German, Berlin governmentsdefend Flick art show

21st September 2004, Comments 0 comments

21 September 2004 , BERLIN - The German and Berlin governments Tuesday defended the imminent exhibition of a major art collection in Berlin by the grandson of a prominent Nazi industrialist. Culture Minister Christina Weiss and her Berlin city government counterpart Thomas Flierl supported the showing of some 400 works of contemporary art collected by Friedrich Christian Flick, which was due to open Tuesday after weeks of public controversy. Both officials stressed that Flick, 60, of Germany's post-war gen

21 September 2004

BERLIN - The German and Berlin governments Tuesday defended the imminent exhibition of a major art collection in Berlin by the grandson of a prominent Nazi industrialist.

Culture Minister Christina Weiss and her Berlin city government counterpart Thomas Flierl supported the showing of some 400 works of contemporary art collected by Friedrich Christian Flick, which was due to open Tuesday after weeks of public controversy.

Both officials stressed that Flick, 60, of Germany's post-war generation, was not personally guilty of any role in the country's Nazi past like his grandfather, industrialist Friedrich Flick.

In an interview in Financial Times Deutschland, Weiss defended the federal government's support for the exhibition. The controversy over the Flick collection could only be explained as the result of an inadequate coming to terms with the past, she said.

"That he (Friedrich Carl Flick) bought this art is a large cultural accomplishment," said Weiss, who has no party affiliation while belonging to the Social Democrat-Greens coalition in the federal government.

"It is not the collection of his grandfather or his father," she added about the Flick collections which totals some 2,500 works.

Flierl, of the leftist Party of Democratic Socialism which co- holds power with the SPD in the Berlin city government, told RBB radio that Friedrich Carl Flick was not personally guilty like his grandfather.

He said Berlin was the right place to hold serious debate about the country's Nazi past and how the question has been dealt with in post-war Germany.

The formal opening of the exhibition at the Museum for the Present in the newly-renovated Hamburger Bahnhof, a former railway station, is due to take place on Tuesday evening with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder attending.

Critics said the major art collection was purchased by Friedrich Carl Flick with the great wealth he inherited from his family.

Opponents say it is an insult to Jews and slave labourers who were forced to work for the vast industrial holdings of his grandfather during the Nazi period.

Detractors also point out that the grandson has not personally contributed to funds set up to compensate former slave labourers, although Flick did spend EUR 10 million to set up a foundation to combat racism, intolerance and xenophobia in Germany.

Flick has loaned the collection to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation for seven years, putting up several million euros of his own money to finance the exhibition.

In the past Flick had sought to exhibit his collection in Zurich and Munich, but both projects fell through due to the controversy.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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