Saturday, May 21, 2011
The Darker Side of German History
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
This morning we began a very busy sight seeing day. We started by taking the train down to the Jewish History Museum. I expected the museum to be mostly about the atrocities of wwii but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the museum covers the entire history of Jews in the region now called Germany. The Jews in Germany have always had a difficult time and have faced various forms of discrimination throughout history. This background certainly made the attitudes of the Germans of the 1930's make more sense. The museum was huge but very well laid out with lots of interactive stuff.
After the Jewish Museum we began walking towards the Topography of Terror exhibit near Checkpoint Charlie. This exhibit is built on one of the old Nazi ministry buildings where they would detain people before sending them to concentration camps. The outside exhibit runs alongside one section of the wall and gives a timeline of Berlin from the rise of Hitler to the trials and the tearing down of the wall. There was so much information it was a little difficult to take it all in. In addition to the outside exhibit there was a museum with even more information and artifacts that focused on the war and the role of the SS in particular. It was very interesting but by the end I was definitely tired of reading and "museumed out."
After that we walked up to Checkpoint Charlie, the border crossing between East and Wesr Berlin. On the walk over there we stopped for ice cream and took some pictures. We opted not to go in the museum there but instead took in the street scene and then took the Ubahn over to Brandonburg gate, one of the original gates to the old city of Berlin. After that we walked ovet to the Reichstag, German Parliment building. Unfortunately we couldn't go inside or climb the glass dome due to terrorist threats so we took some pictures and got on the Sbahn down to the East Side Gallery.
The East Side Gallery is a part of the Berlin Wall where a bunch of artists painted and it has been redone and made into an actual gallery. It was way better than the formal galleries we've been visiting!
After the gallery we headed up to the oldest Biergarten for pretzels and brats, they were amazing and the atmosphere was awesome. The weather was perfect for outdoor eating as well.
We ended the day by strolling back to the hostel down a very lively street. It was a great day!