Holocaust Memorial @ Berlin

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This highly unusual memorial consists of 2,711 concrete slabs or “stelae” arranged in a grid pattern on a slightly sloping ground occupying an entire city block of 19,000 square meters.

You can enter and walk through the field from all four sides, and experience the wave-like form of the stelae differently from each different position.

After a fair amount of controversy, this unique design by the New York architect Peter Eisenman was approved in 1999, built starting in 2003 and completed in 2005. The Field of Stelae is open to the public day and night.

Eisenman recognizes that his design represents a radical break with the traditional concept of a memorial. In 1998 he explained: “The enormity and scale of the horror of the Holocaust is such that any attempt to represent it by traditional means is inevitably inadequate … Our memorial attempts to present a new idea of memory as distinct from nostalgia … We can only know the past today through a manifestation in the present.”

In one corner of the site there is also an underground Information Center which is intended “to back up the abstract form of remembrance inspired by the Memorial with concrete facts and information about the victims.”

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