11,957 names, 11,957 fates: the memorial site at Neuer Börneplatz recalls the Jewish community in Frankfurt annihilated during the National Socialist era. The memorial site is located to the east of the inner city between Frankfurt’s oldest Jewish cemetery and the rear of the building in which the new Museum Judengasse is housed.
Eleven years of planning and construction
The City of Frankfurt organised a competition for the development of Börneplatz as early as 1985. A Customer Centre for the municipal utilities (Stadtwerke) was to be located there. At the same time, the City Council and Magistrate decided that, along with that new building, Börneplatz was to be re-designed and called New Börneplatz. The Jewish community suggested that a memorial site be installed to recall the deportations of Frankfurt’s Jewish citizens.
The Börneplatz Conflict 1987
During construction of the Customer Centre, house foundations and two mikvehs from Frankfurt’s Judengasse, the former Jewish ghetto, were discovered. As the city government under the Lord Mayor Wolfram Brück (CDU) decided to retain the plan for a new municipal utilities building, the remainders of those foundation walls were removed. This resulted in considerable public protest. In summer 1987 marches were held protesting the removal of the archaeological finds; the building site was occupied temporarily by protesters. The Börneplatz Conflict finally ended with a compromise: the foundations of five houses from the former Judengasse, two ritual baths and other archaeological remains were returned to their original location. Today, they make up the focal point of the Judengasse Museum, which was opened in 1992. Parallel to the municipal buildings works, a competition was organised for the "New Börneplatz Memorial Site".
Fritz Backhaus, "Und keiner hat für uns Kaddisch gesagt ...", Frankfurt am Main 2005, p 500.
"The work of remembering is a never ending process."
A place of mourning and of remembering: New Börneplatz Memorial Site
The central feature of the memorial site opened in 1996 is the frieze on the outer wall of the Old Jewish Cemetery. 11,957 blocks each with a name recall all the known Frankfurt victims of the National Socialist annihilation policy. Visitors to the memorial site can place small stones on the wall in keeping with the Jewish mourning ritual. The neighbouring Jewish Cemetery was given two modern metal gates on which is written in Hebrew lettering "Beth HaChaim" (House of Life).
11,957 blocks on the outside wall of the Jewish cemetery remember the Frankfurt victims of the Shoah individually. Their biographies and fates can be researched in a local databank of the Jewish museum.
Börneplatz Memorial Site Frankfurt
Nikolaus Hirsch was involved in the design of the Memorial Site. In this video interview he talks about the ideas behind it.
In the middle of a plane tree grove stands a stone cube of five by five meters. It built of stones from the former Jewish ghetto which were found nearby in 1987.
Memorial plaque for the Börneplatz synagogue that was located nearby and destroyed by the Nazis in 1938.
Street signs at the Börneplatz Memorial show the changing names of the place over the centuries.
On the square itself is a large stone cube surrounded by a grove of plane trees. The cube is made up of remains of the foundations of the former ghetto. The ground is covered in grey gravel. The ground plan of the former Börneplatz synagogue is marked out by metal strips. The synagogue was destroyed in 1938 during the November pogrom. A memorial plaque to the destroyed synagogue was installed on the rear wall of the municipal utilities building; that plaque had already been unveiled closeby in 1946.
Five street signs just a few metres away from the stone cube recall the square’s different names over time: first it was called Judenmarkt, as of 1886 Börneplatz, in 1935 it was renamed Dominikanerplatz because its name giver Ludwig Börne was a Jew. In 1978 it was called Börneplatz again. Since 1996 it has been known as Neuer Börneplatz.
Börneplatz Memorial Site
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The memorial is permanently acessible.
- The visit on the memorial is for free.0€
The crushed rock ground on large parts of the memorial is hard to access for wheelchair users.
Börneplatz Memorial Site
60311 Frankfurt am Main
Tram 11, 12 (RMV station Battonnstrasse)