Germany's Hall of Fame: Heine Carried to 'Valhalla' in Political Deal
A hilltop temple called Walhalla, in Bavaria, enshrines the famous German dead. In a compromise on Tuesday, the Bavarian state government admitted an unprecented number of people to its halls, including the poet Heinrich Heine.
Fireworks light up Walhalla in 2003.
Bavaria's Academy of Sciences and Humanities normally recommends one foolproof candidate for Walhalla every few years, and that hero's bust gets installed in the skull sanctuary without much political flim-flam. This time around the Academy had agreed on Gauss, the Brunswick-born genius who did pioneering work in geometry and number theory. The problem was that the Bavarian Academy of Arts -- which has nothing to do with new admissions to Walhalla -- mounted a campaign for Heine.
Poet Heinrich Heine (left), Carmelite nun, Edith Stein and mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss will all be honored with busts in Germany's own Pantheon, Walhalla.
Stein will be the sixth woman enshrined at Walhalla. The others include not just Austrian Empress Maria Theresa but also the anti-Nazi activist Sophie Scholl.
Ludwig I of Bavaria came up with the idea of building Walhalla in 1807 after Napoleon conquered much of what is now Germany. The idea was to commemorate great figures in ethnic German history from 9 AD onward. Heine made his sarcastic remark about the hall in 1842, when the building was finished, and now the German artist and sculptor Jörg Immendorf has been contracted to immortalize the poet's head.
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