A lovely Sunday at the Tiergarten biergarten.
The Reichstag cuppola. There was an excellent history exhibit about the building which described how the building hosted the goverment before the National Socialists seized power but was never used for any of their activities. I suspect that if it was so tainted, it would not house the German parliament today.
I was impressed by how open Berlin is with sharing history is as well as the depth of reflection and evaluation. It’s difficult to look at those dark days but also important to consider in the hope that history won’t be repeated. Topographie des Terrors, housed in a Gestapo, SS and Reich Security Main Office, looks at the Nazi regime in unflinching detail with exhibits like In Memory of the Children: Pediatricians and crimes against children in the Nazi period and Berlin 1933: The Path to Dictatorship.
At the same time, every resistance to the Third Reich is celebrated, as it should be.
This is especially refreshing in the context of reading Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. I know firsthand that the US and Canadian versions of the same history are very different. The book goes on to tell how history has been rewritten to recast Columbus, the pilgrims, presidents and more as untouchable heroes rather than the complex flawed individuals we all are. The edited version would make a better movie but it doesn’t make better citizens.
My father with Nobel Prize winners at Humboldt University. Most of these men fled the country before WWII, resulting in a scientific brain drain.
The controversial Holocaust Memorial by Peter Eisenman.
Despite the sombre nature of a memorial, the edges are used for sitting and hanging out and children love to hide and seek. Some criticize the memorial but I think it strikes the balance of remembrance and letting life go on, neither forgetting the past nor holding on to it too tightly.
The installation doesn’t pack the emotional wallop that Prague’s Pinkas Synagogue does, with each names, birth dates, and last known date alive of the 77,297 Holocaust victims from Bohemia and Moravia lovingly handwritten on the walls. And they had to do it twice! The Communists closed the synagogue and white-washed the walls. The names were re-inscribed after Freedom in 1989.
Nevertheless, the design physically represents how Germans live with this history everyday. However, taking selfies there shows gross ignorance.
I wander through the world and cry ‘Peace, peace, peace.’
According to Wikipedia, the figure is based on Stentor from Homer’s Iliad whose voice was as loud as fifty men together. There are also castings in Bremen and Perth.
Evidence of fighting along the Spree River. History has a different feeling when it’s in your city, with long . The US would have a much different attitude towards war if it was fought on their soil.
Historical stateliness with a patina of decay and color of graffiti.
Used to the jet black crows in BC, I was surprised to see these grey-chested Hooded Crows all over Europe.
The cranes dominated the skyline in my first visit to Berlin in 1997 and are still a significant presence.
The iconic bears are everwhere!