Holocaust Memorial, Berlin, Germany

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Holocaust Memorial, Berlin, Germany

Perhaps one of the saddest monuments on Earth commemorating events that even 70 or so years later are hard to digest as reality, these were very difficult photos to post. And yet, even the saddest places can still hold a certain beauty; even the places that have evoked massive amounts of human suffering can be worth visiting for what the evoke inside us (two examples are this war memorial in Scotland or this Polish resistance sculpture in Wroclaw. See here another interpretation of this Memorial). In central Berlin – once the most divided city in the world – there is a square filled with large, grey granite boxes of varying heights built into the uneven ground. Walking amongst the oppressive grey ‘hallways’ along a path that rises and falls beneath your feet is a powerful though somber experience. Your chest may tighten, your eyes may water, your heart may flutter – but as difficult as it may be, visiting this memorial is important to do. In order to avoid repeating history’s worst mistakes, we must take care to remember the past, and to learn from our past mistakes. We must open our hearts to other cultures and ways of life. We must choose peace and integration over violence and exclusion. The message shared with us via Berlin’s tragic memorial resonates today as the world becomes more divided, nations become more nationalistic, fear has become a true malady, and exclusion is the name of the game. Instead of further division, we should instead work to understand each other, incorporating the best characteristics from each culture to better our current world and make the world a more colourful place, one person at a time.

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“Infinite” – Berlin, Germany

berlinholomon

Holocaust Monument, Berlin, Germany

Infinity is a curious thing; good or bad or some combination of both, depending on how you interpret it. I never really understood infinity. How could one thing stand still and unwavering enough to ever be rendered infinite? Nothing, in effect, is infinite. Everything changes—as it should. Change is not a thing to be feared. Yet, people have always been afraid of change, and for millennium, people have tried – and failed – to arrest this change, something we could all take a lesson from. Standing here in the Holocaust Memorial in the heart of Berlin, lost amongst rows and rows of daunting grey stone slabs of varying heights, the feeling is overwhelming. Here is the drastic evidence of one of the most awful resistances to change. You don’t need a history lesson; millions died because one man wanted to erase certain groups of people, and in the end, he was stopped, and life went on, at the same time, finite and infinite. And life will continue to go on and on, introducing new challenges and new ideas and new characters. I just hope that the cycle that many consider infinite isn’t so. I just hope that so-called infinity is malleable and changeable, because as these mournful, scary grey slabs remind us, life is never infinite.