Heroes Without a Sword on
the „Road of Recollection“
The Ernst Freiberger Foundation pays tribute to exceptional personalities with its monuments. The "heroes without swords" have made outstanding contributions and taken exemplary stands in the harshest of times, above all during the first half of the last century. Albert Einstein is the ninth historical figure, whose bust lines the “Road of Recollection” along the Berlin Spreebogen. Preceding him, the Foundation already paid tribute to one of the most significant female figures of the twentieth century, the Jewish philosopher and subsequent Carmelite nun Edith Stein; the founder of Germany's social market economy and the 'economic miracle' following World War II, Ludwig Erhard; the failed assassin of Hitler, Georg Elser; sharing this fate and also murdered by the Nazis, the poet Albrecht Haushofer; the computer pioneer Konrad Zuse; the former entrepreneur, who become Germany’s foreign minister, Walter Rathenau; the author and Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann as well as architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Each of these personalities had an academic documentation dedicated to them by the Foundation.
Denkmalsenthüllung Ludwig Erhard
Prof. Dr. Stölzl
Prof. Dr. Mlynek
Denkmalsenthüllung Albert Einstein
Denkmalsenthüllung Albert Einstein
Through his research of space and time Albert Einstein (1879-1955) changed the physical concept of the world like no one ever before. He became world famous with his theory of relativity and he received the Nobel Prize in 1922. To many he is the greatest physicist of all times. Einstein was also the 20th century's first media star with a strict scientific background. To this day his fame has withstood the highs and lows of rise and oblivion, which is also a consequence of Einstein's exemplary political activity. He always considered his scientific significance as an obligation to work for the good of humanity. Einstein was a liberal democrat and pacifist, for whom individual freedom and tolerance were key concerns.
Albert EinsteinWith the onset of the First World War he continued his publicity consistently for international understanding and combating nationalism and militarism. Immediately after the National Socialists' seizure of power in 1933 he emigrated to the USA, where he fought valiantly with his neighbour Thomas Mann on the "Road of Recollection", against the Nazi dictatorship and did abundant good work for the refugees fleeing Hitler's Germany.
The Ernst Freiberger Foundation pays tribute to Albert Einstein on the "Road of Recollection" because his life is an outstanding example of geniality and morality fusing to great humanity.
Ludwig Erhard was sworn in as Minister of Economics in the first cabinet under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer on September 20, 1949 an held this office until 1963. He is widely seen as founder of the social market economy and the "economic miracle" in Germany following World War II.
Ludwig ErhardHe strongly believed that free-market politics must always be carefully attuned to the prevailing social conditions and it must be ensured that the creation of a market economy also improves the social situation of the people. His time at the helm of the economics ministry was characterized by strong growth of gross domestic production, significant increase in wages and salaries at stable prices, a high degree of social security with balanced public finances, full employment and a sustainable improvement in the German foreign trade accounts. On October 16, 1963 the German Parliament elected Ludwig Erhard with a resounding majority as Federal Chancellor, an office he held until his resignation on December 1, 1966. Ludwig Erhard achieved a lot during these three years, strengthening inner peace within Germany and laying the groundwork in its external relations for a new German and Eastern foreign policy. He successfully passed obstacles towards European integration, established clear diplomatic relations with Israel and Arabic states and outlined in a peace memorandum to the world, that Germans wish to cooperate pro-actively toward securing lasting peace.
We are the People
Until now, the Ernst Freiberger Foundation has always paid homage to individuals.
We are the PeopleUntil now, the Ernst Freiberger Foundation has always paid homage to individuals. With its ‘We are the People’ monument, the foundation is consciously deviating from this principle. It is also departing from the time line of the first half of the 20th century, because the peaceful revolution of the people who lived in the former GDR has a historical dimension. It was the act of hundreds of thousands of individuals who rebelled against the communist dictatorship. Every single one of them took a great risk – of losing their health or life, or being imprisoned. They should all be mentioned in the same breath with the other ‘heroes without swords’ who have had a positive effect on Germany’s image in the eyes of the world.
She is one of the great women of the 20th century. In times of little faith and
Edith Steinmanslaughter this Jewish philosopher and later Carmelite nun embarks on the path of faith and dedicates her life to Christ. In so doing, she creates a link between a Jewish and a Christian existence and combines scholarly achievements with faithful devotion. Trying to escape persecution by the National Socialists, she flees from Cologne to the Netherlands. A group of brave Dutch bishops in their service read a pastoral letter protesting against the persecution of Jews. Still, Edith Stein is deported to Auschwitz where she is murdered in a gas chamber in 1942. In Rome in 1998, Edith Stein is canonised and in 1999 she is made one of Europe’s patrons. With her spiritual refinement, deep solidarity and pure humanity, she was and remains to be a contemporary and authentic figure.
For a long time, this man was surrounded by rumours, many years after the Second World War, he was still defamed.
Georg ElserSome regard the carpenter as a marionette of the Nazis, and it takes until 1969 to clarify any remaining doubts: Georg Elser acts on his own when he tries to kill Hitler and sets off a bomb on November 8, 1939 in Munich’s Bürgerbräukeller. Eight people die. Hitler survives because he has unexpectedly left the Bürgerbräukeller 13 minutes before the bomb goes off. If the assassination attempt had been successful it would have changed world history like no other event of the 20th century. When he is arrested, Elser owes up to his deed. He is deported to the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen, later he is detained in Dachau. By command of Hitler he is shot dead in Dachau on April 9, 1945.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Adding his mother’s family name “van der Rohe” to his surname “”Mies, he signals that the First World War has turned him into a different man.
Ludwig Mies van
der RoheWith his draft for a high-rise building near the train station Berlin Friedrichstrasse, made of glass, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe invents the so-called “skin and bone architecture”. He designs the tombs for Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, becomes the head of the Bauhaus School in Dessau – and radically commits himself to modern architecture. When Hitler rejects his design for the German pavilion at the Brussels World Exhibition in 1934, it becomes impossible for Mies van der Rohe to work as an architect under the National Socialists. In 1938, he emigrates to the United States and is made director of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He constructs the famous apartment towers along Lake Shore in Chicago and designs the Seagram building in New York. In 1969, one year after his design for Berlin’s New National Gallery has been realised, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who was born in Aachen, dies in Chicago.
No other author has sparked off as much public controversy over the span of his whole live. Thomas Mann sees himself
Thomas Mannin the tradition of classical German literature. In 1929, he receives the Nobel Prize in Literature for his novel “Buddenbrooks”, thus gaining the international recognition he so much longed for. His literary career sets off in 1893 with a short sketch for a work of fiction called “Vision” and ends with an introductory note to the anthology “The most beautiful stories of the world”, shortly before his death in 1955. His breakthrough comes with the story “Little Herr Friedemann” (1897). Thomas Mann writes eight novels, more than 30 novellas, a play, an epic in verse, many essays, autobiographical writings, talks, speeches, political manifests and around 3000 letters. He also keeps a diary, all his life. From an early point onwards, he develops political sensibilities, taking a stand against the National Socialists which alerted the Gestapo. After his emigration in 1936, he unfolds considerable political activity. During the war, from 1940 to 1945, he addresses the German public in monthly radio features.
Only few people represent the intense interactions and contradictions between economy and society, politics and culture to the same extent.
Walther RathenauBeing the son of AEG founder Emil Rathenau, Walther Rathenau enters the company and becomes chairman of the supervisory board. At the same time, he actively supports the liberal opposition against the Wilhelmine politics and spirit, and after 1918, he engages in the establishment of a political party that was to serve the interests of large parts of the middle classes. As the DDP’s expert on economic affairs, he participates in setting up the first democratic system in Germany. In May 1921, he joins the ranks of government as the minister for reconstruction, and in 1922 he is appointed to be Germany’s foreign minister. Representing the interests of Germany abroad, the country still being a young republic, he soon gains a good reputation. In his writings, he promotes the idea of a society beyond capitalism and socialism. Adversaries of the Weimar Republic take issue with his foreign politics that places emphasis on exchange and understanding and they feel provoked by his Jewish descent. On June 24, 1922, two officers of the organisation Consul, a right-wing radical group, assassinate Walther Rathenau in broad daylight in Berlin Grunewald.
Some call him the creator of the first calculating machine to be programmed in binary circuitry and floating point. Others simply regard him as the father of the computer.
Konrad ZuseOn May 12, 1941, Zuse presents his Z3, a serviceable calculating machine, to a select group of visitors in Berlin Kreuzberg. Without the public taking much notice, Zuse has thus made his dream come true by constructing a fully automatic calculating machine. His Z1 (1936-1938) is the first calculation system worldwide that is controlled via programming. The more reliable model Z2 (1939-1938) uses the mechanical storage principle of the Z1, but for the fixed-point arithmetic unit he installs a telephone relay, later on he constructs the Z3 only with relays. The Z4 is the only model to survive the bombings on Berlin and for a long time after the war remains to be Europe’s only fully operative calculation system controlled via programming that is used for commercial ends. In 1949, Konrad Zuse establishes the Zuse KG. In 1964, his enterprise produces 250 computers worth more than 100 million German Mark. Later on, the company is overtaken by its competitors.
In the night between April 22 and April 23, 1945, Albrecht Haushofer and fifteen other detainees at the Moabit Prison on Lehrter Strasse are collected and shot dead by an
Albrecht HaushoferSS unit. Haushofer’s corpse carries a copy of his “Moabit Sonnets” which he has written while he was in prison. These poems express grief regarding Germany’s fall and they accuse the culprits. At the same time, they also reflect on and reveal Haushofer’s own responsibility. In spite of the fact that he is one-quarter Jewish and he as early as 1933 takes a very pessimistic view on general affairs, he becomes a member of staff for foreign relations under Hess and Ribbentrop, his aim being to try preventing the worst. In 1940, he is made professor of Political Geography and Geopolitics in Berlin. Since Haushofer is not able to accomplish his chief political goal and prevent another destructive war, Haushofer gets involved with the Nazi resistance movement. After the failed assassination attempt of July 20, 1944, he is arrested on a small farm in the mountains near Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Ernst Haiger who wrote a biography on Haushofer says that the sonnets show and teach us “how a human being faces death with brave composure”. Having been published in 1946 for the first time, the sonnets are now published again by the Ernst Freiberger Foundation in a biography on Albrecht Haushofer.