Anyone recognize this? Hang on, because this is going to be a long caption.
This is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. You may have seen this pop up in an article about visitors behaving disrespectfully and posing inappropriately within the installation - and I think I understand *why* that seems to happen so often (more on that towards the end) - but first, a little context. The memorial was built between April 2003 and December 2004 and is made up of 2,711 stone slabs of different heights. It is built on a slight slope, so with the different sizes of the slabs and unevenness of the ground, it almost feels like a giant wave. According to some notes that went along with the project, it was designed to create a confusing and uneasy atmosphere. According the the @visit_berlin page, "The sheer size of the installation and its lack of a central point of remembrance call into question the conventional concept of a memorial. This creates a place of remembrance, but not with the usual means."
Now, having just read that description, I think it becomes a little more apparent just how it can happen that people behave inappropriately. I knew what I was visiting, so when I came upon the memorial, I knew that there was a level of reverence that needed to be upheld. It was also my experience that (at least from the corner where I entered the memorial) there were no signs noting what it was. If I hadn't known the memorial was there, I probably would've assumed it was just a piece of public art. So even though I thoroughly dislike and disagree with the posts disrespecting the memorial, and its likely that more often than not people know exactly where they are, I do see the possibility that in some rare cases that one may not know what they're looking at. I typically don't think ignorance is an excuse for bad behavior and I feel like the pervasiveness of just trying to get a good photo for the 'gram is really blinding. ☆(continued in 1st comment)☆
Fortunately I didn’t see any disrespectful behavior or selfie taking when I visited. I saw it two days after visiting Auschwitz. If I’d seen that type of behavior when I was there I would have given them a lecture for sure.
12 July, 2019
Thank you for educating about this incredibly important, humbling and touching memorial from my hometown BERLIN ❤️
11 July, 2019
I went intentionally to visit, learn and pay respects. The museum below is absolutely overwhelming with information, sadness, horror and an overall sense of what happened. It’s really a place to remember something that never made sense
11 July, 2019
11 July, 2019
I agree with this. I think it's impossible for every single person to always cross their t's and dot their I's, but if you have a following and treat your social media presence as a resource FOR others, it's up to you to do your due diligence 👏👏
Like, I know most people aren't travel bloggers and don't necessarily research the location to make sure it's properly tagged, so I'm willing to extend a little forgiveness if it's just a random post by someone who may not have had the foresight to research and understand the location - but where I get really lit up is when it's someone with a significant following that does it. When you have people that pay attention to you, you have a responsibility to not act like (or at the very least, not publicly share) an idiot/jerk/biznich/self-centered doo-doo-head.
Because of the limited time I had in Berlin, I was unable to visit the inside, more informational portion of the memorial (called the Place of Information - located underground) - but it does exist.
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