Wednesday, July 15, 2015

More Berlin

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas)

I remember seeing pictures of this when it opened, ten years ago, and pictures of a lonely visitor surrounded by the cement blocks. What I didn’t realize is that it’s in the middle of the city. I happened upon it a few times, not many of which I had my camera with me, but eventually made the effort to make sure I had my camera.

I didn’t know much about it (and I’ll admit that I just learned a lot about it by reading online), but I think it’s a simple concept, one that everyone can understand for themselves, with more or less the same outcome.

I was surprised to find that the ground isn’t even and the memorial has little hills, in both directions. The cement structures aren’t perfectly square, and are often leaning one way or the other, toward or away from the others.

What from the outside looks like a pretty simple design, fairly straightforward and exact, turns out to be subliminally much more intricate.

The American Embassy. The Brandenburg Gate is on the other side of the embassy.

Across the street is the Tiergarten (Animal Garden). Not complicated at all, as two very close train stations are called Tiergarten and Zoologischer Garten. (Animal garden and Zoo garden). To me, an animal garden is a zoo, but to the Germans, they are two different things. Apparently the Tiergarten used to be the hunting grounds for the elected officials in Berlin, and then Frederick I opened it up to the public, because apparently he was charitable.

Looking across the street again, and there’s the Brandenburg Gate. Were the Berlin Wall still up, I’d be in West Germany, but just barely. The wall would have been in my way for this photo.

I walked across the street, and turned to look at the Tiergarten. Now I’d be in East Germany, but just barely. I was standing next to the lamp post as I took the picture of the Gate, and you can see in the middle of the street the double row of bricks (left to right) dividing east from west.

You can see the Reichstag and its Dome, just barely.  More importantly, you can see some important flags.

Walking through the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate).

The American Embassy again, located in the Pariser Platz, and I’m sure this is more than a coincidence, but the French Embassy is also located in the square.

And the view that most people know, of the Brandenburger Tor.

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