A Takedown of the Berlin Holocaust Memorial

I’ve never heard anyone say an ill word about the Berlin Holocaust Memorial! And yet here is a fairly thorough take-down.

The title doesn’t say “Holocaust” or “Shoah”; in other words, it doesn’t say anything about who did the murdering or why—there’s nothing along the lines of “by Germany under Hitler’s regime,” and the vagueness is disturbing. Of course, the information is familiar, and few visitors would be unaware of it, but the assumption of this familiarity—the failure to mention it at the country’s main memorial for the Jews killed in the Holocaust—separates the victims from their killers and leaches the moral element from the historical event, shunting it to the category of a natural catastrophe. The reduction of responsibility to an embarrassing, tacit fact that “everybody knows” is the first step on the road to forgetting.

That’s certainly true, the way history works: in 200 years, will people even be sure what the Holocaust was? While they are guzzling Brawndo.