Architect Philipp Oswalt is considered among experts to be the harshest critic of the reconstruction of the Berlin Palace. Today's professor at the University of Kassel is at the same time the most bizarre castle critic. Because, as hardly anyone knows, he took part in the architects' competition in 2007 with a design that - as requested - reconstructed the baroque facades.
Immediately after the announcement of the winner, Franco Stella, Oswalt slipped back into his role as "Germany's best-known castle critic" and reviled his design. Oswalt never mentioned that he himself was a contestant.
It is one of the many interesting episodes in the history of the Humboldt Forum that the palace impresario Wilhelm von Boddien tells in his recently published memoirs (“Berlin Palace Adventures. Memories of an Idealist”, Wasmuth
Unfortunately, a few details got mixed up in the chapter about Oswalt, which is why he sued – and won the case before the Berlin district court. Boddien's book can no longer be sold in the original version by him or the publisher; it is almost sold out in bookstores.
Much more important, however, is the outcome of another dispute. It's about the allegedly numerous "right-wing" to "right-wing extremist" major donors that Oswalt reports to the Boddien association - with which he tries to make the reconstruction of the baroque facades, which was once decided by the Bundestag with a two-thirds majority, appear as a politically right-wing project . As a detailed review has now shown, there is nothing to these allegations.
The Humboldt Forum Foundation and the Friends of the Berlin Palace had agreed to have major donors checked by the renowned Berlin lawyer Peter Raue. For this purpose, Boddien made the names of all 113 individual donors and organizations, each of whom transferred more than 100,000 euros, accessible to his law firm for assessment.
After examining the documents, the Raue law firm came to the conclusion that, with the exception of the donations from the German Donors' Association and an anonymous donor from Switzerland, all the donors were known by name to the association. Of these 113 donors, 106 are honored in the Humboldt Forum on the plaques in Portal II. The rest expressly wanted to remain anonymous, but the Raue law firm could not find any indication of right-wing extremist or even extremist positions among them either.
The Humboldt Forum Foundation writes in a recent statement that “the results are gladly acknowledged. "The suspicion expressed in the press that the association had accepted large donations from right-wing extremists or institutions has not been substantiated."
And then follows a sentence that reads like a peace treaty in view of the long quarrels between the Foundation and Boddien: "This lays the foundation for further constructive cooperation between the Humboldt Forum Foundation and the association."