My most profound travelling experience most definitely has been the walk through the “Holocaust Denkmal” (1), in Berlin. I think everybody should define their experiences themselves, but this one I want to share.
The Holocaust Denkmal consists of concrete blocs. Each block represents thousands of completely innocent jews murdered during WWII. Once you start walking through these blocs, you start off having an overview. But as soon as you find your way in this simple maze, you loose having this. Beside, you are brought out of balance. The pavement between the blocs has been deliberately laid down to force you to focus and look down. You simply have to look down in order not to stumble or fall.
The point made? People are easily misled
People (!) thought the Nazi’s would bring prosperity. Germans in the 1930s did not care how anymore. The Weimar hyperinflation was a human tragedy. Poverty among many Germans was harsh, very bitter, and simply had to be overcome.
The process of the Nazi’s getting in power democratically, can be compared with entering the monument site. Starting off, a free man, walking into this simple maze, you still have this unproblematic overview. But the further you walk into it, the more you loose having that overview. Moreover, you are brought out of balance, and you are triggered to look down.
It made me feel disturbingly awkward. This was not what I expected, nor desired when I walked into this seemingly clear and simple maze…
As soon as you have found your way back out of it, you feel relief and back in reality. You look back, and realize that this was one very unpleasant walk: never ever again may we allow this to happen again. Genocide is sickening. We are responsible for that and it takes effort to prevent any genocide, any murder, any discrimination. It takes effort to stand up.
It is therefore of tremendous importance to keep having an overview and to beware and conscious of the fact we are easily distracted and brought out of balance. You’ll simply have to overthink your actions. That is what the “Holocaust Denkmal” makes abundantly clear.
(1) Freely translated, “das Holocaust Denkmal” means to “over-think”, or “reflecting on the Holocaust”.
Pictures: courtesy of Ronald, 30th April 2006.