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A few Berlin photos

August 19, 2007 am31 6:40 am

My stay in Berlin this July was brief and lazy. Some days I didn’t even wander or ride to the center. It was nice to stroll (but careful for bicycles! Every sidewalk had a bike path on it) and the weather in Berlin was nice, just when I was there. We walked, and visited a few museums, and hung out with my friend’s friends. Nice lazy time. There was a canal at the border of Neu Koln and Kreuzberg, with a bike path and willows and cafes that were little more than picnic benches with wonderful pilsener and wheat beer… No photos of that. Try these instead:

Ampelmann

The man in the middle is an “Ampelmann” or fat man, telling us it’s ok to cross. (Ignore the fat man, risk a ticket). He was the standard crossing figure in the east, when there was a German Democratic Republic. After the fall of the wall, symbols of the east were quickly erased, including this cute guy. Ostalgie (Ost means east + nostalgia) brought him back, including to a few places where he never directed pedestrians, including this one, between Brandenburg Tor and Tiergarten (the plaza and the lovely park, below, left and right.

Brandenburg Gate

Path in Tiergarten


(More photos and text, below the fold —>)
See the tall buildings? See jd2718 pretend to be a photography artiste? This is Potsdamer Platz. It was empty before 1989, (the wall ran through it) but they’ve built some large office towers. We went to the top of the one that looks like it is made of brick. Another is the Daimler Chrysler building.

Towers in PotsdamerplatzOffices

The Gestapo had its headquarters in Berlin, and had a small prison in the basement. The place was destroyed and will not be rebuilt, but see on the left? Those are the cells of the “houseprison” (it looks German if I leave out the spaces between words) being excavated. In the foreground pictures of prisoners. The younger one is Erich Honecker.

On the right is a display of mug shots. There were larger versions, with details of who the people were, what they were charged with, what happened to them. The Berlin group of Red Orchestra spy ring was processed here. The looks on people’s faces… a mix of determination, fear. What was most surprising for me was reading the court sentences. Acquittals and short sentences mixed in with long sentences and executions. At least one prisoner served a few years, was released, went back to trade union organizing and was re-arrested. The veneer of justice remained.

Excavating cellsHouseprison exhibit

Finally, the Holocaust memorial. From the outside, an unobtrusive stretch of concrete pillars, perfect grid, starting just a few inches high, creating the impression of a low hill. However, move between them and you find yourself in a dark, deep, uncomfortable maze. I tried to count the pillars, and didn’t write down what I figured out.

Holocaust Memorial (exterior)Holocaust Memorial (interior)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 19, 2007 pm31 5:58 pm 5:58 pm

    great pics–I love the tall buildings

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