Following a request by the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, represented by the Berlin Senate’s Department for Urban Planning, on 18 February 2010 the Berlin court launched independent evidentiary proceedings against the company Geithner, which carried out the building works. The court appointed Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Brameshuber, Chair of Construction Materials Research at the Institute of Building Materials Research at Aachen University as an expert in the case and commissioned him with producing a report.
This provisional report was published on 30 January 2012. All those involved in the case currently have the opportunity to respond to the statements made by the expert and to request further information from him.
One of the findings of the expert report is that it is necessary to protect some of the stelae to prevent parts of the concrete from breaking off. This only affects stelae between one and two metres high where cracks have already appeared all round certain sections of the concrete. The expert considers it possible that these sections might come loose and break off.
As a result of these findings, the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe immediately commissioned a reputable Berlin engineering firm with the task of examining all stelae of this height for such cracks. The engineers deemed 380 of the approximately 2,700 stelae to be potentially dangerous.
The decision was then taken to pilot the installation of steel collars on two of the affected stelae in order to prevent sections of the concrete from breaking off. The plan is to place steel collars on all 380 stelae affected as a short term measure. Before the work is completed, technical checks will be conducted on a daily basis at these stelae and action taken in the event of any change in the cracks. The Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is thereby honouring its legal duty to maintain the safety of the memorial.
The protective steel collars will be kept in place until the independent evidentiary proceedings have been concluded and a definite decision can be taken on the renovation of the memorial.