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The Reichstag building in Berlin (archive photo)
Photo: Reuters
Report: Berlin's Holocaust memorial used as public urinal
Berliner Zeitung daily reveals since site's inauguration in 2005 passers by have urinated regularly alongside the 2,711 concrete slabs in complex; 'we have not received hygiene related complaints from visitors,' memorial's initiator says

Berlin's main Holocaust memorial, commemorating six million Holocaust victims, has turned into a public urinal since its opening to the public in May 2005, according to a report by the Berliner Zeitung daily, which based its report on an official document submitted recently to the German parliament.

 

According to the report, this offensive occurrence was deliberately kept quiet by the fund running the memorial site, in order to prevent others from using the memorial in the same manner.

 

A footnote in the report noted that since the inauguration of the site in May 2005, passers by have urinated regularly alongside the 2,711 concrete slabs located in the memorial complex, particularly at night when traffic in the area is sparse.

 

This practice became more widespread during last summer's World Cup games held in Germany as the complex is located adjacent to an area where fans congregated to drink large amounts of beer.

 

The report also noted that as of last spring, there has been a decline in this practice following the opening of a shopping center opposite the memorial, where public conveniences are located.

 

'Once in a while passers by urinate there at night'

The Holocaust Memorial which covers a wide area was specially designed to be open

to the public. It is not surrounded by special security apparatuses in order to allow visitors free and convenient access throughout the day. Several rules of conduct are enforced at the site such as the banning of sunbathing, picnics and barbeques, yet despite this during the summer many people abused these regulations, evident by the frequent sunbathers at the site.

 

Leah Ross who initiated the Holocaust memorial, told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper Tuesday that the report on the memorial being turned into a public urinal was ridiculous and exaggerated.

 

"Once in a while passers by urinate there at night, such occurrences are common all over the world. I often conduct guided excursions at the site and I have never noticed a smell of urine. We have not received hygiene related complaints from visitors. Some people throw out cigarette butts and leave beer cans behind, but we make sure to clean it up," she said.

 

She clarified that there is no intention of building a fence around the memorial site.

 

Meanwhile, Germany who took over the EU Presidency from Finland, is spearheading pan-European legislation according to which Holocaust denial, racism, genocide and xenophobia would be deemed criminal offenses.  

 

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