Monuments in Berlin

Monument 'Trümmerfrau'fillMonument 'Aufbauhelferin'  
Berlin-Neukölln, Volkspark Hasenheide,
1955 by Katharina Singer

Berlin-Mitte, Rathausstraße,
1952/53 by Fritz Cremer

Post-War Memorials

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Listing as Protected Historic Monuments

At the end of the second world war, the inner city of Berlin was completely destroyed. However, the extent of loss due to war was seen as a chance for reconstruction of the city on a grand scale. "Fort mit den Trümmern und was Neues hingebaut" ("Good riddance to the rubble and have something new built") wrote Bertolt Brecht in his rebuilding song of 1948. Away with the sea of rental apartment buildings and inner courtyards! New, modern, and airy - that's how Berlin should be reborn. Confident and full of euphoria, they built the center of the divided city in the the most modern architectural language of the time. The eastern part demonstrated its superiority with the Stalinallee, "the first socialist main thoroughfare in Germany". In the western part, the Hansa district was created - the "display window of the free world" - with the participation of important architects of modern style. Despite the differences in the systems, there was one point over which a consensus prevailed: new construction instead of historically faithful reconstruction.

This determination for a new beginning was literally set in stone in both East and West Berlin in memorials that presented statues of "Trümmerfrauen", the name given to women who helped clear the debris at the end of the war. In 1954, the "Aufbauhelferin" ("Reconstruction Helper") by Fritz Cremers in front of the "Red City Hall" was displayed, and not long after, the "Trümmerfrau" by Katharina Singer in the Volkspark Hasenheide (Neukölln). As similar as the topic of these earliest sculptures was after the second world war, the manner of their portrayal was very different. While the youthful socialist reconstruction helper heralds progress and a vigorous new beginning with a heroic air, the motherly western reconstruction helper pauses to think about what has been accomplished.

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