Memorial to the Former Synagogue in Eberswalde
Commemorating the Synagogue in Eberswalde - Destroyed by the Nazis
Horst Hoheisel and Andreas Knitz (Eberswalde 2012)
Up till now only a simple stone with a short text tells of the destruction of the synagogue in Eberswalde on November 9th, 1938 during the so-called Reichskristallnacht. In 2010 the Eberswalde municipality commissioned several artists to draft suggestions for a new monument or commemorative site where the synagogue once stood. The entry by Hoheisel & Knitz was chosen and executed in 2011: a memorial in permanent growth – never to be completed.
"The site was cleared of all structures. The remains of the synagogue's foundation was recovered in January 2012. The original outline of the old synagogue was surveyed and marked. A continuous two and a half metre high wall has been erected on the outline of the destroyed synagogue's outer walls. It has neither windows nor doors, nor gates, nor entrance, nor exit. The interior cannot be accessed.
"The rediscovered foundations of the destroyed synagogue carry the memorial"
The interior remains inaccessible. A few small trees were planted inside during commemorative ceremony on November 9th, 2012 as the sculptural wall neared completion. Then the final segment was hoisted into place and the memorial was sealed never to be entered again. Natural vegetation will fill the space over time. Inside will grow what wishes to grow. In forestry terms it will be a natural piece of forest in the heart of Eberswalde. As years go by and the trees grow they will express the volume and the structure of the former synagogue. Just as the trees grow so does memory change too."
On the outside of the memorial wall a text tells of Eberswalde's Jewish history. The rest of the property will have benches and lawns, just like any town park has.
January 17th, 2012: Beginning of the Memory-Sculpture-Project and Amcha-Workshop
Photo: Thomas Burckhardt, MOZ
For most of us totally unexpected; the former synagogue foundations were found and uncovered.
October 2012: The foundations of the former synagogue
Photo: Thomas Burckhardt, MOZ
November 9th, 2012: The 'Sealing' of the Memorial Wall (Growing Memory)
Photos: Andreas Knitz and Stefan Neubacher
Aerial Image: www.Luftbild-Barnim.de – with friendly permission of the Photographer Dr. R. Schliebenow – future Aerial Images will be presented on this Site
The following text was cast on to the outerside of the sculptural wall.
It comprises of 1,000 letters that are a sort of endless text:
"That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children. (Psalm 78,6)
For over 700 years Jews lived in our town and region and celebrated their services in different places. The Jewish community that had grown to 200 souls inaugurated their synagogue on this site in 1891. Lightening set fire to the building in 1931 Neighbours hurried to the scene and helped to put out the fire. On November 9th, 1938 citizens of Eberswalde destroyed the synagogue. Already the next day, the town council ordered the Jewish community to remove the remains and cover the cost of the work. Members of Eberswalde Police Force deported the last Jews from the town during the War. Many Jews from Eberswalde perished in the concentration camps or on the death marches, some committed suicide. Others were able to escape their home town in time. Since then, Eberswalde lacks these people, these friends, these fellow pupils, these neighbours, these colleagues. This memorial expresses in its sealed nature, "that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children."
The remains of the synagogue's foundation was recovered in 2012
Historic Postcards (1920ies)
An historic photograph shows the burning synagogue, which had caught fire after being struck by a lightning-bolt on August 16th,1931. Then the neighbours rushed to help fight the fire. However, on November 9th, 1938, the citizens of Eberswalde destroyed that same synagogue. And on the following morning, the city authorities ordered the Jewish community to remove the remains of the building and to pay for the work themselves.
„My Temple shall be called a house of prayer for every Nation.” (The Inscription of the Synagogue in Eberswalde)