The inauguration of a controversial Holocaust memorial in the Steglitz district of Berlin has ended years of heated and often ugly debate.
The names of 1,723 Jewish residents of Steglitz who were murdered during the Holocaust are carved on a 30-foot by 11.5-foot mirrored wall.
Architects Wolfgang Goeschel and Joachim von Rosenberg wanted viewers to see their own reflections while reading the names of the victims, a sort of visual soul-searching.
When approved in June 1992, the project met wide opposition because of its size. It was proposed that the memorial be about 36 feet long, which turned out to be too big for the taste of many, including the majority of the conservative-led council of the Steglitz district.
But Wolfgang Nagel, building senator of Berlin, persisted. He charged that the objections to the monument had caused worldwide damage to the reputation of the German capital.
As a compromise, the wall was slightly reduced in size.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by former Berlin Jews who had immigrated to Israel and the United States. Representatives of Kiryat Bialik, Steglitz’s sister by in Israel, also attended.