Building and Fountain

To manifest the transformation of Frankfurt into the »City of German Handicrafts« the National Socialist Mayor Friedrich Krebs wanted to set a monumental symbol. In addition to plans for a »House of German Handicrafts« he commissioned the Berlin sculptor Max Esser with the design of a fountain. The »Fountain of German Handicrafts« was intended to represent the significance of handicrafts for National Socialism and the City of Frankfurt. Esser’s design, a lavish, extravagantly symbolic model in artistically worked bronze, was in deliberate contrast to the conceptional approaches put forward in Frankfurt by the Städelschule in recent years. The monumental character of the fountain with its dedication to German craftsmanship was a programmatic component of the ideological portrayal of the City and the banishment of its long-standing Jewish-liberal tradition. Initially the Römerberg was under discussion as its location, but ultimately the choice was made for the Frankfurt Opernplatz. Despite the award of the contract to Max Esser in 1938, the fountain and its handicraft emblems vanished into oblivion. The outset of war and the ensuing shortages prevented its construction.