35bMemorial to the March Martyrs

at the Central Cemetary

Sketch of people around an abstract, geometrically shaped Memorial.
Alfred Ahner, Abbruch des Märzgefallenen-Denkmals, heimlich angefertigte Skizze, 1936.

On behalf of the trade unions, Walter Gropius, the director of the Bauhaus, created the memorial to commemorate the people who paid with their lives for the suppression of the right-wing extremist Kapp Putsch in 1920. When Weimar workers gathered for a rally in the Volkshaus during the general strike on March 15, putsching Reichswehr soldiers shot at them and killed Anna Braun, Walter Hoffmann, Franz Pawelski, Paul Schander, Adolf Schelle, Karl Schorn, Karl Merkel, Ernst Müller and Kurt Krassan. Seven of the victims were initially buried in the northern part of the main cemetery and then moved to the site of the memorial a year later. The concrete memorial, whose abstract form, according to Walter Gropius, represents a "lightning bolt from the grave floor as a symbol of the living spirit", was unveiled on May 1, 1922. It is the world's first monument to the dead in the formal language of modernism. The seven grave slabs of the victims follow the lightning bolt. As the commemoration of the "red March martyrs" was undesirable under National Socialism and the design of the monument was considered "degenerate art", it was destroyed in February 1936. The Blitz was blown up and a columned fountain was erected opposite the remaining burial ground. In 1946, the monument was reconstructed in a slightly modified form. Today, historical photos on site show the original condition of the monument.