In 1997, the Berlin government hastily arranged a second competition. A series of three public forums were held in early 1997 to discuss the competition and what went wrong the first time. Much heated debate followed. The general perception was that no memorial would ever be built because of all this petty bickering over who has the right to the memory, etc. However, this arguing and discussion has been memory work--a very intense, frustrating sort of memory work
The new committee has only five members: museum directors Christoph Stoezel and Dieter Ronte, noted Berlin architect Josef Paul Kleihues, the German art historian Werner Hofmann and the American UMass Professor James Young.
This competition was by invitation only. The original 8 winners plus 12 new artists and architects were invited to submit designs. The designs were due bby October 17, and a decision was expected by November 1. As with every other step in this long, arduous process, nothing happened as planned. On November 15 and 16, a public exhibition of the submissions was held. Shortly after the exibition, the four finalists were announced.
American Peter Eisenmann is working with scuptor Richard Serra. They offered a maze made out of thousands of stones. The German conceptual artist Jochen Gerz proposed a "remembrance space" and 39 metallic masts bearing the inscription "Why" in all the languages of Jews persecuted by the Third Reich. Young Berlin architect Gesine Weinmiller proposed a gathering space with 118 blocks of white stone. From a ramp to the side, the blocks of stone form an interlocking Jewish star. Daniel Libeskind, a Berlin-based architect, suggested a surface recreating the contours of the Reichstag which includes a broken wall opening onto empty space, recalling the empty rooms of a museum. Interestingly enough, Libeskind is the architect of the soon-to-be-opened Berlin Jewish Museum, which some Berliners believe is an adequate Holocaust memorial itself.
The winner should be announced in January 1998 with groundbreaking occurring in January 1999.