A wandering bird's-eye overview of most things even vaguely related to travel, and an opportunity for writers, artists and photographers to contribute the historical, the hysterical, the quirky and quixotic... anything with heart.

3 years ago
Of rust and broken bone
Of rust and broken bone

Destination = Jewish Museum, Berlin, Germany -

Daniel Libeskind’s design is the winner of a competition in 1989 - the same year the Berlin Wall comes down - this his radical zigzag, windowless design resembling a shattered Star of David. 

I'm standing a little shell-shocked, in the basement of this ultra-modern complex opened in 2001, me having wandered this edgy, arty city of World Wars, Cold Wars and even colder memories. 

I turn a corner on a downward bound concrete ramp, this narrow canyoned path called the `Memory Void', and leading another 50m ahead, to end with the deadest of ends.

I stare down beside me in utter silence, at a sunken flowerbed on my left, the dishevelled  stacks of 10,000 faces: piles of rusted steel plates a bed of steel discs, little and large, each with eyes wide and howling mouths. Noses are fearful and narrow. This is Menashe Kadishman's installation `Shalekhet', meaning `Fallen Leaves'.

I shiver, my breathing frozen in this oddly cold void, until my thoughts are fractured by kids chatting behind me, then footsteps as they run and jump up and on the mass of faces.

The kids run headlong on, and past me, black sneakers on rusted steel, their echoes the crunch of breaking bones.

Photo: Fallen Leaves - Jewish Museum, Berlin. Germany _ Ian Cochrane

  1. mads2cents 

    Ian, I understand your shell shock. “Fallen Leaves” is a startling and powerful image. Before I even read your post, I was stopped short by the photo. Immediately I could see thousands of crying souls in the rust and steel discs; I wanted to cry with them. I was very moved when I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC a few years ago. Exhibits like the real train cars people were crammed into and the discarded shoes actually worn by people before being led to the gas chambers brought home the reality of the cruel inhumanity done to innocent people.

    My husband has a book signed by author Elie Wiesel, a holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient. In it he wrote, “For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.” Yes, and we must never forget. An excellent and poignant post.


    1. lostboys 

      Thank you Madilyn.
      "we must bear witness", indeed