A forest of pillars, recalling the Holocaust: the controversial Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin

In the 15 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of the nation, Germany has struggled to come to terms with its Nazi past. Nowhere has that been more evident than in the restored capital, where a vast rebuilding effort has transformed the once-ravaged city center. Probably Berlin’s signature monument is the Brandenburg Gate, a 20-meters-tall and 12-collumned triumphal arch topped by a life-sized bronze quadriga. The gate was built in the late 18th century, and opens onto the Unter den Linden. During the Cold War,…

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Prague: the magnificent European capital cobbled with Jewish gravestones

Prague is one of the most touristic cities in Europe. It is a large UNESCO World Heritage site, full of fairytale towers, ornate statues and art nouveau façades. The beauties of its historical and cultural heritage arouse the imagination and evoke its millenary history in the heart of the Holy Roman Empire and of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. However, in the midst of all this beauty, there are stories that people probably would rather forget. Despite its 3.5 million tourists a year, Prague has a history of pain, suffering and genocide…

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Shoes on the Danube Promenade: the Holocaust Memorial of the Jews of Budapest

On the banks of the Danube, in Budapest, not far from the Hungarian Parliament building, 60 pairs of 1940s-style worn-out shoes pairs of shoes are lined up. There are women’s, men’s and children’s shoes, left there, close to the water, abandoned in a disorderly fashion, as if their owners had just taken them off. However, If you look closer, you see that the shoes are rusty, made of iron, and fixed in the concrete of the pier. It is the sad memorial in honor of the Hungarian Jews who, in…

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