A piece of furniture with history

The round table is a miracle piece of furniture: Whenever a controversial topic boils up in public, the call for the piece of furniture without corners and edges does not fail to arise.

There are now an unmanageable number of round tables: they are intended to reconcile problems in the district, they serve to promote understanding between the world's religions and in the search for better conditions in nursing care. Churches, state-run institutions and representatives of children in care work on the history of children's homes in the early Federal Republic of Germany at the Round Table for Children in Care, which was set up by the Bundestag in 2009. On Monday, Federal Family Minister Kristina Schroder (CDU) convened another round table against sexual abuse of children. The Round Table is a legendary piece of furniture: according to the Internet encyclopedia "Wikipedia," the term goes back, among other things, to the legendary Round Table at the court of King Arthur. Arthur and his knights gathered there to venerate the Holy Grail. The round table is a piece of furniture with a history. It played an important role in the negotiations of the three victorious powers of the Second World War: During the Potsdam Conference in July and August 1945, the Great Hall in Cecilienhof Palace was converted into a conference hall. The round table with a diameter of 3.05 meters was specially made by the Moscow furniture company Lux. The US President Harry S. Truman, British Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and – after the latter's ouster – Clement Attlee, as well as Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, with their delegations, tough negotiations. Dissolution of the Communist East Bloc However, the Round Tables came to the attention of the general public with the dissolution of the communist Eastern Bloc. Between February and September 1989, such a piece of furniture served well in the transition from a socialist state to a democratic republic. Participants in the Round Table included representatives of the ruling Workers' Party, the opposition trade union Solidarnosc, the Catholic Church and other groups. The real round table had a diameter of nine meters and could seat 57 people Following this example, on 7. A central Round Table was also convened in East Berlin on December 12, 1989, at which representatives of the GDR government and state-related organizations sat together with representatives of initially seven opposition groups. They negotiated free elections, a newfang and the dissolution of the Ministry for State Security (MfS). The Round Tables, which were also founded in the districts, counties and large cities, took on legislative and executive tasks during the peaceful revolution of the GDR, although they had not been mandated by democratic elections. However: The central round table was by no means round – it was rather a rectangle pushed together from simple tables. The round table is a strikingly simple symbol. It offers space for many. No one has to sit in an uncomfortable corner. Everything can be seen from every seat and direct eye contact can be made with every participant. And all are equal, for there is no chair and no podium. In this way, the round table stands for the equal participation of the parties involved, who find a solution supported by all sides in the dialogue. However, there is also clear criticism of the myth of the piece of furniture. "Round tables serve to dissolve accountability. Others should take the responsibility and thus the decision," commented the Jesuit Bernd Hagenkord on Radio Vatican the debate about a round table to clarify the abuse cases in German schools. "Round tables revolve around themselves. Instead of one person in charge, victims of abuse would then stand before a body where everyone represents different interests."

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