downtown of Berlin, the monument is going to cover an area of 20,000 square meters at an estimated cost of 26 million Euro dollars. In addition, the monument is scheduled to complete by the end of 2004 and open to the public on May 8, 2005, the commemoration day marking the 60 anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.
After the reunification of Germany Berlin once again becomes the capital. A Berlin-based non-governmental organization put forward a proposal to build a monument to those Jews massacred during the war in the center of the city, in order to show clearly to Europe and the world that Germany has the courage to take up historical responsibilities and will never repeat past mistakes. This proposal immediately met with the approval of the Berlin municipal government, which expressed the willingness to render generous assistance. However, the proposal also brought about much censure. Having debated for years whether to build a monument as well as its style and cost, those who support the plan finally won the debate.
Although over half a century has passed since the end of World War II, however, in Germany today it has been a moral obligation for people to recall the catastrophe for the mankind caused by Hitler fascists in history. First, Germany is approved by the victim countries in terms of attitude towards pleading guilty of launching invasion and genocide. Second, the German government also acts actively in war indemnity to victims. The post-war Germany provides compensation in the following three aspects: 100 billion Marks of war reparations, about 102 billion Marks for individual victims and about 755 billion Marks of industrial and enterprise compensation. Besides, the German government also takes active measures to dispel the doubts of neighboring countries and draw thoroughly in its horns from territorial disputes.
All of German political heavyweights assume responsibility to educate the younger generation so as to curb the repetition of historical tragedies. Confronting the ignominious historical bequest left over by the older generation, they never fight shy of, instead, face it squarely with deep confession. We wish sincerely that those who once launched aggressive wars against other nations will acknowledge boldly the historical facts, shouldering up the responsibilities to educate the younger generation and cherish peace as the Germany does!