The painter and graphic artist Monika-Elisa Budzinski was born in Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia) in 1941. She lived most of her life in East Berlin, where she died in 2004. In 1990 she painted the Erich Fried poem “Wer will, dass die Welt…” on the Berlin Wall as a reminder of the necessity of change for a sustainable future.
Budzinski’s black-and-white painting shows lines from a poem by Austrian poet Erich Fried in German and English: Wer will, dass die Welt so bleibt wie sie ist, der will nicht, dass sie bleibt / He who wants the world to remain as it is doesn’t want it to remain at all. Framed in black in the style of an obituary, the warning words are shown alongside a dead tree. In 2009 Shamil Gimayev, another of the East Side Gallery’s contributing artists, renovated the painting in remembrance of his late fellow artist.
Budzinski was born in Königsberg, East Prussia, during the Second World War. She grew up in East Berlin and lived and worked for many years as a graphic artist and painter in Adlershof. In 1989 Budzinski became involved in the human rights organisation Amnesty International. She produced much political art, such as a linocut showing a quote by Robert Havemann, a vocal critic of the GDR regime. She died after a long illness, aged 63, in Berlin.