Scottish governor makes return to centre of Berlin

Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:55am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - A Scottish-born former governor of Berlin made a return to the city on Thursday when a statue of him was unveiled in the center of the German capital.

The restored bronze sculpture of Field Marshal James Keith, a rebel exile from his homeland whom Frederick the Great of Prussia appointed governor of Berlin in 1749, made his public comeback after an absence of more than six decades.

Keith's emergence into the afternoon sunlight reflects a growing interest in the country to explore Germany's military history prior to the Nazis, as well as a desire to restore major cities to how they were before World War Two.

Klaus Gehrmann, director of the Schadow Gesellschaft, the organization behind the restoration, said he hoped Keith's statue would remind visitors to the Zietenplatz square of the capital's international ties in a bygone era.

"It's something that's been forgotten, obviously partly due to World War Two," he said. "Whether you're Prussian, a German, a Scot or an Englishman, we're united in Europe. And this unity is ultimately going to stand the test of time."

A crowd gathered to watch the unveiling of the Keith statue and those of three other Prussian generals, bringing them together again on the square for the first time since the war.

"The aim is not to resurrect the old military," Gehrmann said. "This is about reconstructing the historic center of Berlin."

The statues of Keith and five fellow generals were taken down at the war's end and languished in dusty archives until two were put back on the square earlier this decade.

Some 300,000 euros ($441,800) were spent returning the remaining four, all funded by private donations, Gehrmann said.   Continued...