Looking Back and Moving Forward: Berlin

When traveling to Germany for the first time, I had no idea what to expect. A place rich in culture of soccer, beer, schnitzel and hospitality, it is hard to think that this country was the head of evil. The entire country itself was not evil per say, but it had the face of a dangerous and persuading man, Adolf Hitler. To travel to what once was the heart of the Nazi Regime in Berlin was very difficult for me. Being of German descent, I was very excited for all the sights and smells I was to expect in Berlin. And not to say I wasn’t excited the entire time I was in Berlin. For me, it was my favorite city and country to visit out of the entire trip. Yet, at the same time, it held the most revealing history of all of the sights. The history itself is not necessarily told in the History curriculum of the United States. This is the history of World War II through the eyes of the German people, and through the deception laid out by the Nazi Regime.

Historically, with the rise of Adolf Hitler, Berlin was supposed to be the capital of this new great super nation called Germania that would encompass all of Europe and sooner or later all of the world under the Nazi Leadership of Hitler. Traveling through the German museum showed me so much Nazi propaganda that was being thrown at the people of Germany by Hitler and it scared me. Even 70 plus years later, some of the posters and what they proclaimed about the United States, about European Jewry, and about total world domination were frightening and eerie to see. The Reichstag (known as the Bundestag now) was also just immensely intimidating. This is where the main governing body of the Nazi Regime did their work. From here, they rose above their enemies around Europe, but soon towards the end of the war and the Battle of Berlin, this was the place in which they died. The Soviets came in and tore the city apart, destroying everything and everyone in sight. The death and destruction they experienced throughout the Eastern Front and Battle of Stalingrad in particular was enough for the Soviets to unleash hell upon Berlin and all of Germany. Even more thought provoking and just indescribable was traveling to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, one of the three first camps centralized solely on forced labor. This camp was for political prisoners, soviets, and others the SS captured and moved. There was so much nature around the camp, but once inside, it became a reminder of the death and horrors that took place. Not even being an extermination camp, Sachsenhausen was still a significant place during WWII.

The final main point I found intriguing and bewildering to me was the Berlin Wall itself. The remnants of the wall all around the city were a constant reminder of what the citizens of West and East Germany had to see every day. The Allied West Germany, although divided into three separate sectors from the French, British and US, was treated much better than the Soviet East Germany. Those who tried to escape East Germany faced dire consequences, as the Soviets, in a way, held a grip around the German people like the Nazis did. Looking around the city and seeing parts of the Wall covered in graffiti demonstrated that the people could now express their freedom through their expansive and colorful street art. This trip all together was an experience I will never forget and will cherish forever. Thank you all for being a part of this journey with me! 😀20150527_150735 20150528_180308 20150601_192250 20150529_201825

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