Heaven, Heart Gray, Must Be Near, 2013
Memorial for the Jewish victims of deportation from Steubenweg 36
The memorial for the building at Grotiusweg 36, formerly Steubenweg 36, is a reminder of the deportations, the last of which took place on July 19, 1942, and the death of seventeen persecuted Jews who were housed there against their will.
The architecture/sculpture, based on a hexagonal floor plan, was initiated by the Verein zur Erforschung der Geschichte der Juden in Blankenese (Association for Research on the History of Jews in Blankenese), the current owner of the building.
Inspired by the idea of the forest surrounding the building as silent witness and of the defenselessness of its inhabitants, the walls of the hexagonal pavilion are grills-like formations of slats. The interior is thus penetrated by the surroundings; the hexagonal roof is open to the sky and the tops of the trees.
Seventeen adjustable slats have the names and biographical information of the dead.
A plank bears the title of the memorial:
“Himmel, herzgrau, muss nah sein” (Heaven, heart gray, must be near) is a line from Sprachgitter, published in 1959 by Paul Celan.
That collection of Celan’s poems represents one of the first attempts in German-language literature to articulate adequately the rift in German history, language, and culture that was caused by the Shoah.
Am Grotiusweg 36, 22587 Hamburg
Title by kind permission of S. Fischer Verlage, Frankfurt am Main
from Paul Celan, Sprachgitter © 1959
Larch wood, sheet metal, 4.80 × 4.80 × 5.30 m, length of side: 2.50 m
Pedestal of Belgian blue limestone