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Site of Remembrance: Germany’s Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

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Holocaust memorial Berlin
Get lost in the maze of the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, but don't forget to visit the free exhibit. Photo: Heather Cowper

Although its official title is the “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe”, the massive field of gray stelae located a short walk from the Brandenburg Gate or Potsdamer Platz is commonly known as the “Holocaust memorial”. Architect Peter Eisenman’s 2,711 concrete pillars were installed over a period of two years, and the memorial opened after nearly a decade of controversy in 2005.

Because most visitors enter the memorial from the western end at Ebertstrasse, they are unaware that the massive field also hides a large informational exhibition, built under the memorial itself. Although you should certainly take time to feel lost in Eiseman’s maze-like construction, entrance to the museum is most easily found by walking along its outer perimeter to the Cora-Berliner-Strasse on its eastern side. A satellite image of the area makes the information center’s entrance more visible.

You’ll want to plan at least an hour to visit the underground exhibition and fifteen minutes to wander through the undulating stelae.

The exhibition is free of charge and presented in both German and English. Saturdays at 3 p.m., the center also offers a free English-language tour. Summer hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; winter hours 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.. Closed Mondays. The memorial is accessible 24 hours per day.

Nearby, you’ll also find two other memorials to Nazi-persecuted groups: homosexuals and the Sinti and Roma. Both are located in the Tiergarten, within short walking distance of the Holocaust memorial. Use this link to find their exact locations.

About the author

Hilary Bown

An academic by training, a writer by day, and a Cheapo by heritage, Hilary Bown's meagre means and insatiable travel appetite have helped her sharpen her "no-budget travel" skills across the European continent over the past decade. At home in Berlin or on an adventure abroad, you'll find her in sandals, riding the bus, reading novels while walking, drinking the local wine, writing out postcards with a felt-tip pen, and browsing the shelves of the supermarket and hardware store. Find her unique blend of travel adventure and tested advice at Less Than a Shoestring.

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One Response to “Site of Remembrance: Germany’s Holocaust Memorial in Berlin”

INTERESTING SIDE EFFECT:

The first-ever virtual concert in Germany was launched on smartphone on August 5, 2013 at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It is based on a unique concert, which was staged on May 9, 2008, at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Specially composed for the occasion, Vor dem Verstummen by Harald Weiss received its world premiere in the field of stelae, when it was performed for an appreciative audience of thousands for the one and only time by musicians of the Berliner Kammersymphonie orchestra under the baton of celebrated conductor Lothar Zagrosek. The sound experienced by each individual was different, depending on his or her precise location amongst the stelae. Now you just will need to visit the Memorial with your smartphone to experience the concert in all its unique interactivity. The sound of the instruments changes depending on your location and route through the field of stelae, growing louder or softer, more passionate or muted. This means that the concert you hear will be personal to you. Outside the Memorial, you can listen to the piece in offline mode in the conventional, non-interactive way. In order to stage this virtual concert, a complex process was used to re-record all of the instruments in December 2012. Geo-coordinates were assigned to each individual instrument as well as to the female vocalist, and a completely new type of software was developed. This enables the instruments to be perceived in a virtual 3D space within the smartphone application, and to simulate the concert at the Memorial. The listener’s location at the Memorial is identified using the smartphone’s GPS function, and the sound associated with those specific coordinates is determined.

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