Opening of the Peacememorial on Thursday the 17'th of May (Ascencion Day) 2012
Inauguration of the „Rose of Peace” - the center of the memorial   (English Website)   (German Website)

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Meaning of the memorial

- a new pilgrims place along the European walking trail: the walk in the own inner, so that we recognize the holy in our midst and within society.

- it is a place for prayer (in the crown of the tree of life). Everyone is very welcome, but we kindly request guests to remove their shoes. It will mean forgetting the habits and prejudices for a while.

- a place for justice: we established the memorial locally, with the sentence „peace starts in small” - many people in my town of Bensheim have a sticker on their cars with the picture of the memorial and this sentence. 

- it is a place for life and joy: we dance around the „Tree of Life” instead of idolatry (which is a most important pursuit).

- a sign of friendship, healing and peace between people, that we together may have a healing and a bright future. That makes this project a contribution to attaining world peace.

The memorial ( diameter 26 m ) is oriented with the roots of the „Tree of Life” towards Yerushalajim. This is more than a city in Israel. It is a place in the spiritual world. It means, to work together (win/win) instead of fighting one another. The key for that in our world is justice AND compassion; with a good blend of humility. The effect of it was a freedom, the world has not seen yet.

The words in the top mean: „Peace begins in small efforts.” This is a project which comes from peace work at the grass root level; it's a project of civic commitment. It is not about a political program, but a change of consciousness.

Around 70 people came from the village, where we have build the memorial and another 300, in the course of the day, from the European Hiking Trail. People use the memorial in the manner we have intended: They sat down on the benches and just felt the atmosphere, or they removed their shoes, going in the inner part of the „Tree of Life”.

We had a real special festival - wonderful spirit of a rare beauty - which our guest and the people of the village also recognized. A Bohemian gipsy made the music with his friend. They also played Shlomo Carlebach so we could dance to the music around the „Tree of Life”. The people liked the music and the musicians.

Do you recognize the different design? Our project is not merely „building a memorial”. That what we do is „action art” - not intended as a plan, but as a struggle with the outside world to keep the message true. We work with society because it works with us - so it's actually communication. The memorial shows the state of the art. We went through a deep process. The result of it was, that we felt the freedom, to let the light into the „dark circle” around the „Tree of Life”. There is space now, to dance to music of the soul, like the melodies of Shlomo Carlebach; one is able to meditate with groups, pray, sing and talk in peace.

The construction work at the memorial site will be done before autumn 2012. We opened it before, because (again): it is about the process! This is the most important aspect of the whole project. We want to let the people feel that they can participate. Now we have reached the part of the way where the memorial site gets more and more beautiful every day. In early autumn we will have a second opening (after the spiritual event on May 17th). It is the opening for the world.

People taking of their shoes before going in to the memorial

Tree of Life with the inscription: „Recognize the holy within your midst”. Next we will put the 11 big rocks of rose quartz around the entrance and the memorial site will be finished soon.

The opening of the memorial

This is the centre of the memorial. Please recognize the two different triangles (with the dark spot in the upper side and with the dark spot at the peak). So it is also a Magen David. Around this symbol the kids where dancing for hours. In a ritual we were laying the star - the 6 triangles - in the middle of the memorial - with the help of the kids. The played around with my laptop and at just the right moment the music „Jerushalajim Shel Zahav” started amid the silence of the people. Those kids had started my iTunes playlist. I just accepted it as it was - it was beautiful! The celebration continued for nearly 6 hours. In the end I was singing songs without text but with plenty of soul (Niggunim) together with the people of the village; until one of them fell from a bench.

View the other side. Still there is the new brown soil visible, because with the construction we had raised the plateau for the Peace Memorial. Soon it will be green again. I wrote: we will see light again, because the Tree of Life was breaking through the dark circle (with stones). Light means life, so the rest of the ring is a place for life. The rest of the formerly grey ring will be a space for dancing around the Tree of Life. People need an alternative to all the struggle in life: We will have a nice dance AND meditation floor there made from travertine. It's the same floor. - The events at this place will be special - with holiness.

We will put 11 big rocks of rose quartz (1,33 x 1 m, from our local area) in the memorial: The „Tree of Life” is breaking through the dark ring with those rocks. The dark ring means the areas without the light of the law of life (the law does not care if one wants to accept it or not; it just is). We want to send 22 big stones to large towns of the world with this inscription:

„Where dust is transformed into light” (from a poem of the German Jewish poet Nelly Sachs)

That is why this really is also an International Peace Memorial; we will establish it internationaly through those actions and the deep meaning of this memorial itself. The memorial is an inspiration and a message of friendship to the world. 

Initially, there was quite a lot of misunderstanding about this memorial. People are often very much used to a negative view of the memorial culture in Germany. People did not understand that this memorial as it is not denying the recent German past, still has a positive approach, as it is about life and our responsibility toward life NOW. Its about positive values and not about giving the present generations of people living in Germany another lecture on guilt of the past. Now more and more people are also gaining an understanding of the true meaning of the star in the centre of the memorial: it means our open heart, where „heaven” and „earth” might meet to make the world a better place; with more dignity, love and gratitude. But this is also important: it was possible to establish the memorial as a sign of peace and friendship and as a German peace memorial to the Jewish people. With that, the step from being passive to being active could be made: the own positive action is the only way of spiritual change for the world.

The center before the opening, with a bottle of „world-famous” Hochstädter schnapps - instead of the star. But as you know, the star is a much better choice, if one understands its meaning.

Broken marble in the center - like a broken soul - but a piece of the star will cover and heal it.

Our Bulgarian musicians, who also played 'Shlomo Carlebach'.

The Peace Site is located near the Frankfurt (a. M.) airport.