Berlin: A Memorial Open to Interpretation

Flipping through the endless pictures of cathedrals, quaint buildings, and outdoor squares and markets, I stopped her.

Jade, what is this photograph? What are those supposed to be?

Apparently, I had eyed a photograph of a memorial in Berlin to commemorate Jews killed in Europe. An unusual looking memorial that begs to ask its meaning.

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Jade explained that the memorial was open to interpretation; something that appealed to the artist in her. There are no names on any of the 2711 gray concrete slabs; no indication of who the victims were or who killed them. No information on why they vary in size. Nothing.

Just the sombre feeling, the eerie feeling, the unsettling feeling as you walk the tiny uneven walkways through this maze of concrete slabs; varying in size; appearing randomly done.

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At some points, Jade felt “trapped” amongst the larger slabs; unable to see around them or to know what was hiding around the corner. Confused and unsettled, she felt “hidden” but “safe”; knowing that for her, there was a way out, eventually.

Surrounded in controversy, these concrete slabs are coated with an anti-graffiti substance produced by a company that is also connected to the one, years ago, who was responsible for supplying gas to the gas chambers.

Strange as they are, unusual as they are; they still make an impact on the visitor. Maybe not the impact that some would wish, but an impact that one doesn’t forget.

Maybe that is the meaning behind them?

Checkpoint Charlie: 2 Different Takes

I went through Checkpoint Charlie in 1984, just 6 years before it was no more.

It was a surreal and somewhat scary and unsettling experience.

Jade returned last week. Still surreal and unsettling, she shared the stories she learned of people’s escapes and attempts to get beyond.

She talks of a stereo, suitcases, cars and tunnels; vessels used to secure freedom. Some people fortunate; others not.

This is her visual take on the past; one that she gratefully never knew but one to be remembered.