Germans reach agreement on Berlin Holocaust memorial

Design includes library, field of stone pillars

January 18, 1999|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

BERLIN -- After a bitter debate over how to commemorate the Holocaust in the new German capital, Berlin, agreement has been reached on a memorial that will include a vast field of stone pillars, a 65-foot-high wall of books and a research center for scholars.

The accord has been approved by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder but is subject to parliamentary review. It blends long-standing proposals by the New York architect Peter Eisenman with additions intended to satisfy the new government of Social Democrats and Greens, whose initial declarations last year opposed a vast memorial and caused an uproar.

Over more than a decade, the proposed monument next to the Brandenburg Gate, in central Berlin, has become a focus for competing visions of how best to invite reflection on Hitler's annihilation of European Jews.

With the government and parliament set to move to Berlin later this year, the vacant 4.9-acre site and the lack of a plan to fill it had become an embarrassment.

The memorial will have between 1,800 and 2,100 pillars and "The House of Remembrance" -- an archive, information center and exhibition space. It is to be flanked by a thick, 100-yard-long wall that will house a million books.

Pub Date: 1/18/99

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