The Roma Holocaust memorial that wasn’t built in a day
Israeli sculptor Dani Karavan has left no stone unturned in his efforts to build his gypsy Holocaust memorial in Berlin. “You’re asking for a smile? Here you need sadness and seriousness!” said Dani Karavan, scolding the photographer in a small clearing in the woods of the Tiergarten earlier this week. The shouts of the sculptor were swallowed up in the hubbub. Karavan, soon to turn 82, scurried among the German workers, the heavy crane and the professionals like a man of 28. This week was one of the most important in the life of the Tel Aviv-based sculptor. After 12 laborious and exhausting years, at long last his project is almost completed: At the end of October, the monument that Karavan planned in memory of the gypsy holocaust during the World War II will be dedicated. “This is the most problematic project I’ve ever had,” says Karavan, in the German capital. “I started it before I turned 70. This year I will be 82. Because of it I was in a hospital in Israel. We thought it would take three years. Who ever imagined it would continue so long? Who even thought that I’d live that long?” The site is made up of a pool of water, in the center of which is a triangular stone with a flower at its heart. Once a day, the stone will descend to below ground level and come back up with a new fresh flower every day. The pool will be surrounded by stones inscribed with the names of several dozen camps where gypsies – Roma – were murdered. The project’s cost is 2.5 million euros.