May 31st:

When we stepped through the door of our first class for the WWII program, we became historians. As historians, we need to describe and assess the sources given to us. The one question that we, as students of this particular study abroad program, have to ask is how has Germany dealt with the consequences of WWII and the Holocaust? As we went to a variety of locations in Berlin, it became clear that Germany was asking this same question to itself.

One of the first few sites we visited was the German Historical Museum, which presented the events of post-WWI, the interwar period, WWII, and post-WWII. The Museum itself had plenty to offer, portrayed this small part of the nation’s history accurately, and addressed the issue of the descent to dehumanization confidently. However, my only gripe with the Museum, and this seemed to be one many of my classmates had, was the layout of it.

Another museum we went to later that same day was the Topography of Terror Museum. This Museum is on the site of buildings that housed the Gestapo and SS headquarters. The central institutions of the Gestapo and SS in Nazi Germany and how they committed crimes throughout Nazi occupied territories was the focus of the exhibition, while also giving attention to the many victims of the Nazi regime.

View within the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.


One of my favorite sites in Berlin was the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The Memorial is comprised of numerous concrete slabs with varying heights that are arranged in a grid pattern. As you make your way towards the middle of the Memorial, the ground starts to decline. This is due to the sloping foundation on which the Memorial is built on. With the increasing height of the slabs, this creates a confusing and uneasy feeling. Though the Memorial is outdoors, it can enclose you from any other sights or noises. The only feeling of comfort you can receive while in between the slabs is when you look up to the sky and you get a sense hope.

Thank you to those who have read all of my blogs. Auf wiedersehen!

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