Friday, April 15, 2011

Holocaust Memorial

15 April, 2011

On this day, we went to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas).  This was definitely worth experiencing, and I don't know whether my words will do it justice.
 
It starts out looking rather small and not so impressive, like a bunch of flat stones.  
But as you walk in, it changes.
Gradually, the floor slopes down, while the stones grow taller.
Sometimes it's empty and sometimes you see people.
The light and darkness become stark, harsh, cold towards the heart.
The distance seems longer and longer to the outside world, but sometimes you can see life at the end of the path.
Emerging into the light, it seems like entering another world, or a rebirth.
I noticed the city all around and the small trees trying to grow in the midst of the memorial.
People were exploring, some timid, some playful, some awkward, some serious.
While in the deep part of the memorial, there were a few people playing hide and seek inside.  At first, I was annoyed that they would play in a memorial for holocaust victims. But then, I thought that perhaps the spirits of the dead might be pleased to see that people can find joy among such sadness... that new life has come at last.

The memorial as seen from across the street in the Tiergarten; the cars and tourists lend a different "outside" perspective.

And at the last, from across the street, we witnessed a moment of levity... you can totally hear that these guys are having a good time on their beer bike.
video

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