Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe- Reading Response

In a 2012 New Yorker article I came across titled “The inadequacy of Berlin’s memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe” the author Richard Brody gives a critique of the memorial and what he saw as its shortcomings. Brody takes issue with many things about the memorial beginning with the title. He questions if the memorial is intended for solely the victims of the Sho’ah or if this is meant to memorialize Jews that were murdered before the Holocaust throughout European history. Not having the Holocaust mentioned in the title Brody finds problematic, but I have seen the name of this memorial as tactful in focusing on the fact that this was murder and memorializing the Jewish people. Brody also takes issue with the somewhat casual placement of the memorial and how one can sit on the blocks, or children can play in them. And another issue is the fact that in the exhibition that exists under the memorial, the names of individuals are not mentioned unlike Yad Vashem.

These are the typical criticisms of this memorial and I feel them to be slightly short sighted. It is true that this memorial does not offer much information on what it is but I think its a powerful experience and something more effective than a traditional memorial. The memorial provides an immersive experience with minimalist aesthetics that seem appropriate to attempt to remember such an atrocity. Such a historically unique experience requires a unique approach to memorial design.


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