BERLIN — The shadows deepen and lengthen, memories grow dim, and some of the survivors of the tragedies of World War II scramble to preserve the recollections before the colors fade to gray.
There’s no shortage of ghosts prowling the cities and countryside of Europe. Remembrances of monstrous evil lie all about. None have tried harder than the progeny of the Germans who started it all to learn from the past, and recall without flinching the scourge and stain on history that is still unfathomable three-quarters of a century later.
An exhibit of photographs of the Nazi era, with the faces of human evil so familiar to the fading generations is on view now in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate. Crowds of weekend strollers come to study the photographs and to admire the 40-foot Christmas tree and — in an irony der fuehrer would not appreciate — a large menorah and a Star of David in bright lights.
The Topography of Terror, a museum of the Hitler time built at what was once the most feared address in Berlin, the headquarters of the Gestapo, is one of the most popular sites with visitors to Germany. So, too, the Jewish Museum, with its history of the Jews. But none work with more dedication and enthusiasm for keeping the dark memories alive than a dwindling group of survivors of Hitler’s death camps. Some of them are well into their 90s now, leaning on canes or advancing slowly across a room on a walker, talking to young people to whom World War II is as distant as the Hundred Years War.