Wall relief in St Lukas Church
On 27 January 2002, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a memorial wall commemorating the civilian victims of National Socialism in Fuhlsbüttel was dedicated in a service held in the memorial chapel of St Lukas Church. It is a counterpart to the ‘Totenteppich’ (death tapestry), a memorial created in 1963 which is made up of stone slabs and dedicated to fallen soldiers from Fuhlsbüttel.
Idea for a memorial wall
The initiative to create a memorial wall came from the church council, who shared the idea with the Alstertal Secondary School. The school’s advanced art course came up with designs for the memorial chapel, and the church council opted for a wall relief made up of 25 different square tiles.
A project group was assembled consisting of six students, their art teacher and the head of the school, as well as five members of the St Lukas parish. The students carefully researched the history of the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp and the fate of the forced labourers from Holland, Poland, Denmark, France and the Soviet Union. The Willi-Bredel-Gesellschaft, a local history organisation, also arranged for them to meet a former forced labourer. The students conducted research in their school archive to learn about the history of their school under the Nazis, and particularly the fate of Erna Stahl, a teacher and later the school’s headmistress, who was arrested in 1943 for her work in the resistance. The project was awarded the Bertini Prize in 2001.
Parish members interviewed eyewitnesses, learned about the church’s history and researched the fate of former Jewish residents of Fuhlsbüttel in the state archive and elsewhere. Their findings were used as themes for the memorial wall. These include the fate of the painter Anita Reé, who created an altarpiece for the church that was subsequently rejected due to the artist’s Jewish heritage; the building at Kurzer Kamp 6, formerly the Mendelson-Israel-Stift home for the needy, which was used by the Nazis as a ‘Judenhaus’ or house for Jews, from where 35 Jews were deported to concentration and extermination camps and murdered; and the fates of individual persecuted Jewish families from Fuhlsbüttel.
The project team crafted the tiles from clay and fired them in the school’s kiln. The final tile, which is blank, symbolises all of the victims whose fates are not known, all of the sites of injustice that have not been identified, and all of the everyday stories that were never told.
A follow-up project was carried out in 2005 when Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) were installed for the individual victims of Nazi persecution from Fuhlsbüttel. The Stolpersteine were funded by donations collected by students and others. A total of 50 Stolpersteine have now been laid in Fuhlsbüttel and dedicated in the presence of relatives whenever possible. Each year, local students polish the stones and commemorate the victims on Yom haShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.