1500 Spectacular “Finds” Return to the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte

13.04.2022
Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte

In the 1960s West Berlin painter Peter Grämer excavated the ruins of the former Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts, now Martin-Gropius-Bau). His widow Christine Weber has recently given the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte (Museum of Prehistory and Early History) 1500 objects, mainly ceramics, but also made of bronze, iron and stone.

Beginning in 1921, Martin-Gropius-Bau, which long served as the Kunstgewerbemuseum, housed the collections of the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte ‒ Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. During the Second World War, only the most valuable objects could be moved out of the line of destruction and brought into safekeeping. As a result, tens of thousands of artefacts from all ages were buried beneath the rubble after a bombing raid struck the museum in 1945. In the postwar period, the destroyed museum attracted West Berlin “hobby archaeologists”, who excavated the ruins and succeeded in recovering some significant pieces.

The painter Peter Grämer (b. 1939) was among them, coming to the site with fellow students from the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste (now the Berlin University of the Arts, UdK) previously located in Stresemannstraße. Grämer was very successful in discovering archaeological finds in the debris. Christine Weber, the widow of the artist who died in 2018, has given an assortment of 1500 objects to the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte. Most of these are ceramics (shards and entire vessels), but bronze, iron and stone objects are included as well. Ms Weber also gave the museum three notebooks in which her husband captured his most important finds in pen-and-ink. His drawings also accurately documented where they they were discovered.

If you or someone else knows of similar “finds” within private circles, please don’t hesitate to contact us by email: h.junker@smb.spk-berlin.de