Lina Morgenstern

In this house in 1868, the Association ‘Berliner Volksküchen’ (Berlins’ Soup Kitchens), founded by Lina Morgenstern –also named Suppenlina– opened one of their kitchens where poor people could receive healthy and affordable food.

Lina Morgenstern (*1830 †1909), social and women’s activist, writer and editor, was born in 1830 and grew up in a Reform Judaist family. During her lifetime, she raised public awareness about the social and material hardship of women and families.

Before the war with Austria in 1866, there were huge price rises and social hardship in Prussia. Consequently, Lina Morgenstern developed a plan to establish soup kitchens where healthy food would be prepared and sold at cost price. The first soup kitchen opened in 1866. Ten soup kitchens spread out over the whole of Berlin fed up to ten thousand people daily. Unlike present public kitchens for the poor, the meals were tasty and healthy and were not free but sold at cost price. For the workers in the soup kitchens, Lina Morgenstern established a health insurance plan.

An example of the strength of living solidarity

She campaigned for social advancement, education and women’s rights and founded numerous organisations, such as one for Berlin housewives. She left behind a comprehensive collection of writings, including volumes of portraits of important women, and wrote training manuals, cookbooks and children’s books.

Additionally, Lina Morgenstern was a co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Fröbel Kindergartens and was instrumental in the opening of eight kindergartens between 1861 and 1868 and a training facility for kindergarten teachers. In Prussia, kindergartens had been banned since 1851 as they were thought to foster ‘destructive tendencies’.

During the war of 1870-1871, she provided food to passing troops and cared for the war-wounded. Having encountered the wounded and the dead, she rejected the prevailing enthusiasm for war and became a board member of the German Peace Association.

In 1896, she organised the first ‘International Congress for Women’s Welfare and Womens’ Endeavours’ in Berlin, attended by leading women’s rights campaigners from Europe and America.

Lina Morgenstern’s life is an example of the power of solidarity in practice.

Food for thought: Why is it that not everyone has access to healthy affordable food?

Public transport
Underground U1, U6 Hallesches Tor
Time to the next peace trail station
1 minute walking

Workshop of Cultures

The Werkstatt der Kulturen is a cross-cultural organisation in Berlin that showcases the diversity of migrant, hybrid and minority art and art forms. Its mission is to reduce discrimination and marginalisation and foster cross-cultural understanding.

The Werkstatt der Kulturen (WdK) is an organisation which was founded in 1993 as a forum for Germans and migrants. It is the only cultural institution in Berlin whose main focus is cross-cultural and which showcases creative work reflecting the diversity of the Berlin population. The WdK space offers people from outside the predominantly western, white culture the possibility and independence of working within their own parameters.

A forum for exchange, meeting and dialogue

The aim of the organisation‘s work is to overcome separation, to encourage peaceful coexistence and to create a new format of shared experience for Berlin residents with a different cultural heritage. The Werkstatt der Kulturen offers a space for the views and expressions of ethnic cultural minorities which are rarely reflected in hegemonic discourse, as well as providing a forum for exchange, meeting and dialogue. As a venue for critical discourse, it organises exhibitions and panel discussions, carries out history projects and collaborates with the Werkstatt Religionen und Weltanschauungen (Workshop of Religion and Philosophy), which supports interfaith dialogue.

The Werkstatt der Kulturen organises a variety of events, festivals and film and concert programmes. The most well-known event run by the WdK is the four day Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures), an urban street festival which reflects Berlin’s diversity and internationality, has been organized annually since 1996 at the beginning of summer. As a mixture of joie de vivre, dialogue and social encounter, the carnival celebrates the variety of artistic expressions and contributes to build a heterogenic and pluralistic community in Berlin.

Black History Month, with events on black culture and history, is held annually every February, while the nationwide Creole World Music Contest takes place every two years, providing bands and musical projects in the world music scene and fusion music a forum for networking and sharing experiences.

Food for thought: Which other places do you know where cross-cultural dialogue fosters peace?

Öffnungszeiten
Di–So je nach Veranstaltungskalender
Konzerte an jedem Freitagabend (World Wide Music)
Kino an jedem Donnerstag (World Wide Cinema)
Jazz jeden Samstag (NAKED JAZZ presents)
Zusätzliche Informationen
Werkstatt der Kulturen www.werkstatt-der-kulturen.de
Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel
U7, U8 Hermannplatz
Bus M29, 171, 194, 344Hermannplatz
Wegzeit zur nächsten Friedensweg-Station
28 Minuten mit der U-Bahn und/oder Bus

 

Princess' Garden

Up until a few years ago, this place was a concreted abandoned space, full of rubbish. Today, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, it has become a blooming social garden, a meeting place and a place where the community can learn together.

The ‘Prinzessinnengarten’, a social, ecological landscape in the centre of Berlin, has been at this location since the summer of 2009. Inspired by community-led urban gardens in Cuba, two young men rented the abandoned, concreted area from the city council to develop their own urban garden. With all the building rubble, rubbish and motor oil that once littered the place, who would have thought that it would ever grow into a blooming oasis? In a borough with a high population density and social problems, here is a meeting point and place of community involvement which has developed—thanks to many thousands of hours of community work by volunteers—into a place of reciprocal learning and an experience with nature open to everyone willing to contribute their labour, knowledge and enthusiasm.

“Collective gardening, learning together is our priority.”

The entire garden is mobile: the plants grow in recycled bakers’ crates, rice sacks and Tetra-Paks. Planting is done without any chemical fertilisers or pesticides. The concept of community work and learning is foremost. All bed areas are communal, in which people of varying generations and social and cultural backgrounds may garden together. “Through trying out things together and sharing knowledge and experience, we not only use traditional growing methods but at the same time learn a great deal about biological diversity, urban ecology, climate adjustment, recycling, sustainable consumerism and future forms of urban life”, say the people who, in association with schools and kindergartens, provide environmental training workshops.

When closure was threatened in 2012 due to the planned sale of the area, public support was so great that the Berlin Senate withdrew the sale. In the meantime, further community gardens have been established following the ‘Prinzessinnengarten’ model. Today they are part of an international urban gardening movement for which the garden is not only a political instrument that residents can use to actively shape their own city, but also a place where they can learn how to create a sustainable economy and peaceful coexistence.

Food for thought: How are environmental issues and ecological sustainability related to your understanding of peace?

Zusätzliche Informationen
East Side Gallery www.eastsidegallery-berlin.de
Öffentliche Verkehrsmittel
U1 Warschauer Straße
S5, S7, S75 Warschauer Straße
Tram M10, M13 Warschauer Straße
Bus 347 Oberbaumbrücke
Wegzeit zur nächsten Friedensweg-Station
5 Minuten

 

May Ayim Ufer

For more than one hundred years this street honoured a ‘pioneer’ of colonial times. Today it honours instead the Afro-German activist, artist and scholar May Ayim, who campaigned against racism.

This street in the borough of Kreuzberg was renamed May-Ayim-Ufer on 27 February 2010, with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque dedicated to the Afro-German poet and educator May Ayim (1960-1996). May Ayim was an anti-racist, feminist activist whose academic work and lyric poetry condemned colonial ideas and commonplace racism. She was a founding member of the Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland-ISD (Initiative of Black Persons in Germany).

From 1895 to 2010, this street was called Groebenufer, after Otto Friedrich von der Groeben, the founder of the first colony from Brandenburg in the area that is now Ghana. The Groß-Friedrichsburg fort was a stronghold in the 17th century for trade of goods and the deportation of slaves to the Caribbean.

Changing street names is part of a postcolonial commemorative culture against racism

A pressure group made up of various organisations and individuals has been campaigning since 2007 to have streets and squares in Berlin which bear colonial names renamed. In a reversal of this policy, from now on these places are to honour people whose actions contributed to critical discourse on German colonial crimes and helped to change the racist structure. May-Ayim-Ufer is the first street where this reversal of perspective was made possible.

Particularly active in the street renaming campaign are the ISD, the organisation ‘Berlin Postkolonial’ and the ‘Berliner Entwicklungspolitischer Ratschlag’. Their aim is to foster postcolonial awareness and anti-racist teaching in Germany.

Even now, there are still many streets and squares bearing the names of people and events from colonial times, and even today in general discourse German colonial crimes are often overlooked or played down.

However, the debate over the renaming of streets also shows that there is now a greater number of people in favour of introducing more a challenging discourse and countering today’s commonplace racism in a critical manner.

Food for thought: Which traces of colonialism do you observe today in the country you live in?
How is racism and segregation rooted in the colonial past?
How can you contribute to change?

Public transport
Underground U1 Schlesisches Tor
Bus 265 Schlesisches Tor
Time to the next peace trail station
15 minutes by metro

East Side Gallery

The East Side Gallery is an international monument to freedom and hope. It was created on a section of the east side of the Berlin Wall by artists from around the world.

The East Side Gallery came about after the fall of the wall in 1990 as the first project between East and West German arts organisations. More than one hundred artists from twenty-one countries began to paint the 1.3 kilometre strip of wall on Mühlenstraße. This section of the eastern part of the wall which was once grey is now colourful. It has been under preservation order since 1991. There are more than one hundred paintings about overcoming the East-West divide, critically reflecting the political upheaval of the years 1989-1990 from a variety of perspectives. They mirror hopes of peace and a future together without a dividing wall.

After so many years, several of the paintings were in need of renovation so in 1997 the Artists Initiative East Side Gallery e.V. was founded to carry out restorations and save the murals from the effects of car emissions, graffiti and weathering. To coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the wall, public funding was made available to the organisation for the restoration of the East Side Gallery. Differences arose among the artists as to how the money was to be used, and several pictures are therefore no longer on display. This painted wall has become a Berlin landmark. Every year tens of thousands of tourists visit the East Side Gallery, which has evolved into a commercial enterprise.

Hope for peace and a future together without a dividing wall

Some of the artists have objected to the fact that they had no share in the proceeds and for that reason have painted over their pictures. In the past few years, segments of the wall have been removed from the gallery to facilitate building projects, notably drawing heavy protest from the public in 2013.

Located in a place where up to 1989 East was separated from West and where people died attempting to cross the border, the wall has become a memorial to reconciliation, understanding between peoples, and peace. The East Side Gallery celebrates hope, new-found freedom and the joy of overcoming division. However, it is also a place of great controversy regarding how public memory may be presented and who has a part in it.

Food for thought: Which visible and invisible walls exist in our society and in our minds?

Additional information
East Side Gallery www.eastsidegallery-berlin.de
Public transport
Underground U1 Warschauer Straße
Train S5, S7, S75 Warschauer Straße
Tram M10, M13 Warschauer Straße
Bus 347 Oberbaumbrücke
Time to the next peace trail station
5 minutes