The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a large area consisting of 2,711 concrete concrete blocks dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. It is a powerful memorial in Berlin that was completed in 2004, designed by architect Peter Eisenman.
The true scale of the memorial can be seen from above, although this would have to be from a nearby building as drones aren’t allowed.
The memorial invites you to take a walk between the blocks. No two blocks are the same, varying in size and reminding us that each and every victim was different. Someone with unique characteristics and personality.
The concrete blocks are all grey in colour, and no happy emotions can be gathered from the site.
As you walk, you find yourself getting smaller and smaller as the blocks become more and more intimidating. You almost become lost as the light starts to fade and sound of traffic slowly fades.
According to our guide, the slightly off balance blocks and differing heights of the columns is intentional to give the onlooker a sense of unease and/or dizziness, an unsettling feeling that is still in no way comparable to the experiences of the victims.
This memorial is a must in Berlin, it isn’t often that I will recommend something that would intentionally be unsettling, however a trip to Berlin wouldn’t be complete without a visit.
A short walk takes us to the Brandenburg Gate, built in the late 1700’s and remains one of Germany’s most popular landmarks.
In 1806, the Quadriga at the top of the monument (the lady and horse-drawn cart seen in more detail below) was stolen by Napoleons soldiers. The Quadriga returned to Berlin after Napoleon was defeated. After the defeat the square was renamed Pariser Platz or ‘Paris Square’. The goddess of victory behind the four horses seems to be looking directly at the French Embassy located in the square.
Who recognises the hotel above? Hotel Adlon is a luxury hotel in the square. It is also known for being the hotel that Michael Jackson was seen dangling his baby out of the window, one of the windows under the ‘Hotel Adlon’ sign that is seen on the right hand side of the building from the angle above.
And from the gate the large EU and German flags of the Reichstag Building can be seen. The Reichstag is home to the Bundestag, the German Parliament. The building is well known due the arson attack it suffered in 1933, not long after Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. It became the home of the German Parliament again after a full restoration in 1999.
The glass dome is actually open to visitors, and bookings are to be made in advance. Our guide told us that the glass dome also represents the parliaments desire for transparency with the German people.
Again, I would love if a German speaker was able to help me out here. I am not sure what this protest was about (I assume it is a protest) but I made my way over to check it out.
Update: Thank you to Antidote for finding this article on the initiative- ‘Against profits without conscience helps only a legal framework‘.
It is a glorious building, and again full of history. The day was perfect for an educational walk around the city, and soon I will post about Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall.
Thank you for reading Part 2, Part 3 coming soon!
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