Finished in 2005, this memorial is huge, and in the best property development area in the city, so the significance of it is clear to everyone. It consists of upright black "pillars" which are supposed to represent a wheat field and the ground they stand in has been paved with cobbles in an up and down fashion so that it really looks like a rolling field. Children love to play hide and seek in the monument which is really not the point of this sombre place at all, but then again, I even saw grieving people smiling at them...
If you are Jewish or have a strong interest in Jewish history, there is also a Jewish Museum and a whole Jewish quarter with Berlin's beautiful synagogue just north of Haeckscher Markt near Alexanderplatz. As we had our seven-year-old with us who should not be exposed to harrowing photos and such, we just strolled in those quarters without visiting the museum which I believe otherwise is very educational.
On the site of the former Berlin Wall (yes it was that broad), now stands the Holocaust memorial. Above ground it consists of a glowing ground with a grid of brick blocks, representing coffins. The blocks are low on the edges of the site, but grow higher and higher in the middle, as you walk downhill, the blocks will rise above your head.
On the edges though, they are used as benches by people, and as playground by children who jump from block-to-block.
Underground there is a museum, you can reach it on the eastside of the memorial. Waiting times can be about 30 minutes as you need to go through a metal detector first. Inside the story on the holocaust is being told, and a database is accessible with information on murdered jews, roma's and other people who died because of the holocaust. You can do search on family names, places of birth etc.
The monument is controversial since the beginning. Some people find this gestur not enough, others find it too ugly, others hate the fact that people are sitting, lying, playing on the blocks. Still, the monument is large and impressive. It's built on a very important part of Berlin, close to the Reichstag, Brandenburger Tor and Potsdammer platz, right in the hart of the city, on a site that marked the World-War itself (the territory of the former Berlin-Wall).
The museum is in my opinion very good, it doesn't just tell the story but mainly wants to give you a feeling of awareness. For instance with interactive sound samples, a room where they show farewell letters, a room where only a name is displayed on a wall by a projector, while a voice tells when/how-old and where this person died, the projector keeps on displaying names all the time.
This is a new (opened in 2005) memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. It sounded strange when I first heard about (a field of concrete blocks????), but has a somehow impressive atmosphere when you walk through, particularly at night .
You can walk through it at any time, day or night. There is no admission charge.
Groups of obnoxious kids running around and screaming can occasionally be disruptive: the blocks seem to invite games of hide and seek. Please remember to be respectful of others when you visit!
Maybe you know my old tip about the building of Holocaust Memorial (see next tip)? Well, as planned it was opened in May 2005. I was so enthusiastic about this field of stelae that the first thing I did after arriving in Berlin in September 2005 was to come here. I was not disappointed!
The field which consists of 2700 stelae is very impressive even though some people don't treat it right. It's a memorial for the murdered jews in Europe - not a playground, no giant hide and seek and no place for sunbathing. Wander around this place for a while. Make sure to walk to the highest stelae as the memorial is probably the most impressive here. However, I also like the lower areas where you get some very graphic impressions of it.
If you don't know the history of jews in Europe you should visit the museum underneath the field. There's a lot to read here but the museum is well done really (and quite stylishly adopting the stelae theme). Prepare to queue for a while before you can go in. Because of the security screening only 10 people are allowed in at once.
Please remember that climbing and jumping around the stelae is not allowed.
Entrance to both, the field and the museum are free.
2003: After a long discussion the German parliament said YES to the building of a huge Holocaust memorial between Brandenburg Gate and Potsdamer Platz. This is about the same space where the Nazi bunkers were so I guess it is an excellent idea to put some arty memorial here.
The Field of Steles is an impressive idea and I am curious what it will be like once it's finished (probably in May 2005, 60 years after the war ended). 2,700 concrete blocks will form a big field, they will be of various heights so that there will be a wave effect.
When I was here 6 blocks were already there. Make sure to check how the building goes when you are in Berlin!
The mission of the foundation is the realisation of the resolution passed by the Bundestag on 25 June 1999 to erect and to support the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.The memorial is situated in the centre of Berlin. It is a central place for remembrance and commemoration of the murdered victims.Additional to the field of stelae designed by architect Peter Eisenman, the Memorial is complemented by an underground Information Centre about the victims to commemorate and historic memorial sites.Since 12 May 2005 the field of stelae is open to the public day and night. The Information Centre is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (last entrance 7.15 p.m.). Due to the large number of visitors and the requisite security checks it is likely that there will be an extended waiting period at times before entering the exhibition. On principle, the Foundation would recommend visitors to the Information Centre to be at least 14 years of age.The Memorial is dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Nazi reign of terror. It is in a prominent location at the heart of Berlin; its integration into the newly built parliament and government district signifies an official recognition of historical responsibility. Remembrance of the crimes of National Socialism is central to the Federal Republic of Germany's self-understanding.As a result of the process through which it emerged, this Memorial is closely tied to a commitment to democracy and civil courage. Its open form facilitates personal remembrance, commemoration and mourning.
Holocaust Memorial is a stopping monument in the middle of Berlin, just a couple hundred meters from Brandenburger Tor.
The memorial consists of hundreds of concrete slabs organised in rows. The slabs have enough space in between them for people to stroll into the monument.
Wandering among the slabs makes you silent -- the scale of the slabs is intimidating when you go deeper, and the contrast between them and the gently sloping ground is stark.
The memorial is situated in the centre of Berlin. It is a central place for remembrance and commemoration of the murdered victims.
Additional to the field of stelae designed by architect Peter Eisenman, the Memorial is complemented by an underground Information Centre about the victims to commemorate and historic memorial sites.
Since 12 May 2005 the field of stelae is open to the public day and night. The Information Centre is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (last entrance 7.15 p.m.). Due to the large number of visitors and the requisite security checks it is likely that there will be an extended waiting period at times before entering the exhibition. On principle, the Foundation would recommend visitors to the Information Centre to be at least 14 years of age.
This memorial adjacent to the Brandenburg gate was opened in 2005 and is composed by 2711 concrete blocks of different heights. This number has no simbolic significance. You can walk around them in a kind of maze. The total cost was 28 millons of euros.
There is a museum (information center)underground which is opened from 10:00 to 20:00 daily.
We stopped by the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, but the information center was closed. The last entrants are allowed into the info. center at 19:15. However, there were pamphlets available, and the Stelae are always open. Entrance is always free.
Walking around inside the Memorial is pretty cool. The Stelae go far above your head (the tallest are more than four meters high) and then they shrink down to your ankles at some points.
The result has been controversial for a while, but what's not controversial these days? I appreciate the aesthetic, and I found walking through the stelae calming. However, I think some written plaque at each corner (I didn't see one) or some other acknowledgement of the meaning behind the memorial might serve it well.
There were children jumping on top of some of the stelae, and some were even jumping from one to another. From what I heard from other visitors to the memorial, people have also used it for sunbathing. Now, I'm not big on forced meditation or anything, but something just seems wrong about that.
Anyway, I liked it. It reminded me a little of the Vietnam Memorial, which I like very much. One concern (especially coming from the hyper-safety-litigious US) is that with kids running around down there, someone is going to crack a skull or two. I'd also refuse to go walk around after dark or alone. Maybe I'm overly paranoid, but if I were someone up to no good, that's where I'd hang out.
This is a brand new memorial right next to the Brandenburg Gate. Many blocks of grey concrete of different heights are arranged in a grid to commemorate the Holocaust. You can walk among the blocks and it will probably disorient you.
We did not see a sign or anything that detailed the memorial but it is easy to find. Turn left on the west side of the Brandenburg Gate and follow the road toward Potsdamer Platz. The memorial is on the left, directly next to the construction site for the new American Embassy.
The new Holocaust memorial ist only a few steps from Brandenburger Tor. Lots of people were walking around there. It was a strange feeling sometimes, I felt a bit lost. Go there and try yourself.
Unfortunately the information center downstairs was already closed.
In my opinion this new monument is THE thing to see at the moment in Berlin.
Please have a look at my travellogue to have a look at this wonderfull new site in Berlin
A memorial to the holocaust and the many who were killed there. This is often seen as a dark past in German history.
When you enter it, you will hold your brath for a moment. Also a great location for taking great photos.