Saturday, September 1, 2007

About Art - Holocaust Memorial

The 19,000 square-meter Memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe (German: Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas), which was opened to the public on May 12, 2005 in Berlin, Germany, consists of 2711 stones placed on sloping, uneven ground in an undulating wave-like pattern, giving visitors the feeling of insecurity as though the stones were on unstable ground.

Visitors can enter from all four sides, day or night, and wander on their own through the maze of stones, as though visiting a graveyard with nameless tombstones. The columns are sunk into the ground to various depths and at some places, they are higher than the heads of the visitors. There are no set paths or sign posts to guide viewers. The memorial was designed by architect Peter Eisenman to deliberately disorient visitors by having all the stones tilted slightly and paths that are not level.

The site of the Jewish Holocaust Memorial in Berlin was formally dedicated on January 27, 2000 in a "symbolic event" which could not be termed a ground-breaking ceremony because the project had not yet received approval from the German parliament. The 27th of January is Europe's international day of mourning for the Jews who were murdered by the Nazis.

The first dedication ceremony for the Memorial was held on November 15, 1993. Originally expected to be finished by January 27, 2004, the Memorial was dedicated on May 10, 2005 and opened to the public on May 12, 2005, exactly 60 years after Germany was liberated from the Nazis in World War II.

The design for the Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europes was approved on 25 June 1999 by the German parliament. The vote was 314 to 209 with 14 members abstaining. The project cost the German tax-payers 35.1 million Euros. The 5.5 acre site covers an area the size of three soccer fields. Before 1945, this location was part of the Ministry Gardens and it was adjacent to the large complex of buildings which included Hitler's Chancellery. After the war it was part of the "death strip" along the Berlin wall. The memorial covers an area very close to the underground bunker where Adolf Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945. Find out more about Berlin's new piece of outdoor art at:

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