Berlin’s police chief apologizes after officers were photographed doing press-ups about the capital’s Holocaust memorial

  • Pictures showed uniformed officers leaning on concrete slabs at the memorial
  • Report said that officers took images on a mobile phone and then sent them to the media.
  • Uwe Neumärker, director of the memorial, said he was ‘stunned’ by their actions 
  • Barbara Slowik, Berlin chief, apologized and said that the force would investigate 

Berlin’s police chief has apologized for officers being photographed doing press-ups in front of the memorial to the six millions Jews killed during the Holocaust.

Berlin’s BZ tabloid published photos of uniformed police officers leaning on one the concrete slabs that make up the memorial, as if training in a gym.

According to the newspaper, they were stills of a video taken by the officers on their mobile phones during a May holiday weekend when they were deployed in the area because protests were ongoing. 

Berlin's police chief has apologised after officers were pictured doing press-ups on part of the capital's memorial to the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust

Berlin’s police chief has apologized for officers being photographed doing press-ups in front of the memorial to the six millions Jews killed in Holocaust.

Pictures published by Berlin's BZ tabloid showed uniformed policemen leaning on one of the concrete slabs that makes up the memorial as if training in the gym

Berlin’s BZ tabloid published pictures of uniformed policemen leaning against one of the concrete slabs forming the memorial. It was as if they were practicing in the gym.

The memorial, which is a field of 2,700 grey concrete slabs, is open 24 hours a day and is not restricted by any barriers.

Visitors are advised to avoid running or jumping from one slab onto the next.

Barbara Slowik, Berlin Police Chief, stated that the force would conduct an internal investigation into the incident and apologized to the Jewish community.

Ms Slowik stated that the colleagues’ behavior was disrespectful of what this memorial stands for, and also offends memory of those who were killed.  

GdP, which represents police officers and apologises for the officers’ actions, adding there must be ‘consequences.

It said that the Holocaust memorial was not an adventure playground.

Lea Rosh (84), chairman of the memorial’s support groups, told BZ she was shocked and said, ‘This is not common.’

And Uwe Neumärker, director of the memorial, told the paper: ‘Our cooperation with the Berlin Police runs smoothly and trustingly. I am more shocked.

“The Holocaust and the crimes perpetrated by National Socialism should be a major focus of the training of future civil servants.”

The memorial, officially known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, was designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold.

Opened in 2005, it comprises 2,711 concrete slabs or ‘stelae’ arranged in a grid pattern on a 200,000 sq ft sloping field. 

The slabs are different in height and are organized in rows. 54 of them go north to south and 87 go east to west at right angles. However, the order is slightly off. 

Opened in 2005, the Holocaust memorial comprises 2,711 concrete slabs or 'stelae' arranged in a grid pattern on a 200,000 sq ft sloping field

The Holocaust memorial, which was opened in 2005, consists of 2,711 concrete slabs (or’stelae) that are laid in a grid pattern over a 200,000-square-foot sloping field.

The construction was built at a cost of more than 25 millions euro. It is often visited by tourists and school children as well as foreign dignitaries.   

Eisenman stated about his design, “The project represents instability inherent in a structure with a seemingly rational structure, and the potential for it gradual dissolution.”

“It is clear that a supposedly rational and orderly system loses touch of human reason when it grows beyond its intended dimensions.

“Then, seemingly ordered systems begin uncovering their own disturbances or chaos potentials, and it becomes obvious that all closed systems must fail with closed order.”

Many observers have compared the layout to a cemetery with the rows of slabs resembling coffins that are arranged for burial.

Others claim that the huge slabs, among which the observer stands give an overwhelming and isolated experience in which all sounds and sights of Berlin are blocked.