Nazi-era statues fuel controversy in Berlin

30th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

30 May 2006, BERLIN - Nazi-era statues depicting muscular, Aryan supermen at a stadium in Berlin, where the football World Cup final will be played in July, fuelled a bitter controversy Tuesday less than two weeks before the games open.

30 May 2006

BERLIN - Nazi-era statues depicting muscular, Aryan supermen at a stadium in Berlin, where the football World Cup final will be played in July, fuelled a bitter controversy Tuesday less than two weeks before the games open.

Lea Rosh, an activist who played a key role in building Berlin's Holocaust Memorial, said the six-metre-high stone statues had "to at least be covered up."

The sculptures by Third Reich artists, including Arno Breker, are still on display at the Olympic Stadium used by Adolf Hitler for the 1936 Olympic Games.

Following a major restoration, the Berlin stadium was named as the venue for the final July 9 World Cup championship match. The massive statues still prominently ring the stadium.

"Breker was a big Nazi - it's bad enough that the sculptures are on any sort of public display," said Rosh as quoted by BZ newspaper.

Writer Ralph Giordano said merely covering up the Nazi statues was not enough.

"They should be removed and destroyed," said Giordano. "Just to cover them up would be very symbolic of the way in which Germany has dealt with its Nazi past."

But a leading city historian and vice-president of Berlin's city council, Christoph Stoelzl, rejected any such move and instead suggested putting up a text explaining the history of the statues at the stadium.

"There is no danger posed by these sculptures," he said. "The connection between a cult of the body and racism is very complicated because there was both a rightist and a leftist variation of the cult of the body."

At least Berlin's statue woes won't be repeated at the World Cup's opening game in Munich on June 9.

Munich's stadium is a brand-new, hyper-modern facility wrapped in a membrane fabric that can be used for light shows.

DPA

Subject: German News

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