Walter Benjamin Memorial Space

After several years gestation, on 27 September 2009, the 69th anniversary of Walter Benjamin’s death, the project for the future Walter Benjamin Remembrance Centre was presented in Portbou. Created to keep the memory of the German thinker alive, the 800 m2 Centre is housed in the old town hall building, now fully refurbished, and will take its place in the network of Remembrance Sites of Catalonia set up by the Catalan government with the aim of recovering and making known the country’s memorial heritage: routes of exile, mass graves, bunkers and other places of memory.

The first floor of the new Centre will have a permanent exhibition on the life of Walter Benjamin, with the focus on his flight from Nazi Germany to Paris and his journey to Portbou and his death. There will also be a Youth Area, a variety of cultural activities and a room for temporary exhibitions. The rest of the building will include an information point, the Walter Benjamin Library and a memorial hostel.

The Centre’s funding will come from Portbou Town Council, the Generalitat de Catalunya and the European Union by way of its cross-border cooperation projects. The work of refurbishing the old city hall is expected to commence in 2010. The roof of the building has already been restored and the architects are completing the construction drawings.