In pictures

Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial // In pictures

Berlin's Holocaust Memorial

Between the Brandenburg Gate and Tiergarten in Berlin lies a solemn field of 2771 grey stone slabs. The Holocaust Memorial – or, to give it its full name, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – commemorates the Jewish lives lost in the Holocaust. It’s an almost impossible task to create something to symbolise that horror, and the design process was a long and controversial one that started back in 1988. Eleven years later, US architect Peter Eisenman’s design was finally approved and the memorial opened in May 2005, on the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII.

The slabs almost look like graves or coffins and from outside it seems like they slope upwards into the middle, but when you get in among them you can see the ground level changes too. Every slab is a different shape and size, and as the ground level rises and falls they vary in height from 200cm to almost five metres tall. It’s a strangely disorientating experience as the ground moves up and down beneath you and huge slabs tower above you. They’re densely packed and you move between light and dark as you walk between them. But what does it all mean? The architect’s never said, but it’s a moving experience and a Berlin must-see.

The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin
Berlin's Holocaust Memorial
Berlin's Holocaust Memorial
Berlin's Holocaust Memorial
Berlin's Holocaust Memorial

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 The controversial but moving Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, a solemn field of 2771 grey stone slabs commemorating the Jewish lives lost in the Holocaust.

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    valeria
    March 19, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    I’ve been twice and felt a strange feeling of sad peace, or peaceful sadness. Really liked it,
    Valeria @ romenewyorklondonworld.com

    • Reply
      Lucy
      March 23, 2015 at 10:13 am

      Peaceful sadness is a really good description – it’s one of those places that makes you think and the whole feel of being among the stones was quite isolating and disorienting.

  • Reply
    bevchen
    March 20, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Did you go to the museum underneath? So sad/moving.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      March 23, 2015 at 10:12 am

      No we didn’t get chance this time – I’m going to have to go back as there’s still so much to see out there!

  • Reply
    jordancloc
    March 20, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    I like the memorial, I think it is really moving. The effect I felt it had when I visited was that you could be seen no matter where you stood within the slabs

    • Reply
      Lucy
      March 23, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Yes, there’s no place to hide in there – it’s a really clever design when you think about it as you can take so many different meanings from it.

  • Reply
    Uptourist
    March 24, 2015 at 1:05 am

    I guess the feeling comes from all the emotions in this place. It is sad yet the silence lets you know that these people are now at peace.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      March 26, 2015 at 1:19 pm

      Yes it was surprisingly moving – a very simple design but very effective.

  • Reply
    ambitiouswanderer
    April 7, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    This is a sad, but beautiful place at the same time. Strange experience, highly moving. I love how you described it so well, but also how you managed to take pics from such artistic angles and without any other tourist walking in your way. What time of the year was this taken?

    • Reply
      Lucy
      April 8, 2015 at 9:49 am

      Thanks, we were there in early February, so were lucky to get the blue skies – it was absolutely freezing though, which I think put people of lingering too much (but was perfect for photography!).

  • Reply
    manwithvanwesthampstead
    May 15, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    It is both moving as a memorial and beautiful as an architecture even through the pictures!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 19, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Thanks, yes for such a simple structure it has such a lot of meaning.

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