Memorial to the German Members of the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War, Berlin-Friedrichshain
In the Berlin district of Friedrichshain, a memorial is dedicated to the German members of the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War. It is the only one of its kind in all of the Federal Republic of Germany. The memorial was designed by Professor Fritz Cremer and Siegfried Kreep 1966-1968 and serves to remember the struggle of the approximately 2,000-3,000 Germans who fought against Francoism and fascism/national-socialism in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) within the international volunteer syndicate.
Today, the monument is largely inaccessible to the younger generation. The simplification and renewal of the inscription in the mid-1990s has not helped much: “Memorial to the German Members of the International Brigades, Spain 1936-1939.” The memorial thus requires a public annotation that would render its contents again comprehensible, while also responding to the context of the monument itself, having been erected in the era of the socialist GDR.
This was the aim of the 16 September 2014 resolution reached by a clear majority of the district council assembly (BVV) of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, which the district government office’s department of culture and history was to implement. It had been specified that the annotation was not to interfere with the existing monument structure. As the product of an artistic idea competition, the realization of the concept from visual artist and theorist Dr. Benno Hinkes thus began.
Hinkes’ concept envisaged an unobtrusive artistic annotation with respectful distance from the memorial’s location on Friedenstraße. However, the Berlin state monument council expressed objections to the concept and ultimately prohibited its implementation.
This website is meant to present the artist’s concept and to make discussions surrounding artistic annotation transparent to the public. You’ll also find background information on the history of the monument and of the Spanish Civil War.