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Press Reviews

Press responses after the opening

“Awakening for a Land in a Trance” is Renate Oschließ’ headline in the Berliner Zeitung (www.berlinonline.de). For the Tagesspiegel the exhibition is an “Awakening that gives you goosepimples”. The Süddeutsche Zeitung (www.sueddeutsche.de) writes: “On the draughty square, not exactly beautified by the most recent buildings but always bustling, this installation creates a small monument to unity and freedom, appearing more convincing in its temporary nature than most of the designs [for a unity monument] currently on show in Berlin.” At Spiegel Online (www.spiegel.de) Reinhard Mohr writes: “The fall of the Wall – a museum piece? How wrong: the history of German reunification is much too fresh in our minds, too important, too consequential to be cast in the form of a monument or put into glass cases at this point in time.”

Under the remarkable title “That Was Our Revolution”, the FAZ (www.faz.net) wrote: “The Robert Havemann Society has set up this unique historical tour on the site of the largest demonstration. If all goes well, if many people stop to look and remember or find out, this exhibition might even correct the image of the GDR, the East Germans and their revolution, which has been subject to many a distortion over the past two decades and has almost disappeared beneath all the legends of allegedly devalued biographies. Not the petty bourgeois utopia of locally grown gherkins and Trabis or Gaby from the East’s first banana were the fixed stars of this incredible era, but Vacláv Havel and Wolf Biermann, Bärbel Bohley and Jens Reich and hundreds of thousands of nameless individuals who found the courage to turn their lives upside down. They had no role models, not even trade unions, and least of all any insurance that all would turn out for the best.”

For the Berliner Kurier, the revolution returned to Alexanderplatz, and the Berliner Morgenpost (www.morgenpost.de) ran the headline: “300 Metres Recall the Fall of the SED Regime”. Two days before the exhibition opening, Welt (www.welt.de) published an interview by Sven Felix Kellerhof with Olaf Weißbach (managing director of the Robert Havemann Society), entitled: “Communism is a Political Religion”. And the TAZ (www.taz.de) was full of praise, aside from one minor objection, running a piece under the headline “The Heroes of the Revolution” declaring that “using this historical site on a quasi live basis is a correct and courageous decision.”

Joachim Güntner from the Neuen Zürcher Zeitung (www.nzz.ch) expressed his admiration. Although Germany has for a long time had “difficulties with the right to assembly in the open air”, he writes, the Peaceful Revolution “rehabilitated the street in its political function as space and power.” An open-air exhibition on Alexanderplatz is thus, he comments, “the suitable form and the correct place.” Güntner also praises the broad content of the exhibition: “The exhibition pays tribute to Poland’s pioneering role and its legacy of the ‘round table’, and Gorbachev’s encouragement for reforms. The tender shoots of protest in the GDR’s youth and subcultures, the work of the environmental groups, the foundation of citizens’ associations, their appeals and flyers are shown. One wall is dedicated to the mass exodus (…).” This multiple perspective is all the more praiseworthy in that “in the case of the Peaceful Revolution, we are dealing with a bear whose skin is still being fought over in the anniversary year 2009,” Güntner writes.

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