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Heine Memorial Unveiled in Dusseldorf; Mayor Ignores Ceremony

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A statue designated as a memorial to Heinrich Heine, the world renowned German poet whose works were barred as “Jewish” by the Nazis, has been unveiled here more than 65 years after the city council originally decided to honor its most famous native son.

In 1888, shortly after the resolution was adopted, Kaiser Wilhelm II voiced objections to honoring the anti-nationalist poet, and since then plans for erecting the monument have run into objections from German nationalists. This time a group of private citizens purchased a statue of a female figure entitled “Harmony,” and executed by the French sculptor Aristide Maillel, and presented it to the city as a Hein memorial.

Although there appears to be little connection between the statue and the poet’s personality and work, it is believed that the very innocuousness of the monument will serve to lessen nationalist opposition to it. The Mayor of Dusseldorf was conspicuously absent from the unveiling ceremony.

(Empress Elizabeth of Austria had a statue erected in her garden at Corfu to the memory of the poet. Later, it was offered to the city of Dusseldorf which rejected it. The statue now stands in New York City at Mott Avenue and 161st Street.)

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