When I look at the pictures that I took when visiting Berlin a while ago I see that many of them show a scene from a darker past, whether it’s something related to the Second World War or from the following dark episode that was the iron curtain.
That is a bit sad because Berlin is, of course, so much more than that. It’s just that it is hard to avoid it. First of all it’s because the remnants and evidence are present all the time. It can be in the shape of a “stumbling block” or perhaps something as innocent as the famous “Ampelmännchen“. Secondly, I have to admit, it is because I find this part of history very interesting.
Today’s pictures show yet another part of a darker past. A darker past… This must be the very definition of that. In Friedrichstadt, in the middle of Berlin, is an open area that is close to 19,000 square meters big. This is the place that was chosen to hold the Holocaust Memorial. The memorial itself consists of 2711 concrete pillars of varying height. I think it’s a very different approach to a memorial but it’s really beautiful and it sure made me think walking there and occasionally touching the hard and cold concrete walls.
This is another thing about Germany that I like, if that is the right word to use when talking about this. They have a dark past which would be impossible to hide and even more important: It shouldn’t be allowed to hide. Instead they have come to terms with this and, as mentioned before, the history is always present when walking the streets of Berlin. The Holocaust Memorial is an example of that but the one that I like the most are the Stumbling Blocks. If you walk in a street somewhere you can suddenly stumble upon one of those which declares that in that house a Jew lived and what happened to them. We always read about the staggering numbers of people being murdered during the war and those stones in the streets is the only way, to me anyway, to give that incomprehensible number a name and a face.