Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Jewish Museum, 23rd February

As well as the Jewish Memorial, we went to the Museum to add to our knowledge. The building itself was very peculiar, the architecture was spectacular, as you can see from the picture below. Even as we walked around, the height and size of rooms and corridors changed unexpectedly and the gradient of the floors, which made it seem at times as though we were far underground. Navigating around the museum was very difficult and it took us a long time to actually find our way out again.

The architect Daniel Libeskind created empty spaces in several parts of the building. These so- called voids extend vertically through the entire museum and represent the absence of Jews from German society.

Photo: Aerial view of the Jewish Museum Berlin

As for the information and resources within the museum, some of the things we experienced were very eye- opening, for instance the reconstruction of a gas chamber we were able to go into and visualise was very moving. The coldness and darkness of the chamber and the echoes of our voices jumping off the concrete walls was quite unnerving and you could really visualise what it would have been like for the jews who experienced death in a place like this. Holes ran in vertical lines at intersections on all walls, where the gas would have been pumped into the room.

Another room we saw which had an intense atmosphere was another gas chamber, this time filled with iron moulds of masked faces, representing the mass of deaths in the holocaust. The installation was composed by israeli artist Menache Kadishman, who calls his installation 'Shalekhet' or 'Fallen Leaves'. He has dedicated the over 10,000 faces covering the floor to all innocent victims of war and violence.

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