Nurnberg Sunday, November 4, as a documentation centre for future generations. "It’s important that the next generation will learn from the pictures," said German President Johannes Rau, who also posed for pictures next to four Christian, Jewish and Muslim school children.
Rau spoke shortly after church leaders and a representative of the Jewish community blessed the centre, a complex resembling a Roman emperor’s stadium and palace. It was to become the symbol of Hitler’s 1000 year empire, which lasted 12 years.
In the thirties up to one million people gathered in Nurnberg to listen to Hitler’s message of hate and destruction, accompanied by days of military shows in the outdoor stadium adjacent to the complex. It was a way to mobilize the people for war and the Holocaust, in which millions of Jewish people and others deemed to be ”non-German” were killed.
Nurnberg, where several of Hitler’s cronies were eventually executed following the Nurnberg trials, has long hesitated about the future of the NAZI building. But President Rau suggested he was pleased that in this time of global war against terrorism people it was opened as a documentation centre. "This will remind us what state sponsored terror can do" to democratic nations, he said.
He spoke as news emerged from Israel that a Palestinian gunmen opened fire on an Israeli bus in Jerusalem Sunday, November 4, killing two people and wounding at least 12 others. Israel, which emerged after World War Two, has long been arguing that it wants to be part of the global war against those who question its right to exist.
President Rau of Germany, which has close ties with Israel, said it is important even in times of tensions and economic hardship not to discriminate against any religious group. Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber of Germany’s Bayern region said the documentation centre is a call to defend the pillar "of our democracy" and of the free world.
"Freedom is a great good, but also a dangerous good," he said. "Its for everyone, even for extremists." The former NAZI complex was renovated for about 10 million dollars. A special exhibition under the slogan Fascination and Violence has been place in the north wing of what was the NAZI congress hall. Architects and organizers hope it will force visitors to pause and remember the NAZI leaders and their victims.