May 10, 2005
Germany opened its new Holocaust Memorial in Berlin today. The memorial consists of rows of large stone columns of varying heights in an attempt to mimic a graveyard, which I was lucky enough to see through a chain-linked fence while visiting Berlin last November. There's also an information center where one can learn more about the Holocaust. Read the rave review by the NYT if you want to learn more about it.
Although I can appreciate the sentiment to some extent, am I alone in thinking that the significance of this Memorial is seriously undermined by the 60 years separating it from the event it's lamenting? Sure, it probably couldn't have been built until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, but that was over 15 years ago. The memorial is not so architechturally complex that it should have taken that long for it to be built. To me, it seems like this is a schmaltzy attempt by Germany to try and distance itself from Naziism in order to further its bid for a permanent seat UN Security Council. Maybe if this had been built in the couple of years immediately following unification I could have bought it as legitimate pennance. Now its just too little too late. Face it Germany, no matter how many memorials and museums you build people are never going to forget your role in one of the biggest tragedies in human history.
Posted by Adam Geiger at 1:53 PM