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Middle Ages without borders: a conversation on medievalism

Tommaso di Carpegna Falconieri
Pierre Savy
Lila Yawn

c) Memory and perception of time

2) Local medievalism: Bernward’s doors, Hezilo’s chandelier, and the memorial fountain for the Synagogue

Galit Noga-Banai

Texte intégral

1On November 9th, 1988, precisely one year before the Reunification of Germany and 50 years after Kristalnacht, a memorial fountain was inaugurated for the synagogue in Hildesheim. The new landmark was placed at Lappenberg (am Lappenberg), where the synagogue had stood since its erection in 1849 until its destruction on the Night of the Broken Glass. The 1988 fountain, a cube-like sculpture made of Verona marble and decorated with bronze and marble reliefs, was designed by Elmar Hillebrand (1925- 2016). Hillebrand belonged to the so-called Cologne School (Kölner Schule), a group of Catholic artists headed by the famous architect Rudolph Schwarz (1897-1961). Hillebrand invited three other sculptors to work on the project. They split the work among them, so each would be responsible for one of the four vertical surfaces of the cubic monument. Hillebrand received the south side, dedicated to the Jewish Law (Das Gesetz), the Torah; Theo Heiermann was given the east side, devoted to the Jewish people as “the chosen people” (Die Erwählung); Jochem Pechau was assigned the north side, dealing with the Jewish religious ritual (Der Kult); and Karl Winter got the west side, which was to portray the persecution of Jews throughout history (Die Verfolgung). In addition, Hillebrand would create a model of Heavenly Jerusalem to be placed on top of the monument. My paper points out and elaborates upon the connection between the visual heritage of medieval Hildesheim and the memorial fountain erected at Lappenberg. It argues that the medium, technique, material, motif layout, and iconography of the monument were intended to resonate with the town’s medieval landmarks. In the observer’s perception, the fountain’s design generates visual links with the local cultural memory, which in Hildesheim is deeply rooted in Christian tradition and pivots around the Church.


The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

© Publications de l’École française de Rome, 2021

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