Path of Hope (“Weg der Hoffnung”)


PATH OF HOPE Artwork, Memorial, Place of Reflection – an art project of the Point Alpha Foundation
Fourteen monumental sculpture groups mark a kilometer-and-a-half long stretch of the deadly line of the former inner German border between Hesse and Thuringia. In all probability, the Third World War would have begun here in the so-called Fulda Gap. Thus, it becomes abundantly clear that this border not only divided Germany, but Europe and the entire world, as it was the frontier between freedom and repression. The Point Alpha Foundation created the Path of Hope to commemorate the resistance against the Communist dictatorships in Central and Eastern Europe; the popular uprising in the GDR on June 17, 1953, Hungarian uprising 1956, Prague Spring 1968, Solidarnosc movement in Poland in the 1980s and the large-scale demonstrations for peace in the GDR in 1989. All these courageous forms of revolt were expressions of an inextinguishable longing for freedom and, at the same time, of the faith in the ability of human beings to change the nearly impossible when courage born of desperation moves them to stand up for their convictions and they are prepared to make sacrifices in acting on them.                                                                                                      

All this is also represented by the impressive biographies of individuals who dared to resist dictatorship..

Impressionen vom Weg der Hoffnung

Based on the 14 Stations of the Cross, the Path of Hope is meant to inspire people to be reminded of the paths their own destinies took in times fraught with hardship and to reflect on them in a similar sense of “never again”. The associations aroused by the themes of the individual stories, such as despotism and humiliation, compassion and solidarity, create the space for personal experience. Only the reflection engendered by all of the 14 sculptures enabled the “Path of Hope” to emerge as a comprehensive work of art at this historic site.  

Begun in 2009, the work of art was completed on October 3, 2010, twenty years after the peaceful revolution and the reunification of Germany. 
The sculptures are the work of the artist, Dr. Ulrich Barnickel, who was born in 1955 and grew up in Weimar, studied sculpture at the art school at Giebichenstein Castle in Halle on the Saale and, following applications for exit visas, was expatriated to Federal Republic (Fulda) in 1985. Works of Ulrich Barnickel have been shown in numerous exhibitions at home and abroad. 
The project has been supported by the Federal Government office for art and media and the Thuringia Ministry of Culture.