We are coming into the homestretch, as we do our last classes and field trips and then students work to finish their final projects for Friday. Many are experiencing the push and pull of not wanting the trip to end but also wanting to be home! I have downloaded a number of pictures and some journal entries(scroll to the end to read these).
At the T-4 or Euthansia Memorial:
Getting ready to move to the next site:
Kieran, Matt and Will at exhibit in the Jewish Museum:
Matt, Kieran, Will, Matt and Alex at the Jewish Museum:
Matt walking on “Memory Void” exhibit at the Jewish Museum:
Sign requiring a dentist to list as a “Jewish” dentist under the Nazis:
RJ taking a break at the Jewish Museum:
At the Reichstag:
Student Journal Entries/Week 3
1. Eric Larson 5/30/2023 Journal Entry #3 (Scootering through Berlin)
Berlin is a city of history like no other, the divide that once gripped the city between East and West is palpable even to this day. The remnants of the Berlin Wall alongside the architecture of the cities two sides show the divide more than any map can. When traveling through the city you will see a mixture of old buildings and new, communist buildings and western buildings. You can always tell when transferring from one half of the city to the other, because the buildings have become more utilitarian, and the city feels less developed and blocky. I experienced that several times when scootering around Berlin. During the second week I discovered that you could rent scooters to travel around the city. Use a simple app and it allows you to travel anywhere around the city if you follow the traffic laws and stay on the bike path. I decided to travel on the scooters and just go wherever I wanted to go at the time. I traveled the streets and just felt the wind blowing against my face. I did not have music but just listened to the city around me. I saw many things that I would never have gone out of my way to see, weird statues, hidden groves, parks, canals, churches, cool architecture, and restaurants that I wanted to go to but could not find again. I saw so many different streets and paths, some that were clearly designed for bikes and scooters, and others that were brick roads and jostled me around. Sometimes there would be other people on scooters traveling with me, but often I would be alone except for the cars on the road and the pedestrians on the sidewalks. I would weave through winding paths, and watch the city go by me. Sometimes I would find my way back to a place I recognized, but often I would be in an unknown location that I would never find again. I am glad I started doing this my second week, because we ended up going to Sachsenhausen concentration camp which had me in a mood I cannot entirely explain. I ended up getting on a scooter and just processing everything I saw while traveling in circles around the block we live on. Even today we went to the Jewish Museum and while it mostly covered what Judaism is, and the history of Jewish peoples across the globe, there were hard hitting moments. I spent a while on a scooter just travelling, planning on what I would write about the museum. Before I realized that I was having a unique experience at that exact moment. I got to do something so few people will be able to do, which is freely travel around a foreign city going anywhere I desire. The feeling of just being free in a foreign country is so amazing, and I wanted to share my feelings and experiences on the scooters within this journal entry.
2. R.J. Miller 5/29/23 Journal Entry 3
Having escorted ourselves around several monuments dedicated to victims of historical Nazi crimes and mass murders which are considered centralized, or planned and constructed via official, state-centered organs, we spent today seeking out smaller-scale, decentralized exhibits generated courtesy of ordinary working people possessing the ambition and the resources to command the community’s attention toward neglected and vital stories from unheard demographics forced to surrender their lives to Nazi death mechanisms. To the persecuted Roma, alleged via the nazi regime to be a racial contaminant resembling in its malignant influence the much-detested Jews, and to the purportedly “useless, work-shy, asocial,” physically and mentally disabled folks in Germany, each of whom were systematically worked, shot, and gassed to death in quantities equaling tens or hundreds of thousands, two sizable, distinct monuments were erected within their town’s center. While a gigantic and sky blue wall reflecting light down to a protracted platform carrying testimonies, Nazi propaganda, and pictures featuring victims and perpetrators characterized the latter, the former was a pitch black reflecting pool layered surrounded via a patchwork layer of stones occasionally and sporadically bearing a concentration camp’s name, and a towering wall describing a timeline leading up to the mass incarcerations and massacres prominently exhibiting the slander and violent spasms so characteristic of Nazi conduct against a target it considers feeble enough to mark for slaughter. Such monuments were designed to attract attention from whoever passed across it from pillar to post. Striking and profound imagery is fused comfortably with substantive and accurate information and engenders monuments to resilience which envelop themselves in their viewer’s memories.
3. Molly Talbot May 29th, 2023 Journal #3: Sommerbad Pankow Berliner Bader
The adventures of Molly, AC, and Zane
With week two closing out and week three coming up on the horizon, AC and I had many conversations throughout the week about finding a public swimming pool in the area. After an emotional week, AC and I needed a place that would allow us to decompress but also have some fun. On Saturday morning, we decided to sleep in for a bit and then travel an hour outside the city to Pankow for a girl’s day at the pool. After taking two trains and the tram, we arrived at the pool around 1:45 in the afternoon. Once we arrived, AC took care of the tickets, and we were in. Upon arriving, we only saw a few pictures online of the place, but it beat our expectations. It had three pools and a big open green space for kids to run around and play in when not hanging out in the pool. One pool was meant for toddlers, one had a few diving boards and the biggest pool had stairs off to the side that connected to a metal waterslide. After finding a nice shady spot to put our stuff down, we put on sunscreen and went over to the water. I stepped down onto the first step and was immediately taken by how cold it was. AC took no time at all and went straight into the water, while I stood there freezing. After really debating going all the way in, I looked to my left and saw a dad all the way in the water trying to get his son in the water with him. The kid was standing on the same step as me and was holding a Spiderman floatie. His dad kept splashing the water around and soon AC joined it which made him laugh. AC and I started a conversation with his dad and learned that his name was Zane. After engaging in conversation, AC and I decided to try out the waterslide even though it was super busy with kids running in the area. I tend to get nervous on waterslides but this one ended up being super fun, so AC and I did it a few times. Around 3:15, we agreed to head back so we could get to back to Berlin at a decent time. Before catching the train, we made sure to say goodbye to Zane and his dad. We snapped a quick photo for memories and then we went on our way back.
4. William Weinlaeder 5/30/2023 Jewish Museum, Berlin
Studying the history of the Jewish population in just Berlin itself is a story. The Jewish history museum helps tell this story during the dark times of WW2. Showing the gradual hardship and struggle that they faced. Telling their stories and showing who they were. But it also goes further back, showing how when Berlin first became a city how the Jewish population thrived in the coming years, growing and living within the early city of Berlin and how it continues to do so to this day. The information and data collected then presented in such an artistic way really helped me better understand a culture that I know relatively little about. The historical figures, artifacts, paintings and other important parts of the culture were just as interesting to look at. Ever since the Jewish culture spread across Europe from the early time in European history and which cities it settled in.
The buildings inside structure was another thing that helped with laying out the information and different articles about the subject. With different levels, the odd shape of the building and its funky internal layout added to this. The void of memory room was especially interesting to me, the shape of the room, the lighting and just the atmosphere all helped to really create a fascinating experience.