Wilhelm Haller’s memorial hall in Halle.

What happens to a building after its completion? What stories can it tell? In 1932, Leipzig architect Wilhelm Haller left Germany with his family, in the shadow of imminent disaster, and began a new life in Israel. His buildings were left behind. One of them is the Jewish mourning hall in Halle, which was built in 1929. The film reconstructs the building’s architecture and, at the same time, tries to unravel the individual threads of the story that was woven in this place. In the beginning, the building was used for its intended purpose, as a mourning hall. But this could only last for a short period of time. Barely a decade after the opening, the NS regime forced the municipality to surrender the hall, and they used it themselves. All the ornaments were taken, and the space of the building was divvied up into smaller rooms. Jews were kept in the chambers until they were sent to labour and extermination camps. After this regime came the next. During the GDR, the now conveniently-divided building was used as an old people’s home. Although the mourning hall still exists today, it is in a state of severe disrepair. The Star of David of the reconstructed entrance gates show its reuse as a mourning hall. However, with its dirty grey façade and the history of this place in Halle, the building is barely noticeable. This film attempts to approach the complex afterlife of modern architecture, in which religious buildings were also created in the style of the “New Objectivity” movement.

A project by
Alan Marie Linnemann
Katharina Benjamin

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Duration 33:09 min