Saturday, 23 September 2017

Berlin – Two Tales, One City

By the title, you may be expecting an article about the East and the West but that is not the prime intent of my musings today.

Berlin appears to me to be a City at ease with itself.

It is not in a hurry like New York; It is not manic like Paris can be. The pace on the street is more akin to an Australian City.

The people I have come in to contact with have been friendly, welcoming, eager to help and happy.

There appears to be many foreign residents and they too speak well of the City.

It is a seemingly young City and it looks to me as if there is a very high proportion of people aged between 20 and late 30’s. However, there also appears to be few children.

Berlin is proud and positive.

Much of my day has been spent surrounded by sadness. I had identified “The Story of Berlin” museum as one I wanted to visit. Attached to it is a Hitler museum documenting his rise to power and we know the rest.

I also visited the Jewish memorial and the Topographie des Terrors.

Berlin is incredibly open about the scars on its history, the atrocities performed on a wide range of minority groups, the deportation programs and the horrors of the concentration camps.

They in no way celebrate it. They do however understand it is a part of their history and outline the facts in a straight forward, detailed and often pictorial way. Almost too detailed at times.

The ability of this City to re-build physically after the destruction endured between 1943 and 1945 is amazing. However, more amazing is the ability to confront its history, presenting it for all to see and understand.

I haven’t been to Japan but I doubt their history is available for all to see and read.

Berliners are courageous too.

There are also many situations where Berliners have protested against Government policies, taxes and wrong doings, and often with success. Other times the guns were turned on them but they still presented next time.

If you are over the age of 20, chances are you will know someone who was in Berlin during the war and worked in the war effort. 

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