Thinking in Berlin
12 Projects for the final solution of the problem
1) “Do not buy from the Jews”
2) The Italian consulate, half inhabited and half closed, on the edge of a land of no one, among the hills of debris and tablas played among the trees. Car seats, children uncatchable as herds of wild animals, mysterious figures behind the dunes. Machines with the doors open, prostitutes, pickup trucks, landfills, waste of all kinds.
3) Sprigs of a tender green sprout on the dark trunk of a tree in the sculpture garden of the National Gallery. A tiny red spider walks over. Perhaps the smallest thing I can perceive across the city.
4) The cells of the SS were located in the former artists’ studios of sculpture. Kids play, rabbits flee over the rubble of the buildings of the Gestapo. “In late Summer 1933 the Gestapo set-up its own prison (Hausgefängnis): twenty one-man cells in the lower section of the basement floor (artist’s studio rooms) of the former School of Industrial Arts and Crafts”.
5) “They used to process people in Birkenau” First gassed, then shaved and gold being removed, then burned away”.
6) The night: clear air. The dark masses of the Prussian museum architecture against
7) the blue starry sky. No one around. The night city, semi-unknowable, softly crossable.
8) The extermination of the Jews of Europe was decided in a villa in the trees, between yacht clubs and holiday homes. Four steel cables to hold up a pine tree in the garden. A gunshot is enough for a man.
9) From the lowest apex I looked up. The dark sky, cloudy and moving. The strong wind. Everywhere traces of death systematically devised and implemented. Outside, charming villas and exuberant flowering chestnut trees.
10) Few times in my life I’ve been in places circumscribed by man of such beauty and charm.
11) A grand piano covered with a black shaped case. The black piano bench and the round stool of the page-turner. The instrument cannot play, light cannot enter.
a) The reunified Berlin is a large backyard with no walls, with many gates of which I never have all the keys. I have to go out with the car, but I cannot find all the keys. The same thing happens to me with the motorcycle. The continuing difficulty to cross these barriers, though there are no walls.
b) I’m in Berlin in a nightclub. It ‘s a Berlin as I can imagine from Milan. Not the place where I am, but its image as seen from the outside. Then at the entrance of a room in which is being celebrated a Jewish holiday, perhaps a birthday, but not a sacred rite. It’s a secular holiday. They don’t let me go in, in spite of the attempts, the explanations, the protests of belonging to the Jewish roots. They don’t let me enter.
c) Once again, a dream of exclusion from the Jewish community. Once again I am not part of it, I’m held outside. I get close but I cannot enter.
In Berlin sein
I cannot enter the rooms of Judaism. The gallery next door to the synagogue is closed again. I pass by many times, but I always miss the magic combination of time + space + person to enter. It ‘s like in dreams.
I hope not to have them put to death for the second time.
Project: Berlin Station