The next journey begins CHINA!!

The next journey begins CHINA!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Berlin July 25

We arrived in Berlin 8 am yesterday and with no sleep  stepped onto the bus and started our adventure.
I have already visited many of the sites we saw, but I always see things a bit differently when I see something again.  Having learned so much in the past few years I view the city in a new light. What impressed me were the new memorials that have only recently been erected . One is  to the Roma and Senti who were murdered, The spot is grassy and people are quietly reflecting on the names of the places where these people died. The corner stone is a rippling fountain that does not spout water it only quietly flows in a circular fashion and around the perimeter are words both in German and English like 'Silence' and 'NO WORDS' There is also a quiet spot where a block of gray granite sits off kilter with a small indented cut out that shows a film of two men or two women who are obviously in love.  The block is a bit unsettling as it is kind of 'out of the box' and allows one to peer into the hole if you want to,.. this is the memorial to the many homosexuals who who murdered by the Nazis

Streets that did not hold much meaning before, now do as I saw Rozenstrasse the place where many women who were not Jewish and were married to Jewish men, protested for days on end demanding the release of their husbands from being arrested.  Their pleas were answered and their husbands, some who had already been sent to the camps - were returned to them.  Certainly give us pause to women who were upstanders.

I also saw small brass placques that peppered the streets and bear the names of Jewish familes.  The significance is that those people lived in the homes that still stand adjacent to the plaques and were murdered during the Holocaust.

We also visited the workshop of Otto Weidt someone who has been recognized as a Righteous Chrisitan. He had a small workshop  that is now a museum  that gave work to many blind and deaf people.  In addition there is a false door that behind it many Jews were hidden by Weidt.

Our day ended with a 2 hour walk through the city, once again visiting the Reischtag, Topography of Terror

(former SS headquarters) the place where the underground Hitler bunker is, the Old and New Jewish synagogue locations, Brandengerg Gate, The Russian memorial which ironically is set in what was EAST Germany, Checkpoint charlie, and finally dinner with my group and my friend Dr. Walter Domke who I have worked with using SKYPE.

The most significant part of my day however was our guide Swen from Berlin, I spoke one on one with him. He is a young man maybe in his 30 or 40 so I asked about his feelings being German and having parents and grandparents who may remember the war.  He said his grandparents never spoke about it, and that his father expressed, even today, his dislike for Jews. 
The reason.... he said to me his father did not like the fact that many Jews 'throw out food' or do not eat everything because of their religion.  Swen asked me about anti Semitic in USA and unfortunately I had to say it is still with us , maybe not always be blatant but still with us as recently as the man in Conn flying a Nazi flag.

Swen told me he identifies with the victims of the Holocaust even as a German non Jew, simply because he is gay.

I will try to post photos when I have internet. so please excuse any typos as I am using computer in hotel and keyboard is not the same

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