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A little about Berlin

July 14, 2010

As we came to the final days in German y, this was a true experience in all meaning. It was not only about learning, but actually having on experience at first hand. Standing form the first day in Berlin, tasting their good, getting to meet new people, stepping on historical grounds. First couple of days, learning about the Holocaust, the Jews, the prisoners who died in Hitler’s hands.

We then came to the German resistance, learning about those Germans who made the difference in other lives. Lastly we came to the last days in Berlin; we enjoyed a great boat tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were able to see and enjoy the Alte National Galerie, at the Museum Island, an institution full of history and culture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The United States Embassy, which was recently remodeled in May 23, 2008.

In Alexanderplatz, we were able to take a look at the Friedliche Revolution.

In 1990, the German unified, and in this museum we show three parts in history, how the successful the German revolution was. Here we have images and documents that demonstrate how this museum is structured in three parts, awakening, revolution and unity. Awakening happened during the 1980’s. During this time people were demanding their human rights. The revolution, the citizen wanted change. In October 7, 1989, the GDR was celebrating its 40th anniversary and the people went to the streets and protested. Finally unity, late in 1989, unity is a topic, and in March 18, 1990 “Alliance for Germany” was on the ballot, the Stasi files were released to the public, and we have a United Germany.

 

Finally the Reichstag Building, contrasted in 1884 and in 1894 by the Architect Paul Wallott, and later on modified by Norman Foster in 1994 and 1999.

One of the most important buildings in Berlin, after February 27, 1933 when it caught on fire, symbolizing Hitler’s power, and the final of a parliamentary democracy. Later on when the battle of Berlin took place, in April 21, 1945, the Reichstag was taken on the 29th of that same month by the Soviet, but it was not until may 2nd that they started to occupy it when entering the Reichstag, there are walls full of graffiti with Soviet soldiers names.

 For the Soviet the Reichstag had a military objective with a political goal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most popular for its ecology, the doom. In the middle of the Reichstag we have the doom.

With 360 mirrors, projecting light and evacuating light the rooms.

 Due to this technology, about 80% of this makes up their electricity. In the middle of the doom we have 300 meter holding-water storage. 

As our journey came to an end, I will miss Berlin, the culture, the food, its people. It’s a beautiful country with so much to offer.

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The Stasi are watching you

July 14, 2010

As we kept exploring Berlin, we came to a point in history that would make Berlin unique. It has right after World War 2, when the German Democratic Republic (GDR) came to power. The MfS better known as the Stasi was an important instrument to enforce communism in East Germany. About 91, 000 Stasi members were surveillance, creating camps, prisons to mistreats the prisoners who were considered ‘terrorist’.

 In May 1945, “Special Camp No.3” was created, holding about 20,000 prisons, form this camp many were sent to Sachenhausen, the Nazi concentration camp.

According to soviets statistics about 886 people died, but it is estimated that 3,000 or more prisoners died. The living conditions in the camps and prisons were horrific, famous people such as the famous actor Heinrich George,

 democratic commander of the Berlin police, Karl Heinrich, and many others died in these camps. In October of 1946 the camps were closed, but the Stasi kept imprisons people. A famous cellar, “U-boot or Submarine” was created to imprison prisoners.

 Living conditions here were disgusting. A small room with many people, one wooden bend, and a bucket used as a toilet.

 

 You could imagine the smell. These people could not sit or lady down, they had to be standing up the whole day and were given permission to sleep form certain hours, with nothing of light, but light bulb lighting 24 hours. The Stasi prison and underground prison came under jurisdiction in March 1951. Over 200 prison cells and interrogations cells was a secret area. Many things had changed in these prisons, psychological violence was cruelty. Prisoner was to feel helpless. In 1989 the SED dictatorship was overthrown and the Stasi also ended and closed all prisons. As we walked in the Stasi museum and prison, and looking at all the files of millions of people, I came to realized this was all true. Before we left Berlin, we watch movie about the Stasi, it seemed so hard to believe, and you couldn’t even trust your own family, because they could have been spies. This was truly amazing, because I had never seen something so fascinating as the millions of files that contained people’s lives.

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WHY???

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.