Wednesday, October 22, 2008

a playground in berlin

almost three and a half years ago, germany's official holocaust memorial was opened in berlin, not far from where hitler hid in his bunker as his evil dreams crumbled all around him. here is the ny times report on the opening.

i went to see the memorial a couple of weeks ago. it appeared to be a wonderful place for children to play. you can have a mean game of hide-and-seek among the steles. i also saw many young people jumping from stone to stone. it was an interesting question to consider: what is one supposed to do when visiting this memorial? there is an underground information centre, for which i was not in the mood. there is a small, separate memorial for homosexual victims of the holocaust. and there are these wonky, crooked paths up and down and at all angles and heights that make a grid between the stones. part of me was annoyed that people could be so happy in a place commemorating such evil and misery. part of me was rather happy that there was some joy in such a sad place. i don't know if it is a very good monument, but it is definitely a wonderful playground.

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