May 24, 2005

Those Damn Kids Ruining Berlin Holocaust Memorial

eisenman_berlin_memorial.jpgBerlin just opened its Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a gridded field of dark grey stone pillars of varying heights designed by the American architect Peter Eisenman. The abstracted, maze-like memorial is supposed to evoke feelings of disorientation and the gradual onset of the horrors of the Holocaust.

That may be what happened in the press previews, but as The New Republic's Clay Risen discovered, now that it's open, busloads of damn kids have turned it into into Berlin's biggest playground. Oops.

As any elementary school teacher could have predicted (though not, apparently, the planning staff at Berlin city hall), the children were soon running rampant through the narrow corridors created by the blocks, rudely pushing aside other visitors in what might have been the coolest game of tag ever. Others were trying to see who could climb the highest block; still others were jumping from block to block. I don't have children, but my first thought was about how little time remained before some kid fell and broke and arm, leg, or worse.
EISENMAN'S ABSTRACTIONS FAIL. Stone Cold [tnr.com, sub. req.]

3 Comments

Did I read that right? You don't have children? Excuse me while I pull back the curtain in Oz.

I was quoting the reviewer, Clay Risen. The blockquote formatting doesn't show up too well when it wraps around an image.

Now drop that curtain, or I'll be forced to put on my pants.

That's exactly why i was completely against this stupid Memorial. What would Americans say, if you erect a Memorial for the Afro-American Holocaust (100 Mio People tortured, maimed and murdered by the USA) on Times Square in New York City? Or right in the Front of the Capitol in Washington, symbol of American liberty, but erected by People living in Slavery? Young americans would shake their head and say "what do i have to do with that - its 100 Years ago". And how can you expect that German youth will react in any other way? By the way, these were not "youth", these were almost infants. They probably cant even read and write yet. How can you expect kids to understand something, that even white american adults dont understand?

It is more than stupid to try to erect a Holocaust Memorial in a tourist Center right in Downtown Berlin. I had predected long time ago that ice-cream licking people will walk past and say "OK, now 5 Minutes for the Jewish Memorial, and then we'll rush on to brandenburg gate, and after that we're gonna have lunch at Burger King, whaddya think, sweetheart"?

I stem from Jewish people myself, and my Grandmother survided the Holocaust. By the way, my "Aryan" grandfather, who loved his wife more than his own life, did not survive. He saved her, and the price he paid: His own life. But without him, life to her meant nothing afterwards.

I am against this memorial. It's Stupid. Kids dont understand what it means. They jump from column to column, to them its a game.

I cannot blame innocent children. I blame stupid adults, who know nothing but try to seed hatred. A jewish Memorial can only be successful, if you leave out the hatred in the name of a "collective guilt", which is nonsense. The German people as a whole are just as much to blame for the jewish holocaust, as the american people for the genocide
of their own native population.

Americans have killed far more people in their own genocides. Where are the memorials for all the 12 Millon indians? For the 10 - 100 Million Afro-Americans? I have never seen a Memorial in Washington. Are Black Americans, Native Americans of any lesser Value then we are, just because of their......race?

Don't forget: I am jewish myself. But other people's suffering is not any less important or tragic than our own.

I cannot ask my jewish Grandmother any more, as she had passed away long time ago. But i know my folks very well, and i know i am sure she would have said: "This memorial is more than stupid. It cannot bring my husband back to me. Maybe other people feel reprented by this strange kind of memorial - i do not".

regards

Peter from Berlin

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