Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Memorial To The Murdered Jews Of Europe

This blog item headline is the official name for the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. What else is there to say?

The site is a sloping plaza filled with dark grey rectangular columns of various heights. One can't help but think of a field of somber coffins. There's enough room to walk your own path through the 2711 columns, contemplating the ever-changing landscape.

The memorial. The flag in the background? The United States', flying over its embassy.

Depending on light, people appear and quickly disappear among the grid.

Inside view.

The overall feeling is of a nightmarish dream.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Reliving The Cold War In Berlin

Take a single step in Berlin and chances are you will be crossing a Cold War reminder. The Berlin Wall meandered through the heart of the town and the scars are ever present. History, right under your feet!

A couple of blocks of the Wall, looking from East Berlin.

One clever thing Berlin has done is mark the path of the Wall in the places where it no longer stands. Cobblestones or other markings in the ground act like a perverted Yellow Brick Road. If you can't get enough of life size, check out a museum model.

Checkpoint Charlie, the crossover to another world. Now, a photo-op. Of course, a McDonald's is right next door.

A warning in four languages. Got it? History distilled down to a punch line.

One nice touch at Checkpoint Charlie is a double-sided portrait. Heading into East Berlin, you get a shot of a DDR soldier. Fair warning. GI Joe is on the other side.

You think the whole thing is only preserved for tourists? There are still original remnants, maybe ripped up, but not removed. Sections of the Wall and a guard shack, not re-purposed. Old church, old Soviet TV tower. The Soviets loved their TV towers.
New Berlin, meet old Berlin. Transformer boxes, with authorized paint job (who approved a dog peeing?) in front of Berlin Wall sections. Being truly subversive was more creative.