German monuments delayed past Berlin Wall anniversary

March 11, 2014 at 3:03 PM
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BERLIN, March 11 (UPI) -- Two German monuments planned for the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall will not be ready on time due to issues including bats, officials said.

The German parliament voted in 2007 and 2008 to approve construction of monuments in Berlin and Leipzig to commemorate the peaceful revolution of 1989, but Monika Gruetters, Germany's commissioner for culture and the media, said construction in Berlin is proving "extremely difficult" due to issues including budget problems, scheduling issues and a bat infestation at the chosen site, Der Spiegel reported Tuesday.

The Berlin monument is planned to be a 165-foot-long bowl-like structure that will see-saw when visitors climb inside, representing "Citizens in Motion." However, it has run into budget issues including a disagreement between the federal government and the Berlin government regarding which body should be responsible for the monument's estimated $180,219 annual upkeep costs.

The Leipzig monument, designed by Munich architects Marc Weiss and Martin de Mattia for an international contest in July 2012, involves a quilt of 70,000 blocks in seven different colors representing the 70,000 participants in the Oct. 9, 1989, mass protests against East German leadership.

The monument hit a roadblock when city officials gave in to public pressure and allowed competition entries to be reworked, resulting in another design taking the top spot. However, the higher regional court in Dresden ruled against the move, leaving the future of the memorial uncertain.

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