Bologna’s Shoah Memorial is a stark monument, placed prominently in a new square developed as part of the new high-speed train station, at the corner of Via Matteoti and Via Carracci.
The project, a collaboration between the local institutions and the Jewish community of Bologna, was officially unvelied on the 27th of January 2016, International Holocaust Rememberance Day.
After an international competition, with a judging comitte presided over by Peter Eisenmann (whose work includes the The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe at the site of the gardens of the former Reich Chancellery in Berlin), the project was awarded to SET architects, based in Rome.
The monument consists of two giant metal structures closely facing each other, at an angle, with individual cells which represent the cramped, claustrophobic bunks in the dormitories of the concentration camps. According to the architects,
This way, the structure of the wooden bunks in the concentration camps, where the bodies of prisoners were clumped together and their will to live was crushed by the feeling of the end, comes to life in an urban setting. It dramatically increases in size and projects into the space an infinite repetition of a module, appearing like a single cell of the dormitory.
Passers-by can experience the memorial by walking through the narrow and cold passage between the two equal and symmetrical elements. There, their thoughts become disoriented and merged with the memory of a mass extermination.
The position of the memorial, at an angle where you can look through the structure towards the long railway tracks that head northbound, is thought-provoking, reminding the city that victims of the Holocaust passed through here.