Last day in Berlin

Everything is closed on Sunday in Berlin except for museums and restaurants.  Fred and Josh went to Chaos Communication Congress.  A hackers conference.  Nerd central.  Josh got a kick out of the whole thing.  Fred posted the pictures and they are priceless.  Jess, Em and I went to the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Pergamon Museum.  Very different adventures today. 

The museum underneath the memorial is quite incredible.  The memorial was open to the public 2 days after the 60th anniversary of VE Day in 2005.  The architect, Peter Eisenman, was chosen from a pool of applicants to create the memorial.  Made of concrete slabs put into a maze that is confusing on one hand but orderly on the other.  To me, it was all about the museum.

The beginning ot the museum basically gives the history between 1933 to 1945 from the development of the Holocaust to the extermination of European Jews.  I didn't spend that much time in this area because I am quite familiar with the history. 

The second room is a dark room with illuminated squares that give written down personal accounts Squares
through postcards, letters and found papers of about the persecution.  There is the translation, the actually writing and some background information on the person who wrote the piece. 

Room of families is next.  This room gives a history of fifteen Jewish families that represent the diversity of European Jewish culture prior to the Holocaust.  Each document the families before, during and after the Holocaust.  There are photographs and personal information.  Out of all 15 families, parents, children, spouses, etc., very few survived.

The next room is a large dark room with square seating in the middle.  Each wall  highlights one persons name on all four walls at once and then a curator tells the information on that person in German and then English.  The format that is used to read aloud the names and biographies of each of the victims presented in this room would take six years, seven months and 27 days.  Think about that.  Every one of those names were killed during the Holocaust.

The next room is the Room of Sites.  This room shows film and photos of the extermination areas including routes and death marches.  There is a map of Europe in that room that has yellow squares on each site where Jews were exterminated.  As much as I have read and thought I knew about the Holocaust, I had didn't realize that there were 220 sites where killings took place.  They are described in this room in detail.  This room really shook me up. 

The last room is the Holocaust Memorial database.  There are a bunch of computers where you can access people (if you know someone who was in the Holocaust). 

The amount of research to document this museum is mind boggling.  People were killed so randomly and in mass and so much was destroyed that to put this together ( there is a museum in Israel that is dedicated to preserving all of the history ) is almost overwhelming to take in. 

After, we walked over to the Pergamon Museum.  Every says it is a must see.  The large altar in the first room you walk in to is pretty cool but as a whole, I am really not into the antiquities of ancient times.  A quick walk through and we left.

Walked by the markets, again, and got that last sausage.  It was a must. 

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Comments (Archived):

  1. Tom B

    In a less than a few years (considering how maniacal Israel has become), there will be a similar museum for the loss of the lives of Palestinians thanks to genocidal behavior of Israel which ironically has uncanny similarities to the Nazi Germany.Lest we forget ergo let’s kill all these Palestinian children.

    1. Gotham Gal

      The death and killing that goes on between both factions is ridiculous.Nothing is ever solved and anger is always there. I¹d like to seesignificant strides in the relationships in the Middle East. Anything tomove to a happier place would be better than it is now.

      1. Tom B

        “Nothing is ever solved and anger is always there.”Because Israel’s objective is to grab more land ergo no interest in real peace. Israel has undermined every single chance to make peace with Palestinians. Israel, thanks to our unconditional support, believes that by using force they will get the kind of commitment they are interested from Palestinians. Hamas is the democratically elected government of Palestinians. Butjust like us Israelis, believe in democracy only when it suits them.”The death and killing that goes on between both factions is ridiculous.”Sure is. We also have to be mindful of the fact that the death ratio is 300 Palestinian to 1 Israeli. Israel indiscriminately bombs Gaza with the ridicoulous claim that they are after known militants. Patently false. Since when a 4 year old girl and an 85 year old grandpa are militants?It’s vital for Jewish communities all across the world to condemn the genocidal behavior of this regime.

        1. Peace First

          Dear Tom B,Lest we not forget that this recent violence was carefully planned and executed by Hamas in order to provoke a harsh response from Israel. It is clear that Hamas is willing to sacrifice the lives of its own people for political reasons. Let us also not forget that Hamas is a terrorist organization that has not only terrorized Israel but also terrorized its own citizenry.Terrorists provoke, governments protect. Let’s face it, would the US or any other country sit idly by while terrorist groups fire hundreds of rockets into its borders? The answer is clear.So, let’s not be naive here. This was a very carefully planned political strategy by Hamas to end a cease fire by lobbing hundreds of bombs at Israel in order to provoke Israel into retaliating and then use this for political gain heading into the January elections in the Middle East.All this being said, I agree that violence only breeds violence. Israel needs to throttle back now and avoid escalating the violence. However, the “blame” for this situation is squarely on Hamas. The blood is on their hands.

    2. Justin

      I am extremely concerned and disappointed that Israel is choosing to escalate its retaliation by moving forward with a ground offensive. This is a road to nowhere and is sure to create a spiral of violence and hatred. I can only wish that the two Ehuds will come to their senses before it’s too late.I also wish that Hamas would demonstrate to the world that it is commiitted to peace with Israel and make a unilateral declaration against terror and terrorist organizations.

      1. Tom B

        What terrorist organization? Hamas is a democratically elected governing body of the Palestinians.Israelis has never wanted peace. The victimhood mentality is in the very corse of Israelis’ narrative. They’re training and indoctrinated at a very early age to unleash violence against Palestinians even if it’s a 6 months old baby.This despicable nation has violated more international laws than all UN members COMBINED!This is the Palestinian holocaust with US up to its eyeballs in this crime against humanity. Clearly they’re showing they haven’t learned from the lessons of Holocaust.Olmert and his government MUST be tried for war crimes and executed.

  2. Gotham Gal

    The Hamas behaved like the younger sibling. After shaking hands andagreeing to stop hitting the other sibling, he did it anyway. Zinging withhopes that nobody was really looking and wondering when he was going to geta rise out of someone so he could pretend to look completely innocent. Theparents have said countless times, if you don¹t stop, you are going to getyour ass kicked. Eventually, the older sibling turned around and gave theyounger sibling a good punch. The parents said, do what you have to do, buthe has got to learn a lesson. The older sibling beat the shit out of theyounger sibling while the parents turned a blind eye.As painful as it is, across the world, to watch the anger rise up in thatregion of the country again and again, the Hamas shouldn¹t be surprised bythe response. The Israeli¹s, like the parents, gave full warning to theHamas to stop lobbying bombs across the border but they didn¹t stop. Theyhave hurt their country men more than anything else. At what point are theygoing to look at the youth and put their weapons down so that they can alllive in peace with hopes for prosperity, growth, and peace and be part ofthe world that we all have to live in.

    1. Tom B

      That’s a trap Israel has been working on for months. Israel don’t have any intention for peace. The more Palestinian they kill, the happier they are.You should read the memos the give to IDF soldiers. One might think the instruction was perfected following Nazi Germany footsteps.Israel has been planning Gaza operation for months and if you believe Hamas has caused this conflict you are either delusional or grossly misinformed.

      1. Jim

        It makes me sad that people like Gotham gal, etc. defend Israel simply because they happen to be Jewish.Do you honestly believe it’s okay for Israel to kill 400 people and wound1200 others for ONE ISRAELIS?There’s a reason why Israel is the most hated country in the world.

  3. Gotham Gal

    I am not defending Israeli. I believe they should figure out how to createpeace but if someone kept tossing grenades in my backyard after we decidedto make nice, I might shoot back. I am not sure we are dealing with anyonerational on either side. But, there is no reason in the world, why when youagree to put down the weapons, you all put down the weapons. If one sidedecides to pick them back up, then it is hard to believe that they otherside won¹t eventually pick up their weapon again too. It is an endlessnightmare.

    1. Jim

      Israel is an illegal, rogue, terrorist state, founded by terrorists no different from Al Qaeda today and run by terrorists today engaging in war crimes against mass numbers of Palestinians and Lebanese. It needs to be dissolved by the UN and replaced by the original Palestinian Mandate of the League of Nations which specified that Palestine was to be developed into its own state with a PORTION of Palestine set aside for the Jews.The UN, according to its own commission set up to study the matter in 1947, explicitly did not have any legal authority to partition Palestine. The decision to partition Palestine must be reversed.Israel must be forced to disarm its nuclear arsenal and subjected to a world wide economic boycott and blockade if it fails to comply.A Palestinian state should be set up, with a Constitution that recognizes the civil rights of both Palestinians and Jews, and with its border security guaranteed by the international community, thus removing any Jewish fears of being invaded (which is ridiculous anyway given the military Israel has). All land seized from Palestinians must be returned to their rightful owners based on existing legal documentation. The right of return by Palestinians should be recognized based on documented land ownership.This is the only possible outcome that doesn’t involve significant numbers of people getting killed.Otherwise, Israel is doomed to be destroyed eventually, and will probably be guilty of genocide before then and will certainly spark more conflict in the region.Israel has absolutely no right to exist, legally and historically, as a state. Palestine does, with support for the Jewish population as per the Palestinian Mandate.

      1. Peace First

        Jim,Leaving aside personal convictions and deeply held beliefs, we live in a global community where nations and peoples need to adhere to basic principles of trust, respect, democracy and peaceful existence.The conflict in the Middle East will only be resolved when all parties adhere to these principles. Unfortunately, recent history has witnessed the rise of organized terrorist groups (P.L.O., Hezbollah, right-wing Zionist groups, etc.) rather than organized peace movements, failed democratic institutions (Hamas) and the abject failure of international mediation.I was born in Israel and now live in Canada. I am not a Zionist or a Jew or a Canadian. I am a human citizen. As such, I support what’s best for humanity and the world at large. In this instance, it is the creation of a two nation solution within the geographical borders of Israel/Palestine. In order for this solution to even remotely become a reality, the basic principles I’ve outlined above need to be the foundation for negotiation.Unfortunately, this solution will never be achieved if Palestinians hold to your belief and statement that Israel has absolutely no right to exist.As one human citizen to another I urge you to drop the vitriol and focus on the guiding principles of a new global community.

        1. Jim

          Vitriol?Dude Israel is killing Palestinian en-mass. What the heck are you talking about?Israel’s creation was a historical mistake. The sooner we come to terms with it the better the chance for peace.

  4. Yule Heibel

    Wow, lots of vitriol against Israel in some of the comments here… Which is interesting, given that Gotham Gal describes a museum that commemorates not just a, but THE, Holocaust.Let’s think about that for a sec.Germans elected Hitler. Germans knew that invading Poland would spark a war. Germans militarized and scorned a peace treaty from their previous WWI defeat. German leaders engineered attacks and fires (Reichstagbrand, eg.), so they could claim to be under attack themselves – even though they were the aggressors.And then Germans either actively participated in, or closed their eyes to, the Holocaust.At some point, the Allies said, ‘you are *collectively* guilty,’ and German civilians were firebombed and their cities were pounded into the dust. Innocent Germans – children, women, old men – died. It was tough – more than tough: it was a horror. But that’s what happens: at some point there’s hell to pay.And some people here are comparing people who elected Hamas (which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel) to (innocent) bystanders, and Israel to Nazi Germany? I think my head just exploded.Not that I wish ill on this beautiful and wondrous world of ours, but by the same token there will be hell to pay by innocents – bystanders, but collectively guilty ones nonetheless – when climate change and now “financial change” extracts its price.We can argue about how to assign guilt until we bash each others’ heads in once again, and we can argue that the concept of “collective guilt” (in the 20th century assigned to *all* Germans) is “unfair.”But until we get a system where individuals can make a difference from the bottom up – so that dissenters (whether Palestinians who are sick to death of Hamas or Islamic women who are sick of male oppression or Israelis who are sick of wars or Americans/Westerners who are sick of watching corruption and the pillaging and raping of the planet) can be credited and recognized for their struggle for freedom and justice and for what is right *and* can have tools to effect change, until then we will continue to use the blunt tools. One of them is the concept of collective guilt. That’s what worked on Germany, irrespective of how it hurt civilians who were innocent.Just my take, but I think that’s one of the important subtexts driving the memorial and museum described in this blog post.

    1. Tom B

      “And some people here are comparing people who elected Hamas (which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel) “In reality it’s Israel that kills Palestinians? how many Israel’s died as result of Hamas’s intention? 1? not wait, the person was wounded.Get off your high horse and see what’s happening to people in Gaza will you? and stop genralizing bullshit that most Israeli supporters do.The poster, Jim, is absolutely nailed. Israel is an illegal entity and will cease to exist with our without Hamas.APARTHEID IS NOT SUSTAINABLE.