German State Culture Minister and former Green Party leader Claudia Roth was pleased that a quotation from the Bible on the Berlin Palace is to be remade and placed in “context.”
“The inscription is now to be contextualized in the Humboldt Forum. I think that it is the bare minimum. The Humboldt Forum is not the Vatican,” the politician told the FAZ in an interview.
The quote currently stands under the Berlin Palace on Museum Island in the neighborhood of Mitte. The palace was destroyed during the Second World War and only recently reconstructed in 2020, and the quote that historically stood at the famed landmark read:
“There is salvation in no other way, no other name is given to men, but in the name of Jesus, to the glory of God the Father. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, which are in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”
The federal foundation responsible for the Humboldt Forum had already announced in October that it intended to put up a sign next to the quote that will read as a disclaimer.
“All institutions of the Humboldt Forum expressly distance themselves from Christian claim to sole validity and sovereignty, which the inscription expresses,” the sign will read.
The Humboldt Forum must be “cosmopolitan”
Roth emphasized that the quote contradicts the requirement to make the Humboldt Forum a “cosmopolitan” place.
“It does not work like it used to. I have already criticized the inscription on the dome in times of opposition. The quote has absolutely nothing to do with cosmopolitanism. On the contrary: a claim to dominance is being said that simply acts as a deterrent,” the minister added.
The Humboldt Forum organization issued a press release which quotes general director Hartmut Dorgeioh, who said, “The Humboldt Forum is being built in a special place
with a complex history of its creation that is not without its contradictions. It therefore goes
without saying that we distance ourselves from any claims to authority, sole validity or even
claims to power, which can be deduced from these symbols or inscriptions. Instead the
structural ambiguity is part of the DNA of the Humboldt Forum. Especially in the debate on
the different perception of the historical reconstruction, we see a clear brief for a programme
of a diversity of voices from different perspectives.”
Roth also explained her goals as state culture minister during the FAZ interview, saying she has plans to expand the culture of remembrance In Germany to include decolonization. Further focal points of her work should be the representation of social diversity in cultural institutions and the fight against climate change.