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Cop security review after Holocaust site defiled

Josie Le Blond · 10 Jan 2014, 15:17

Published: 10 Jan 2014 15:17 GMT+01:00

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Outrage over what Berlin police told The Local was "absolutely indecent and disorderly behaviour" at the memorial has sparked a review of security measures.

A YouTube video - reportedly filmed by a journalist amid the capital's raucous New Year's Eve celebrations - shows several groups of revellers relieving themselves while standing on the concrete pillars of Berlin's "Central Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe."

Others can be seen setting off fireworks, jumping from block to block, or lounging on the memorial in what appears to be a drunken stupor.

The video has sparked outrage from the Jewish community after it was published by an Israeli newspaper this week.

The memorial, which is accessible and open to the public from all sides, is currently watched over by a private security firm contracted by the memorial foundation.

The design - 2700 concrete blocks of differing heights laid out in a grid system over an area of 4.7 acres - makes the site particularly vulnerable to vandals and those who mistake it for a playground.

Thomas Neuendorf, chief press spokesman for the Berlin police told The Local that outrage over this latest evidence of visitors disrespecting the site has prompted the state-funded memorial foundation to review security.

 "After this incident the foundation will, together with the police, look into whether a more comprehensive security concept is necessary and which measures would be possible to prevent such occurrences," said Neuendorf.

Meanwhile, the video continues to be a source of embarrassment for the German establishment.

"It's hard to understand why this desecration ... has only been made public via Israel," Petra Pau of the left-wing opposition Die Linke party told broadcaster N24 on Thursday. "Better protection of the memorial is definitely needed," she added.

Its proximity to the Brandenburg Gate, where an annual fireworks display draws huge crowds on New Year's Eve, has frequently caused minor security problems in previous years.

The memorial and accompanying underground information centre was designed by US architect Peter Eisenmann and is dedicated to six million Jews murdered by the Nazis in Europe.

Opened in 2005, it has become a must-see for tourists and attracts millions of visitors every year. 

READ MORE: Bavarian town rejects anti-Hitler vote

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Josie Le Blond (news@thelocal.de)

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