July 5, 2010

Berlin is a wonderful country, from its people to its museums, parks, and neighborhoods. For two weeks we explored Berlin, learned about its history, and had a taste of its food. I had a great time, and also had moments of mixed emotions. Emotions which made me feel what Jews, homosexuals, disabled, and many prisoners passed through in the holocaust. It is way different to be taught in class, see pictures of the holocaust, but nothing can be more memorable than to be standing in the same gounds where many people were killed. The first couple of days in Berlin were tough, I need to adapt to the cold weather, and the change of time. Since some of us had arrived a day early, we went and explored beautiful Berlin. Our first stop was Museum Island.

 There I was able to see many great sculptures and fine art. I do have to say, I saw a major difference between the US and Berlin. The US seems to be more conservative in their art and sculptures, while in Berlin they are truly in love with the beauty of the body. 

We then later went to Charlottenburg. A gorgeous palace with an enormous garden, it had been the first time I was a in a palace. We were able to walk around, explore King Henry’s Mausoleum.

The day ended and my mind was just fascinated with everything that Berlin had to offer. Then it was time to go to the Jewish memorial.

It was really cold day, and we had a great lecture. We walked around the memorial, and to be truly honest, I didn’t feel as if I was remembering the Jews, until I actually went to the underground museum. As walked through the first room of the museum, I saw many family portraits, families that had been destroyed. I then realized what greater effect the holocaust had. I then walked to the second room, and read the multiple post-cards that were on the ground. When I came to the port card of the twelve year old girl, who had written to her dad, telling him she loved him, and wanted to live, but knew she was going to die.

Deep inside my heart I understood the terror she felt inside her. To know you were going to die at such a young age, I don’t know how I would have even reacted. I kept reading the other post cards, and just the words they used to explain their fear, was terrifying. I finally came to the third room, and I sat and listen to the names that were mentioned, I saw a picture that has stayed with me until this day. A Nazi solider pointing its gun at a child and you can see just how fearful he is, a young boy, around the age of 10 or 11. In that moment I couldn’t comprehend how hundred, thousand or men, women, could be heartless, how could they kill, torture these people? Just because they were not like them? Why is that the Jews, the prisoners never stood up against Hitler, the Nazis? It was time for a discussion, and one person questioned why the Jews never stoop up, and when this question was brought up, immediately the picture of that fearful child came up to my mind, and I expressed what I felt. If the Jews never stood up, it was because of fear, hope. Fear to be killed, mothers to leave their children alone, fathers to leave their family unprotected. On the other hand there was hope to live, to get out of this situation alive.

The first week was all about the holocaust, and the murder of the Jews, and other prisoners. We visited many other museums, and saw many pictures and actually walked through a concentration camp. I’m glad I made this trip because not only did I learn about the holocaust, but I was also able to experience, just a little tiny bit, that can never be compared to the actual sufferment of those who lived it, fear.


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