Hotel Metropole at Morzinplatz was used as a headquarter for the Gestapo 1938-1945 and on the Morzinplatz there is now a monument commemorating the Austrian victims made from granite from the Mauthausen concentration camp. The memorial was originally a memorial stone...read more
Mahnmal gegen Krieg und Faschismus, a memorial to the civil victims of the Second World War, was unveiled on November 24, 1988. “Tor der Gewalt,” which is generally translated as “Gates of Violence” or “Gates of Power” or sometimes – “Gates of War” is the first part...read more
Dedicated in April, 2003, the memorial, which was designed by Gaeta Springall Arquitectos, is made from 70 pieces of weathered Corten steel, some raw, some with mirrors on their sides. It occupies nearly four acres of the Chapultepec Forest, land formerly controlled...read more
Since May 2015, every Monday morning I have been posting a little essay about a peace or social justice monument. For more than a decade, ever since the peaceCENTER was contracted by a national peace & human rights group to develop a workshop exploring strategies for creating memorials about acts of violence and injustice that did not glorify the bloodshed, we have pondered the relationship between the landscape and civic memory.
“I would rather take care of the stomachs of the living
than the glory of the departed in the form of monuments.”
As we showcase these monuments we hope you will join us in this exploration. For now, we’re concentrating on publicly accessible outdoor works. Some are grassroots and homespun; others, more complicated in their funding and execution. They all have a story to tell and we can learn from all of them.
The Living Peace Wall, dedicated in 2015, consists of panels of granite inscribed with the names of advocates for peace, justice and nonviolence. It is crowned with a brass peace sign. The central panel's engraving begins with a quotation from Gandhi: “Nonviolence is...read more
Unveiled October 7, 2017, the monument, designed by Canadian architect and human rights activist Douglas Cardinal, was built to honor the First Nations contributions to the War of 1812 and to the creation of Canada. At the unveiling Cardinal, an Anishinaabe elder,...read more
The Nobel Peace Park covers one acre inside Alton Baker Park, a large city park on the east bank of the Willamette River across from downtown. Dedicated in 2013, in a double-spiraled wall, it honors, with biographical plaques, the 24 US recipients of the Nobel Peace...read more
The memorial, In the National Memorial Arboretum is to British Army and Commonwealth soldiers executed by firing squad during the First World War. It is alleged that soldiers accused of cowardice were often not given fair trials; they were often not properly defended,...read more
The German-language Treue der Union Monument (loyalty to the Union) was dedicated on August 10, 1866 to commemorate those who died at the 1862 Nueces massacre. In 1862, the Confederate States of America imposed martial law on Central Texas, due to resistance to the...read more
In 2009, architect Ruedi Baur constructed a memorial in Cologne for those who have refused to fight. It is a bus shelter with these words on the roof: Homage to the soldiers who refused to shoot at the soldiers, who refused to shoot at the people, who refused to...read more
Between 1939 and 1945, about 400,000 German soldiers (2% of the total) deserted or attempted to desert, not counting those surrendering in battle. 30,000 of them were caught in the act, 23,000 of those were executed. This was the first of the monuments now in Germany...read more
There are more than 1,500 statues on public land in the city of Philadelphia but, until last year, not one of them represents an African-American. This changed on 26 September, 2017 when A 12-foot bronze statue of Octavius V. Catto — 19th century educator, baseball...read more
Colorado State grad student Kristina Baumli organized the effort to dedicate the fountain area on the north side of the University Memorial Center — frequently used for demonstrations and protests — to Dalton Trumbo, a Hollywood screenwriter who refused to testify at...read more
The United Nations Peace Plaza in Independence, Missouri was unveiled on October 27, 1997 commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations and formally dedicated by U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan on April 25, 2003. It is described by its creators as "the...read more
On August 12, 2017 the State of Maryland removed the statue of former Chief Justice of the United States Roger Taney, which had stood of the statehouse grounds in Annapolis since 1872. Taney wrote the majority opinion in the 1857 Dred Scott decision, which upheld...read more
The Middle East Peace Sculpture in Seattle's Peace Garden is located in the southeast portion of the Seattle Center near the base of the Space Needle. A graceful twist of Italian marble about 30 x 8 inches standing atop a natural column of black basalt. It depicts two...read more
late 13c., “a sepulchre,” from Old French monument “grave, tomb, monument,” and directly from Latin monumentum “a monument, memorial structure, statue; votive offering; tomb; memorial record,” literally “something that reminds,” from monere “to admonish, warn, advice,” from PIE *moneyo-, suffixed (causative) form of root *men- (1) “to think.” Sense of “structure or edifice to commemorate a notable person, action, or event” first attested c. 1600.
Ten Questions to Ask at a Historic Site
In his book Lies Across America, Professor James Loewen posed these ten questions to ask at a historic site.
1. When did this location become a historic site? (When was the marker or monument put up? Or the house interpreted?) How did that time differ from ours? From the time of the event or person interpreted?
2. Who sponsored it? representing which participant groups’s point of view? What was their position in the social structure when the event occurred? When the site went “up”?
3. What were the sponsor’s motives? What were their ideological needs and social purposes? What were their values?
4. What is the intended audience for the site? What values were they trying to leave for us, today? What does the site ask us to go and do or think about?
5. Did the sponsors have government support? At what level? Who was ruling the government at the time? What ideological arguments were used to get the government acquiescence?
6. Who is left out? What points of view go largely unheard? How would the story differ if a different group told it? Another political party? Race? Sex? Class? Religious group?
7. Are there problematic (insulting, degrading) words or symbols that would not be used today, or by other groups?
8. How is the site used today? Do traditional rituals continue to connect today’s public to it? Or is it ignored? Why?
9. Is the presentation accurate? What actually happened? What historical sources tell of the event, people, or period commemorated at this site?
10. How does the site fit in with others that treat the same era? Or subject? What other people lived ad events happened then but are not commemorated? Why?
Ready to Kill
by Carl Sandburg (Chicago Poems, 1916)
TEN minutes now I have been looking at this.
I have gone by here before and wondered about it.
This is a bronze memorial of a famous general
Riding horseback with a flag and a sword and a revolver on him.
I want to smash the whole thing into a pile of junk to be hauled away to the scrap yard. 5
I put it straight to you,
After the farmer, the miner, the shop man, the factory hand, the fireman and the teamster,
Have all been remembered with bronze memorials,
Shaping them on the job of getting all of us
Something to eat and something to wear,
When they stack a few silhouettes
Against the sky
Here in the park,
And show the real huskies that are doing the work of the world, and feeding people instead of butchering them,
Then maybe I will stand here
And look easy at this general of the army holding a flag in the air,
And riding like hell on horseback
Ready to kill anybody that gets in his way,
Ready to run the red blood and slush the bowels of men all over the sweet new grass of the prairie.