Friday, 5 October 2012

The ‘Estonia’ Memorial

Galärvarvskyrkogården, Stockolm
24th September, 2012
A granite alcove shelters an elm tree: three grey walls enclosing a young trunk in a triangle of dressed stone. Open at one corner, it points south across a sloping lawn towards the water of Stockholm harbour.

The Memorial is a shard which gathers our thoughts into its geometry. Strings of names are engraved on three inward-looking panels, all 852 of them. “Magnus Andersson was on the Estonia” says Lena, “he used to be in my class at school”. I understand then that the names are codes for flesh and blood that breathed water. The walls are holding the story for us to read.

We start scanning the rows, reading each variant name, looking for ‘Magnus’ followed by ‘Andersson’. It takes three minutes to find the halves of his name and join them together. Lena pauses in a moment of recall; he breathes again for a moment in her thoughts. Then we move on, away from the crush of names, into the warm sunshine on the lawn beyond.

Deras namn och deras öde vill vi aldrig glömme’ says the Memorial. I cannot recognise all of the words, but the word 'glömme' is like a candle at the end of the sentence. 

1 comment:

  1. The quote reads: 'We will never forget their names or their destiny.' Word-to-word: 'Their names and their destiny we will never forget.' (Glömma=forget)


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