Friday, August 26, 2011

Berlin, Germany 2010

Berlin was probably the stop that I learned the most. It was an important stop for me because my ancestors are German.

Here we are at the t.v. tower

We fell in love with Alexanderplatz square. It contained this cool cathedral, and some beautiful museums.

We loved looking at these buildings, but it’s tragic to know that at one point there were hundreds of Nazi’s hailing Hitler on this exact spot.

This is Gendarmenmarkt …twin Cathedrals.

Berlin is a very new city because it was bombed and destroyed during WWII. However, there are still old buildings that survived. If they survived their statues have missing limbs, and black charcoal is all over it.

We saw history at every turn. Here is Brandenburg Gate.

Berlin’s “Broken tooth” church (named for obvious reasons after it was bombed).

We were able to do so many things in Berlin...once we figured out how to get to them.


Check Point Charlie

We went through the American Sector

WE touched the Berlin Wall.

Crepes on the street were delicious...I got mine with Nutella.

We even found our church and attended Sacrament!

I wanted to see the World Time Clock. Apparently I was the only one in our group that wanted to see it. So they made me take a picture by myself…

Our next stop required a long train ride.

We got kicked off the train because our tickets were no good. We had no idea where we were, and there was nothing around us...

So we waited for another train. But we did finally make it to the tiny town we were looking for...



It was about a 20 minute walk from the train to the camp. The town was super cute and peaceful. Everything was cobble stone and green.

It’s hard to imagine that we were walking to such a horrible place.

Once we got to the outside of the camp I was shocked to see how beautiful it was.

There were nice cottages in front (for the Nazi guards) and a pretty lake.

But just behind this building and gate was tragic. It’s hard to describe the feeling you get when you walk inside. Pictures don’t do it justice either. This place was home to thousands of deaths.

Most of the bunkers were destroyed.

The shops were still in tact.

These shops were where the women reported to work everyday.

All in all, more than 132,000 women and children were incarcerated in Ravensbrück. 92,000 of them died in the camp by starvation, executions, or weakness. During the last months of the war the SS decided to exterminate as many prisoners as they could, in order to avoid any testimony about what happened in the camp. For example, 130 babies and pregnant women were gassed in March 1945.

They ordered the women still able to walk to leave the camp in a Death March. Only 3,000 exhausted or ill women were left in the camp, as well as 300 men.

This is where the women/children were burned. It was hard for me to comprehend that this was real. That people actually used it for that purpose.

While inside we were looking through the records of those who were imprisoned, I found many prisoners with my maiden name. This experience was heartbreaking, but I’m grateful I got to get a tiny glimpse of the conditions these poor people endured.

The last thing we did in Berlin was tour the German History Museum. There were lots of cool things there…it started from the Germanic Tribes and ended in current times.

Here I am with Napoleon's hat and sword!

This vacation was amazing. I learned so much, I saw things that you could only see in History books, and I got to do it with my favorite person!

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