World War One memorial and counter-memorial in Hamburg-Harburg

Pictures and text by Mark R. Hatlie

These pictures were taken on 26 April, 2007 in the city of Harburg. Harburg is accross the river from Hamburg, but it is now officially part of Hamburg.

The memorial was originally dedicated on 10 October, 1986 as a 12-meter high column. In 10 increments over the span of seven years it was then lowered into the ground: 1 Sept. 1987, 23 Oct. 1988, 6 Sept. 1989, 22 Febr. 1990, 4 Dec. 1990, 27 Sept. 1991, 7 Jul. 1992. With the tenth and final sinking on 10 Nov. 1993 the column disappeared into the ground.

plaque at the memorial explains in several languages:
We invite the citizens of Harburg and visitors to the town to ad their names here to ours. In doing so we commit ourselves to remain vigilant. As more and more names cover the 12-meter-tall lead column, it will gradually be lowered into the ground. One day it will have disappeared completely and the site of the Harburg monument against fascism will be empty. In the end it is only we ourselves who can rise up against injustice.

It was designed by Esther and Jochen Gerz in 1986. Despite getting some attention at the time and still appearing in literature on memorial culture, the monument does not appear to be well known. I had to ask seven people before I found one who knew what I was talking about and could give me directions.

This is the view from the sidewalk on the street Harburger Ring looking into the pedestrian zone in Sand street. We are right above the train station "Rathaus." The pigeon is on the spot where the column was.
The pigeon is still remembering fascism.
The information plaque tells all (see above).
This is the view if you walk past the memorial into the pedestrian zone and look back.
This is the view from below. Near the tunnel under Harburg Ring, where you can take an elevator down to the trains, you can see another (identical) information plaque and a door with a glass slit.
Visitors can still see part of the column through the glass door.
It is hard to make out any signed names.

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Mark R. Hatlie (ViSdM)
Im Feuerhägle 1
D-72072 Tübingen

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