First, the Holocaust Memorial, also called the Memorial to the Murdered Jews, is a symbolic graveyard with large open space that is covered in vast amounts of grey rectangular concrete slabs in various sizes. This huge Memorial covers 19000m2 and was built by Peter Eisenman and Buro Happold. The pair finished the Memorial on December 15, 2004, 60 years after the end of World War 2. Each of these 2,711 slabs represent people who unfortunately lost their lives during the Holocaust. What impressed and surprised me the most was that the memorial looked very different depending on where you were standing. It may seem like a field of concrete blocks when one looks from the sidewalk, but when you follow the trails in between the blocks that descend as you go deeper into the memorial, you can see a very grand pathway which makes you feel like you’ve shrunk. To me, this method of construction seemed that they were showing us that although the Holocaust can be one of the many genocides in history of humanity, to the Germans, it had much more depth to them since it was their own country’s unalterable mistake. Likewise, watching the rows of gray concrete blocks overwhelmed me with a feeling of terror but also of respect. What Hitler and his National Socialist government of Germany did to the Jews is unforgivable, but I imagine that it must have been painful for the German government to start a construction that represents their horrid mistake in recent history. I realized that when you can’t fix your mistake then a more honorable thing to do is to admit it openly and remember to never repeat it.
|[Photos of the Memorial of Murdered Jews of Europe. Taken by So Young Koo]|
I think that instead of leaving the Berlin wall as a grey blocks of concrete that stretched through the middle of Berlin, expressing the history of Germany through art on the wall was a great idea not only lifting the atmosphere of the city but also making it much more interesting and more motivating for visitors to take a stroll along the wall. The artists expressed Germany’s dark times of being split into two nations and the hopeful future of Germany as a unified nation. The vast collection of the masterpieces creates together a very powerful and inspirational atmosphere.
|[Photos of a part of the Berlin Wall covered with beautiful artworks.
Taken by So Young Koo.]
Visiting these two historical sites and reflecting upon the dark past of the country, I have learnt more about how these historical events closely relate to the mindset and lifestyle of the citizen in a certain country. In addition to that, I was reminded me of our own country, Korea. South Korea is still separated as a result of the Korean War and it still holds hostile relationship with North Korea. Despite a friendly inter-Korea summit between the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, and the South Korean president, Moon Jae In, I wonder if there will ever be a day when Korea can be united just like how Germany did in 1990.
So Young (Ashley) Koo
Seoul Foreign High School
So Young Koo firstname.lastname@example.org
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