Traveling in Berlin

Gemany's famous Brat's. A backpack grill!

We went to Berlin for 9 days with our Travel class.  Our teacher, Kathrin and her husband are both from Munich so it was great to have tour guides that knew the city and German history very well.  Minus the below freezing weather for 12 hour days, I really enjoyed the city.  I especially found interesting the history behind the city fascinating.  I still cannot fathom how recent the fall of the Berlin Wall was in 1989 and also how recent the Holocaust was.  The Germans have completely accepted what they did was wrong and now are still trying to move past it.  Berlin is case in point where the remains of their past is still all around, but the city has and still is in the process of moving forward to a brighter future.  The Holocaust memorial provides an example of Germany’s history contrasted with a new construction of a governmental district in the background.  The contrast signifies that yes these terrible murders happened in the past, but we are looking to the future to become a better and stronger nation. We visited a concentration camp about 45 minutes outside of the city that was very eye opening to what went on during Hitler’s reign.  The entrance gate of the camp says “Work will set you free.”   This phrase really means we will work you to death.  The camp we visited did not have gas chambers, but rather worked the prisoners in inhumane conditions until they died.  Each prisoner got examined unclothed before entering the concentration camp.  The SS officers would mark an “x”  on the prisoners with gold  teeth because the Nazi’s wanted the gold.  Then the prisoners were asked to stand along the wall while the examiner left the room.  The prisoner thought they were just about to get measured, but the ones with x’s on their backs got shot through a slit in the wall behind them.  There were countless of more gruesome stories like this one that our tour guide explained to us.  Although most of the stories made me feel very uneasy, they needed to be told to understand the depth of what the prisoners went through.  Along with going to the Concentration camp we also went to the Jewish Museum in Berlin.  The museum tells the entire Jewish history of Berlin interactively.  We also, saw remains of the Berlin Wall all through out the city.  My teacher explained that since the demolition of the wall was so recent in 1989, there is still a divide culturally between the East and the West sides of the city.  The east side of the city(the former communist part) enjoys engaging in more social and communal activities where as the west side of Berlin is a more individualistic culture.  Although Berlin’s history is one of the most important parts about the city, the city also has a lot of other attractors including Museum Island, the Bauhaus archives, the governmental district, wonderful food, extremely nice and respectful people, and a great nightlife.  Here are a couple pictures that go through all of sites we visited and help explain Berlin’s culture.

Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

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