The Walter Benjamin House

A rehabilitation and reform project

The Angelus Novus Foundation has promoted, together with the Portbou City Council, the project of rehabilitation and reform of the old schools and old Town Hall building, which belongs to this municipal entity and is a modernist building with a great symbolic load, today classified as BCIL, as the "Casa Walter Benjamin".

The project, by the architects Joan Falgueras and Jordi Pigem de Palol, was sponsored by FGC. The project gives the building maximum functionality and environmental beauty at the heart de village, with a rear projection towards the Memorial Passages by Dani Karavan, today BCIN, located in the esplanade of the cemetery. It is a proposal of local architects that incorporates urban and territorial aspects, including the particular landscape and the climatic and historical context.

The Walter Benjamin House wants to permanently explain the memory of the passing of Walter Benjamin (Berlin, 1892 - Portbou, 1940) for this population and welcome and do grow your thinking, be a center for humanities studies and research international vocation, defend the memory of Portbou as a strategic place and passage border of the south-north and north-south international exile, as well as the culture and the European identity in favor of peace, democratic values, human rights and address contemporary thinking in today's society.

The Walter Benjamin House 

Photography: Angelus Novus Foundation.

Preserving historical memory

The Walter Benjamin House will have a permanent and changing museography for the story of Walter Benjamin's passage through Portbou in international harmony with others German and Jewish intellectuals who crossed the Pyrenees in similar circumstances of north-south exile, as well as hosting the story and documentation of Memorial Passages by Dani Karavan and the work of that Israeli sculptor. He will explain the crossing of the Pyrenees, Ruta Líster, Ruta F. and Ruta Walter Benjamin, dedicated to guide Lisa Fittko and many others guides of this border. Likewise, it will have a space for temporary exhibitions, the Walter Benjamin Library and a multipurpose space for cultural events and terrace viewpoint overlooking the town.

In 2022, the project has been exhibited in the Espacio Isern Dalmau of the Fundación Lluís Coromina in Barcelona and at the Frankfurt Book Fair, at the Ministry's proposal of Culture and Sport and it has been explained before the kings of Spain, Minister Miquel Iceta and the German Minister of Culture Claudia Roth.

The Walter Benjamin House 

Photography: Angelus Novus Foundation.



The project of The House Walter Benjamin

Who is Walter Benjamin?

Walter Benjamin (Berlín, 1892 - Portbou, 1940)

He is the most important German intellectual of Jewish origin of the 20th century. writer, philosopher, literary critic and essayist, is considered one of its more critical, singular, heterodox and prophetic voices. In his writings we can find the German idealism, the romanticism, the historical materialism and Jewish mysticism turning it into a key figure in contemporary thought.

From 1933 to 1940 he suffered exile and the persecution of Nazism, until crossing on foot, sick, the Pyrenees fleeing from the Gestapo towards the United States, but upon arriving at Portbou and knowing that he would be repatriated the next day, he preferred to end his life in this border town where he was finally buried.

Schools, universities and teaching centers in different fields of knowledge regularly consult the works of Walter Benjamin and many people visit Portbou every year looking for and tomb and his imprint in this town.

Walter Benjamin

Photography: Angelus Novus Foundation.