A couple of years ago, I traveled to Berlin, Germany on a family vacation. There were a lot of incredible sites I saw while I was there, but one location stood out. In the heart of Berlin, there is a memorial aptly named ‘Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe’. (It’s the most German name ever: both a run-on sentence and succinctly descriptive). Truthfully, at first glance, the memorial doesn’t look like much. It consisted of a lot of nearly identical unmarked pillars, equally spaced out forming a grid of paths that ran from one side of the plaza to another.
When you stand on one side of the plaza and look out over the obelisks, they look to be relatively the same height as one and other. But when you look at the small, narrow paths that make up the grid of the plaza, you can see the decline that forms a sort of bowl in the center of the memorial.
To be perfectly honest, the whole thing seemed lost on me. It was a bunch of boxes evenly spaced out in the middle of a major city. Aside from the handful of signs telling a passersby that this was a somber memorial, you could easily have mistaken it for a weird piece of European modern art (I know I sound like a terribly uncultured American, and that’s because I am). The significance of the event the memorial represented wasn’t lost on me. I just couldn’t figure out a clear connection between the the event and the memorial.