As I near the end of my journey, I want to share my thoughts on my last stop in Berlin—the German Resistance Museum at the Bendlerblock. While I explored the city’s iconic sites like the Brandenburg Gate and Tiergarten, I was pleasantly surprised by this hidden gem that left a lasting impression on me.
This museum pays tribute to those who bravely resisted the Nazis and those who provided shelter to persecuted individuals during the 1930s and 1940s. What struck me the most were the personal stories of resistance. I learned about the inspiring acts of the White Rose group, the July 20 conspirators, and the remarkable Oskar Schindler. The museum did an excellent job weaving together their stories while providing a broader understanding of the historical context in Germany.
One story that stayed with me was that of Falk Harnack. Despite the execution of his brother, Falk continued his resistance activities. Once captured, he managed to escape conviction and was sent to military service. In a courageous move, Falk deserted his unit in Greece and joined the partisan fighters against Germany. This example reminded me of the importance of honoring those who stood up against the odds. I appreciated the museum’s honesty in referring to the Gestapo, SS, and Wehrmacht as German forces and acknowledging that their victims were murdered.
The museum also acknowledged the unsung heroes who covertly provided shelter and support to the persecuted. Many of them were young secretaries, only 19 or 20 years old, who displayed incredible maturity and bravery. I was moved by a statement by one of them: “I need to work as much as possible and resist the urge to sleep. Every hour of sleep I get, 30 people die.” Although their work often went unnoticed, these individuals demonstrated extraordinary courage.
Overall, I left the museum deeply satisfied. It was not afraid to confront the complicity of everyday German citizens in the Nazi atrocities while also honoring those who resisted and made great sacrifices. The museum did justice to the brave souls who stood up for what was right.