Thursday, July 10, 2008
Holocaust Fatigue In Germany: Grotesque Berlin Jewish Holocaust Memorial Vandalized By 28-Year-Old Saxony Man
A 28-year-old man (pictured above) was arrested on charges of vandalizing Germany's main Holocaust memorial in Berlin. Media stories by Bild and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The man, whose identity has not been made public, spray-painted four pillars at the memorial with neo-Nazi symbols Tuesday evening (July 8th, 2008), according to reports from the German news agency DDP. A security guard at the site reportedly noticed a drunken man with closely shorn hair wandering through the site and alerted police. Police said he is from the state of Saxony.
Among the symbols spray-painted on the pillars were the numbers "884," which stand for the letters HHD, or "Heil Hitler Deutschland." An eyewitness told the German daily Bild Zeitung that the man had been spray-painting for at least five minutes when an elderly lady asked him to stop. In response, he started cursing. The witness added that the man also shoved security guards when they tried to wrest the spray can from him.
Though police said the man did not have a record as a right-wing extremist, he was charged with politically motivated vandalism.
The memorial, which is covered with 2,711 concrete slabs and resembles an undulating cemetery, opened to the public in May 2005. It has been considered controversial from the very beginning because it is stark, hideous, and rather grotesque-looking. Although it's attracted millions of visitors, it has not been universally well-received by locals; in January 2007, Der Spiegel reported that people have been using it as a public convenience.
Officially known as "The Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe", it first opened in May 2005 after years of of delays and disagreements over design and construction issues. While supporters of the memorial say the stones will be central to Berlin's identity, critics say it is too abstract.
The stones were treated with an anti-graffiti agent that authorities hoped would ward off vandals and neo-Nazi sympathisers, but this latest case proves that expectation a bit optimistic. Ironically, even the anti-graffiti agent provoked controversy; it emerged that a subsidiary of Degussa, the company supplying the agent, once manufactured poison gas for use in Nazi concentration camps to kill lice in order to combat recurring outbreaks of typhus. The establishment continues to maintain that Jews were actually gassed as well.
And "Holocaust fatigue" is on the rise in Germany, which is understandable, since Germany has now shelled out an estimated €64 billion (in euros, which is $88 billion based on July 13th, 2007 exchange rate) in direct payments to Holocaust survivors. But that doesn't include payments "in kind", meaning the ships, trains, and buses with which Germany has equipped Israel. On page 306 of his book "Jewish Supremacism", Dr. David Duke estimates the total of all German Holocaust reparations payments to be at least $150 billion. And there's no apparent end in sight.
More of these incidents are likely until Germany decides to wrap up these Holocaust payments once and for all. Sixty years is long enough.