a memorial for all wars: the Polynational War Memorial

The Memorial to Europe's Murdered Jews Open for the Public

By: Jon Brunberg | posted: 5/12/2005 1:00:00 AM


So, finally on May 12 the much debated Memorial to Europe's Murdered Jews (Denkmal den Ermordeten Juden Europas or Holocaust-Mahnmal), designed by American architect Peter Eisenman, opened for the public. The grey clouds hanging over Berlin was almost color-matched with the 2711 uneven concrete blocks that constitutes the memorial. The concrete blocks are placed in a grid on a paved fundament that is taking the visitor down into a dark labyrinth.The memorial attracted quite a lot of attention among passers-by and tourists. A few school classes were contrasting the more thoughtful adult visitors by playing hide and seek among the grey stelae. The queue to enter the underground information centre gew rapidly. Thousands of tourist and media photos must have been shot only during the hour that I visited the memorial. On this site you will find a few of those.

Just when it seemed like the debate that has been a part of the memorial's history from day one would calm down for a while the initiator of the memorial Lea Rosh hit the front pages on the local newspapers today for mentioning in a public speech that she plans to embed a tooth, which she found during a visit to the Concentration Camp Belzec seventeen years ago, into one of the concrete blocks. Her statement has provoked many and one of the leaders of the Jewish Community in Berlin, Mr Albert Meyer, said to the press: "If this would happen, we Jews must discuss whether we can visit the place at all".

But despite of this and other controversies that are bound to pop up in the future the memorial is now in place and Peter Eisenman's powerful yet humble design has already made a strong mark in the Berlin cityscape. It will be interesting to see how it will be used in the future and if it will stay untouched by extremists and vandals. The monument is very accessable. It is open 24 hours and without gates surrounding it in a very busy part of town. It will of course be used as a memorial, but its flat and labyrinthic design might also invite visitors to rest or play thus bringing the memory of those who died sixty years ago in to the everyday life of the Berliners.

2005-05-12 | More images of the Holocaust Mahnmal
2005-05-11 | Editorial
2005-05-11 | Images from the Ceremony at Sowjetisches Ehrenmal
2005-05-09 | May 8: Day of Liberation, Victory or Defeat
2005-05-05 | Berlin is Preparing for the 60th Anniversary of the end of WWII >>
Soviet War Memorial in Treptow >>
Soviet War Memorial in Tiergarten >>



Part of the series ''60th Anniversary of the End of WWII in Berlin''

A series of articles from the events in Berlin during the anniversary of the end of WWII.

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2024-02-24 | Update Log 2024

2024-01-04 | Updated Donation Page

2023-12-17 | An alarming picture


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