Ackerstr. Market Hall
In 1996 “Der verlassene Raum” (The Deserted Room), a bronze sculpture by Karl Biedermann, was erected at the Koppenplatz – a landscaped square of pleasant proportions. The sculpture won a local (East Berlin) authority competition for a memorial to the Night of the Pogrom (9th-10th November 1938) on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary.
The table, covered in leather and two matching chairs (one of which is knocked over), are clearly a little larger than ordinary furniture and strikingly realistic. It is only at close examination or by touching them that you realize this is a bronze cast. The crude base-plate is textured like a parquet floor, and has a band around it with verses from a collection of poems published in 1947 by Nobel Prize winner Nelly Sachs:
“...O die Wohnungen des Todes, (Oh the houses of death) / Einladend hergerichtet (invitingly appointed) / Für den Wirt des Hauses, der sonst Gast war - (for the landlord of the house who was once a guest) / O ihr Finger (Oh you fingers,) / Die Eingangsschwelle legend (Laying the threshold) / Wie ein Messer zwischen Leben und Tod – (like a knife between life and death) // O ihr Schornsteine, (Oh, you chimney stacks,) / O ihr Finger, (Oh you fingers,) / Und Israels Leib im Rauch durch die Luft! (And the body of Israel going up in smoke!) Nelly Sachs (1891 Berlin – 1970 Stockholm)“
In the courtyard of the house at number six Koppenplatz, there are further traces of the past. A panel with a saying from the Baal Shem Tov announces „Vergessen ist Verbannung. (To forget is banishment.) Erinnerung ist Erlösung.“ (To remember is salvation.) It is hung on a wall which has been designed as an oversized plain page of an accounts book with the names of the murdered Jewish owner of the house and her relatives recorded in the form of a family tree. Among them is the name of a niece who escaped death. She later sold number six Koppenplatz to the owners of the Galerie sphn who installed the memorial work. It can be seen during the gallery’s opening hours: Tue-Fri 2-7 p.m, Sat 12 p.m.-5 p.m.