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Published on Feb 7, 2013
Yerushalayim (Eng. Jerusalem, foundation of peace) one can read on the Border Stone at the entrance of the Garden of Freedom in Germany (see: http://freedom.garden). This name has always been a metaphor for beauty, hope and light. As the „Heavenly Jerusalem” it is a call for a world in which people live together in peace, freedom and good will with each other. The Hebrew form of the name was chosen as a propitiatory commitment to the Jewish roots of the European culture. So through Christianity values of the Torah, for example the 10 commandments, were anchored in our culture.
The Garden of Freedom is located in the Metropolitan Area Rhein-Neckar. From the Peace Memorial one can look down into the Rhine valley to the city of Worms. It is the middle of the Rhine Cities Speyer, Worms and Mainz, lying on a straight line. In Jewish sources, these cities are referred to by their initials as ShUM cities. „Because of its central importance to the Jewish communities in Central Europe they are regarded as the birthplace of the Ashkenazi religious culture” (Reference // Takkanot ShUM). Through persecution of the Jews and destruction of their Communities in the High Middle Ages the ShUM Culture was destroyed. „The events themselves occupy a significant place in modern Jewish historiography and are often presented as the first instance of an anti-Semitism that would henceforth never be forgotten and whose climax was the Holocaust” (Reference).
The Garden of Freedom is a positive example of a forward oriented commemorative culture. There will only be a future of freedom and dignity, as we confront the past. That means making peace with the past, because there is a responsibility from it taken into present life. In relation to the ShUM cities one can see coherences, which are mirrored since a long time in the history context. This project wants to go back to the reasons. Already the beginning of the German-Jewish history needs acknowledgement and peace. There is also reference to the recent history by a former arms factory in the valley below the Peace Memorial. At the time of WW2 forced laborer and prisoners of concentration camps were deployed. Recently in the city of Bensheim Stumbling Blocks were laid. At the same time the Peace Memorial was built.