Conserving Recent Military Remains: Choices and Challenges for the Twenty-First Century
The mountain Kohnstein is anhydrite but Dora is quicksand. It sucked its slaves into the earth; it sucked its Nazi guards into the abyss of inhumanity; it sucked its scientists into the blindness of goal without consequence, accomplishment without accountability.
It has continued to absorb all who come to the tunnels. It has trapped the researchers who have come to study; it has trapped the historians who have come to write; it has drawn the visitor who has come to wonder at the wonders and the cruelties that have taken place in this strange and hallowed ground.
Anhydrite can be mined, as history can be mined; the tunnels of Dora go into the earth forever (Gilens 1995: 113).
Recent military remains are, by definition, a new dimension to the heritage, one that provides a significant and challenging addition to our historic cultural resources. The cultural value of these remains, and the nature of the challenge they present to those charged with their conservation, protection,...