International Holocaust Remembrance Day

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Yesterday, the 27th January was International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army. On this video from the Guardian you can see some of the many different events taking place around the world. We wanted to mark the occasion here on the Circus blog, so I headed down to the Tiergarten in the centre of the city to three memorials all within a short walk of each other that remember the victims of the National Socialist regime; the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma of Europe Murdered under the National Socialist Regime, and the Memorial to the Homosexuals Persecuted under the National Socialist Regime. There are some more pictures below, and you can find out more information about all three memorials here.

On Wednesday there is another anniversary, that of Hitler’s rise to power in 1933. Eighty years on from that fateful appointment to the Chancellorship Berlin is hosting a massive programme of exhibitions and events under the banner “Diversity Destroyed” that will explore the effects of the National Socialist dictatorship on everyday life in the city. I am sure we will cover many of these things on the blog, but you can get an overview on the website here.

And tomorrow morning (Tuesday 29th January) we are running one of our weekly free tours for Circus guests to Sachsenhausen.  Sachsenhausen was established in 1936 and was the administrative and training centre for the entire camp network and although it was not intended as an “extermination camp” – which were built further to the east – many prisoners died due to executions, casual brutality and the poor living conditions and treatment. Any guests interested in joining the tour should stop by the reception and let us know.

At the entrance to the Sinti and Roma memorial there is a short and powerful poem by the writer and composer Santino Spinell, a member of the Italian Sinti and Roma:

Pallid face
dead eyes
cold lips
Silence
a broken heart
without breath
without words
no tears

On a cold winter morning, the sun reflecting on the snow, and tourists and travellers from all around the world taking pictures of the Reichstag or the Brandenburg Gate, reading those words was one of the moments of pause and reflection that comes to all of us, Berliners and visitors alike, at some point

as we move through this wonderful city of ours that contains within it the memory of some of humanity’s darkest hours. It is important to remember, as we also look forward, and that is what days like yesterday should be all about.

Memorial to the Sinti and Roma of Europe Murdered under the National Socialist Regime:

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Memorial to the Homosexuals Persecuted under the National Socialist Regime:

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Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe:

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