A Traveling Tombstone

A project in collaboration with sculptor Robert Schmidt-Matt and the initiative “Paul A. Levine Library”.

This natural stone sculpture series is planed in memory of the Holocaust historian Paul A. Levine, with his epitaph carved into it:


A Traveling Tombstone Tevat Paul.  Diabas 10 x 10 x 12. Sculptor:  Robert Schmidt-Matt.
A Traveling Tombstone Tevat Paul. Diabas 10 x 10 x 12. Sculptor: Robert Schmidt-Matt.

Why A Traveling Tombstone for Paul Levine?

Because the burial site for historian Paul A. Levine is a collective grave at the edge of the cemetery road.

In the last six years of his life the prominent Holocaust historian Paul A. Levine lived and researched in Berlin. Here, in Berlin, he wanted to be buried and known; Levine wished a tombstone for his last resting place. For an inscription on it he left his wording, an afterglow in the form of the oxymoron “RESPONSIBLE IRRESPONSIBILITY”. But for unknown reasons his wish was denied,

This thoughtlessness had irreversible consequences and precluded any possibility of fulfilling Professor Levine’s will to erect a tombstone with his personally prepared words. His idea of an individual tombstone was thus destroyed.

How do we respond to such Irretrievable Destruction❓ When the place of burial is collective – where, then, is Levine’s own grave❓ In which culture of remembrance do we find the grounds that make it possible to separate locality❓

💡 A Traveling Tombstone sculpture series is both an artistic challenge and a pragmatic attempt to find a solution, after two years of dealing with these thorny question. The answer seemed self-evident – we transform a senseless act into a meaningful memorial: a Traveling Tombstone!

"PILPAUL" – A Traveling Tombstone Project
"TEVAT PAUL" – A Traveling Tombstone Project
“BEYAHAD LO NI-PAUL“; series: “A Traveling Tombstone”; Sculptor: Robert Schmidt-Matt.

A Traveling Tombstone Series – The Idea

Inspired by Daniel Boyarin from his book “A Traveling Homeland[1], the answer was found (obvious for a student of Jewish Studies): if a homeland can travel as a concept, then, under certain circumstances, a monument/tombstone could travel as well.

[1] Professor of Talmudic Culture, historian and philosopher of religion Daniel Boyarin argues that Jews carry their homeland with them into the diaspora in the form of textual community built around the study of the Talmud. In: Boyarin, Daniel, A Traveling Homeland, 2015.

Based on these considerations, but above all to fulfill the last wish of the Jewish-American-Swedish historian, the idea of A Traveling Tombstone was created. On the one hand, the new concept should illuminate the idea of the monument from a different perspective. Moreover, the memory of Paul A. Levine would be carved in stone, as he wished, with his own last words.

The search for a solution brought together the Initiative and Robert Schmidt-Matt, an artist working in Kreuzberg, Berlin. A special detail – the core idea in all his works – is the integrity of the parts and their simultaneous inseparability. His way of dealing with contradiction was highly convincing when his sculptures, full of dialectics, appeared before the observer. Through the inseparability and simultaneous integrity of the opposing parts in the Berlin sculptor’s art, the most important basic law of dialectics, the essence of dialectic contradiction, becomes visible: the unity and the struggle of opposites, which is obviously also hidden in Levine’s message.


It is a seemingly irrational message that might want to give us the basic idea about life and history: The history of mankind, like life itself, is anything but rational – both are full of contradictions.

Dedicated to the Holocaust historian in 2021, Tevat Paul is the fives sculpture from the existing series Zweisam by the Berlin artist. It is the sculpture No. 1 that opens the proposed new series, A Traveling Tombstone, in memory of Paul A. Levine.

Our Goal:

We aim to present the Traveling Tombstone Series as a piece of art and a concept in different places, to visit our partners, to find new friends and further support.

Invite our Traveling Exhibition  to your institution: email @CONTACT 📩 

Support our Traveling Sculptures Project direct:

Elena Medvedev

Our project “A Traveling Monument”