Berlin, Germany, 1997
"Page" Memorial for the Lindenstraße Synagogue Berlin
Every page in Talmud contains interpretations of biblical texts from different periods. The 4th century "Gemara" is a commentary on the second century "Mishna" which is a commentary on the Bible. Medieval Rashi is commentating on them all, and does not escape commentary himself, all on the same page.
Our work has to be understood in this context. It is a page of a book telling a 1000 year history of a piece of land - once a synagogue, today a courtyard on Lindenstraße. We have added nothing to the site that had not been there before.
The memorial site is made of rows of concrete benches built exactly over the original location of the benches in the old synagogue - testifying to the loss of the building and the community.
Like in the Talmudic text, the benches, trees and fire road are different layers of time. What remained of the old synagogue buildings are the benches. The destruction is represented by the trees and bushes that have grown over its ruins. The present is marked by the fire road, a requirement of Berlin's contemporary building regulation.
These elements of time come together to form the layout of a holy script. The trees and bushes which grow between the lines of benches create pauses and punctuation in the text.
Walking the narrow passage between the lines becomes an act of reading.
This is a story of loss. Benches become graveyard. Lines of graves - lines of text. Memorial page - page of prayer.
Micha Ullman, Artist
Eyal Weizman, Architect
Barmer Ersatzkasse, Berlin
Partners & advisors
Rupert Ahlborn & Partner, Berlin
Günter Kraemer, Engineer, Berlin