While studying at a café in Prenzlauer Berg, I began to hear protestors walking through the streets in demonstration. They wore metallic clothing, played loud music, and held signs that read ‘Berliners against Nazism’. As a foreigner, it initially seemed redundant that Germans would be protesting against Nazi ideologies in 2017. My education had led to me believe that Nazi ideologies were no longer apart of the political dialogue and German culture was in complete disassociation with such beliefs. Unfortunately such assumptions do not accurately portray the political ideologies of some Germans.
While living in Berlin and studying German memory culture, I have had the opportunity to learn more about the complexities surrounding Holocaust memorialization. Conflicting opinions on the Holocaust, as well as the extent to which it should be remembered, accounts for issues surrounding contemporary exhibitions. It is interesting to note that the famous ‘Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe’ was only completed in 2005 after years of deliberation on representation and the structure itself. It is clear that memorialization of the Holocaust, specifically the atrocities that occurred, is a relatively recent phenomenon.
It is important that the international community recognize the politics surrounding remembrance. One should not assume that memorialization is inevitable; rather it is a conscious decision for one to remember. I hope to further my education on the politics of German memory culture and create a dialogue around the importance of remembering the atrocities of World War II.