Small places of remembrance. The delicate porcelain panels nestle discreetly on house walls and facades. There are already over 500 of these places throughout Berlin. And there are more and more. Since 1985, the memorial plaques made at the KPM have commemorated outstanding personalities and special institutions. They tell stories and keep history alive. We want to show you some of them in the coming months!

Fictional figure, musician, actor – David Bowie

Today we start with Hauptstrasse 155 in Schöneberg. One of the greatest musicians in pop history lived there from 1976 to 1978: David Bowie . “Major Tom” or “Thin White Duke”, androgynous alien in a knitted body and kimono, Ziggy Stardust with make-up and teased hair: Bowie was a style-defining fictional character , a gifted musician , a versatile actor , a terrific lyricist , in short: an in outstanding artist in every respect.

When the then 29-year-old musician moved to Berlin, only die-hard fans probably knew about the Schöneberger Quartier - but since 2016 the whole world has known. Every year on the anniversary of his death, January 10th, hundreds of flowers, candles and farewell gifts commemorate his life and his work - which did not remain unproductive during his years in the German capital. The three albums “Low”, “Heroes” and “Lodger” have gone down in pop history as the “Berlin Trilogy” . And the rest of the year the white board bears witness to this.

RCA Records

RCA Records

RCA Records

In transit: Mark Twain

Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer – have you also read the adventure stories by Mark Twain , who brought the big world into our children's rooms? What many people don't know: the trained typesetter worked primarily as a journalist - or more precisely as a travel journalist. That's exactly why he ended up in Europe for the third time in 1891, where he stayed for nine years. Our search for clues takes us to where the American lived during the winter months of 1891/1892 : Körnerstrasse 7 in the Tiergarten district.

Before glazing, the medallions are protected by a layer of wax applied with a brush. The wax melts during the firing, releasing the delicate bisque porcelain medallions and the remaining porcelain surfaces shine with their shine.

Mark Twain (1835-1910)

In his travel diaries he was quite humorous and sharp-tongued compared to his socially critical literary works. He repeatedly praised intellectual Berlin - albeit in an ironic way: **“** I actually believe that there is nothing in the world that you cannot learn here. Except the German language.” – A language that the author could not get used to until his death in 1910. Unfortunately, Twain's life in the capital had little literary impact. The translation of Struwwelpeter into English is certainly one of his highlights.

The house on Körnerstrasse, which the writer affectionately referred to as the “ragpickers’ quarters,” was demolished in 1902 and replaced by a post office, where we can find the memorial plaque today.

With love for the city: Christian Morgenstern

At Stuttgarter Platz 4 in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf we find another KPM porcelain plaque. The writer and playwright Christian Morgenstern lived here around the turn of the century.

Christian Morgenstern (1871 – 1914)

Morgenstern had the talent to use language extremely creatively, which was particularly popular with readers of his works. His ironic and amiable – sometimes a bit biting – wit made for great reading pleasure. The “Gallows Songs” are among his most successful works and also inspired other artists. This also applies to the sculptor Ludwig Gies, who was inspired to create the sculpture “Mondschaf” in 1926 based on the poem of the same name.

The time in Berlin had a great impact on Morgenstern, who died of tuberculosis in 1914. He recorded his love for the capital in his melancholic poem “Berlin” in 1906:

I love you in the fog and at night,
when your lines swim into each other, –
especially at night when your windows are glowing
and humanity makes your rock come alive.
What is desolate in the day becomes mysterious in the dark;
They stand there mystically like castles of the soul,
the row of houses, with their sparkling lights;
and unity senses those who otherwise only saw diversity.
The last splendor fades away in blind panes;
A game lies in its boxes;
a turbulent hustle and bustle rests tamed,
and what dreams so full of fate becomes holy.

On your next visit to Berlin, look out for the delicate memorial plaques. Wieland Schütz's award-winning design remains unchanged to this day. Whether Richard Strauss, Inge Meysel, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Hildegard Knef or Harald Juhnke: the list of stories that want to be told through the porcelain plates is long.

Have you already discovered any? Then feel free to share it with us via Instagram. To do this, simply post your photo to your Instagram feed or Instagram story and tag @kpmberlin. We are looking forward to your contributions!