The designer of this memorial has never said what exactly the stones mean, so try to discover your own personal view. It’s an imposing structure that demands attention, and rightly so, given the gravity of the subject matter.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is located one block south of the Brandenburg Gate. Completed in 2005 to mark sixty years since the end of World War II, it was always going to be a controversial project. That said, it is widely claimed to be a success, both in terms of visitor numbers and in how it treats a difficult and painful topic.
Its design is meant to produce an uneasy, disorientating atmosphere whose nature portrays a sense of order that has lost touch with human values; the feeling inside is meant to echo the enclosure and entrapment felt by the six million Jews who were killed under Hitler.
The Memorial is composed of a grid of 54 x 87 separate concrete slabs - anonymous, grey, at varying heights with an undulating floor beneath. Tourists generally wander between the gravestone-like ranks, getting lost and absorbing themselves in the confusing labyrinth.
Beneath the Memorial, at its eastern edge, is an information centre which displays a timeline that lays out the course of Hitler’s hideous ‘Final Solution,’ from when the National Socialists took power in 1933 through the murder of 500,000 Soviet Jews in 1941. The rest of the exhibition is divided into four rooms dedicated to personal aspects of the tragedy, the individual families or the letters thrown from the trains that transported the Jews to the death camps.
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