Remembrance of Resistance in Germany
The German Resistance Memorial Center in the Bendlerblock in Berlin, marking the historical site of the putsch attempt of July 20, 1944, received a new permanent exhibition in 1983.
Richard von Weizsäcker, the mayor in office at the time, commissioned the historian Peter Steinbach to compile a comprehensive and integrative presentation of the resistance, which was therefore supposed to reflect the entire range of resistance under the Nazi regime. This broad concept met with sharp criticism, however, which erupted again and again until 1994 when new sections of the exhibition were opened.
Members and surviving family members of the conservative, Christian and military resistance were unable to accept the representation of union, Social Democratic and Communist groups on an equal footing. They reclaimed the conservative resistance as the foundation for a Christian Democratic national ethos and categorically rejected the integration of other motives for opposition to Hitler in West Germany’s culture of remembrance.
Individual critics even demanded that the government exert influence on the design of the exhibition. Its integrative concept was able to establish itself nonetheless.
A view of the entrance area to the exhibition is pictured here: The three quotes covering the walls are from Bernhard Lichtenberg, a Catholic dean, Julius Leber, a Social Democrat, and Martin Niemöller. a Protestant pastor.
Above all, Martin Niemöller’s famous declaration additionally stressed the range of persecuted groups and conceded retrospectively with rare clarity that representatives of Christian resistance had often ignored left-wing and Jewish victims of National Socialism.
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- © German Resistance Memorial Center, Berlin