Memorial analysis regarding the representation of the past

Practices should stimulate and Promote Civic Management


Question – Why should war memorials be maintained .
Investigating into the past and future of war memorials . The study of war
memorials – how does it impact on the society and stimulate engagement of the
civic society and a critical analysis regarding the representation of the past

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Do the memorials exclude violence in future as they
are memories of a violent past .




Red – Wikipedia

Green  –

Purple  –  Wikipedia





Memorial –  The building to build a
memorial began on April 1st 2003 and was finished on December 15th 2004.  It is located to the south of Brandenburg
gate (Mitte Neighbourhood).  It is easily
accessible to visitors by Public transportation and motorable roads.

The Berlin wall which is known as Death
Strip once divided the city and this monument is located here. This memorial is
the connection to various Holocaust monuments spread not only across the entire
city but also the country. 

It is centrally located in order to allow
foreign embassies, political diplomats and leaders across the world to view the
monuments opening a window which visualises to the outside world how germany
feels for the past and how Germany has moved forward .

The monument was designed by architect Peter
Eisenman and engineer Burohappold .

THe monument consists of 2711 concrete slabs
(stelae) arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field in an area of 4.7 acre
site. The slabs are organised in rows 54 going north-south and 87 heading east
-west at right angles and an attached underground place of information contains
approximately 3 million jews holocaust victim names. .

This monument was inaugurated on 10th May
2005.  People and critics have applauded
the location and the manner of building as the installation has a kuleshov
effect namely the juxtaposition and image and text.


History  and Location

During 1980s, debates raged between a group
of private citizens lead by a television journalist Learosh and a historian
Eberhard Jackal surprisingly neither of them being Jewish first began pressing
for Germany to Honor the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust and Rosh
emerged as the motivating force behind the memorial and in 1989 she initiated a
group to support its construction and as well as to collect donations.

Due to the growing support on 25th June
1999, after the Bundestag passed a resolution in favour of the project, the
German Federal Parliament decided to build the memorial and the above name
consequently founded to run it.


A gem of an idea germinated when in April 94
in all Germany’s major newspaper a competition to design the memorial was
announced where in a Jury consisting of representatives of all the fields of Art,
architecture, urban design etc, .

Meticulous planning before the deadline with
respect to documentation proposals etc, was put in place and out of several
submissions by way of elimination process, a decision was taken after review
and ultimately two works found recommendation including whether the project
could be completed within the price range.

Ultimately two works found favour after this
elimination process out of which one was designed by a group of architect Simon
Ungers from Hamberg and another design by Christine Jackob Marks . The ideas
involved a memorial not only to the jews but also to the victims of Nazism as
well as the names of several extermination camps etc,


Chancellor Helmut Kohl who took personal
interest in the project however expressed dissatisfaction of the work of Jacob
Marks stein and a new more limited competition was launched in 1996 inviting 25
architects and sculptors to submit proposals Due to this the inaugural date was
indefinitely postponed and public discussions was held on the proposed monument
and in the second competition in November 1997, four finalists were shortlisted
and and Artist Richard Serra’s plan emerged as the winner  whose design included a huge labyrinth of
4000 stone pillars of varying heights scattered over 18,000 sq ft. However
Serra citing personal and professional reasons quit the team and the other
finalist Kohl still insisted on numerous changes . In this backdrop, Eisemann ,
one of the other finalist soon indicated that he could accomodate them and the
project was scaled down to some 2000 pillars .


There was a timely breakthrough out of
mediation and negotiation between Eisemann and Michael  Naumann during January 1999 wherein the nitty
gritty of number of pillars was reduced to 2100 only and a building consisting
an atrium and 3 blocks was to be added to house or locate an archive
information centre and an exhibition space to be flanked by a thick 100 yard
long wall of books that would have housed a million books . Thus the shape of
this building to be called the house of remembrance and the space for locating
the million books called as ” The wall of Books”  proclaiming the concern of the Schroder
Government that the memorial espouses the cause of not nearly backward looking
but would serve as a educational and useful tool resulted in an agreement to be
reached and that the memorial would be administered by Jewish Museum.


The message to the whole world was to make
amends for the past deeds and the mindless killings of 6 million Jews was a
thing of past and that the Germans were taken a leap forward to erase such
traumatic memories of the days passed and as a reminder and as a resting place
of the memories passed to erect an imposing and impressive memory and to look
forward for a new present forgetting the past.


With a majority the Bundestag decided in
favour of Eisemann plan with certain modifications by attaching a museum to be
a place of information designed by Dagmar Von Wilcken, a berlin based
exhibition designer .


Despite provocative slogans donations poured
in and a symbolic beginning of construction on the memorial site was ushered
in  celebrity style on 27th January 2000
and the first provisional stelae  was
erected in 2001 which was followed by an international symposium comprising of
historians museum experts persons connected to art history and experts are
architectural theory and finally on 15th December 2004 by having a public
function, the last of the 2711 stelae was placed and the official opening of
the memorial was held on may 10th 2004 and the memorial and the information
centre was dedicated to the public on May 12th 2005 Coincidentally the 60th
Anniversary of the V-E- day fell on may 10th 2005 .


The inauguration was attended by all persons
of the social strata including chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and all all senior
members of Germany’s Government and by way of a unique example to the
world  Sabina Wolanski, a holocaust
survivor was chosen to speak on behalf of the dead 6 million jews in her
opening address, she proclaimed to the world that hatred discrimination are
doomed to fail and this was the lesson that was taught to her out of the
holocaust which she valued much for the present and further she emphasized the
perpetrators children of the holocaust are not responsible for the actions of
the parents which was followed by speeches, songs and performances by orchestra









Memorials to the Sinti and Roma victims of
National Socialism –


Introduction –

They are nomadic people found throughout
United States. Often both groups are known as Roma collectively. They are also
popularly referred as gypsies . These people were persecuted in Germany as they
were throughout Europe as they were not part of well-ordered society and did
not have regular work. Therefor in early 1935, the Nazis rounded them up and
held them in camps . These camps were known as concentration camps and Nazis
saw Roma as a racial enemy to be identified and killed and tens and thousands
were killed in death camps. This is known as the Nazi genocide of the European
Sinti and Roma Peoples . To erase these memories and to establish a permanent
memorial was felt as a long standing demand of the central council of German
Sinti and Roma and the German Sinti alliance.


It was only in 1992, the federal government
agreed to build such a memorial  and
subsequently faced years of delay, and differences over its design and location

It was only in 2001 the site in tiergarten
on samsonweg south of reichstag near the Brandenburg gate close to other
holocaust memorials was finalised . However the work officially commenced on
the commemoration day for the victims of porajmos 19th december 2008 and was
completed at a cost of 2.8 million euros and was inaugurated by Angela Merkel
on October 2012.


The memorial consists of a dark circular
pool of water at the centre of which there is a triangular stone . The stone
and the shape mimics the badges that were worn by the concentration camp
prisoners . A fresh flower is places on it daily and the stone is retractable
at the end of the day it goes underground and comes with a fresh flower.


In bronze letters around the pool, Santonio
Spinelli, a Roma poet(Auschwitz ) poem is written which commemorates all Roma
and Sinti murdered during the Porajmos . The location and placement of the
memorial is striking to the eye and impresses all the visitors with the
simplicity of the design and the fragility of life surrounding the pool
information boards provide necessary chronological information of the genocide
committed on the Sinti and Roma people .


This monument is dedicated to the memory of
22000-50,000 people murdered and was designed by Danny Karvon . President
Joachim Gauck was also present at the time of inauguration . The poem Auschwitz
is poignant reminder of the fate of the murdered people and tells its own
untold story about the sufferings of these people in the German concentration
camp and out of several such monuments this monument is a stand alone
architectural monument and tells several stories about the persecution and its
aftermath to the beholder of the eye.



3. National Socialist Euthanasia




From 1940-1941 over 70,000 people were
murdered under the action T4 plan and even after the 3rd reach ended the
program, the killings continued in Nazi occupied institutions and care
facilities until the end of world war 2 in 1945. The death toll is
approximately 30,000 . Such killings was to ensure a new generation of Aryan
race without disabilities or illness and the targets of this genocide were
those who suffered or deemed to suffer from mental or physical illnesses which
is inclusive of forced sterilizations.


This memorial publicly brings out
awareness of this mammoth genocide committed during this relevant period .
During Nazi occupation, the headquarters for this genocide was located  near Tiergartenstrasse -4 , 10785 Berlin .
Therefore the German Bundestag voted for creation of a monument in November
2011 with a theme ” Every human life is worth living” .

A contest was held by state of Berlin
about the concept of what the memorial should be and architect Ursula Williams
and landscape architects Nikilaus Koliousis and Heinz . W. Hallmann was crafted
by them .  The simplicity of the monument
was amazing and a sight for sore eyes.


The monument was set in a 24 meter wall
made of blue glass set in concrete and the glass allows visitors to see through
it as they sit on a concrete bench and look through while gazing up from the
information point which provides history of killings , its relevance today and
portraits of ten victims. This memorial was installed with an intention to
educate and allow visitors to reflect on the past it represents .


After everything from the team which was
entrusted with the work and arrangement of funds was finalised and the monument
took pace , the monument became a reality and open to public on 2nd september
2014 which is open 24 hours a day. The inaugural ceremony was a path breaking
event . It was attended by the vice president of the German parliament Wolf
Gang Thrise , Hubert Huppe Government representative for the disabled and Dilek
Kolat the Senator for integration along with host of other dignitaries . The
other unique feature where two family members of victims featured as the
speakers . This memorial is  supported by
select groups and departments  .


The memorial stands as a symbol of
recognition for victims of Nazi Euthanasia, the goals of the memorial is
educating people about the nazi crimes and honouring their victims remained an
obligation for the country and this serves as a worthy place to keep alive the
memory of some 30,000 disabled and ill people who were murdered. It further
servers as a means never to forget Nazi crimes committed against disabled

The dark past of Nazi Euthanasia program
is Highlighted








 The impact of war memorials . What
methodology do we need to use What
are the ethical implications of this research especially dealing with
traumatic memory . Some
answers are found in the source ” 
United Nations Holocaust Memorial Museum link which i have sent

Holocaust is a word of greek origin meaning
Sacrifice by Fire.


The Nazis believed Germans were racially
superior, therefore targeted groups according to them were seen as racially
inferior(Roma, Gypsies,) disabled and some slavic people( Poles, Russians and
some other groups were persecuted on political, ideological and behavioural
grounds such as communists, socialists , jehovah’s witness and homosexuals .


During 1933, Jewish population of Europe
were at 9 million and nearly 2 out of every 3 european jews were killed as part
of final solution . This persecution tyranny and murders revolted the whole
word and Germany as a nation was repelled .


It was only in the final months of the war,
this Holocaust ended . The crimes committed during the holocaust devastated
most europeans jews communities and a psychological effect was prevailing in
the environment  .


It is under these circumstances the 20th
century saw the development of commemorative traditions: customs and narratives
by which individuals, groups and nations remember, commemorate and attempt to
resolve memories of the traumatic experience that is war . These conventions
often also govern museum interpretation of war and use different style of
commemoration not with an intention of glamoursing war but with an intention of
the effect of sanitising the war.


After the second world war and upto 1990,
Germany was divided into FRG( West Germany) and the Soviet allied GDR(East
Germany) and both the states struggled to come to terms with the horrors of its
past at a national level. Therefor the term ” Coping with the past” became a
key concept in post- 1945 German culture and an attempt to discuss and confront
with history was made. The German word is “Vergangenheitsbewältigung”.


It is only since reunification in 1990 the
majority of the memorials have emerged over the last 25 years and 27th January
is dedicated as the holocaust memorial day which happened to be the 50th
Anniversary of the liberation of ” Auschwitz” concentration camp (27th January
1955  many in Germany to dedicate the day
to remembering the holocaust and became official national day of remembrance).


A decade later united nations also
officially designated 27th January as International Holocaust Memorial Day.
Thus, through this process the newly United Germany took its tentative steps
forward towards a progressive approach remembering its past. This day
throughout is commemorated in the german capital by laying of wreaths at
memorials throughout the city. Thus came into existence the memorial to the
murdered jews of europe, the memorials to the other minorities such santini and
Roma and the memorial to the Genocide against the homosexuals .


IN 1919, the league of Nations which was
the forerunner of the united nations was conceived and established during the
1st world war under the treaty of versailles ” to promote international peace
and security” thereafter on 24th October 1945 after the second world war the
united nations was established to promote international cooperation and with
the aim of preventing another such conflict .


To take a step forward and to commemorate
the sacrifices made by the millions who have died memorials are appropriate
monuments and travels beyond time to consider how we choose to remember the
past and what influence memories can have on the way a society moves forward
from trauma and loss. Therefore memorials become part of our surrounding
landscapes and anniversaries are included in annual routines .

Though memorials are unchanging they link
to post conflict reconciliation and resentment the deadliness of war and horror
in the shape of unnamed buried bodies unrecovered bodies of soldiers are seen
by war veterans as the only possible memorial to the suffering .


Yet when landscapes are planned and
flowering plants come to life and men and animals start visiting the memorial
site, it appears as if the desolate terrain has come to life. This is one way
the society moves forward by expressing national grief over the destruction of
the war and mourning over the thousands of lives lost and germany has thus made
an attempt to reach out to the bosses that common men had suffered at the hands
of the politicians and officers that waged the war. Therefore historical
landscape s are symbols of heroisms , martyrdom and sacrifice . War memorials
are symbolic of the past horrors and the amends that are made by the society to
remember such victims every year and to come out of this with an intention of
sending a message to the world that enough is enough and that all men in the
world are equal and are to be respected and to live a life of dignity and


That is why memorials communicate
reconciliation messages and they matter but it is how we use them anfd make
them that matter for better or worse .


Source – CRIC Research paper – licensed
under ” Creative commons License”




impact of memorials they are created for peace, forgiveness and reconciliation
which conveys the right message in the current time.


Though the dead are gone, memorials are a
means for the families friends and society to come and pay respects . The
younger people go with memories of a better understanding of the sacrifices
that were made and regret the terrible war and crimes that have caused their
death thus the effect is a psychological healing effect . The ethical effect of
these war memorials are manifold as these memorials express national grief and
symbolism reconciliation . These memorials are constructed near the scenes
where persecution occurred where the millions were sent to their death where
emotions are buried and dead are gone . Therefore there is a methodology pf erecting
or constructing memorials at these scenes of strife as the souls of the dead
unite with the presence of the living visitors which gives emotions and
affection thereby the effect is communicating reconcelitary messages . The
landscapes which had become desolate and which were part of shocking revolting
repelling incidents of acts against humanity afte the memorials are erected
comes to life . Rarely visited landscapes associated with death now comes alive
with a stream of regular visitors 24 hours a day without restrictions . Further
the awe inspiring architectural designs convey a unique calmness to the eyes of
the beholder and the strategically and meticulously planned monuments convey
the pain and labour spent in erecting these monuments with a sincerity of
purpose which gives a message to mankind that the efforts and sacrifices of the
dead has not gone waste .