Open artistic competition, Berlin 1995
One of two first prizes, first prize after revision and feasibility study
A memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe was to be erected on the grounds provided by the federal government, located on the former ministerial gardens. The significant initiator and supporter of the project was the "Donor’s Circle to Erect a Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe", under the direction of Lea Rosh and Eberhard Jäckel.
The federal government vetoed the contractor’s recommendation for implementation in August 1995.
One of two first prizes
Senatsverwaltung für Bau- und Wohnungswesen
Team Architect and Artists
Hella Rolfes, Architect with
Christine Jackob Marks, Painter
Hans Scheib, Sculptor and Painter
Reinhard Stangl, Painter
13,8 MIO EUR
The concept behind the project was to create a perceptible reference for the visitor to the dimensions of this genocide, to abstract the individual victims from anonymity and thus save them from being forgotten, to give them back their names.
A place, which reminds, but also gives space to grieve the dead. The basic idea behind the concept was to list all known names of the Jewish victims with their respective ages on a large plaque. This was supposed to position the unimaginable extent of the annihilation of European Jews within the scale of the memorial, and in addition to the reminder of the Holocaust, should also remind us that exactly this consisted of millions of individual fates.
There are exactly eighteen broken stones standing any lying on the plaque next to the millions of names - in accordance with the Jewish custom of placing stones on the gravesite as a sign of respect and remembrance. The stones stand for the eighteen European countries from which Jews were deported.
The proximity of the site to the historically burdened surroundings – previous sites of the Reich Chancellery, Gestapo headquarters, Führer bunker, etc. – did not allow harmonious incorporation into the urban surroundings. For this reason, the plaque corners the property’s borders and rises above the typical level of Berlin’s footpath paving. The property is accessible and represents a large, stony space which rises towards the east and can be accessed from the side facing Tiergarten park. It is divided into six name fields going east-west, which are subdivided by five main paths. The name fields were fitted with granite plates, and the names of the murdered Jews sandblasted into the plates.
Listing the known names of the murdered was done in agreed collaboration with the Holocaust Museum in Washington and the memorial Yad Vashem. Space for unknown names was left open and fitted with plaques commemorating and informing on the sites of mass shootings, extermination stations and camps as well as detention and work camps and ghettos.