Urban Sketcher

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Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin

Posted on Jan 7, 2013 in Berlin | 0 comments

I toured this memorial right after I saw the WWII bunker with the Boros Collection, which was a fitting juxtaposition, but I felt this visit deserved its own post out of respect for the gravity of the subject matter.

Above is a short video I took of walking quietly through the memorial.

When you walk into the Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, you quickly realize how deep it gets. The initially waist-high steles get taller and taller as you walk down the declining pathways, until they dwarf you and make you feel trapped in the canyons they create. You can hear other people’s foot steps, but you can not see them until they bump into you at a corner. This results in a feeling of uncertainty and vigilance and even a bit of fear. If someone were to attack you in one of these canyons, nobody might see it.

Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe

I enter the Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. On this dark, rainy day this stark site is amplified even more.

Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe

The bright bus shelter ad with the image of a young man glowed saviour-like into the deep canyon I was in. What you see here is the result of my really long zoom — this poster was really much further away than it appears here, and many more steles were between it and me.

Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe

Looking out of the Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, you see a bright Star of David and a chunk of the Brandenburg Gate.

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An art collection in a WWII bunker in Berlin

Posted on Jan 7, 2013 in Berlin | 0 comments

Boros Collection WWII bunker

The Boros Collection is a private art collection housed in a WWII bunker.

Boros Collection, bunker entrance

Which one do you think is the entrance to the bunker?

Weeks ago, I had booked a tour of the Boros Collection for January 6. It’s a private art collection housed in a large WWII bunker in the middle of Berlin. The owners of the collection also own the bunker and occupy a large loft on top of the bunker as their private home. You have to book this tour online well in advance, it takes 1.5 hours and they only take 12 people per tour. The fee is €10.

The gist of it that this was an incredible experience. I enjoyed the art which was sometimes very playful in contrast to the bunker, and I appreciated the bunker architecture as a historical reminder and that the renovation architects left so much of it intact. Sometimes all the rebars that are inserted into the walls are exposed, walls are mostly left in raw concrete form, you can see where floor plans were altered, the artists have created much of their work to fit into the spaces, it’s really a theme park for art lovers in there.

The gallery’s owners collect modern art by (based on their website): Ai Weiwei, Awst & Walther, Dirk Bell, Cosima von Bonin, Marieta Chirulescu, Thea Djordjadze, Olafur Eliasson, Alicja Kwade, Klara Lidén, Florian Meisenberg, Roman Ondák, Stephen G. Rhodes, Thomas Ruff, Michael Sailstorfer, Tomás Saraceno, Thomas Scheibitz, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Danh Vo, Cerith Wyn Evans und Thomas Zipp.

Taking photos during the tour was not allowed, only in the entrance and lobby areas, so I have nothing to show you, but you can find examples of the bunker rooms housing art on the collection’s website. Now enjoy this short tour.

Boros bunker floor plan

The bunker floor plan seems sort of evil with its relentlessly precise symmetrical design. The walls of this thing are incredibly thick.

Entering the bunker

Entering the bunker, you are met by logs which seem to tell you where you can and can not go.

Entering the bunker

Entering the bunker, you are met by logs which seem to tell you where you can and can not go.

WII phone in Boros bunker

No, you steam punks, this is not a Bioshock game prop! It’s a real WWII bunker phone! Geez!

Boros Collection WWII bunker

Real bunker doors.

Boros Collection WWII bunker

Real bunker door handle.

In the Boros Collection bunker

This is just a reflection of the ceiling neon light on one of the white-lacquered benches in the waiting area for tour groups, but it turned into something that looked like minimalist art.

Boros bunker

A lamp glows in the Boros bunker. I think I may have helped this effect by under-exposing, but I am not sure and too busy to check.

Boros Collection WWII bunker

Who knows where this lead to, but it looks ominous.

Boros Collection WWII bunker

Big brother is still watching you.

Moonlight lighting store

I walked by this “Moonlight” lighting store and could not resist playing with the globe lamps mixing with the reflection of the street scene outside.

Berlin construction

As I leave the Boros bunker on this rainy Sunday of January 6, there are signs of still-heavy Berlin construction everywhere.

Berlin Bundestag

Many buildings in the Berlin government area have this “Bundestag” sign, which I take to mean there are German representatives working around here. I hope they are. All of Europe hopes they are.

Berlin activism graffiti

Graffiti is alive and well in Berlin and definitely serves a purpose; it’s not always there just to tag, it’s there to express freedom of thought, opinion, make political and personal statements, to educate, decorate, inform. I am all for the graffiti. This particular one is a call to establish a minimum wage, which does not exist in Germany, believe it or not.


Looking over towards where Angela might be and one of her parks.

British embassy in Berlin

The British embassy in Berlin is barricaded off by these cylinders, a police car is parked out front, it is a dreary, cold, rainy Sunday in the first week of January, nobody wants to be down here right now except a lone Canadian tourist…

Near Potsdamer Platz, Berlin

I believe this is an office building near Potsdamer Platz, Berlin with a cool mobile sculpture hanging into its lobby. The woman who is just walking down the stairs is wearing a jacket or dress with a white lapel with black piping that seems to echo the sculpture’s look.

Potsdamer Platz, Berlin

Potsdamer Platz, Berlin.

Sony Center near Potsdamer Platz, Berlin

Sony Center near Potsdamer Platz, Berlin.

A bar or cafe in the Sony Center

A bar or cafe in the Sony Center.

Sony Center, Berlin

Sony Center, Berlin. This was a day of many impressions, almost too many to process.

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