Daughter Selina poses between the 2711 Steles which make up the above ground level part of the Holocaust Cenotaph in Berlin.

The Cenotaph was built between 2005 and 2008 to remember the more than 6 million Jews killed under the Nazi regime.

This is a place of no meaning

The title of the post “A Place Of No Meaning” refers to the statement by the Architect Peter Steinmann.

Attempts at Interpretations:

  • The steles are reminiscent of gravestones. There are similarities between the cenotaph and the sarcophogus graves in Israeli Cemeteries.
  • Lea Rosh interpretes the steles as centopahs und compares them to warrior memorials and soldiers cemeteries: This is obligatory, as most of the murdered Jews did not have an own grave.
  • The grey colour of the steles represents the ashes of the burned Jews, which were usually dumped into the sea or buried in pits
  • The foundation interpretes the leaning steles and the seemingly transient floor as causing a feeling of uncertainty
  • The architect Peter Eisenmann said: “The magnitude and the scale of the Holocaust makes it impossible to even imagine it by traditional means. This memorial attempts to develop a different method of commemoration.”

If the steles do lend themselves to a photo shooting session without fear of being disrespectful, it is a very different feeling when the visitor descends into the cellar. Row upon row of lighted plaques tell the story as seen through the eyes of the victims themselves, causing a feeling of awkwardness and discomfort. The atmosphere is extremely upsetting.

Dear father! I am saying goodbye to you before I die. We would so love to live, but they won’t let us and we will die. I am so afraid of this death, because the small children are thrown alive into the pit. Goodbye forever. I kiss you tenderly.

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