A lecture series on the Monument to the Revolution of 1926

Can an architectural design be compared to a musical score? Once a building has been destroyed, can it be "performed" again like a symphony? This question repeatedly occupies architects, preservationists and the public. In Berlin, a lively debate is unfolding over plans to rebuild the Monument to the Revolution, built in 1926 at the Friedrichsfelde Central Cemetery to Mies van der Rohe's design. The monument commemorated the assassination of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in January of the revolutionary year 1919. Singular in monument culture, the artistic design is a masterpiece. At the time, for example, the daily newspaper "Die Rote Fahne" described the "immense monumentality of the colossal ashlars, which are piled on top of each other in an irregular manner."

After only a few years, the brick monument was already destroyed by the National Socialists in 1935. The manifold questions arising from the desire for reconstruction will be discussed controversially in the lecture series; questions about architecture and ideology, also about Mies' role as an architect in the first years after the National Socialists came to power until his emigration to the USA, as well as questions about the technical and aesthetic, but also moral feasibility of a reconstruction.

The rebuilding would not only restore an architectural monument, but also a monument to the history of German democracy.

At the same time, the monument cannot be seen without context. For a total of eight events at the Mies van der Rohe Haus, 20 experts from various disciplines are invited to give keynote speeches of about 30 minutes each, followed by discussions with each other and the audience. The discourse series is realized in close cooperation with the publicist and architecture critic Ulf Meyer, who, supported by the architect Jörn Köppler, will also moderate the events. All lectures and discussions will be streamed live via the YouTube channel of the Mies van der Rohe Haus and will remain available there afterwards. The patron of the series is Michael Grunst, district mayor of Berlin-Lichtenberg.

Dates: March 11 / April 22 / May 13 / June 10 / July 2 / September 9 / October 14 / November 11, 2022, each starting at 6 p.m.


March 11

Lecture 1 . Prof. Dr. Fritz Neumeyer: "Blocks in Suspension: Form Characteristics and Context"

Interlocking blocks and floating heaviness determine the form characteristics of the monument to Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, designed by Mies van der Rohe in the spring of 1926. Unfortunately, Mies did not say a word about this unique design. Therefore, we must set out on our own to look for traces in the work of Mies and other artists of the 1920s that might have influenced this project.

Lecture 2 . Prof. Dr. Thomas Lindenberger: "The Revolution Monument: An Approach from the Perspective of the History of Democracy"

For only seven short years, the Revolution Monument served primarily as a place of remembrance for the Berlin Communists. What did they proclaim here in the name of Luxemburg, Liebknecht - and Lenin? And what do we think about it today? What "revolution" do we want and should we remember a century later in a democracy that has left the "age of extremes" behind?