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Friday, May 11, 2007

The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin...

I mentioned it in an earlier post, but here are a couple of pictures of Noah from our visit to Berlin's Holocaust Memorial (formally known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe). We tried to give him an idea of how the Jews were targeted by Hitler and told him how many were killed, but I think it's just too big a number for him to comprehend. I'm satified with him understanding that "Hitler was bad". We'll try for more teaching moments as he gets older.

Wikipedia says that it was "designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineers Buro Happold. It consists of a 19,000 square meter (4.7 acre) site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or "stelae", arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The stelae are 2.38m (7.8') long, 0.95m (3' 1.5") wide and vary in height from 0.2m to 4.8m (8" to 15'9"). According to Eisenman's project text, the stelae are designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere, and the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason. A 2005 copy of the Foundation for the Memorial's official English tourist pamphlet, however, states that the design represents a radical approach to the traditional concept of a memorial, partly because Eisenman did not use any symbolism. An attached underground "Place of Information" (German: Ort der Information) holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem."

We did not go to the "Place of Information" (why not just call it a museum?) but will next time. We really enjoyed Berlin and plan to go back.

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