benjamin. stones. menhir.


walter benjamin’s grave in portbou. the epitaph in german, repeated in catalan, quotes from section 7 of theses on the philosophy of history: //there is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.//. a natural stone that seems to seek its origins in the menhirs of prehistory.

expecting repatriation to nazi hands, walter benjamin killed himself with an overdose of morphine tablets on the night of 25 september 1940 while staying in the hotel de francia; where he was waiting to get across the border.

the others in his party were allowed passage the next day, and safely reached lisbon on 30 september. a manuscript of benjamin’s on the concept of history was passed to theodor adorno by hannah arendt, who crossed the french-spanish border at portbou a few months later, and was subsequently published by the institute for social research (temporarily relocated to new york) in 1942.

a completed manuscript, which benjamin had carried in his suitcase, disappeared after his death and has not been recovered. some critics speculate that it was his arcades project in a final form.