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The memorial close to Brandenburger Tor is also something not to be missed. The sheer number of blocks and stones of various sizes give weight to the number of people lost during the holocaust. Take a moment when you are there and remember that these crimes of lives gone past must never be forgotten and thus never be repeated.
Berlin's Most Contoversial Memorial ?
Berlin is a city that has seen many contentious projects over the years but The Holocaust Memorial has been one of its most controversial ever.
It wasn’t because it covers part of the site where Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels had his office, but for a variety of other reasons.
The ’Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe’ to give it its official name, was conceived by journalist Lea Rosh and designed by New Yorker Peter Eisenman. The area is about the size of three football pitches in an area of high real estate value, which for some was probably a lost opportunity to make some money no doubt. On the other hand it could be seen as a brave endorsement from the Berlin authorities to come to terms with its inauspicious past. After all, the bunker where Hitler committed suicide is just minutes away.
Built between April 2003 and Dec 2004, the monument consists of 2,711 slabs of concrete known as ‘Stelae’ arranged in a grid pattern on sloping ground which Eisenman wanted to be an “uneasy, confusing atmosphere”. Apparently he got his idea from the overcrowded Jewish cemetery in Prague.
This concrete maze cost €25m to install and it wasn’t just Berliners who thought that it didn’t belong here - even the Jewish fraternity thought that it wasn’t necessary.
The monument has an underground ‘Place of Information’ which makes a lot more sense of what it all means and holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims. Like any other holocaust museum it is a very profound experience, so make sure that you take time to go in there. It’s free but there are the necessary security checks.
If the site, cost and necessity of the monument wasn’t controversial enough there was something else that really upset people. The concrete slabs were given an anti-graffiti coating manufactured by Degussa, a company that had, in various ways been involved with the persecution of the Jews. A subsidiary company - Degesch - had even been the producer of Zyklon B gas which was used in the extermination camps.
Nevertheless, the memorial was officially opened on May 10th 2005 and has been visited by millions of people since.
This free open air museum prohibits smoking, drinking and noisy behaviour - but you try telling that to the coach loads of school kids who use it for playing ‘hide and seek’ - and if you wander through the blocks in the hours of darkness make sure your heart’s in good condition.
As you can probably gather, I don’t regard this monument as one of the highlights of Berlin, but it doesn’t matter what I think because you will inevitably come across it as it’s situated between the Brandenburg Gate and Potsdamer Platz - and you’ll be able to make up your own mind.
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New Kind of historical awareness
The world’s first-ever virtual concert in the Memorial of the murdered Jews.
Maybe someone remembers, on 9 May 2008, a unique concert was staged at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Specially composed for the occasion, Vor dem Verstummen by Harald Weiss received its world premiere in the field of stelae, when it was performed for an appreciative audience of thousands for the one and only time by musicians of the Berliner Kammersymphonie orchestra under the baton of celebrated conductor Lothar Zagrosek. The sound experienced by each individual was different, depending on his or her precise location amongst the stelae. Now it can be experienced again as the first virtual concert in the Memorial using an app on your smartphone.
You will need to visit the Memorial to experience the concert in all its unique interactivity. The sound of the instruments changes depending on your location and route through the field of stelae, growing louder or softer, more passionate or muted. This means that the concert you hear will be personal to you.
Outside the Memorial, you can listen to the piece in offline mode in the conventional, non-interactive way.
Here’s how it works:
1. You need an iPhone 4S or 5
2. The download may take some time
(at the Memorial, a free ‘virtual concert’ wifi is available at the corner of Cora-Berliner-Strasse and Hannah-Ahrendt-Strasse)
3. Please disable flight mode before launching the app
4. It may take more than a minute to launch
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Monument to murderded Jews of Europe
Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold designed strange monument, different also called as Holocaust monument. It consists of 2711 peaces of concrete, the area of "monument" is 19000 sq. meters. It was finally build in 2005, it was sixty years after the end of Second World War.
It is hard to tell what it symbolizes. For me it is like symbol of different people, young and old, different statuses of life, it was no matter who to kill, surely it just needed to be Jewish people... For some people it looks like cemetery.
Nowadays it is one of the most interesting places in Berlin, as you can not only watch if, but also walk hundreds of meters inside.
Information center about the murdered Jews
As this information center is really the one quite modern and full of information, it is popular among tourists. The entrance is free.
Place represents story about murdered Jews in Europe during during Second World War. It is presented in pictures, memories, short movies, maps, so on. I have found also some descriptions about this tragedy in Lithuanian land. Place really touching and is good one to learn one of the bad moments in modern history.
The Holocaust memorial in Berlin, officially the "Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe ', is still fairly new and immediately called a lot of controversy the monument was designed by architect Peter Eisenman and consists of 2711 concrete blocks up on an area of 19,000 sqm.
These blocks are the same length and width, but the height varies which according to Eisenmann evoke a sense of isolation and disorientation, symbolic of the events during the Holocaust. Special is that you can just walk across and between the blocks
The monument is accessible from all sides there is no main entrance, choose yourself where you get-in and get-out
Officially called the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, this striking monument of concrete slabs was erected between 2003 and 2004. It was inaugurated in 2005. The slabs are designed in a pattern created to an uneasy, confusing atmosphere. This is only one part of this memorial/museum.
Underground is the other part. Admission is free. Upon passing through security, you enter the first of several rooms. The first gives a brief history of the Nazis and the Holocaust. Then you come to a wall with 6 large faces, a different person, each representing the 6 Million. Following, you then enter the Room of Dimensions, Room of Families, Names and Places. Its all very moving and sad. But, all very well done and a must see.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
This highly unusual memorial consists of 2,711 concrete slabs or "stelae" arranged in a grid pattern on a slightly sloping ground occupying an entire city block of 19,000 square meters.
You can enter and walk through the field from all four sides, and experience the wave-like form of the stelae differently from each different position.
After a fair amount of controversy, this unique design by the New York architect Peter Eisenman was approved in 1999, built starting in 2003 and completed in 2005. The Field of Stelae is open to the public day and night.
Eisenman recognizes that his design represents a radical break with the traditional concept of a memorial. In 1998 he explained: "The enormity and scale of the horror of the Holocaust is such that any attempt to represent it by traditional means is inevitably inadequate ... Our memorial attempts to present a new idea of memory as distinct from nostalgia ... We can only know the past today through a manifestation in the present."
In one corner of the site there is also an underground Information Center which is intended "to back up the abstract form of remembrance inspired by the Memorial with concrete facts and information about the victims."
Memorial for the murdered jews of Europe
Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas is literally the Memorial for the murdered jews of Europe and is also known as The Holocaust Memorial. The memorial has caused very much contraversy since being erected in 2005, one of the main contraversies is the Degussa incident. Degussa is a company that provides a special anti grafiti spray on the memorial which makes it easier to remove swastikas that are painted on by pro nazis. In 2003 it was discovered that Degussa had produced Zyklon B which was used by the Nazi's to kill the jews in the gas chambers.
Another contraversy during the building of this memorial was that the memorial was built solely in memory of the murdered jews in the Holocaust and that it was not just Jews who were killed, but also homosexuals too. A complaint was made and in the park oposit an equally contraversal monument was built in memory of the homosexuals killed during the Holocaust. The memorial is a large concrete slab where you look through a whole to see a re-running tape of 2 men kissing. This led to more and more groups of people affected in the Holocaust to make complaints and memorials built.
The third contraversy is that the memorial is built on top of an old Nazi Bunker. However, after some thought they decided that it would be a good idea to have it built there.
The memorial is made out of large concrete slabs that are all different in height. It is believed to represent the uncertanty that the jews faced during the Holocaust.
To the end of the memorial is an underground "museum" where you can enter free of charge. It is a large dark room where the names of all of the jews who were murdered during the Holocaust are light up on the walls. There are also some picture displays and some more information.
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Remembering the Holocaust
This memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust is definitely worth visiting. The memorial is spread out over a large area (around 19,000 square metres) and consists of row upon row of concrete slabs each vaguely different from each other. It is the creation of the American architect Peter Eisenmann and was completed in 2005. Walking around the memorial is a strange experience. It is quite bewildering as the concrete slabs get taller and slant in more. Add to that the experience of hearing other people shuffling around nearby but not being able to see them and the effect is quite unnerving.
It is free to wander around the memorial.
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Holocaust Memorial - Very Prominent
As we walked from Alexander Platz we entered Unter Den Linden Strasse on our way to the Brandenburg Gate, sometimes entering side streets for 50 metres or so looking for something different.
We suddendly stumbled upon the the vast area of steel grey blocks, thousands of blocks, different sizes, and they made an immediate impression. We stopped and looked for a minute and then decided to walk amongst the blocks as we could see people scattered throughout.
We were there for about 20 minutes, a special monument created by American architect Peter Eisenman during 2005.
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The most visible and most impactful element of the Holocaust Denkmal is the Field of Stelae, described in my other tip. But that is no ordinary memorial, lacking as it does any inscription, dates, names, facts and figures. Indeed, how could a memorial ever carry all the names that would be needed?
To learn more, you must descend to the Information Centre beneath. Here an incredibly well thought through, well presented and very moving exhibit will leave you in no doubt of the horror of the Holocaust. Its effectiveness comes, in my view, in the way it blends the big picture stories and historical facts with the stories of individuals and families. As the website explains, “A central function of the Information Centre is to back up the abstract form of remembrance inspired by the Memorial with concrete facts and information about the victims.”
The exhibition is staged in a series of rooms. In the first you get the big picture – a chronological overview of National Socialist policy between 1933 and 1945. A line of images and texts deals with the persecution and murder of European Jews during this time, and also touches on that of other groups such as Roma and homosexuals. Two things struck me in particular about this display. Firstly, that the text regularly refers to “Germany”, not “the Nazis” – there is a collective, national, acceptance of responsibility that seems to go beyond what we might reasonably expect. Secondly, although this is a historical overview, it is personalised with references to the individuals seen in the photos, when these are known. Look at my second photo carefully – the text reads “Photographs from an album made as a present for the camp commander” – what a sick present that was.
In the following rooms the displays are much more personal. In the Room of Dimensions, seen in my main photo, brightly lit “windows” in the floor contain diary entries, letters and last notes that were written during the Holocaust. I was so impressed by the conduct of these two young girls and their quiet concentration as they read and whispered over the individual stories told here. In the next room, the Room of Families, various Jewish lifestyles are shown, illustrated by 15 “typical” family stories. We meet a Kosher butcher, a Rabbi, and many others – families whose lives were torn apart by the Holocaust. The aim is “to illustrate in vivid form the contrast between life before, during and after the persecution, the destruction of Jewish culture and the associated loss.” In the Room of Names, which follows, the names and brief biographies of murdered and missing Jews from all over Europe can be heard. – an attempt “to dissolve the incomprehensible abstract number of six million murdered Jews and to release the victims from their anonymity”. We are told that, “The reading of the names and life stories of all the victims in the form presented here would take approximately six years, seven months and 27 days.”
We spent much less time in the remaining rooms, which deal with the geographical locations of concentration camps and other sites of persecution, including a portal giving information on other memorial sites in Germany and abroad, with practical information such as opening times, bus and train connections and organised visits. There is also an extensive database of material relating to the development of the memorial and the debate that surrounded it, which would no doubt be of great interest to scholars.
The Information Centre is open from April to September from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (last entrance 7.15 p.m.) and from October to March from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (last entrance 6.15 p.m.). Note that it is closed on Mondays. Admission is free, though you may of course make a donation, and an audio guide is available for €4, in German, English and Dutch. It is not recommended as a place for under 14s to visit, although my experience of watching these two girls shows that this is very much an individual judgement and some younger ones will be able to cope with the horrors presented and approach the exhibits in a spirit of empathetic interest.
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The Field of Stelae
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a memorial not just for Berlin, but for the whole of Germany, and struck me as a very open and honest response by that country to one of the darkest periods in its history. The memorial consists of two parts: the Field of Stelae, and the Information Centre. I will describe the latter in my next tip.
The Field of Stelae covers a large area in the centre of the city, not far from the Brandenburg Gate and the former Berlin Wall. It was designed by Peter Eisenmann and opened in 2005. It consists of 2,711 concrete blocks set on a slope, all of different sizes – no two are alike. They appear to flow and undulate in waves, especially if viewed from a distance (see photo 3 which I took from the top of the Panorama Punkt). There are no plaques, inscriptions, or religious symbols on the blocks.
You can walk between the blocks , and as you do so you discover that many are much taller than they seem to be from the edge of the monument. Soon you find yourself walking between blocks that tower over you. You feel lost in the labyrinth. Now and then your path crosses with that of another. Architect Peter Eisenman has said that he wanted visitors to feel the loss and disorientation that Jews felt during the Holocaust, and that was certainly my sensation – even to wondering if I would easily find my way out.
Some critics have apparently protested that the Memorial is too abstract and does not present historical information about the Nazi campaign against the Jews. But that is not its purpose – the Information Centre beneath does that job, and does it very well. Others though say that the Memorial resembles a vast field of nameless tombstones and captures vividly the horror of the Nazi death camps. It is certainly not a memorial in the traditional sense; no names are carved here, no details recorded. But if the purpose of a memorial is to make you stop and think, this one serves that purpose – and does it with supreme effectiveness.
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Memorial to the Murdered jews
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (German: Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas), also known as the Holocaust Memorial (German: Holocaust-Mahnmal), is a memorial in Berlin to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It consists of a 19,000 square meter (4.7 acre) site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or "stelae", one for each page of the Talmud arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field
Massive but Understated Monument
Spread across several hundred yards of open area is a stunning monument to those lost in the Holacoust. Blocks of concrete running in lines at various heights from a few feet to maybe 6 feet tall create an impressive sight. Note the interplay between shadow and light.
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