Berlin Light Show Controversy Solved

Critics called the light show reminiscent of Hitler days so organizers made changes

(Everything2000) A millennium light show scheduled for Berlin’s Victory Column will go on thanks to some quick changes made by the designer. The show was being compared to Nazi rallies of the 1930’s and was almost cancelled until the changes were made.

Adolph Hitler used to have "light architecture" shows that also took place around the Victory Column. The shows were designed by Hitler’s architect, Albert Speer, and were shown during Hitler’s annual party rallies. The Victory Column is a longtime symbol of German nationalism.

The light show planned to celebrate Year 2000 also involved beams of light and the Victory Column. Those two things alone were enough to get critics talking. Prominent artists and intellectuals called for the show’s cancellation, the group said the light cathedrals and torch processions were the pseudo-sacred mass rituals of totalitarian systems.

Berlin City leaders didn’t want to cancel the big New Year’s Eve light show, so the artist who designed the event decided to go ahead and make some small changes. Instead of rays of light beaming on the Victory Column, there will be an asymmetrical design that will aim its beams at balloons and around the square.

The artist behind the idea, Gert Hof, was reluctant to change his plans but did so when he thought the whole show would be scrapped due to the criticism. Hof said there is no way he would ever make a design similar to any Hitler event because his grandfather died in a concentration camp and as a youth Hof himself was imprisoned by the secret police.

''The event will take place half a minute after midnight, and without a 'Heil Hitler' salute,'' Hof told a Berlin newspaper reporter.

The light show coincides with a performance by British pop musician Mike Oldfield and includes a fireworks display. The multicolored light show will start just after midnight and organizers say it will be noting like a Hitler political rally-- At this New Year’s Eve party revelers can bring a bottle of champagne along to celebrate!

DATE: 12/22/99

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