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Concrete block cracks plague Berlin's Jewish memorial

Thermally induced cracks are blighting hundreds of concrete blocks which make up the Jewish Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.

The Memorial opened in May 2005 and comprises 2,711 precast reinforced concrete blocks, with plan dimensions of 2.38m x 950mm, which vary in height from ground level to 5m.

Cracks in the concrete started appearing at the end of 2005 and are now affecting 1,361 of the blocks.

Contractor for the memorial was Buro Schasler and structural, civil and services engineering designer was Buro Happold.

According to a study published last month in German current affairs magazine Cicero 40% of the cracks were found to be
bigger than 0.2mm.

A memorial foundation spokesman said: "At the moment we cannot find the real reason for the cracks.

"But the experts assume that the cracks might be a result of the expansion and contraction that come with the temperature change."

Repairs are scheduled to start in spring, when the weather is expected to be warm enough and dry enough. The spokesman was unable to confirm who would pay for the repairs.

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