On Tuesday, May 10, 2005, after 17 years of bebates and controversy, Germany unveiled the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, designed by architect Peter Eisenman. The project was promoted by journalist Lea Rosh who began pushing for a monument to Jewish victims of the Nazis back in 1988. Marco Belpoliti writes for Domus about the monument (registration required)
“In truth, as each of us can testify, memory is strictly personal: the experiences of individuals are not interchangeable. Even when they concern a shared traumatic event, memories remain personal. Each person has the right to their own memory, without which it is not possible to live. Monuments on the other hand seek to transform the memories of individuals into a shared memory and they are not always successful. At times they force individuals’ memories in an ideological direction. Eisenman seems to have given himself the task of turning the monument into an individual experience. But no matter how uninhabitable this space is, it is navigable: there are neither barriers nor gates.”
Few hours after the monument’s inaguration, someone has already scratched a swastika on one of the stone slabs.
“Asked Monday if the project would be demeaned if someone scratched Nazi symbols on it, he was noncommittal. “Maybe it would. Maybe it wouldn’t,” Eisenman said. “Maybe it would add to it.”