Sliver of Light: The Jewish Museum
Barry Ooi ’10: The trip to the Sachsenhausen concetration camp was a little bit of a letdown, probably because I had been eagerly awaiting this visit. I think I was expecting something more raw and graphic, rather than the polished memorial site and scattered shiny new buildings interspersed with the old, moldy ones. Reading the stories plastered around the site gave me an idea into the suffering and brutality of life in the camp, but for most of the time, I was muttering curses at the wind and rain.
The Jewish Museum did a better job in putting us in the shoes of the persecuted. One section of the museum, called the Holocaust Tower, was a fairly large, irregularly-shaped room with an impossibly high ceiling, and dark walls with harsh corners. It was unheated, and the only light came from a small, vertical window at the very top of the room that cast a mere sliver of light, almost like a beacon of hope. Sounds and voices from the outside world could be heard. The effect was a disconcerting one; I felt tiny, caged, and worthless, and although there was the sliver of hope, I knew in the back of my mind that it was an empty one. A wall-ladder was placed mockingly several feet beyond my reach, and led straight to the ceiling on the opposite corner from where the window was. Such a simple exhibit, but it perfectly conveyed the feelings of the Jews at a time of oppression and persecution. I left the room feeling slightly relieved.†
All-in, another entertaining-though-rushed day, thanks to our dictatorial professor, Dr. Tucker. I'll give him a piece of my mind over a beer tonight.
Tsch∏s from Berlin!
Pictures: Holocaust Memorial in the Jewish Museum in Berlin.