This memorial bothered me more than any other place that I saw in Berlin. Of course, I had only read about the Holocaust in books like The Diary of a young girl by Anne Frank and A Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. This was a very long time ago. Last month I read some online articles before I left for our trip, to inform me of Germany's history and understand the philosophy of the German people.
I also started reading a book that my mother always had in her library called Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.I haven't finished this book,yet, but I'm sure it will inspire me to find meaning in what I saw here.
My sister and I had decided to walk to the Brandenburg gate from our hotel. It was in the late afternoon of our second day in Berlin. We passed a whole block filled with concrete slabs just as it was getting dark. The lights of the surrounding town were just coming on and the darkness was settling into this memorial like a shroud. It was very cold.
This was the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
This was, and is, a very controversial memorial and seems to be criticized most by the Jewish community. Still, it produces this amazing combination of sadness, evil and ghostly remembrances that represent, as the architect Peter Eisenman said "... a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason."
It is interesting to note that the fastest growing population in Germany today is the Jewish immigrant. Go to this link to learn more about the Memorial.
" We have come to know Man as he really is. After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord's Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips." ~Viktor E. Frankl~
It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet.... As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye... ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn. ~Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"