these are the posts tagged ‘walking on history’:


walking on history, V: buchenwald


buchenwald was the largest nazi concentration camp in germany: over 50,000 people died here, from all over europe. it’s a place of unspeakable horrors perched on an idyllic hilltop, in the middle of the forest. today, the area is filled with commemorative sites and this in particular is part of the jewish memorial. the sentence, translated in english, german and hebrew rises in carved stone above the gravel and reads:

“so that the generation to come might know, the children, yet to be born, that they too may rise and declare to their children.”

stark and sobering.

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walking on history, IV: the sinti and roma memorial


the sinti and roma holocaust memorial on tiergarten opened only recently – despite them having been one of the largest groups of victims of the second world war. it’s a round pool, with a triangular stone which every day sinks and rises. a single fresh flower is laid on it. on the edges of the pool, the poem ‘Auschwitz’ by Santino Spinelli is displayed:

“Gaunt face
dead eyes
cold lips
quiet
a broken heart
out of breath
without words
no tears.”

on the ground around the pool, scattered stones remind the visitors of the places where sinti and roma were persecuted, while a lonely violin plays in the background…

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walking on history, III: the reichstag memorial

there’s a discreet and intriguing memorial near the entrance of reichstag, a row of uneven cast iron plaques, with names and dates. no explanation is given for the curious tourists that wander around it.
reichstag memorialreichstag memorial
the memorial was unveiled in 1992, in remembrance of murdered members of the reichstag. in the borders of the 96 plaques are the names of the politicians from the german parliament that were persecuted by national socialists after they gained power in 1933. it is a simple and inconspicuous memorial, but a noteworthy one.

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walking on history, II: stolperstein


stolperstein, or stumbling blocks, are the name of these little brass cubes that you can find on the sidewalks of berlin. they’re small and unremarkable in the hustle and bustle of the city. but if you take the time to stop and really look, you’ll notice they’re more like silent memorials. each one of these blocks marks the last place of living of a victim of nazism, who was later deported and murdered. they’re made by artist gunter demnig, who started this project in 1993 – today there are over 20000 of them, all over europe.

in the words of cambridge historian, ioseph pearson:

“It is not what is written on the stolpersteine which intrigues, because the inscription is insufficient to conjure a person. It is the emptiness, void, lack of information, the maw of the forgotten, which gives the monuments their power and lifts them from the banality of a statistic.”

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walking on history, I: bebelplatz

“That was but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people.”

the quote is by heinrich heine, a german-jewish poet. it was written in 1820, over a century before the nazi book burnings that took place in the square where it is now displayed. heine’s books where among those destroyed, along with titles by karl marx, bertolt brecht, thomas mann, ernest hemingway, etc.

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