Remember Resistance 33-45 – The Heilmann Family

The Berlin street artist Paula Marie has created a ONE WALL on the facade of an apartment building at Habermannzeile 1C in Charlottenburg-Nord. The painting is the result of a cooperation between the German Resistance Memorial Center, the Foundation Berliner Leben with the support of Gewobag.

The mural deals with the resistance against National Socialism and artistically commemorates people from the resistance, after whom the streets of the Paul-Hertz-Siedlung and its surroundings are named.

Paula Marie dedicates her mural to the resistance of the Heilmann family. Ernst Heilmann, after whom the adjacent Heilmannring is named, his wife Magdalena with daughter Eva, and Else Behrend-Rosenfeld can be seen. The latter was hidden and cared for by the family during the Nazi era.

Paula Marie created the four portraits as one line drawing. In this technique, which is characteristic of her work, a motif is created from a single line. Through the free-square outline of the individual faces and their arrangement on the facade, they are reminiscent not only of windows in the building, but also of commemorative brass plaques (Stolpersteine).

Ernst Heilmann came from a Jewish Berlin family. He was a lawyer and was elected to the Reichstag as a member of the SPD in 1928. He was a staunch opponent of the National Socialists and vigorously defended democracy. After the beginning of the Nazi dictatorship, in June 1933 Ernst Heilmann was deported to various prisons and concentration camps by the Nazis. In April 1940, he was murdered in the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Because of her Jewish and Social Democratic father, the eldest daughter of the family, Eva Heilmann, was also subjected to profound discrimination. She had to change schools in 1933 and was later not admitted to university for political and racist reasons.

Ernst Heilmann’s wife Magdalena hid Jews in her apartment in the 1940s to protect them from deportation. Her children supported her in setting up a network to shelter and feed Jews in hiding: “Several times Jews hid with us or we provided food for those in hiding elsewhere. In return, I was able to obtain food stamps from them in my company (…), where there were several opposing colleagues.” (Eva Heilmann, source: Hans-Rainer Sandvoß, Widerstand in Kreuzberg, Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand 1996).

In a workshop, Paula Marie worked with students from the Anna Freud School to develop the motif for the theme. Over the course of two days, the group explored the history of the Heilmann family and learned techniques such as scribbling and one line drawings from the artist. Inspired by the motifs of the students’ work, Paula Marie implemented the mural. In this way, people from the resistance against National Socialism are made tangible in everyday life.

By loading the video, you agree to YouTube’s privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

Production of the One Wall by Paula Marie, Video: YES, AND… productions

The mural project was carried out in conjunction with the project “Remember Resistance 33-45” in the program “Youth Remembers” of the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

About the German Resistance Memorial Center 

The German Resistance Memorial Center in Berlin-Mitte is a place of remembrance for the men and women of the resistance against National Socialism. With a large exhibition, extensive educational work and scientific research, it provides information about the resistance. The memorial aims to show how individuals and groups resisted the Nazi dictatorship and used their scope for action. More information HERE.

Ceremonial inauguration

On October 18, the ceremonial inauguration of the monument took place in the presence of the grandson of the Heilmann family. He spoke moving words in front of an audience of about 50 people, including two school classes of the Anna Freud School, the principal and teacher, the artist Paula Marie, a whole team of Gewobag, some local residents, representatives of the German Resistance Memorial Foundation and the Foundation Berliner Leben and some relatives of the Heilmann family and of Mrs. Rosenfeldt. We are thankful about the commitment, which enables active commemoration in public space and makes the street names come alive.

Involved Persons