Obama at Buchenwald
What’s the right temperature for remembrance?
One detail stood out for us in the coverage of President Obama’s visit to Buchenwald today. Both Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made mention of a memorial plaque at the former concentration camp that’s kept at 37 degrees Celsius—the temperature of a healthy human body. It’s the sort of gesture at which Germans have become expert: moving and thoughtful and yet, somehow, a drop too clinical. It and the sentiments behind it are, no doubt, a mark of just how far Germans have come in the last 60 years. And yet the cynic can’t help but picture the punctilious band of bureaucrats tasked with keeping the thing at exactly the right temperature