The End of Our Journey

We have finally come to our last stop on our three-week excursion: Berlin.

Somber. The tone of the Berlin museums we visited were nothing like the Allied nations that won the war. The Topography of Terror Museum was brilliant in my opinion because unlike many other museums this one walks you through the SS and Nazi police state system. I liked how they displayedall types of the Nazi police forces, which made me understand the process behind the power of the Nazi government. It was surreal to me that we were walking on the site of the former SS headquarters. The museum offered photos of every country the Nazis invaded and showed photos of their Jewish people being deported. It’s mind boggling how many countries the Nazi’s conquered so quickly with no one to stand in their way.

Site of Berlin Wall at TOTM

The Soviet war memorial was very interesting as well. The statue felt so awkward placed in this city because of the tens of thousands of rapes perpetrated by Soviet soldiers as the conquered Germany. Yes, they fought for liberation but in their own way they took freedom away from the people in East Berlin. The USSR stands for communism; why have a memorial in their honor today? At the base of the memorial people were leaving flowers and bouquets in memory of those lost. It makes me question the motivation of the soldiers buried there; were they naïve young men fighting for their country or were they soldiers taking revenge for the atrocities committed by the Wehrmacht and the SS in the Soviet Union?

Our visit to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp made me notice the stained red grass on the roll call area. Walking through the entrance gate made me uncomfortable in a way that haunted me as I looked around. You immediately see barbed wire, stone walls, watch towers, and the notorious roll call area. This area was the spot for all prisoners in the camp to stand ensuring everyone was there. The grass presently was red, I’m not sure why, but it was very saddening nonetheless. The thought that young and old men had to stand in that spot for hours twice a day, no matter the weather condition, was devastating.

Being in Berlin was much different than London or Paris. The architecture was modern with few relics of the past like the Brandenburg Gate and parts of the Berlin Wall. The city also had fewer skyscrapers than normal which I thought interesting, so when on the S-Baum you can actually see most of the city without buildings in the way. I really enjoyed the Tiergarten and its hefty size relative to the city; it is strewn with memorials, bridges, and flower gardens that make it very unique. Hyde Park in London had a bigger open area for sporting activities and in Paris, Luxemburg park had cafes and sporting courts making it much more commercialized. This park in Berlin was the best of the three, having me walk miles and miles just in one day.

I am so thankful for this lovely journey I was able to participate in and being able to blog our stops along the way. I’m happy to say the knowledge I’ve gained and the new perspectives opens my mind to all the other chapters of the WW2 story.

Very Dearly,

Sophia L. Bruck




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *