Berlin looks for new uses for haunted Olympiapark
Debate has embroiled the Berlin Olympiapark as local politicians, monument officials and leading cultural thinkers have begun to deal seriously with the question of what to do with the complex. Writing about the structure, The Guardian calls it a showcase for Adolf Hitler's taste in art and architecture and "the ultimate aesthetic expression of his totalitarian political ambition." More sinisterly, it was the venue for the Nazi party's ultimate PR stunt, the 1936 Olympics, which served as a platform to project its racist ideology around the world. Some see the potential for a new football stadium to be built on the grounds of the Maifeld parade grounds, where huge Nazi rallies were held. “Removing the sculptures and building a new stadium on the Maifeld would effectively amount to destroying listed monuments,” Christoph Rauhut of Berlin’s state monument office told The Guardian. "“It would also send the wrong signal: more than ever, we need to understand how the Nazis enlisted art, architecture and sport in their propaganda effort. We have managed to engage with this historical site for over 75 years. It would be fatal to give up now.”
Until now, the structure has been preserved under the guise of monument protection, but a masterplan for its revitalization is due to be presented this week to city officials. Entitled Vision 2030, the plan envisions the complex being used for training by athletes training for the Olympics, especially runners, horse riders, swimmers and the two new Olympic sports, surfing and skateboarding.