The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin was built in 2005, and serves as a reminder of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. It’s not something you would instantly recognise as a memorial, but definitely worth a visit.
My boyfriend and I arrived in the busy Potsdamer Platz early(ish), grabbed a bite for breakfast, then headed toward Brandenburg Gate. We’d done a bit of research the night before, and found that the Holocaust Memorial was between the two places, and decided it’d be handy to be able to see it as we passed by. I think we were expecting something like a large plaque, or maybe some sort of monument. So as we walked down the street, we were looking for something along those lines.
About halfway between Potsdamer Platz and Brandenburg Gate, we saw hundreds of concrete blocks, so crossed the road to find out what it was. As it dawned on us we were looking at the memorial, we were in shock at the size of it.
2,711 concrete pillars of heights ranging from 0.2m to 4.8m cover the area in a grid layout. You can walk among the pillars (most people do) and by doing this you get a real understanding of what they were trying to achieve when they built it. As you walk along the paths between the pillars, the noise of the surrounding area slowly fades until you can’t hear anything but yourself and any people who may be close by. The light dims as the pillars get higher, and the floor is purposely built so that it slopes up, down, up, down. It feels very disorientating, and more than once we bumped into people as they were walking the path adjacent to ours.
It’s supposed to give you a feel and symbolise the loneliness and disorientation felt by Jewish people during the Holocaust. There is also an underground museum you can visit which gives you more information about the victims of the Holocaust, but it was closed when we were there.
It’s not a maze, so you’ll have no problems finding your way around it, and if you get bored and want to leave, you just walk straight to follow your path out. The only problem is if you are with someone and they take a turning or 2, as happened with my boyfriend – it is very difficult to try and find them! I just kept walking until I was out of the pillars, and waited for him to reappear 🙂
I would definitely recommend a visit here, even if you don’t want to visit the museum. There are no entrance fees or opening times, so you are free to visit whenever and for however long you like. I don’t personally think I could go at night, as it is very eery to be among the pillars in bright daylight, let alone in the dark, and I wouldn’t recommend a visit when the floor is icy as it does slope slightly.