Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe / Stelae Field

Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe / Stelae Field

Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe / Stelae Field

Since 2005 one will find in the immediate vicinity of the Brandenburg Gate, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe –also known as the Holocaust memorial. The core of the monument is the so called ‘ Stelae field’ – an approximately 19,000 square metre open space on which one finds a total of 2711 concrete blocks (also known as ‘stelae’).

The Holocaust Memorial was designed by Peter Eisenmann and construction started in 2003. The building work took approximately two years, allowing the memorial to be finished in May of 2005. On the 12th May 2005 the Memorial for Murdered Jews of Europe was finally inaugurated in a solemn ceremony. Since this time it has been open to visitors and can be seen at all hours of the day and night. There are only set opening times for the underground museum which is part of the Memorial. Next to the museum itself and underneath the stelae field there are several lecture-rooms and a book shop.

Already in its first year after opening the memorial recorded around 3.5 million visitors – the interest in it still remains unbroken.

Basics of the design: the 2711 concrete stelae are not solid. They have a hollow body with a wall thickness of approximately 15cm. All the stelae have an identical floor plan with dimensions of 2.38 x 0.95 metres however, they have different heights. The height ranges from a few centimetres (almost ground level) to 4.7 metres. All the stelae are set up in parallel rows creating aisles of equal width between the individual blocks. These aisles however, are only about one metre wide aimed at creating an oppressive feeling for visitors walking through the stelae field. This is exacerbated because the ground underneath the concrete blocks is uneven and slopes variably by angles of 0.5 and 2 degrees.

How can the Holocaust Memorial be interpreted?

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As indicated earlier, visitors should obtain a sense of insecurity and oppression which is achieved both through the narrow walkways between the concrete blocks in addition to the uneven gently sloping surface.

The stelae themselves are neither inscribed or decorated in any manner and due to their form appear like sarcophagus and tombstones. This is intended to remember the fact that most of the Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust did not have their own graves.

The stelae are of a plain grey colour - meant to represent the ashes of the burned Jewish corpses which were scattered onto the battle fields of the Second World War.

The Holocaust Memorial is not in the form of a classical monument. For some visitors it initially appears as somewhat disturbing. However this has been fully intended as according to statements by the architect, every attempt made to represent the Holocaust in the form of a more traditional monument has on account of the atrocities been completely pointless.


Adress: Holocaust-Gedenkstätte (Stelenfeld), Cora-Berliner-Straße 1, 10117 Berlin


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