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Posted Saturday, December 11, 1999

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December 9, 1999

Berlin questioning 2000 Light Show

By Maurice Frank
Associated Press Writer

BERLIN -- Two Berlin officials are calling for the cancellation of the centerpiece of the city's millennium celebration: a huge, animated "light sculpture" around a towering column that they charge is reminiscent of the spectacles put on at Nazi rallies in the 1930s.

Speer, Funk"Since 1937, so-called light-architecture has been politically loaded and historically burdened," Tiergarten district mayor Joern Jensen and city building official Thomas Flierl said in a statement issued Wednesday.

The millennium "Cathedral of Light" even shares the same name as the spectacle designed by Hitler's state architect Albert Speer at the Nuremberg Nazi rallies, the two said.

Speer used 130 spotlights to create vertical beams of lights around his enormous Nuremberg stadium, which held tens of thousands of people at Hitler's annual party rallies.

The millennium show, centered around the Victory Column monument in Tiergarten park, will consist of 250 high-powered floodlights casting beams of light 44 miles into the sky. It was designed by German artist Gerd Hof and will accompany a concert by pop musician Mike Oldfield.

The company responsible for the millennium light show, Art in Heaven, rejected the comparison to Nazi spectacles. "Light has nothing to do with politics. And this event has nothing to do with Albert Speer," said Peter Massin, spokesman for the company in Berlin.

Officials at the mayor's office and city culture department were not immediately available for comment.

The 220-foot Victory column in Tiergarten park was completed in 1873 to commemorate Prussian victories over Denmark, Austria and France and is topped by a huge golden angel, a well-known symbol of Berlin. Adding to the controversy is the fact that it was Speer who moved the monument to its current location as part of his master architectural plan for Berlin.

Picture (ADDED): Albert Speer, Walter Funk in dock at Nuremberg
Original in David Irving, Nuremberg, the Last Battle


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