Forgotten Jewish Architects

Signage & Environmental Graphics, Exhibition Design

Signage system for a Berlin-based association researching the lives and works of German-speaking Jewish architects.

In 1933, two years after Hitler came to power, Jewish citizens were persecuted and victimised across Germany. All Jewish citizens were forced to stop trading, and amongst them were 500 architects. Some managed to flee, others were deported and killed in concentration camps. Many architects who were once well-known are now forgotten and their works have been altered or destroyed.

Each year, Berlin commemorates the victims of the Nazi regime with numerous activities and events and this year the theme was ‘Diversity Destroyed’. The Berlin-based Association for the Research on the Lives and Works of German-speaking Jewish Architects (Gesellschaft Zur Erforschung Des Lebens Und Wirkens Deutschsprachiger Jüdischer Architekten) was responsible for one of those activities, Forgotten Jewish Architects, which brings to light the forgotten biographies of the Jewish architects who contributed to the remarkable modern style of buildings created in the 1920s and 1930s in pre-war Germany.

Pentagram Berlin was asked to create signs and information graphics to be put up in front of buildings designed by Jewish architects before 1933. To manage possible acts of vandalism, bespoke metal frames with magnetic vinyls sunken into the frames are used, which allow for replacement panels if needed.

The frames are durable and have borders lined with the names of 500 Jewish architects. Black and red were used for the information panels to create a strong impact and also give the signs a sense of urgency.

There are currently 26 signs displayed in various locations around Berlin.

The signage projects follows Forgotten Architects, a Pentagram Paper exploring the story of German Jewish architects, which takes examples from the extensive research by Myra Warhaftig.

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