(1 - 1 of 1)
- In sight but out of mind : the construction of memory at three once stigmatized sites in Berlin and Poznań
- Naumann, Stephen Paul
- Electronic Theses & Dissertations
This study explores cultural identity reflected in the urban landscape at three structures formerly identified with National Socialism: Berlin's
Olympiastadion(Olympic Stadium) and Siegessäule(Victory Column), and Poznan's Zamek cesarski(formerly Kaiserschloss- or Imperial Castle). My analysis is based on local and state archival work, as well as the examination of literary, visual and media sources in both Germany and...
Show moreThis study explores cultural identity reflected in the urban landscape at three structures formerly identified with National Socialism: Berlin's
Olympiastadion(Olympic Stadium) and Siegessäule(Victory Column), and Poznan's Zamek cesarski(formerly Kaiserschloss- or Imperial Castle). My analysis is based on local and state archival work, as well as the examination of literary, visual and media sources in both Germany and Poland. I conclude that after the structures were first used to project meaning from Cold War tropes, both tourism and the enhancement of local identity in the face of European and global influences eventually contributed to the shift in meaning at these spaces in both cities. Poznan's Zamek cesarski, a palace first commissioned by German Kaiser Wilhelm II, became, with its dedication in 1910, a monument to Prussian-German imperialism in this multi-ethnic Polish-German-Jewish city. Rededicated by the new Polish republic after World War I, the structure was later remodeled by the Nazis for Hitler's use. One of their most prominent additions is still visible today: the Führerbalkon, a balcony extending off the front of the building for Hitler to watch military parades. After 1945, the partially damaged neo-Romanesque building was repaired and maintained by the Polish postwar administration, and today serves citizens as the multifaceted Centrum Kultury "Zamek"(Center of Culture "Zamek"). The physical space surrounding the building has been drastically changed, as a number of Polish monuments and memorials have been erected around the palace's perimeter. Similarly, Olympiastadionand the Siegessäule, despite their design and function as sites of German history and national memory, are increasingly associated today with the city of Berlin. Both have hosted a number of cultural events: the stadium has maintained its function to this day, while the monument was first neglected and decades later became associated with a number of popular events in the reunified capital. After first demonstrating Hitler's personal interest in the design and the Nazis' use of each structure, I center my work on each site in its post-1945 landscape. I analyze the debates on whether or not to purge the structures from the urban landscape and examine questions of appearance, utilization and repurposing during the decades of the Cold War. Finally, I describe the emphasis on historical and new events, the erection of monuments and the structures' depiction in cultural texts that have also had an impact on the public perception of the three spaces in today's Berlin and Poznan. Examining sites with a similar past in both cities also allows a comparative look at memory trends in Germany and Poland - two nations where decisions regarding memorialization and urban development have been carefully scrutinized in the public sphere. In addition to contributing to the growing field of work on the use of public space to establish cultural memory, this project demonstrates processes by which even the most meaningful cultural associations can be rewritten.