Berlin Art@Site Katharina Szelinski-Singer Trümmerfrau

Katharina Szelinski-Singer



Volkspark Hasenheide 82
Aspects of this artwork
A woman looks at you while she sits around boulders and has a sickle on her lap. It appears to be a tribute to the Berlin women who worked after the bombing in WWII between the heaps of stones to make them usable again and started the reconstruction.
The artwork is carved from a simple hard stone.
Around the sculpture, every year a memorial service is hold in the park. When I asked a woman who was passing by for the meaning of the statue, she gave me a touching explanation.
It appears that the inhabitants of Berlin find support in this statue of this recognizable woman. It is an image that is relevant and important.
by Theo,
Das Denkmal ehrt die Arbeit der Trümmerfrauen im Nachkriegsberlin. Die Sandsteinskulptur von Katharina Szelinski-Singer wurde 1955 aufgestellt.
Als Trümmerfrauen werden Frauen bezeichnet, die nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg in vielen deutschen und österreichischen Städten mithalfen, diese von den Trümmern der zerbombten Gebäude zu befreien. Sie waren neben professionellen Trümmerbeseitigern, Kriegsgefangenen und zwangsverpflichteten ehemaligen Nationalsozialisten eine Gruppe der Akteure in den Trümmerräumaktionen der Nachkriegszeit. Die neuere Forschung spricht von einer gezielten Glorifizierung der Trümmerfrauen, die mit der Realität nichts zu tun habe. So sind viele Fotos (zum Teil professionell) inszeniert worden. Der Begriff wurde spätestens seit Ende der 1940er Jahre verwendet.
The image of hard-working, cheerful women clearing the rubble of WWII from German streets is deeply ingrained in German minds. But it's only true to a certain degree, says German historian Leonie Treber.
Berlin won women over for the job by offering them the second-highest category of food ration cards. To get more volunteers to pitch in, authorities deliberately marketed the image of the cheerful Trümmerfrau at work, Treber says. That very picture is deeply ingrained in the collective German memory. "It's evoked time and again in speeches, movies and books," she says.
Initially, the media campaign was successful only in East Germany, where the rubble-clearing woman became a role model for all women who wanted to train for traditional male jobs. In West Germany, however, the hard-working, self-assured, emancipated woman didn't fit the conservative female image.
Little wonder that Lisa Albrecht, a Social Democratic politician from the southern state of Bavaria, was shocked when she visited bombed-out Berlin in 1948. "I was appalled at the sight of the rubble women clearing Berlin," she wrote.
It wasn't until the 1980s that the Trümmerfrau once again emerged as an issue in West Germany, stylized as heroes of German reconstruction, as Germany debated introducing child-rearing benefits for just those women born before 1921.
"Since reunification, no one has scratched at the image of the selfless rubble-clearing woman," the historian says. "The collective memory works in the east and the west."
These hard-working, strong, post-war women existed, Treber concludes - and yes, they also cleared rubble. "But they were obviously a minority."
On 4 October 2006, a weekly newspaper published the memories of the Trümmerfrau Elisabeth Stock (83) of which the following passage is cited:
" were mostly women who shoveled their way through the rubble of Aachen's inner city that was totally destroyed; just for one bowl of soup from the Americans, we hammered and dragged debris all day long, even the pickaxe was part of our equipment, ...that's probably one reason why they put a memorial plaque for Aachen's Trümmerfrauen at the back of the townhall."