Seit 5.45 wird zurück versöhnt! Debatable attempts at reconciliation through heritage making in Eastern Germany
Agnieszka Halemba (University of Warsaw)
Paper short abstract:
This presentation analyses cases of heritagization of church buildings in Eastern Germany, where there is a strong tension between different visions of anticipatory heritage, spectacular heritage and heritagization as a deeply localized and even conservative practice.
Paper long abstract:
This presentation analyses two present cases of heritagization of church buildings in the East German state of Brandenburg, namely a restoration of a village church in Rosow and rebuilding of Garnisonkirche in Potsdam. Both initiatives are presented to the public and to potential donors as attempts to create simultaneously places of reconciliation and spectacular heritage. However, while in the case of Rosow the parties who should be reconciled through this heritage site are clearly defined as the place is called German-Polish Memorial for Escape, Expulsion and New Beginning, in the case of the Garnisonkirche in Potsdam, the issue is much more complex. The church should be re-built as Center of Reconciliation, but, as the numerous opponents of the re-building initiative say, it is not clear what kind of reconciliation, and with whom, is meant here. There are even voices that see the initiative as an attempt at reconciliation of inhabitants of Potsdam with the Prussian military heritage or even the Nazi past. The supporters try to counter such accusations through organization of interreligious prayer meetings and underlining that a newly established parish of a not-yet-rebuilt church is devoted to "remembering history, learning responsibility and living reconciliation". It is argued that in both cases, there is a strong tension between different visions of anticipatory heritage and moreover that a concept of "reconciliation" as well as practices that include migrant groups and their heritage, can actually conceal agendas related to attempts at heritagization as a deeply localized and even conservative practice.
Heritage geographies in the age of mobility