Bundestag President Wolfgang Thierse welcomed the com-mencement of construction of the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. »Several obstacles had to be over-come, but construction is now under way,« Thierse said on Friday at the opening of the »Info Point« at the construction site, which allows a good view of the site and how it is progressing. An exhibition at the hoarding narrates how the project came into being as well as constructional, artistic and thematic aspects of the Memorial and the Information Centre.
Tenders were invited and companies have meanwhile been entrusted with carrying out 80 % of the total construction work. The Senate Department of Urban Development has appointed contractors for supplying the construction site with water and electricity, for excavation and foundation work, extended work on the shell of the Information Centre, and for paving and concrete stelae. The first stage of construction will involve terracing the whole site on several levels. As soon as the foundations for the 2,700 stelae on each of the terraces are complete – foreseen for August of this year – the erection of the stelae can begin. The field of stelae will be complete by the end of 2004.
The construction of the Information Centre shell is to be finished by July 2004 and the interior by the end of the same year. The installation of fixtures for the exhibition will follow, so that the opening of the Information Centre is planned for spring 2005.
The Foundations Board of Trustees was unanimous in welcoming the commencement of construction at the meeting on 3 April 2003, which was attended by the architect. At the press conference marking the commencement of con-struction, at which representatives from the German and inter-national press were present, the Foundations chairman Bundestag President Thierse said: »What we see before us is still a fallow but construction work is indeed under way and in the foreseeable future an impressive work of art will stand on this site which expresses the acceptance of responsibility for our history and at the same time symbolises a democratic process of coming to terms with and dealing with this history.«