NoUFO
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Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Tue May 10, 2005 9:59 pm

Located between Brandenburg Gate and Potsdam Square, the Berlin Holocaust Memorial opens today.
Initiated by journalist Lea Rosh 17 years ago, the memorial was controversial from the very start. Some claimed, the memorial would eat up too much money (€ 25.3 million) that could be better spent maintaining the remainings of concentration camps as true memorials; some said that if the sheer size of the memorial (three football fields) was intended as a symbol of the large number of atrocities against the Jewish population, the memorial's "message" to the public would be laughable, because it was simply impossible to find a field big enough. Furthermore, the memorial would be too big to protect it from swastikas being sprayed onto the monument.
Others took offense that the memorial's intention is to honor Jews alone not other ethnic groups, minorities and the political opposition.

Anyway, here it is: 2,711 steles of concrete and a Center of Information underneath the monument:


dpa, Spiegel Online

An interview with Peter Eisenman, the architect:
http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,355252,00.html
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racko
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Tue May 10, 2005 10:07 pm

I hate it.

First of all, it's a giant waste of space in the middle of Berlin - the land could be used for something that brings money, not costs. Berlin would need it.

And it's sad to see the racism continue - why can't all the victims of the Holocaust have one united memorial? No, we need racial seperation even while remembering the victims of racism - great.

It's pointless - steles can't tell the story of the holocaust - if you want to get even the slightest idea of the nature of the holocaust, you have to go to a former concentration camp.

Finally, it's ugly. Incredibly ugly. Who else would ruin their inner city with a giant place full of concrete steles? Thierse should have rather used the money to fight neo-nazis in his homestate instead of building this giant penis enlargement.

5 Million people unemployed and that's the way we spend money we don't have - Hallelujah.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Tue May 10, 2005 10:41 pm

Quoting Racko (Reply 1):
And it's sad to see the racism continue - why can't all the victims of the Holocaust have one united memorial? No, we need racial seperation even while remembering the victims of racism - great.

A valid argument. But to be fair, there is still Neue Wache at Unter den Linden, a memorial to the victims of nacism and militarism.
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NoUFO
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Tue May 10, 2005 10:50 pm

I forgot:

Quoting Racko (Reply 1):
First of all, it's a giant waste of space in the middle of Berlin - the land could be used for something that brings money, not costs. Berlin would need it.

I disagree. The location is fine for me. It's a stone's throw away from Hitler's former New Chancellory of Reich and the "Führerbunker", his personal bunker building. And frankly, a memorial like this has to be in Berlin's "heart" so to speak.
Money is secondary; the victims are not to blame for Berlin's financial situation.
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Andreas
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Tue May 10, 2005 11:27 pm

Besides, in the end it will be the only piece of land around Brandenburg Gate that does not try desperately to hide the gate behind walls of embassies, banks and whatnot (except 17. Juni/Unter den Linden, of course)...that street is the large East-West axis of Berlin, with large open spaces on the main crossings (Theodor-Heuss, Ernst-Reuter, Grosser Stern, Alexanderplatz), except Pariser Platz, with the most famous sight of Berlin, Brandenburg Gate!!

Berlin and architecture and urban planning.....worlds collide!!

So Mrs. Rosh got what she wanted in the end, I guess it needed a somewhat questionable person like her (city magazine Tip elected her "most embarrassing citizen of Berlin" in 2003 or 2004 Big grin) to make it happen...
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MaverickM11
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Wed May 11, 2005 12:12 am

Is this the only Holocaust Memorial in Berlin?

"And it's sad to see the racism continue - why can't all the victims of the Holocaust have one united memorial? No, we need racial seperation even while remembering the victims of racism - great."

Amen.

"There was an aerial shot in the paper on Saturday -- a beautiful photo. I have never seen a graveyard that looks like that. "

He's never landed at LGA or JFK over Long Island...
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ly7e7
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Wed May 11, 2005 12:15 am

I've seen it several time during the building process (last time in November) and frankly, it's one of the ugliest memorials I've ever seen. But that's the only justified controversy about it , IMHO.
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Sabena332
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Wed May 11, 2005 12:18 am

Quoting Racko (Reply 1):
It's pointless - steles can't tell the story of the holocaust - if you want to get even the slightest idea of the nature of the holocaust, you have to go to a former concentration camp.

I agree absolutely, furthermore is it butt ugly!

Patrick
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NoUFO
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Wed May 11, 2005 12:44 am

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 5):
Is this the only Holocaust Memorial in Berlin?

Let's say, it's the only monument. But it is not hard to step into some old Nazi-poo here in Berlin, and there's always a memorial tablet/stone or whatever.
Besides, there is Oranienburg, the Jewish Museum of course and a couple of exhibitions elsewhere, such as the Topography of Terror.
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DAL767400ER
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Wed May 11, 2005 12:51 am

Good to see I'm not the only one who is displeased with this memeorial. No doubt that there should be a memorial, but it should have been something that really looked like it has a meaning. Ok, so the designers say, and I try o quote the exact words "the memorial is like a maze. You have to get out of it by yourself, and there is no guide to lead you out." This is meant to symbolize the situation Jews in Germany faced during WWII, being caught in a maze and not knowing how to get out. Like I said, the idea in general is good, but execution is just bad. Spending €25.3 million on 2711 steles, putting each stele at a cost of €9332,35 (!) is just a waste of money. But as we all know, the folks in Berlin know how to waste money  Yeah sure .
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Wed May 11, 2005 1:06 am

I agree about the location. It has to be close to the parliament and government buildings, as a daily reminder to our politicians and law makers.
I also agree that money shouldn´t play a role concerning the memorial.
I will not discuss the looks of this monument, I´ve only seen it during construction some months ago.

On the other hand, it has been heavily critizised by gipsy (Roma and Sinti) organisations, them being the other ethniticy specifically targeted by the Nazis for extermination, for splitting the victims and pushing them to the side.


But i also agree that more has to be done to preserve the true sites of horror, the remains of the concentration camps. Most of them are slowly falling into disrepair through age.

Jan
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n229nw
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Wed May 11, 2005 1:47 am

I pretty much agree with everything Racko said in reply 2.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 10):
On the other hand, it has been heavily critizised by gipsy (Roma and Sinti) organisations, them being the other ethniticy specifically targeted by the Nazis for extermination, for splitting the victims and pushing them to the side.

Yes, this is utterly ridiculous and makes me angry. There were indeed two groups slated for complete annihilation on ethnic grounds: the Jews and the Roma/Sinti (Gypsies). Zyklon B gas was first tested on Gypsy children. If we take the upper estimate of 6 million as our figure for the Jews, we should also take the upper estimate of well over a million for the Roma exterminated in the Holocaust (there were many fewer Roma in Europe than Jews, but about the same proportion of the two groups was wiped out). Beyond this, there were other groups, who were not part a plan for complete ethnic elimination, but who were killed too, including of course homosexuals. Why should they be excluded?

I am Jewish. My wife is Romany (Gypsy). We both lost family in the Holocaust, though she lost more family than I did. Yet from city to city we go to Holocaust memorials that commemorate the "6 million Jews" and make little or often NO mention of any other group. I watch as her pain at what happened to her family is doubly compounded by the frustration at being willfully ignored even in the newest commemorations of the Holocaust. I really see no excuse.

In principle I have no objection to one group commemorating its own losses, but when the monument is just called a "Holocaust memorial" and when it is THE prominent Holocaust memorial in a major city, and perhaps especially in Berlin, it is all the more important to remember ALL the victims.

Commemorating the Holocaust should not be a pissing game about who is the biggest victim; it should be about "never again"--and that means never again FOR ANYONE, ANYWHERE. When we consider that in Europe, where the Holocaust took place and where this memorial sits, persecuation of the Roma continues as perhaps the worst ongoing racist sentiment (at least in Eastern Europe), it seems to me there is even less excuse for leaving them out.

[Edited 2005-05-10 18:53:25]
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backfire
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Thu May 12, 2005 3:13 am

I'm not sure how a bunch of stones in the centre of the German capital can convey the same sense of desperation, isolation and helplessness against inhuman barbarism as the sheer bleakness of the Auschwitz-Birkenau site in the Polish countryside.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Thu May 12, 2005 4:05 am

Quoting Backfire (Reply 12):
I'm not sure how a bunch of stones in the centre of the German capital can convey the same sense of desperation, isolation and helplessness against inhuman barbarism as the sheer bleakness of the Auschwitz-Birkenau site in the Polish countryside.

The problem is that Aschwitz / Birkenau is about 1000 km away from Berlin. There was something needed right inside the capital.

Jan
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racko
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Thu May 12, 2005 7:25 am

"
The problem is that Aschwitz / Birkenau is about 1000 km away from Berlin. There was something needed right inside the capital."


Was it? Why? How many school trips to Auschwitz could you pay for with the money spent on the memorial?
 
Andreas
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Thu May 12, 2005 3:09 pm

One needs to know the history of the Memorial in order to understand why it is a Holocaust Memorial only for Jews:

This Memorial is based solely on the doings of one woman, Berlin-born protestant-raised Edith Ursula Renate Rohs, who later changed her name to Lea Rosh ("sh" pronounced as in Rose), a well-known German publicist and the quintessence of German "political correctness" (she drags evereybody to court who dares to say she "hebrelized" her name).

During her nearly 2 decade-long fight for the Memorial, this woman used just about any embarrassing argument she could find:

1. Germany needs to understand there are several different stories of Holocaust, the Jewish one, the Sinti-Roma one, the homosexual one...

2. Whoever wants a Memorial for all victims, wants no Memorial at all.

3. The Jewish Holocaust did have a special quality, more planned and therefore worse than the others.

4. During her fight for the Memorial, SHE alone allowed people to join the discussion... or not...all people who critized, mostly not the Memorial per se, but the sheer optics, were discredited, quite a few Jews among them, which brought forth strong criticism from the German Jewish Community, too.

To me, and quite obviously not only to me, Mrs. Rohs is essentially the bad German: She incorporates all those "flaws" that people around the world (and quite a few Germans, too) dislike so much: This holier-than-thou-and I-know much-better-than-you-what-was-going-on and I-alone-know-what-this-country-needs attitude.

Quite obviously she never understood the meaning of that terrible proverb of old "am deutschen Wesen soll die Welt genesen" (in short English: Germany will cure the world), because she acts as if "Lea" Rohs alone will cure Germany.

I hope this helps to better understand the history of the Memorial.

Please don't get me wrong, I've said this often enough on this Forum: German history may never be forgotten, nobody shall be allowed to deny, or even forget, and every decent person has the duty to fight against people trying to oppress other people, but the history of this Memorial gives us a completely wrong direction!
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NoUFO
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Thu May 12, 2005 4:33 pm

Quoting Andreas (Reply 15):
To me, and quite obviously not only to me, Mrs. Rohs is essentially the bad German:

Maybe not the "bad" German but certainly the tedious German.

Quoting Andreas (Reply 15):
She incorporates all those "flaws" that people around the world (and quite a few Germans, too) dislike so much: This holier-than-thou-and I-know much-better-than-you-what-was-going-on and I-alone-know-what-this-country-needs attitude.

True, true and true. If she could only hold back a little and listen to other people.
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Andreas
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Thu May 12, 2005 5:07 pm

Nobby, some day in the not too distant future we should:

-take a look at those steles,

-mutually agree that aircraft are not only much prettier than those steles but do serve the idea of bringing people together, understand each other better and therefore are able to suppress all urges to kill each other much better than those steles,

-take a walk to Potsdamer Platz, enter Caffe e Gelato (what else),

-each have a nice Copa Esclusiva ( I pay!)

Then we go back to our PCs and start bashing Kirkie again! How's that sound?  Wink Big grin
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NoUFO
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Thu May 12, 2005 5:15 pm

Not bad, espeially the Kirkie part. Big grin I'd prefer a smaller cup, though, Copa Esclusiva is a bit too much for my stomach, I'm afraid.
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Andreas
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Thu May 12, 2005 5:26 pm

Ok, let's see if we can manage...you can even stick to a glass of water, but that won't keep me from my Copa Esclusiva Big grin

But I strongly suggest to re-start (or rather never stop!!) bashing Kirkie RIGHT NOW, he deserves it, especially now after revealing that he's into cows now, too!!! Can you imagine those big sad eyes of those poor Scottish cows with a Brute like Kirkie approaching from behind? Such a terrible thought.....  Wink Big grin
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NoUFO
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Thu May 12, 2005 5:45 pm

Is that so?  eek  Can't say he's a hard man to please, though. Those poor cows ... little could they recover from Mad Cow Desease, and now Kirkie sneaking up from behind. What a thought.  crazy  guilty 
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RE: Berlin: Holocaust Memorial Opens Today

Thu May 19, 2005 10:54 pm

http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/story.jsp?story=639567

Well, regarding my earlier post, here is a poignant example of why I think it is so important to include Roma/Sinti in any Holocaust memorial.

As for this particular news story, I do not post it to blame Germany only, or in fact any one group of people, but just raise awareness of issues such as this. For example, as far is this particular thread goes, the fault for ignoring Roma in Holocaust memorials often lies with Jewish lobby groups who campaign for and fund these memorials; the fault for the deportation of Roma from Germany lies partly with general anti-immigation trends in Western Europe right now; the fault for the fate the Roma face back in Kosovo is a giant mess of ethnic strife going back a long way [and from working with an NGO on this issue I can guarantee that a few of these returning deported Roma will be killed and most will be driven somewhere else or live in fear in the wreckage of what was once their homes--since they are accused by both sides of collaborating with the other, and are not protected by the UN in any capacity]; the fault for why the UN does not protect Kosovo Roma and offer them refugee status lies with general lack of awareness of the Roma as an ethnic group--since they have no army, country, etc. One U.S. congressperson apparently was told of the plight of the Kosovo Roma (torched villages, killings based on accusations from both sides of collaboration with the other, etc.) and responded that "since they are nomadic, why don't they just move somewhere else..." I would like to comment that none of the Roma/Gypsies in Kosovo are nomadic or have been in recent centuries, and this does not have anything to do with their plight there.

All I can say is that if Holocaust memorials were constructed more responsibly and were doing their job, all these things would be happening just that little bit less, or at least there would be more outcry at persecution of this group, and more help from international organizations.

[Edited 2005-05-19 15:57:13]
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