In Bayerischer Platz lives a crow called « Remember »

In Berlin, memories can be found everywhere.

At every corner, every station, every street, you’ll find objects of remembrance. Usually, those objects are statues or commemorative tablets. But if you go to Bayerischer Platz, you’ll find something unusual.

I heard about those signs in a very good French book by Olivier GuezL’impossible retour (The Impossible Return): it is about Jewish people coming back to Germany after World War 2. I strongly recommend this book. If you can read French, you’ll learn a lot.

I thought those signs had been installed here by the city of Berlin itself, as a manner to commemorate. But if you read carefully, you’ll notice that they were created by modern artists Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock in 1993.

In fact, it’s art. And this is the explanation you’ll find on the artists’ website:

Places of Remembrance / Orte des Erinnerns is a decentralized memorial in the Bavarian Quarter in the Schoeneberg district of Berlin, which was inaugurated in 1993. 80 brightly printed signs are put up on lampposts, depicting colorful images on the one side and condensed versions of anti-Jewish Nazi rules and regulations passed between 1933 and 1945 in black and white on the reverse side.
Together, the words and images force passers-by to remember the almost-forgotten history of this neighborhood, where Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt once lived. Dispersed throughout the area the memorial becomes a metaphor of the daily deprivation of rights and humiliation of Jews during the Nazi era. 

You’ll find everything you want to know here: http://www.stih-schnock.de/remembrance.html

I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing to do. The lack of obviousness can be a problem for some people, I guess, as for Lola Waks, who lives here and who has known the darkest part of german 20th century history. As she explains to Olivier Guez in L’impossible retour, those signs make her angry: they force her to remember something she sometimes wants to forget.

There’s a monster living here. A tiny little monster, black as night.

He has taken the shape of a big crow, cawing loudly in the little park at Bayerischer Platz.

His name is “Remember”.

Kids playing in the garden… with rubbish bins

Yesterday, I was half asleep on the armchair we put on the balcony, when strange noises woke me up. I got up and saw those kids playing loudly in the dumpsters.

I thought it was kind of fun. Not the fact of playing with rubbish bins, of course, but this particular atmosphere I used to know when I was a kid, growing up in a small countryside village, playing around with other kids until nightfall, sometimes even later.

We used to invent some games we were the only ones to know the rules for. In some cases, those games could have even been dangerous, like the one those kids were playing yesterday: entering the dumpsters, closing the sliding lid behind them and screaming as loud as they could, then getting out, choosing some piece of trash to throw away, bursting out laughing…

Yeah, that doesn’t sound very clever indeed. But I thought it sounded fun… until some angry woman yelled at them. Of course, the day was very peaceful: the boys clearly bothered her and probably some other - less talkative - inhabitants.

They ran away, laughing again, screaming loudly, as if they were the Lost Boys of James Barrie’s Peter Pan. I couldn’t do anything but smile.

***

However, that’s not the kind of scene you’ll get to see at night. At night, there’s nothing here but silence and shadows. Even kids know that the monster living in the garden won’t let them do.