Roundtable Discussion of Controversial Berlin Memorial Installation
In 1993 a series of eighty colorful signs were mounted on lampposts in the Bayerischen Viertel [Bavarian Quarter] of Berlin’s Schoeneberg district. On one side of the signs there were simple iconic images and on the other side, printed in black and white, condensed versions of actual anti-Jewish Nazi rules and regulations passed between 1933 and 1945. Together, the words and images served as a striking reminder to contemporary inhabitants of the almost-forgotten history of this formerly largely Jewish neighborhood where Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt once lived. This memorial installation by the Berlin-based artists Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock (http://www.stih-schnock.de/), documenting the quotidian humiliation of the Jews and the systematic deprivation of their most basic rights during the Nazi era, was inserted into the very fabric of contemporary daily life and was immediately hailed as a powerful – and controversial – intervention. Entitled “Orte des Erinnerns” [Places of Remembrance] (http://www.stih-schnock.de/remembrance.html) it was widely debated and in 2003/2004 was exhibited at the Jewish Museum in New York in the form of a pair of striking lightboxes documenting the placement and content of the signs. The lightboxes were subsequently given by the artists as a generous long-term loan to Princeton University where they were installed in the “Upper Walkway” of East Pyne, an 1897 collegiate Gothic building that housed the University Library until the completion of Firestone Library in 1948 and is currently home to various European Language Departments as well as Classics.
On Monday, September 22nd at 4:30pm in the East Pyne Upper Walkway, adjacent to the installation, the artists will join Kelly Baum (Kaskell Cuator of Modern and Contemorary Art, Princeton Art Museum), Stanley Corngold (Prof. Emeritus, German Dept.) and Michael W. Jennings (Class of 1900 Professor of Modern Languages, German Dept.) to discuss the complex history and continued vitality of this important memorial project. The roundtable, which will take place in English and is free and Open to the public, will be followed by a reception.