Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Lest we forget

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a is a memorial of 2,711 concrete pillars in Berlin to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.  An attached underground "Place of Information" holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem.

Our visit to the memorial is hard to put into words.  Walking around the memorial really got under your skin, it felt claustrophobic and very unsettling.  My younger brother, who is 12, was told that the Place of Information was not suited or recommended to children under the age of 14.  He went nonetheless.  It was a really harrowing experience.  I already had tears in my eyes just reading the timeline of events in the first room.  The rest of the exhibition is divided into four rooms dedicated to personal aspects of the tragedy - the individual families, the letters thrown from the trains that transported them to the death camps.  If all the names of the Jewish victims were to be read out it would take over 7 years to read every single name.  The room dedicated to individual families was the hardest to be in.  Whole families were destroyed.  Or just one family member would remain.  If something like that happened to my family I don't think I could ever forgive or move on.

After we left I couldn't help but think back to what I said about feeling proud to be German in this post and how stupid it seemed after walking through those rooms.  So many terrible terrible things happened because of my country and as much as I'd like to move on from it, that's wrong.  It's something we'll never find closure from.  There is no happy end to this story.  But we remember.  We learn to be kind to others and to never tolerate injustice or people who thrive on hate and choose to spread it.  We can never forgot.

1 comment

  1. I do want to visit this memorial one day, to feed the history geek in me. I do believe we should definitely remember the Holocaust, but don't let it stop you being proud of who you are and where you're from, Nina.


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