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05/09/2008 | Street Furniture, Company

Commemorating the Victims of "Generalplan Ost"

An information stele installed by Wall AG to commemorate the victims of the National Socialist settlement program "Generalplan Ost" was inaugurated today at Kurfürstendamm 140-143. Wall AG has donated the column to the district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and will bear the costs of maintenance. The inauguration took place in the presence of His Excellency Dr. Marek Prawda, ambassador of the Republic of Poland, Klaus-Dieter Gröhler, city councillor in charge of building and planning of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Dr. Marianne Suhr, head of the district's magistrate, Prof. Dr. Andreas Nachama, managing director of Topographie des Terrors foundation, and Hans Wall, chairman of the board of directors of Wall AG. The backlit information column of two metres height presents texts and images referring to the "Reichskommissariat for the strengthening of the German nationality" which since 1939 was located at Kurfürstendamm. One of twelve SS-"Hauptämter" (main offices), the commissariat, conducted by Heinrich Himmler, developed the "Generalplan Ost", a project to relocate five million Germans to Poland and the annexed territories of the Soviet-Union. The Slavic and Jewish population of these areas was to be deported or systematically exterminated. Up to 50 Million people were threatened with deportation and death by the "Generalplan Ost". The settlement program of the Third Reich took its fullest effect in the Polish district of Lubin, where since November 1942 more than 100.000 people, among them 10.000 children, were deported from their homes, many of them to be murdered in the Nazi death camps. "It is our duty to actively confront history. In Berlin there are numerous places which were scenes of National Socialist terror. These sites have to be made visible, so we shall always remember the terrible events but most of all their victims." Hans Wall, chairman of the board of directors of Wall AG pointed out. In recent years, Wall AG has established six places of commemoration in Berlin. Besides the memorial to the Nazi book burning on Bebelplatz which is maintained by Wall AG since 1996, bus-shelters and information facilities have been turned into places of remembrance. Posters displayed at these pieces of street furniture inform about Adolf Eichmann's "Judenreferat" ("department for Jewish questions") at Kurfürstenstraße, the Synagoge at Franzesbader Straße, and about the former SS main office of economic affairs and administration at Unter den Eichen. Information panels in two bus-shelters at Potsdamer Platz commemorate American journalist Varian Fry, who helped more than 1.500 persons to escape from the Nazis. Last year a memorial to the victims of the euthanasia- program T4 has been erected on Tiergartenstraße near the Philharmonie.

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