Visiting Berlin I passed the Reichstag and the Brandenburger Tor, forgot about Checkpoint Charlie and walked straight to the Holocaust Memorial. I would have never wanted to miss this powerful site.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is impressive. It was designed by architect Peter Eisenman and constructed in 2005. As soon as you get the Memorial in sight you know it probably caused a lot of controversy during design and construction phase. But as soon as you enter the Memorial and walk through the labyrinth of concrete monoliths, you become silent.
The Memorial hosts 2,711 concrete monoliths, or slabs. The monoliths differ in size and height, providing a different view after each corner. You can argue about the controversy of the design not being in line with traditional memorials, but the memorial succeeds in being a disturbing and confusing way of remembering the wounds of history.
There are so many ways to interpret the concrete monoliths and the way they are lined up. Every single one being (slightly) different, it seems like each monolith has its own story to tell. Like the murdered Jews in Europe who are referred to as numbers so many times, we have to remember them as individuals. Individuals with their own, unique story. For a long time to come, these monoliths will stand with pride, no matter the external influences like weather or controversy.
Being a labyrinth it also creates beautiful photography challenges. The sunlight creates its own magical effect, especially when it slowly fades away at night. During my stay in Berlin I visited the Memorial twice where the second time it was all covered in snow, intensifying the experience of walking amidst the monoliths.
Traveling with children
If you travel with children, don’t worry taking them to the Memorial. They can enjoy the labyrinth and will probably get a bit lost on their way. The contrast between the silent monoliths and children playing is the best way to remember and to heal the wounds at the same time.
My visit to Berlin was all about crossing lines, invisible lines. Walking the Potsdamer Platz area we crossed an important line several times, without us even knowing it. The line where the Berlin Wall used to be is now an intangible one. However, in several places in Berlin parts of the Wall still stand, to remember the partition between East and West Berlin.
The objective of me visiting Berlin was not a touristic one. I attended a great conference about Business-to-Business Marketing. The conference was mostly about online marketing with keynote speaker Chris Brogan. Chris mentioned that marketing is all about crossing lines once in a while. Cross the lines now and then and you will be noticed. Cross the lines a bit and you will succeed.
Another perspective was Wikileaks. Wikileaks was part of the discussion outside the conference rooms, a hot issue these days. Wikileaks is all about crossing lines we were not aware of earlier. Call these lines ethical or digital, we all seriously believe we have now entered a new phase in the existence of internet.
I have gained a lot of new insights in B-to-B marketing and met awesome new friends! We all crossed the lines between being unknown and being a friend. Berlin could not have been a better place for that.