Rubble Service of the Remembrance

(A plan for the hospital Charité Mitte Berlin about the empty pedestal of Carl Westphal)

“A Rubble Train is a rail-bound means of transport, which was used after the end of WW2 in more than
20 German cities for rubble removal.” (Wikipedia)

Beseitigung von Trümmern; Trümmerbahn; Königsplatz (Tiergarten) – Enttrümmerung und Abtransport des Schuttes mit Feldbahnloren; im Hintergrund: Ruine des Reichstagsgebäude, ca. 1946
copyright: Landesarchiv Berlin.
Fotograf: Gnilka, Ewald / Rechte: Landesarchiv Berlin / K00449


“Men, who are ill and broken and expect now to be cherished and taken care of by their loyal caring wives have to realize that these women have other problems: that they are likewise drawn by hunger and bombings, that they worry about getting the next meal – and, that they have to clean the rubble. They are not doing this – as the transfiguring myth of the “rubble woman” wants – only because of
“typical female” selflessnes and sacrifice. It is more mundane: who doesn’t go to the rubble service, gets no ration cards for food. By pounding stones and pushing wheelbarrows full of rubble, the woman feed themselves and their families.”
Der Aufstand der Frauen, in: Emma, 3/2009, S. 78–89, hier: S. 82.
(in: Leonie Treber, Mythos Trümmerfrauen, Klartext Medienwerkstatt GmbH, Essen, 15.)


Who should remember what, and for how long – or who should forget what and for how long?
The workers of the Charité Mitte? The patients? The visitors? Most of the memorials are designed in a way that you are there a single person in receivership. And if you meet such a complex story of the Nazi past alone, usually there is no way to solve or let it go. Single persons are just too alone for that: one person with the whole story. How could you save and let it go at the same time?
And which part of the story of the empty pedestal? The whole story? Why remember it? So that it will never happen again? Maybe there are other ways to avoid it, to forget it? And what time frame should one calculate for this initiative?
My plan: move the pedestal out of the building. Mount wheels on the bottom of it and place it on a railway between the original location and the location where it was buried, so that people can move the pedestal together between this two locations. No single person can move it alone because of its weight.
Who is taking part, where the pedestal is and how long is it moving: it is not defined.