the Guardian, Jonathan Jones.
“Architect Peter Eisenman has said he couldn’t build his Berlin Holocaust memorial today, as Europe has become too antisemitic. But the very way culture has framed the Holocaust has allowed right-wing populism to flourish”
“I believe my Holocaust memorial in Berlin could no longer be built today,” the architect Peter Eisenman has told Die Zeit. Eisenman says that Europe is now “afraid of strangers”, and he fears that the rise of xenophobia and antisemitism in Europe would make it impossible to build monuments like the vast field of grey sepulchres that he designed as Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, inaugurated in 2005 close to the site of Adolf Hitler’s bunker.
He may well be right – yet surely this is the wrong end of the book to start at. The real question is why Holocaust memorials have done so little to prevent the return of Europe’s far-right demons.
“The monolithic bleakness of Eisenman’s Berlin memorial implies an innacurate vision of nazism. He makes the Holocaust look like a state bureaucrat’s calculus of death. It was worse. It was a chaos of hatred, bigotry and unreason. When unleashed in a modern technological society, these demonic passions can quickly create a hell on earth. We would be utter fools to think it can’t happen again, or that the world will never have any more reason to build memorials.”