Peter Eisenman’s memorial to victims of the Holocaust, located in Berlin, is composed of a series of concrete slabs of varying heights, placed in a grid pattern. The memorial has been the subject of a lot of debate, both from the Jewish citizenry and from German non-Jews as…
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The problem with a memorial that deals exclusively with the remembrance of the Jews is that it marginalizes the other victimized groups, no matter what the intentions were. People often erroneously think of the Holocaust as only having effected the Jewish population. This memorial could help to propagate that falsity.
Another issue about the memorial has stemmed from designer Eisenman himself. He wished the subterranean museum to be a part of the memorial. However, the two seem disjointed; almost antithetical to one another. The memorial itself is stoic in its design. It doesn’t even have a plague stating what is supposed to be memorialized by the structure. The museum beneath however, is a testament to another time and place. The stone work is almost a cemetery and the museum is filled with a kind of life through the various letters and pictures on display.
The memorial in Berlin is, of course, not the only memorial to the Holocaust that exists in the world. In Washington, D.C. there is a Holocaust memorial and museum. Some have complained about this. Norman Finkelstein, for example, has complained that since the Holocaust did not occur in the United States, American tax money should not go to construct a memorial. World War II brought in people from around the globe to fight what they believed was a political battle. Only after discovering the atrocities committed by the Nazis did people come to rethink the war as an occasion of good versus evil. Although the camps were not on American soil, family members of Americans, particularly American Jews, were slaughtered in Germany and Nazi territories. Additionally, American soldiers died in the attempt to emancipate the camps and end the terrors. The memorial stands as much for the Americans as it does for the
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