Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
One thing that really amazing both Alex and I about Berlin is the in-your-face, confrontational nature in which they deal with history. In our first few days there it actually felt quite overwhelming. Now, we hit the Germany History Museum, the Jewish Museum, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jew of Europe all in a row, so perhaps that’s why it felt that way. But it’s really interesting to see how the modern people deal with the past — they accept it, they embrace it, and the words MEA CULPA seem to be permanently engraved everywhere you look.
These are some snaps from our visit to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It was really emotional, and we both emerged in tears. The memorial is built just to the side of the Brandenburg Gate, and consists of many, many concrete blocks (they look like coffins) rising up at various heights out of the ground. There is a museum/informational area underground, and it was incredibly powerful. They made the stories personal — naming individual people and families, and telling you what happened to them. The rhetoric that was used was direct and active. For example, rather than saying “6 million Jews died in the Holocaust”, the museum said “6 million Jews were murdered by the Germans”. It may seem like a small difference, just a few words substituted, but the impact is tremendous.
Unfortunately we could not take pictures inside, but the surface of the memorial was really interesting. I’d love to see what it looks like without all the snow!