The official name of the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin is “Denkmal für die Ermordeten Juden Europas” (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe). It was designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold and officially inaugurated on May 10, 2005 – sixty years after the end of World War II. There are as many concrete slabs on the field as there are pages in the Talmud. In the underground museum there is a list of all known Jewish Holocaust victims.

When talking to my German friends about the memorial, I realized there really isn’t a German word for Holocaust besides the word itself, which I’ve never heard anyone say here. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t aware of the murder of the Jews, Romani, homosexuals and dissidents. The shame and guilt are still felt in the generations born long after the war and have a lasting effect on the national identity of Germans. I won’t deny that I’ve seen signs of Neo-Nazis and racism in Germany today – but then I don’t know which country doesn’t have those kinds of people.

The memorial is supposedly controversial but I personally have found every visit to be a very moving and fitting experience. Admittedly it was even more intense to experience this together with my Brooklyn friend Erica, whose mother (and therefor her) is Jewish.

There are so many associations as you see the large field of grey stones. Then you walk in and you get lost, dioriented – the sky and the outside world seem to move further away – you don’t know what is around the next corner, who may run into you – you hear voices, children laughing, their innocence today and back then, when the parents were terrified – the thought of all the voices lost…

When putting together the video, I tried to capture some of the atmosphere through mixing music with other sounds.

It was a little disappointing not to use footage I filmed last year of the memorial when there was a light rain making it look like tears were running down the gray concrete. But the footage was of such different quality and in the end I can’t include everything anyway – I don’t have any impressive aerial footage or shots at night when the memorial is lit up either. And I’m really trying to stick with just using current footage.

For anyone paying attention to such details though: yes, Erica was visiting three weeks ago, which means the footage is from a few weeks ago and not from this week. But I thought it was such an important place I wanted to share it as a weekly video.

Holocaust Memorial Berlin
Denkmal für die Ermordeten Juden Europas

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