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Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe


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Holocaust Memorial

Translated by Helen Hardy — 3 years ago

Original text by Maika Cano Martínez

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, better known as the Holocaust Monument or Holocaust Memorial, is located in Berlin, Germany, very close to the Brandenburg Gate.

This monument dedicated to such a tragic event is made up of more than 2, 500 slabs of concrete arranged on a sloping precinct or square. The slabs are 2. 38m high and 0. 95m wide, though the height of individual slabs vary. The uneven ground of the square and varied height of the slabs are designed to create confusion and discomfort for the visitor, it being possible to walk among them as part of the visit.

If you come across the Memorial without knowing what it is, it may remind you of a small cemetery in the centre of Berlin. When I visited, it had been snowing, and therefore many of the slabs were covered with snow - it moved me, although it didn't seem like there were that many slabs. What I remember the most though is the feeling I had while looking at them owing to what they commemorate, since it's like a Jewish cemetery in Berlin. The fact that the monument is located in Berlin gave me conflicting feelings - on the one hand, I like it, since in my opinion it symbolizes regret for what they did and is a way of remembering the horror, but on the other hand, it seems a little paradoxical to me that they chose to erect the monument here. I don't know how to explain it.

We took some photos and walked among the slabs. I can't say it was a pleasant visit, but I do think it's something you have to see if you come to Berlin. I admired the work of art for how big it was and for what it represents. Walking among the slabs, I had a feeling of oppression and chaos - oppression since many of the slabs were taller than me and seemed like they might fall on top of me, and chaos due to the different heights of the slabs.

It also seemed to me as if the monument was built a little late on, since it was only unveiled in 2005, but this is also understandable due to the city's recent history.

If you want to find out more about the memorial, there is an underground museum where the extermination policy of 1933 to 1945 is explained plus testimonies from Holocaust victims are displayed. What impacted on me the most was the wall which contains all the names of the victims, with their date of birth and date of death. It's quite sad to look at, but at least I am quite interested in this period of history, though I still can't understand how anyone was able to carry out this massacre.

Entry to the underground museum is free, and the museum itself is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am til 7pm in summer and til 8pm in winter.

How to get there

You can reach the Memorial by S-Bahn or U-Bahn (the overground train and metro services in Berlin), the closest stops being 'Potsdamer Platz' and 'Mohrenstrasse'. To reach 'Mohrenstrasse', take the U2 line, and for 'Potsdamer Platz', take the S25 or S1. It's easy to find the monument on foot - when you pass through the Brandenburg Gate, turn left and keep walking until you see it. If you turn right from the Brandenburg Gate, you'll arrive at the Reichstag.

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