Berlin's world-famous Holocaust memorial could not have been built in today's Germany, believes the monument's architect, citing the rising anti-Semitism in the country.
The prominent American architect Peter Eisenman, who designed the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, said in an interview to the weekly Die Zeit that if he would attempt to do it today, the current atmosphere of xenophobia and anti-Semitism both in Germany and in the US would not allow him to erect such a monument in the heart of the German capital.
“The social climate has changed,” he said. “Much of what was long considered to be accepted is now being questioned,” accused the 84-year-old Eisenman.
The 19,000 square meter monument is located in front of the American Embassy in Berlin and a block away from the Brandenburg Gate. It consists of 2,711 slabs of concrete, similar in length and width but different in height, aligned in a grid. Beneath the memorial there is an information center containing all known names of Jewish Holocaust victims.
At the time of its opening in 2005, the memorial's size, location, ambiguous design and its construction cost of 25 million euros, were often criticized. Many also resented that it commemorates only the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and “disregards” the prosecuted Sinti and Roma as well as gays and lesbians.