German Holocaust memorial dedicated

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A new $35m Holocaust memorial in Germany officially called the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was dedicated during a ceremony Tuesday. The memorial commemorates the suffering the millions of European Jews who were held in concentration camps by the Nazi regime. The dedication comes just a day after the 60th anniversary of the Allied Victory in World War II.

U.S. architect Peter Eisenman designed the new memorial, which is contained in one block square very close to the parliament and the new US embassy in the heart of Berlin, Germany. The memorial consists of over 2,700 gray concrete blocks representing the helplessness of the Holocaust victims. The blocks are covered with an anti-graffiti substance which was made by the same company that produced the Zyklon B poison used in the genocide. They are all of different shapes and sizes, and are set on a sloping hillside, designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere.

The memorial has met with criticism. Many have pointed out that the memorial is only for the Jews who died, and does not represent the millions of gypsies, homosexuals and mentally-handicapped people who were also murdered. It has also been said that while the memorial commerates those who died, it does not ask any questions about why the atrocity happened. However, there are plans for memorials commemorating other victims of the Nazi regime. Under the abstract memorial there is a place which informs visitors about Holocaust.

The ceremony, which Chancellor Gerhard Schröder attended, included prayer led by a Jewish rabbi and speeches reflecting on the Holocaust given by a survivor and leaders of the Jewish community in Germany.

Sources