Jewish Memorial Tablet
Public Art : Jewish Memorial
Sculptor : Unknown
Description : A simple stone maseba
(tablet) with bronze plaque.
Location : Grosse Hambuger Strasse, Berlin,
History Of The Memorial Tablet: Grosse Hambuger
Strasse was one of the main streets in the Jewish quarter prior to the outbreak of World War II. There were several
schools, shops, an old peoples home and a Jewish cemetery. The Nazi's had turned the Jewish Home For The
Aging into a detention centre and a collection point for Jews. It was believed over 55,000
people were held there before being sent to death camps at Auschwitz and Theresienstadt. Today, a simple
Jewish Memorial Tablet marks the site and many people place pebbles on the tablet as part of the Jewish custom.
Background : The Nazi Party under Adolf Hitler rose
to power in Germany in 1933 pledging to end the economic turmoil that was disrupting the country and overturn the
injustices placed on Germany as a result of the Versailles settlement of 28th June, 1919. Hitler launched a massive
program of State spending, focusing on re-armament, Which virtually eliminated unemployment.
However, Hitler, who had a deep hatred of Jews and Communists also set out to imprison and murder those who were
considered "undesirable" under Nazi ideology. Hitler's "final solution" didn't just include Jews and
Communists but also priests, gypsies, the mentally ill and homosexuals. German troops rounded them all up and then
transported them to concentration and extermination camps where they were killed. Millions of Jews were murdered in
Hilters 12 year reign.
The Cemetery ( Alter Judischer Friedhof) : The
cemetery was Berlin's oldest Jewish cemetery and was established in 1672.
In 1942 the gravestones in the cemetery were destroyed by the Gestapo. Now the cemetery contains the single marked
grave of Felix Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786) one of German's greatest philosophers. The gravestone (maseba) was
erected In 1990 by members of the Jewish community.
The cemetery was turned into a park in 1945 but there are a few broken Baroque gravestones (maseba) near the
original cemetery wall.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to Dr
Andrew Taylor kindly providing the photographs.