Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth proposed renaming the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK). Roth did not say what name the umbrella organization for several important museum collections, libraries and research institutes in Berlin could bear, but “Prussia” should no longer appear in it. The task of the SPK, founded in 1957, is expressly the preservation of the cultural assets of that vanished country. However, Roth believes that the Prussian in the foundation's name does not express the cosmopolitan nature of the cultural assets.
In an interview with the "Spiegel" Roth asked: "What do Andy Warhol and Joseph Beuys have to do with Prussia?" One would like to answer her a little, the other a lot, but Roth makes a point here. After all, despite all the maintenance of historical cultural assets, collections have continued for decades on behalf of the SPK. Although the budgets are hardly comparable with earlier times, not only screen prints by Warhol and installations by Beuys, but also many other objects only came into the possession of the foundation after the state of Prussia had been formally dissolved by the Allies at the end of the Second World War.
In fact: Why should a federally structured foundation under public law, which is financed 75 percent from federal funds (around 138 million euros in 2020) and 25 percent from the federal states, still spend tax money in the name of Prussia, so to speak? For this reason, a renaming would be justified and also welcomed.
Criticism came from former Bundestag President Wolfgang Thierse. He accused the Greens of “pursuing history with moral fury”. Renaming is an "attempt to free oneself from historical burdens".
Claudia Roth's approach appears primarily populist. According to the motto: If you can no longer simply blow up locks, you simply use cosmetic methods. The "Bismarck Room" in the green-headed Foreign Office has just been renamed, so why not the "Prussian Foundation" in von der Heydt's villa (which Bismarck's last finance minister once had built for himself)?
Roth is only trying to distract from the real problems of the bureaucracy-monstrous organization. Her predecessor Monika Grütters had already set herself the goal of reforming the SPK, an expert report was commissioned, there was talk of breaking it up, but most of it came to nothing. Roth inherited the project and was able to report at least a little completion at the beginning of December. The individual institutions get more freedoms, the president of the foundation loses a few because a kind of central committee is installed around him. With a new name, you could (almost) sell it as a success
Hermann Parzinger is also aware of this, who, with well-calculated opportunism, immediately declared that he had always felt uncomfortable on the international stage at being president of a “Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation”. Finding a new name is not easy. But he welcomes good suggestions. As patriarch of the foundation, however, he could at least have tackled this reform almost single-handedly.