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Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Oct. 3, 2006

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Germany gets contrition points for placing this holocaust memorial right in the center of its federal district, only a few meters from the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag building. It's as if the United States put a memorial to slain Indians on one side of the Capitol building and a monument to slavery on the other.

The architecture of this spot is both macabre and playful. On approach, it resembles a cemetary, but as you walk in you descend below the site line and eventually deep below the level of the stones, as if going down into the ground. At the same time, it's a bit like a maze with kids and teenagers laughing as they run through trying to hide from and find each other.

I visited it on the 16th anniversary of Germany's Reunification Day, which also happened to be the day after Yom Kippur.