Dr. Walter Benjamin à Paris

Aufzeichnungen von einem virtuellen Stadtrundgang

Mindestens dreizehn Mal musste Walter Benjamin in Paris, wohin er 1933 geflüchtet war, seinen Wohnort wechseln. Als Exilant war seine Lage über Jahre hinweg prekär. Benjamin wohnte in Hotels, so lange das mitgebrachte Geld oder ein schmales Honorar reichte. Zwischendurch versuchte er, bei Freunden und Bekannten Unterschlupf zu finden. Es ist also nicht leicht, über Benjamins viele und ständig wechselnde Wohnorte den Überblick zu behalten.

In Zeiten der umfassenden Google’schen Datenerfassung ist es allerdings ohne weiteres möglich — und gerade in Paris, die als erste europäische Stadt von Googles Street View erfasst worden ist — sich probeweise, den Adressen des Exils folgend, in ein paar Straßen zu begeben. Hier also der Versuch einer kleinen Benjamin-Tour durch Paris… die Tücken lagen wie immer im Detail.


Beginnen wir mit Benjamins erster Adresse im Pariser Exil des Jahres 1933 — das Hotel Istria, 29 Rue Campagne Premiere. Es folgte das Palace Hotel in 1, Rue Du Four (Foto unten)…

… und ein Apartment in der Rue de Jasmin, numéro 32. (Foto unten)

Auch im Hotel Floridor, 28, place Denfert-Rochereau (Foto unten) kam
Benjamin eine Zeit unter, schräg gegenüber eines Eingangs zu den Pariser Katakomben. Den anschließenden Sommer verbrachte Benjamin bei Bertolt Brecht im dänischen Skovsbostrand.

Und immer wieder, wenn das Geld nicht reichte, wohnte Walter Benjamin behelfsmäßig bei seiner Schwester Dora Benjamin, in eine Straße namens Villa Robert Lindet, Nr. 7. Das von Googles Kamerawagen fotografierte Haus scheint allerdings jüngeren Datums zu sein… (Foto unten)

…und auch bei diesem Haus in der Rue du Chateau 1, Boulogne, Seine (Foto unten), in dem Benjamin im September 1937 kurzfristig ein winziges möbliertes Zimmer zur Untermiete bei einer Else Herzberg bezog, handelt es sich eher um einen Neubau. (Oder, was natürlich sein kann, Google hat die Hausnummern durcheinandergebracht.) Für klärende Hinweise bin ich dankbar.

Im Januar 1938 bezieht Benjamin seine letzte Pariser Wohung — eine winziges Domizil im Süden, 10, Rue Dombasle (Foto unten). Ruhig war es allerdings auch dort nicht: Gleich zweimal wurde sein Aufenthalt durch Internierungen seitens der Franzosen unterbrochen. Im Juni 1940, einen Tag vor dem Einmarsch der Deutschen, musste Benjamin auch diese Wohnung verlassen. Er flieht, zusammen mit seiner Schwester, Richtung Lourdes. Benjamins letzter Brief, den er von der Rue Dombasle verschickt, datiert vom 6./7. Juni und ist an Max Horkheimer gerichtet, der bei den Vorbereitungen für eine Übersiedlung Benjamins in die USA, die nie zustande kam, geholfen hatte.

An der Fassade von Benjamins letztem Wohnsitz im 15. Arrondissement ist seit drei Jahren eine Gedenktafel angebracht. Die Laudatio hielt die stellvertretende Bürgermeisterin Anne Hidalgo im März 2007. Ihre Rede und Fotos der Einweihungsfeier, bei der neben dem französischen und deutschen Botschfter auch Stéphane Hessel anwesend war, finden sich hier. Googles Kamerawagen ist das kleine Schild nicht entgangen.

WALTER BENJAMIN
1892-1940
philosophe et écrivain allemand
traducteur
de Proust et Baudelaire
a vecu dans cet immeuble
de 1938 à 1940

Quellen:
— Walter Benjamin: Gesammelte Briefe IV, 1931-1934, V, 1935-1937 und VI, 1938-1940, hrsg. v. Christoph Gödde und Henri Lonitz, Frankfurt a. M. 1998, 1999 u. 2000
— Walter Benjamin: Das Adressbuch des Exils 1933-1940, hrsg. v. Christine Fischer-Defoy, Leipzig 2006
— http://www.anne-hidalgo.net/hommage-a-Walter-BENJAMIN.html

Fotos: Google Streetview

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