Europe, Year Zero


The century that began in Sarajevo ended in Berlin. In November 1989, the fall of the wall opened a new historical era of hopes and risks. If Roberto Rosellini’s film made war-torn Berlin the rubble-littered, famished scene of a year zero for a defeated Germany, the year zero of a Germany reunited in the wake of the collapse of Soviet power spoke of a Europe that welcomed the end of the Cold War, and Berlin was once again the crossroads linking history to the future. There, a Polish Jew with an American passport drew a museum in the shape of a bolt of lightning that zigzagged with luminous violence over the fabric of the city, one of the purest and most potent images of recent times. Conceived as an annex to the Museum of Berlin, to accommodate its Jewish section, Daniel Libeskind’s fortuitous scrawl symbolized the fractured and painful trajectory of Berlin Jews, but it also constituted the coming of age of deconstructivism...[+]

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