Berlin raises eyebrows with abandoned memorial in Nico Rosberg’s honor

By Larnie Eisenstadt , CNN Florence, United Kingdom Written by

The tragic Christmas Eve passing of Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg was not the only unexpected news of 2017. Another moment, which took place beneath the stars in one of Germany’s most beautiful parks, simply flew under the radar.

On December 24, the city of Berlin erected a towering cross at Taddle Creek Park and left it unattended for several days. Waving goodbye to a dear friend, maybe? Maybe a white Christmas was exactly what was needed to quiet the cries for those occupying the prominent spot?

A mural on Berlin’s Reichstag says “Hech heh” to Nico Rosberg.

Instead, city authorities made the decision to take down the mosaic, much to the anger of German artist Florentine Dubrovich.

The artwork, which is based on a Holocaust memorial — a structure designed to eliminate safe spaces for physical and psychological intimidation — was dedicated to Rosberg on the day his passing became public knowledge.

“We all wish Nico Rosberg a great future,” reads the dedication written by artist Linda Butler.

Despite the tragic nature of the situation, the plaque does not mention Rosberg directly, leaving Dubrovich, along with the remainder of Berliners, asking why this memorial wasn’t incorporated into the festivities surrounding the Formula One world champion’s passing.

“I ask why the moment of Rosberg’s death was excluded from the official holiday,” Dubrovich wrote on his Facebook page. “He was a great friend and fellow Berliner. Why did the official holiday only want to have an official memorial in front of the Reichstag? Why not join with children in their celebrations? Why only have the one-time function?”

Dubrovich’s graffiti is planned to be removed before the end of the month and replaced with new signage, according to Berlin newspaper Die Welt.

“We must continue to talk about modernism. An anecdote, as we all know, shows that cities have a lot of power,” said Julie Siegel , a curator and head of design and art at the MusikmesseBerlin in an interview with CNN.

For Siegel, it’s important that Berliners who call the city home understand its history and take what is here for granted. “We must get to a situation where we embrace the past more, that the monuments are not built only for celebration but for our relation to that history. It’s not always roses and candy displays.”

Meanwhile, it is unclear who will end up replacing Rosberg’s memorial. Despite a poll on the monuments official Facebook page naming artists John Kirkwood and Dan Wilson to the podium, Siegel has yet to see a replacement.

The interview with CNN revealed that “everyone says it is impossible to make a modern sculpture suitable for such a sensitive location.”

“It’s a really great site, it’s so beautiful, we would love to do something there. Every citizen in Berlin deserves a memorial like this,” Siegel said.

“On one hand, I can understand that we are trying to look in a different direction because they are trying to convince us of the beauty of the site. But who would have thought that a post-Holocaust statue could play a role in our lives in a national monument? What do we have to lose now?”

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