Iconoclasm Backwards. A Lost Memorial Site

Denkmalsturz rückwärts. Ein verlorener Gedenkort | Iconoclasme inverse. Un lieu de mémoire perdu

Following the irreparable destruction of the equestrian statue depicting Wilhelm I at the Deutsches Eck (German Corner) in Koblenz, a national flag, mounted on the abandoned torso, was located there from 1953 till 1993. The memorial was a reminder of the German partition, which appeared to be temporarily insurmountable, at least in the contemporary opinion. The monument’s restoration after 1990 terminated its function as a memorial. Thus, the most prominent memorial site for Germany’s partition was lost. A scandal for Public History!



A municipal nuisance

Koblenz’s equestrian statue, which was part of the city’s monarchist memorial site, was destroyed by artillery fire in March 1945, probably at Eisenhower’s order. According to the new Occupying Powers, it represented “imperial militarism”[1]. This was followed by years of uncertainty about the condition and future of this memorial, which gradually developed into a municipal nuis…

Categories: 3 (2015) 18
DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1515/phw-2015-4144

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1 reply »

  1. Thanks for this article, really interesting. It reminds me of a similar argument regarding the Humboldt Forum made by Caroline Sandes in this volume https://www.academia.edu/1780921/The_Good_the_Bad_and_the_Unbuilt_Handling_the_Heritage_of_the_Recent_Past. Is there a form of erasure through reconstruction that is on the rise?

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