Sunday, September 5, 2010

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL IN BERLIN ...

Today I visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a 4.7 acre apology from the City of Berlin to the world for the brutal murder of 6 million men, women and children during World War II. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for any memorial that might help us remember and therefore avoid repeating the atrocities of the past, but ever since it was built, something about this memorial has struck me as being wrong. First off, there's the design: It consists of 2,711 concrete slabs on a sloping, grid-like field near the Brandenberg Gate, right atop the bunker of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's notorious Minister of Propaganda. Then, there's the controversy. Local Jewish leaders were against this monument, especially when they learned that a specialist in the development of anti-grafitti chemicals, a company called Degussa, had been hired to coat the entire memorial with a substance called "Protectosil." Perhaps you've heard of another one of their chemicals: Zyklon B, the Nazi gas of choice when it came to snuffing out lives. I thought about all this as I walked between the slabs and made my way to the underground exhibit below. The exhibit provides detailed information on the Nazi's extermination policies, then brings everything to life by sharing the stories of individual victims and their families. They say that "those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it." I just wish they didn't have to cover it in Protectosil ...

4 comments:

Adirondackcountrygal said...

I'm not sure if I care for that memorial either. Quite sterile and ugly.

Paula said...

I agree Marty. My daughter lived in Germany twice. I'll have to ask her if she visited this memorial.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Rather drab and not awe inspiring. A shame on multiple levels.

Beth said...

It looks very stark. Actually, the Holocaust Museum in D.C. has a similar starkness; it seems somehow appropriate to me. I can't speak to the chemical coating, though. :/