‘Mother with child’ sculpture and ‘Say No’ plaque in memory of Wolfgang Borchert
The playwright and actor Wolfgang Borchert was born in Hamburg-Eppendorf in 1921. He began writing and acting in the theatre at an early age. In 1941 he was conscripted into the military. He was wounded several times as a soldier and became seriously ill. Borchert was accused of ‘Wehrkraftzersetzung’ (undermining military morale) multiple times and was repeatedly imprisoned. Borchert is best known for his play Draußen vor der Tür (translated into English as The Man Outside), in which he processed his traumatic experiences during the war and their lasting effects in the immediate post-war period. Borchert was not able to see the premiere of his play on 21 November 1947 at Kammerspiele Hamburg theatre; he died one day before in age of 26.
On 10 July 1984, a memorial plaque was dedicated on Eppendorfer Marktplatz in the presence of Hertha Borchert, Wolfgang Borchert’s mother. The bronze plaque was designed by the Hamburg sculptor Hans-Joachim Frielinghaus and quotes the last line of Borchert’s anti-war poem Say No, which is one of the last works of Borchert. The plaque was placed next to what is known as the ‘peace oak’, which was planted on Eppendorfer Markplatz at the end of the nineteenth century ‘in memory of the glorious peace of 1871’, according to the plaque near the tree. In 1982, the Eppendorf Peace Initiative requested that this inscription be replaced with Wolfgang Borchert’s poem. However, after discussions in the city quarter, the district assembly voted to keep the old plaque but add a new plaque to it.
The bronze sculpture in the rose garden on Eppendorfer Landstrasse is named ‘Mother with Child'. The sculptor Ernst A. Nönnecke created this monument, which depicts a pregnant woman standing with her child in the midst of bomb rubble. The monument was dedicated on 13 November 1994 and was installed on the initiative of the Eppendorf Civic Association.