Gravesite Albert Mendel, Jewish Cemetery Weißensee, Berlin

Monument, 1922-23, architect Walter Gropius

Commissioned by: Foundation for Historical Churchyards and Cemeteries in Berlin-Brandenburg

Funding: Private Sponsors and Berlin State Office for Monument Preservation

Planning: monument preservation and historical expertise, damage mapping, planning, construction management and documentation. Preparation, cleaning and restoration of the natural stone elements and the lettering.

History: The merchant Albert Mendel (1866-1922) was one of the owners of the Fischbein & Mendel confectionery company with its headquarters on Lindenstraße. His wife Toni and he were among the first clients of the young Walter Gropius: from 1912 to 1914 they commissioned him with the furnishings for their spacious city apartment at Lützowplatz and in 1921 with the remodeling of the villa at Sandwerder 37 in Berlin-Wannsee, which they had acquired around 1912, where Gropius designed, among other things, an imposing staircase hall in Expressionist style.

Shortly after the unexpected death of Albert Mendel, his widow commissioned Gropius to plan and build the tomb. The pieces were made in Weimar with the assistance of Josef Hartwig, the head of the sculpture workshop at the Staatliches Bauhaus, brought to Berlin by train, and erected on site in 1923. For decades the tomb remained forgotten and was "rediscovered" and documented in the early 1980s by Prof. Hartmut Probst and others. In the early 1990s, it was restored for the first time as part of a charity campaign by German President Richard von Weizsäcker and Daniel Barenboim.

The monument documentation examines the family history, the creation of the Mendel tomb in the context of events at the Bauhaus in 1922-23, and places the structure in the context of other gravesites and memorials of Walter Gropius.

Project participant: Natural stone conservator Burkhard Bluhm 

Team NM: Yasser Almaamoun, Tony Alarkan

Publikation: "Memoria and monument. The Graves Laura Perls and Albert Mendel in Berlin-Weissensee“, in: 16th Docomomo Germany3rd RmB conference „100 Years Bauhaus. What Interest Do We Take In Modern Movement Today?“, Hrsg. U. Pottgiesser, F. Jaschke, M. Melenhorst, Lemgo, 2020.