Arts vs. Politics: Ernst Reuter Platz

(*as reported by)

   
   
       Berlin-Inside (renewed copyright Europe-Inside)(*)
Original REPORT released  December 5th, 1997


The former chairman of the board of German Mercedes, Daimler-Benz AG, Edzard Reuter, who is the son of the Berlin major Ernst Reuter (1889-1953) addressed a note to the city of Berlin and its local council of Charlottenburg warning that he and his family will "withdraw all rights to use his father´s name" for public places - especially for the once extravagant Ernst-Reuter-Platz with beautiful illuminated and spraying fountains right in the city´s centre which is now totally devastated.

Ernst-Reuter-Platz is a large traffic circle and round-about close to Bahnhof Zoo and
Kurfürstendamm. He is one of the landmarks between the Brandenburg Gate and the International Convention Centre (ICC). Five of the city’s major traffic routes intersect here, and their cultural roots date back to the time that the Prussian kings passed by on the ride from the city to their castle Sansouci in Potsdam. After the second world war the place was rebuild with one of the city´s first towers and later Werner Duettman was creating colourful illuminations for the fountains. The square and its large fountains, later were named in honour of the first, Berlin mayor, Ernst Reuter, was once the rage throughout Europe and ended the blockade by the east German government. In 1948 he called for world attention with his famous moaning words "Völker der Welt, schaut auf diese Stadt!" (People of the world, look to this city!") ...and please do not forget us! This started what now is famous for the American achievement to feed the city´s western population by air cargo and care parcels to survive the Berlin blockade.

The fountain is moaning now in a double sense: on one hand for the overcome of communism and second for the now devastated present state, uncleaned and not maintained for years. "A sample of no interest and sense for history", Berlin SPD leader Klaus Böger told the press. "We will have to figure out, if the senate can take over responsibility for the fountains - especially in Charlottenburg. We can not accept that they are wasted, muddy and not spraying." CDU leader in the Berlin parliament, Klaus-Rüdiger Landowsky, attacked the Charlottenburg major, Monika Wissel, who is responsible for the Ernst-Reuter-Platz, even stronger: "Her politic strategy seems to peak in the conviction for years already that dirt and dust belong to a capitol and people have to cope with it!"

Edzard Reuter "will pay more attention to the project in future", he announced in a letter to the major of Charlottenburg. But Wissel states "that there is no money left over at all and blames the parlous state of Berlin government finances. Next Thursday the letter will be read in Berlin parliament.

According to public sources the complete restoration of the fountains is set at about DM 3,5 million ($2 million). A sponsor or donations may help. But at least the public authorities should remind their self that keeping a certain quality of life for the Berliners is one of the tasks to be paid of tax revenues. (db.)

read the related article:

The Final chapter

Fountain Artwork Gallery