Photo: AP
Berlin's Holocaust memorial
Photo: AP

Berlin Holocaust memorial draws millions

Estimated 3.5 million people visit Berlin site in its first year, one of city's most popular tourist attractions

German authorities said this week that 3.5 milliion people visited Berlin's Holocaust memorial, making it one of the German capital's most popular tourist sites.


"It has become a tourist magnet," Uwe Neumaerker, director of the foundation that oversees the memorial, told reporters. The site was designed by US architect Peter Eisenman and opened one year ago after 17 years of debate and controversy. The memorial uses a haunting, abstract design to preserve the memory of the 6 million Jewish victims of Nazi terror.


Situated on a vast plot of land between the Brandenburg Gate and the remains of Adolf Hitler's bunker in central Berlin, it consists of 2,711 grey gravestone-like slabs of varying height that form a tight grid pattern through which visitors wander.


An underground information centre, which documents the stories of individual Jewish victims of the Third Reich, drew approximately half a million visitors over the past year, Neumaerker said.


In addition to the memorial, some 350,000 people visited the site of the former concentration camp in Sachsenhausen in 2005 and another 300,000 visited Berlin's Topography of Terror, an exhibit and memorial on the site of the former SS headquarters.


Non-stick graffiti


Neumaerker said fears the memorial, which is accessible from the street day and night, would be defaced proved largely unfounded.


In its first year, vandals painted five swastikas, four stars of David and one other piece of graffiti on the rectangular pillars, which have an anti-graffiti coating.


"I think half the German population welcomes this memorial, but there is a big part that don't like it, that don't believe it was needed," said Lea Rosh, a journalist who led the campaign for the memorial. "I hope that we can convince even these people, or at least some of them, over time."


פרסום ראשון: 05.09.06, 12:41
 new comment
This will delete your current comment