Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Transparency and graffiti

The photo above was taken by me in the Reichstag, the German Parliament House in 2009.

We know that there was a fire in the Reichstag in 1933 orchestrated by the Nazis as a means of giving more power to Adolf Hitler. In the Second World War the Reichstag was damaged further.

When the Russian forces came to Berlin in 1945, they partied in the ruined Reichstag. To show their contempt for the regime they had just displaced, Russian soldiers wrote their names and other graffiti on the stone walls of the Reichstag. That's what you can see above.

Much of this was covered up in renovations in the 1950s when the building served as the parliament for West Berlin, but after the fall of the Mauer (Wall) in 1989, the Reichstag, which sat right on the border between East Berlin and West Berlin, was renovated again to become again the centre of German parliamentary power.

It was decided to leave the graffiti on view, as a sign of transparency. The great glass dome on top the Reichstag is another symbol of transparency in government.

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