Witch hunt in bamberg? "There are more important topics. We have lived in the grove for 30 years and the traffic congestion is just terrible." Letters with such content are sent to city councillor sabine sauer (SPD) in her function as chairwoman of the bamberg-mitte burgers’ association.
"Of course, the traffic problem is an issue", says sour. "The witch hunt should also be. Especially because many victims came from the island area."
At least 1000 people were burned to death in the 17. Century as witches and witchers in bamberg pursued, tortured and murdered. "The witch burnings are part of our city history. Nevertheless, there is still no memorial. We want to change that", sour explains.
Support of the city of bamberg
the burgerverein can count on the city of bamberg for support. Mayor werner hipelius (CSU) promised that the city would support the project "when it comes, for example, to finding space or organizing something logistically, such as a pedestal."
It is not yet clear whether the memorial will stand on a pedestal. No one knows what it will look like or what it will be made of. "We are still at the very beginning, the project will now be put out to tender", explains christiane toewe of the professional association of artists in upper franconia. Barbara kahle from the bamberg art association was also brought on board. "Eventually the whole thing is to be run professionally", says city councilor christiane laaser (GAL) of the burgers’ association bamberg-mitte.
The call for entries will be made in two stages: first, artists will be able to present themselves and their work in an application. In a second step, five to six people are selected from this group to deal specifically with the memorial. In the end, one design will be selected by the jury.
"Of course we as burgerverein also want to take the burghers with us", sabine sauer emphasizes. The expert jury, which will consist of historians, art experts and representatives of the burgerverein, could also be expanded to include burgers.
"Taking burgers with us" but also refers to the financing of the project: at the back of geyersworth castle there is already a transparent sign calling for donations for the monument.
"If the people of bamberg have succeeded in getting a botero, then a project in the rough order of the memorial" will also succeed, says werner hipelius and shows confidence.
Monument or memorial?
The representatives of the bamberg-mitte burgerverein attach importance to the distinction between a memorial and a monument: "we don’t want a memorial that commemorates something in the past. A memorial for the future is to be erected at geyersworth castle", as sabine sauer explains "to warn against any form of fanaticism and discrimination."
However, the location on the waterfront was not the first thing that occurred to the representatives of the city and the burgerverein. Originally, the promenade was thought of as the place where the maleficentre – a "witches’ prison" – was located during the witch hunts – stand. "However, this area turned out to be too restless.", says christiane laaser. "Then we came to geyersworth castle. The reference is there, since the castle was the seat of the prince bishops. In addition, the location behind the building is clearly visible and the artists can see how much space they have at their disposal."
Commemorative plaque in addition?
But there is nothing to stop us thinking about a memorial plaque on the promenade. But only one such plaque is clearly not enough for the representatives of the burgerverein. Mayor hipelius adds: "the topic is important. This is also supported by the fact that almost every lecture in the course of our ‘witch weeks’ is already held twice due to the high demand."
In about a year’s time, the memorial will take its place behind the castle. City councillor dieter weinsheimer () is also looking forward to this. He is also committed to reappraising the history of the persecution of witches in bamberg. "In this task we should stand together."
It was also history that brought sabine sauer and christiane laaser together 25 years ago: they met in a main seminar in history at the university of bamberg. Topic: witch hunt.