Wall of Remembrance

Erinnerungswand Switch

In 1988, Frankfurt gay groups came together to plan Switchboard as a replacement for the former gay centre and was founded together with the AHF. On 24 September 1988, the opening was celebrated at Alte Gasse 36, thus creating a centre by gays for gays.

As time went by, the desire for a separate, everyday place to mourn and remember deceased friends was formulated.

Michael Bühne designed a memorial wall in April 1988 and describes it as follows: “The plaque ‘Wider das Schweigen’ (Against Silence) has men's measurements. It is 1.80 m tall (the average male height) and 60 cm wide (average shoulder width). The viewer can wrestle directly with his body in relation to the panel. The memorial is intended, thus, to mirror the viewer; from the proportions to that it raises up from the ground. We experience both love and sorrow with our whole being, hence the human dimensions. The material is passive but alive, the gold leaf lifts it out of its everyday context. Gold is precious, representing in this sense life and remembrance. We can use the plaque in many ways; writing directly on it, or carving into it as into trees or school desks.”

In the meantime, the obituaries that were placed on it have been glazed to protect their messages; but they have not lost their liveliness. They have become contemporary witnesses.

Since 2014, the memorial wall has been placed in the basement to allow for viewers to experience it in an undisturbed manner. It is supplemented by a digital picture frame that represents a dialogue with the present day.

Die Erinnerungswand im Keller des Switchboards
© studio3