It’s been a while since I last posted. Sorry. I’ve been busy.
At the beginning of September I took a holiday to Turkey and Berlin for a well needed rest. Whilst I didn’t get my camera out much in Turkey, it was certainly on me at all times in Berlin.
It was my first time in Germany and consequently Berlin. I found Berlin to be absolutely fascinating. Whilst on the outside it’s like any other major city, hidden under the surface is a diverse and vibrant atmosphere.
I’ve wanted to come here for a while to sample the culture and diverse history. I decided the best way to do this was to take a walking tour. This walking tour covered the rise of the Nazi’s through to the Cold War period.
Before I went away, my trusty D5200 (no complete with a fly in the sensor) was replaced with a second D7200. I took this new camera to test it and set it to my liking.
The pace of the walking tour was not ideal for taking pictures so these may come across quite touristy. Whilst not perfect, I have selected pictures which I feel tell some of the history of Berlin.
Here starts the darker history. On what became known as the Night of Broken Glass (Kristallnacht), members of the public were encouraged to riot against the Jews. Authorities looked past vandalism of homes, businesses and synagogues.
At the end of the night, 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Some 7000 businesses were damaged or destroyed, and 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland were destroyed. But not this one.
One German police officer with friends in the Jewish community took a stand. He went to his house and came back with a sheet of paper and presented it to the SS officer in charge. He stated that the local police and fire brigade had prohibited the destruction of this building as it would affect nearby buildings. The SS officer stopped his men and left. Had the SS officer looked properly, he would have seen the document was fake.
Due to the bold actions of this one officer, this synagogue was saved.
These plaques or “Stolperstein” can be spotted all over the streets of Berlin.
They initially started out as an art project by German artist Gunter Demnig in 1992. The idea was to commemorate those who had been displaced by the actions of the Nazis during the holocaust. Located on street corners, they are intended to mark the last known place or work or home of the victims.
Initially laid by Demnig himself, the idea was eventually supported by councils and townsfolk. What started out as a project to remember the Jews killed during Nazi rule eventually expanded to other persecuted groups. Whilst initially based in Germany it soon spread to other nations over Europe.
Each plaque starts with “Here lived” or “From here” and details the following information.
Date of birth
Date of arrest/deportation
Which concentration camp
All 5 people who lived at this address were sent to Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia at the same time. They were ultimately murdered at Auchwitz-Birkenau.
Whilst others have happier endings, like survival in camps or escaped to USA etc, most of them are noted as “emordert”. Murdered.
Whilst Demnig still carries out this project, he gets more support. Many of these are now researched and paid for by occupiers of modern homes.
I appreciate this post has been quite history heavy.
When I started this blog 5 years ago, my intention was to share and teach at the same time. I couldn’t have done the history of this city justice if i hadn’t gone deep.
This is just the first of a number of historic Berlin blogs I will post. Don’t worry, I also have Pandas coming.
I hope you enjoyed this. Let me know what you think. As always. Thanks for looking.