I must confess that I did not much like the idea that a monumental portrait or something like a mausoleum was to be erected in memory of my uncle in the landscape between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean. When I saw the plans for the memorial project, I immediately felt that the solution developed by Dani Karavan was highly interesting.

Dani Karavan’s memorial will further the task that Walter Benjamin left us.

Michael Benjamin, ‘Opening the Door’, text written for the Karavan Memorial in Portbou, 1993.

Dani wanted to know how I feel about his work. But I cannot find the words. People often ask me how I interpret this monument. I have not yet found an answer; I cannot interpret it because it moves me.

Lisa Fittko, active resistance fighter and emigrée, guided Walter Benjamin across the border from Banyuls to Portbou in September 1940. She returned to Portbou for the inauguration of the Karavan Memorial. Author of the book Escape Through the Pyrenees.

I think that with this work Dani Karavan has made possible an almost personal encounter with Benjamin.

Helga Maria zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, emigrée and opponent of Nazism. She and her husband Hubertus founded the German Academy of Arts and Sciences in exile in the United States in 1936. She attended the inauguration of the Memorial in Portbou.


Karavan has made the rough nature of the Catalan mountains speak through a restrained and therefore particularly penetrating artistic translation. Here there is no consolation, no effusion of sentiment, no moral lesson dictated to the visitor; on the contrary, the artistic interpretation of the landscape opens up in all its force.

Ingrid Scheurmann, along with Konrad Scheurmann, and director of the Memorial Arbeitskreis selbständiger Kultur-Institute (AsKI), Bonn.