|The Kindlifresserbrunnen (German for Child Eater Fountain) is a fountain at the Kornhausplatz (Granary Place) in Bern, Switzerland. It is one of the Old City of Bern's fountains from the 16th century.
It was created in 1545/46 by Hans Gieng in place of a wooden fountain from the 15th century. The new fountain's original name was Platzbrunnen (Place Fountain); the current name was used first in 1666. Kindli is a Swiss German diminutive for the German word Kind, meaning child. A literal translation of the name Kindlifresserbrunnen therefore would be "Fountain of the Eater of Little Children".
The fountain sculpture is a sitting ogre devouring a naked child. Placed at his side is a bag containing more children. Because the ogre is wearing a pointed hat resembling a Jewish hat, it has been speculated about the possibility of the ogre being the depiction of a Jew as an expression of blood libel against Jews. According to other theories it is a depiction of the Greek god Cronus. Probably, however, it is just a carnival character intended to frighten disobedient children.
It has also been said[who?] the Ogre is the older brother of Duke Berchtold, founder of Bern. It is said that the jealousy of being shadowed by his younger brother for so many years caused him to go mad, eventually sending him into a rage where he collected and ate town children.
Around the fountain's base runs a frieze showing armed bears going to war, including a piper and a drummer. The frieze was designed by Hans Rudolf Manuel.
The Kindlifresserbrunnen is an important object in the novel L'ogre (The Ogre) by Jacques Chessex.
Location: Bern, Switzerland
Category: Street Art: Sculptures/Statues
View in Google Earth
View in Google Maps