Berlin – I paused as I cycled past. What is that behind the fence on the way from Hardenbergplatz to the zoo, between the railway line and the zoological garden? I asked myself that in the spring. I saw colored cobblestones, a photo of a woman with dark curly hair. I knew immediately that this was Susanne Fontaine. The sixty-year-old art historian was murdered four years ago here in Charlottenburg on September 5th. It got close to me, but I didn’t stop. The season of the city forays had started again and I continued to strive for one of my favorite places, the café in the country.
In the following weeks, the new memorial site surprisingly appeared several times in conversations with friends. We had all noticed the emergence, we know the terrible deed: Susanne Fontaine was on her way to the bus late in the evening. The perpetrator attacked her, dragged her into the bushes, and the murder lasted a few minutes. The body was only found after days of searching.
The place didn’t leave me in peace, finally I asked the press office of the Mitte district and got this answer: “After the violent death of Ms. Fontaine, her husband approached the district with the request to remember her at this location. For the design, a small competition was held between the district training districts and the best design was implemented in coordination with the husband. After the plantings have been completed and grown in, the site fence will be dismantled this year. It is an individual case analogous to a homicide on Alexanderplatz. The dramatic circumstances of the murder of the victim must be taken into account – the perpetrator should have already been deported, the problematic situation with not optimally maintained green spaces (due to the heavy vegetation, the act could go unnoticed and the victim was only found late) and the insensitive information policy of Investigative authorities against the husband as well as the immediate vicinity of the police station, which could not prevent the act – which make the accusation of state failure by the bereaved husband seem understandable. “
I was back the other day, stood a long time ago. The bushes around the cordoned off place are still overgrown, a man relieved himself carelessly. Nobody stopped and looked at Susanne Fontaine. I hope that will change after the fence is removed.