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05

Aug
2013

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Germany
Travel

By kanannie

Berlin’s Historical Reminders

On 05, Aug 2013 | No Comments | In Activities, Germany, Travel | By kanannie

We simply couldn’t ignore the fact that Berlin was chock full of history, most of it very recent. Unfortunately, we couldn’t squeeze everything in, but that can wait until we go back next year. Below are some interesting places to edumacate yourself in Berlin.

East Side Gallery

Berlin Wall gallery.

East Side Gallery.

Remnants of the Berlin Wall now serve as a gallery of images promoting peace in the world. Most of the art is unimpressive, but the concept is what matters here. The artwork is covered by graffiti and visitors wanting to leave their mark with a Sharpie, but I think it adds to the gritty character of this “gallery.”

Berlin Wall gallery.

Walking down the wall.

Berlin Wall gallery.

Graffiti on the wall.

Berlin Wall gallery.

A Berliner walking past.

Berlin Wall gallery.

Art on the wall.

The other side of the wall is worth perusing. It has photographs of walls and restricted areas that still remain in parts of the world.

 

Checkpoint Charlie Museum

Checkpoint Charlie Museum.

Passport wall at the entrance of the museum.

Started in a small apartment by a German anti-communist human rights activist Rainer Hildebrandt, this museum is now a fairly large place located right by what used to be Checkpoint Charlie. The main part of the museum has images and descriptions of various escape attempts and ingenious escape contraptions created by the residents of the GDR (in East Berlin) to get to West Berlin. It is PACKED with information in a very cluttered format. It’s worth noting that as educational as this museum is, it is just one perspective (and a West Berlin one at that) into life in the GDR.

Checkpoint Charlie Museum.

Every available space is taken up with images or text.

Checkpoint Charlie Museum.

Various examples of how people tried to flee the GDR.

Checkpoint Charlie Museum.

Replica of a sign posted by Checkpoint Charlie.

 

Topography of Terror

Topography of Terror.

The outdoor portion of the museum.

It is Germany’s responsibility to admit and to remember the atrocities it committed while the Nazis were in power, and this museum does just that. Located at the site of the former SS and Gestapo headquarters, there is a chronological timeline of the years leading up to Hitler’s takeover of power, during Nazi Germany and after World War II. I thought it was interesting how they expose high-ranking Nazis who escaped prosecution, putting their faces and names out there for the whole world to see.

Topography of Terror.

A brief rundown of life in Nazi Germany.

Topography of Terror.

It was eye-opening to see just how much of Europe was involved and/or affected.

Topography of Terror.

Himmler and Heydrich on the covers of Time Magazine.

Topography of Terror.

A photograph of Jewish-owned shops in Germany during boycotts of “buying Jewish.”

 

Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism

Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism

The memorial in the middle of a park.

Few people know that homosexuals were also persecuted and killed by the Nazis. A plaque by this unique memorial reads:
Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism

This seemingly simple concrete block makes a very bold statement once looked at up close. One side has a small window, through which a video of same-sex couples kissing and hugging is played. In your face! I thought it was a genius concept.

Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism

Kissing video inside a window of the memorial.

Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism

Visitors viewing the video.

 

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Uneven concrete slabs on uneven terrain.

Despite the various disputes surrounding it, this memorial is definitely worth a visit, even if it is just to see how an architect managed to come up with a very creative solution. Uneven, square concrete pillars are arranged in a grid formation on a sloping ground. Unfortunately, this makes for a very amusing place for children to run around and for people to pose happily for photos.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Inside the memorial.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

A kid sitting on one of the pillars.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Looks almost like the Star of David.

 

For more photos of our time in Berlin, check out our Flickr album.

A Love Affair with Berlin
Rugen Island: Where The Germans Summer

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