Monument for the 60th anniversary of the ‘Hamburg firestorm’
In July and August 1943, the city of Hamburg was hit hard by Allied air raids carried out during ‘Operation Gomorrah’. 35,000 people died in the nights of bombing, and the districts in the eastern part of Hamburg in particular – Rothenburgsort, Hamm, Hammerbrook and Borgfelde – were almost entirely destroyed.
To mark the 60th anniversary of the air raids in 2003, the Hamburg-Mitte district assembly voted to erect a monument to the victims of World War II and the Nazi dictatorship. It was also meant to commemorate the destruction of the districts of Hamburg that had been particularly devastated. The monument was financed by the Hamburg Cultural Authority, the Hambug-Mitte district assembly and the city’s local administrative offices, as well as through private donations. A design competition was held for the monument, and the winner was the artist Volker Lang (born 1964).
The monument was dedicated in 2004. It takes the form of a Terrassenhaus (terrace house) on a 1:2.5 scale. This kind of residential building was typical of the densely developed rear courtyards of the Rothenburgsort district from the second half of the 19th century onwards. The walls inside the miniature building are inscribed with quotes from people who experienced the bombings and ‘firestorm’. These recollections were recorded by a writing workshop conducted in Rothenburgsort in 2003, and they are accompanied by excerpts from literary texts.