Heinrich Heine monument
The city of Hamburg has a long and not terribly illustrious history of commemorating Heinrich Heine. Heine (1797–1856) attracted the hostility of nationalists due to his Jewish heritage and works such as Deutschland, ein Wintermärchen (Germany, a Winter’s Tale), which were considered examples of literary ‘nest-fouling’. The Nazi regime branded Heine a ‘Jewish degenerate’, and his books were burned and monuments to him were torn down. A monument in the Stadtpark created by Hugo Lederer (1871–1940) was melted down, and another that originally stood on Spitalerstrasse was saved by the daughter of Heine’s publisher, Julius Campe, and taken to Toulon in southern France, where it stands to this day.
The first new Heine monument in Hamburg was not unveiled until 11 May 1982. The initiative for the monument came from the Heine-Gesellschaft, a literary society founded in 1977, and from the Jewish writer Arie Goral. 3,000 Hamburg residents responded to the call for donations by Wolfgang Tarnowski, Hamburg’s culture senator at the time, who proposed that the monument be placed on the Rathausmarkt. The resulting bronze statue created by Waldemar Otto (born 1929) was thus financed by public and private means. The statue shows a contemplative Heinrich Heine standing on a granite pedestal decorated with four bronze relief sculptures. Text panels explain the book-burning and the Nazis’ destruction of the old Heine monument.