Munich has laid the cornerstone for a documentation center on its role in National Socialism. It took nearly 70 years for the city Hitler dubbed the "capital of the movement" to get this far.
Munich began building a documentation center on its role in the development of National Socialism on Friday. National, state and local officials were all present to kick off the construction in the center of the city.
"It is a long, barely excusable length of time," Munich Mayor Christian Ude said at the ceremony of the 67 years it took for such an institution to be built in the Bavarian capital.
The city was the "germ cell and the incubator of National Socialism," where Hitler started his political career due partly to backing from locals and a complicit judiciary, Ude said. Thus Munich has a special responsibility to draw attention to the crimes of Nazism and its causes -- as well as an obligation to learn from them by promoting tolerance, openness, respect and civil rights for all minorities, he added.
The building is being erected on the site of the headquarters of the Nazi Party, which Hitler founded in Munich. The city, state and national governments are sharing the construction costs of more than 28 million euros ($37 million). The first exhibition is due to open to the public in 2014.
"It's never too late," said State Secretary for Culture Bernd Neumann at the cornerstone ceremony.
ncy/sjt (DAPD, AFP)