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Ten Years On - Berlin’s Holocaust Museum

The Holocaust Memorial is still a top tourist draw and significant site in Germany

May 11th, 2015

Alice White – The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, inaugurated on May 10, 2005 after 17 years of emotional debate and six decades after World War II, now attracts nearly half a million visitors each year from across Germany and around the world. The idea for the Holocaust Memorial was created in August 1988 at a panel discussion in West Berlin; to build a memorial at the place of the perpetrations.

The central memorial has become a magnet for visitors. Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists dive into the stone steles sea; majority of them being young people from all over the world. 

The monument includes a vast rippling labyrinth of more than 2,700 grey concrete blocks spread over an area equivalent to three football fields, as well as a subterranean museum dedicated to the testimony of Holocaust victims and survivors.

According to Israel Jewish Scene, Norbert Lammert, a speaker of the German Parliament who serves on the board of the memorial, noted that its approval was the last major decision taken by lawmakers before the government moved to Berlin in 1999 from the old West German capital, Bonn. Lammert said the transition to Berlin would have been "incomplete" after national reunification without "demonstrative commemoration of the worst single aberration in German history", the slaughter of six million Jews in the Holocaust. After several false starts and redesigns, work began in 2001 and was completed on May 10, 2005.

It is said that the memorial serves an important educational purpose for young people about the agonizing history of the city, teaching them much more than a textbook ever would. After ten years, it still remains one of the most visited and historically significant places in the German capital.



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