Our next stop was the Book Burning Memorial near Humbolt University. Here, in 1933, students burned books written by Jews, socialists and political dissidents. The memorial is not visible from the street, in fact, one has to almost walk over it to even see it. Under the ground, beneath clear plexiglass, is a room lined with empty, white bookshelves. What an unexpected place to burn books and to be threatened by ideas: in a city square adjacent to Humbolt University. Engraved in the plaque near the memorial is the Heinrich Heine quote "There where they burn books, they will be one day burning people." Ironically, and perhaps prophetically, Heine wrote this in 1820.
Our last stop in Berlin would be to the Jewish Museum Berlin. On Wednesday we had visited the German Historical Museum which had given us an overview of German history. The Jewish Museum Berlin, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, which opened in 2001, focuses on two thousand years of German-Jewish history.
In another section called "Memory Void,” one exhibit has 10,000 faces punched of steel. Entitled "Fallen Leaves,” Israeli artist Menashe Kadishman dedicated this artwork to the memory of the Jews killed in the Holocaust. Visitors are invited to enter the void and walk on the faces, listening to the sounds that are created by the faces clanging against one another.