Flip Flop Flying

Holocaust Memorial

with 4 comments

This afternoon I went to visit the new Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

I occasionally passed by as it was being built, but didn’t really pay too much attention. Nor did I pay much attention when it opened earlier this week. So today, as I was passing by there anyway, I hopped off the train and went to have a good look around.

The first thing to note is I found it very beautiful. I enjoyed being there. There’s something depressing about it, though. Not depressing in the way I thought it’d be (ie thought provoking), but depressing that it seems to have become, within days, just another spot on the Berlin map for visitors to take photos.

Seeing hordes of teenagers on school trips picnicking there, chasing each other around inside the labyrinth of plinths, or having their photos taken in wacky poses while standing on the stones… it just doesn’t seem right.

I felt a bit embarrassed and ashamed taking these photos too. I became just one of many amateur Ansel Adamses finding the perfect jaunty angle to take my snaps. I only took a handful, whereas normally you can’t stop me taking a few hundred photos of anything vaguely nice-looking.

I really like the plinths, though. I think it’s a great idea; it’s just, if I go there again, I’ll go on a cold rainy winter’s day when it won’t feel like a playground. But then, maybe I’m just being a grouchy old sod; maybe kids running around having a laugh and smiling in photos is just as good a memorial for Berlin to have.

Written by Craig

May 13th, 2005 at 4:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses to 'Holocaust Memorial'

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  1. I can see how it looks inappropriate at first glance, but I think you really hit the nail on the head at the end there. Such a shitty, dark chapter in the (depressingly lengthy) history of man’s inhumanity to man ought to be commemorated not with an impressively sombre monument, but with an area in which the one thing that can go any way to counterbalancing such atrocities – namely happy, harmonious lives being lived, in unspoken defiance of the poisoned few who would rather have us tear each other to shreds – can flourish.

    I don’t think people should feel bad to take pictures, for basically the same reason they shouldn’t feel bad to walk on someone’s grave. I doubt I’ll ever be buried, but if I was, I’d certainly hate the idea of being interred in some petrified garden where all signs of life had to be checked at the door. If I ever end up in a grave, I want people drinking and singing and laughing and shagging on it (as long as there’s nobody physically grieving in the immediate vicinity, like – a *degree* of sensitivity might be called called for then, obviously!).

    But yeah. Um. I think I’m trying to get at the idea of life being lived and how that’s by far the best antidote to the somewhat depressing realities of death being…died. Y’know.

    Man. What a lengthy meander. You’d never guess I was at work, would ya..? ;]

    grey kid

    13 May 05 at 18:18

  2. Completely agree with the chap, (or chgapette), above. It is massively important to remember but remember the humanity that sprang from this dark chapter. Is there anything carved into the blocks? I’ve only seen pictures so far. oddly, the first one I saw reminded me of the Tycho Monolith, the alien that inspired life in Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001.


    14 May 05 at 09:42

  3. I hate being so ignorant but can someone explain what it represents?


    16 May 05 at 12:27

  4. As long as its remembered that people of all backgrounds perished in the concentration camps- jews, gays, gypsies, disabled (in fact the nazi’s regarded someone as disabled even if they just wore glasses!) I like the memorial but not the comments that the architect made that ‘it can mean all sorts of different things to different people…’ as this woudl surely defeat the point of it being a memorial??


    17 May 05 at 18:34

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