Close to the Bundestag is where you can find the Parliament of Trees against War and Violence. In German, this place is called Parlament der Bäume gegen Krieg und Gewalt and is a memorial for the people who died trying to cross the Berlin Wall. Ben Wagin, a performance artist that lives in Berlin since 1957, is the person responsible for creating this memorial at the border strip.
The installation was created back in 1990, right after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and it’s made of trees, memorial stones, some parts and pieces of the border fortifications and the names of the 258 people that died trying to cross the Berlin Wall.
The Parliament of Trees stands in the former no-man’s land and is made of 58 pieces of the Berlin Wall. But this is not the centre piece here. Everything in this memorial is about the trees. Trees planted by the prime ministers of the sixteen states that formed the unified Germany. Sixteen trees stand there today and are the foundation for this environmental art piece.
Today, a reminder of how everything used to be can be found inside a circular room in the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus where remnants of the Berlin Wall secured by Ben Wagin stand along the Wall’s former path. He hand painted numbers on each concrete slab with a year and the number of people that were killed at the wall in that year. This memorial was opened in 2005 and it is called the Wall memorial at the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus.
We found out about this memorial completely by accident when we were following the Berlin Wall made of light during the Lichtgrenze. We were looking for a different angle to take pictures from the Bundestag during a sunrise and there it was it. A unexpected garden in the middle of the Bundestag, so close to where the Reichstag is. How come we never heard about this place before? We did our research and, finally, had to publish something here.
This unconventional garden can be found close to Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus, which houses the library of the German Bundestag. It sits right in the heart of the Government Quarter and, because of that, has decreased in size and importance over the years due to the interest of property developers in the area. But the garden is still going strong.
You can reach the Parliament of Trees and the Wall Memorial from the Schiffbauerdamm promenade from 11:00 to 17:00 and admission is free.