Yesterday I went to the Berlin Zoo, and wrote a post about the need for respect by the patrons of zoos in general for the animals on display. Today I had a very similar experience, but this time it was humans being disrespectful at a memorial to the millions of humans who were killed during the Holocaust.
Most people know of this memorial. In the middle of Berlin, there is a large square with rows of concrete blocks which are of different sizes. And most people have seen pictures of people with at this memorial. From the surface, this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal – it is a tourist site, right? Pictures are okay at tourist sites, right? I agreed – until I went there.
The memorial is full of people running, jumping, climbing the blocks. There are children playing hide and seek. There are adults joining it. There are people taking (in my opinion, fairly insensitive) photos: doing yoga, posing between the blocks, completely lacking any introspection about what this memorial actually stands for. When you actually experience it, it is disturbingly eery and….just plain awful hearing people running and playing in a place that signifies the death of millions of people.
Respect. Education. Learning. Kindness. Introspection.
These are all things you would not think you would have to remind people about when you are visiting a Holocaust memorial. Or anywhere that signifies that death of millions. But it needs to be reiterated. If you are at a cemetery, if you are at a memorial, if you are in a place that may mean something extremely significant to someone – do not take selfies. Do not do yoga. Do not play hide and seek. Do not run around, laughing.
Simply put: Use common sense. Please.
PS Dad – I’m annoyed. But alive.
For reference, here is how memorial photos should look: