Wilhelmstrasse – Offices of the Nazi Reich

17 11 2007

Wilhelmstrasse is a street in the center of Berlin (Mitte), which runs south from Unter den Linden for some 2 km, until its junction with Stresemannstrasse, near Hallesches Ufer. From mid 19th century the street was the administrative center of the Kingdom of Prussia, and during the Nazi period it became the administrative center of the Third Reich.
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Topography of Terror: construction finally started, again

15 11 2007

Some two weeks ago, the German government finally announced the beginning of the construction of an exhibition center at the site which used to house once the Gestapo, SS and Reich Security Offices in Berlin (located on the Prinz Albrecht Terrain at Niederkirchnerstrasse 8), to complete the memorial known as the “Topography of Terror”.

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The Lives of Others

22 10 2007

The Oscar winning film “The Lives of Others” from 2006 (“Das Leben der Anderen” in German) is another film about the days of the former German Democratic Republic, very different in ambience from the film Goodbye Lenin!.

The Lives of Others.

Click on the picture to buy the DVD.

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Is the German Unification a Failure?

4 10 2007

About a fifth of the German people would like to have the Berlin Wall back. 74% of the former residents of East-Germany say they feel like second-class citizens.

The 17th German Unification Day was celebrated all over Germany yesterday, but the above mentioned figures may have clouded the celebration..

The survey, conducted by the German independent opinion research firm Emnid, was commissioned by private broadcaster N24, and published just before the Unification Day.

Behind the headlines, there is actually a sad story. 73% of the westerners believe easterners are not at any disadvantage. 74% of the easterners, though, say they are second-class citizens. And technically they are.

Berlin Wall East side gallery

Unemployment rates in the east are as high as 15 percent, about twice more than in the west. Salaries are 25 percent lower (according to the German Institute for Labour Market and Career Research).
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Berlin Town Hall (Rotes Rathaus)

2 10 2007

Berlin Town Hall, known as Rotes Rathaus (the red Town Hall, because, well, of its color), was constructed from 1861–69, according to plans by Hermann Friedrich Waesemann. In 1879, the exterior was decorated with the “Stony Chronicle” on the first floor (36 plates, each 6m in length), showing scenes from the history of Berlin.

Berlin Town Hall (Rotes Rathaus).

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The Berlin Wall is Dying

16 09 2007

The East-Side Gallery is the only part of the original Berlin Wall that is still standing, relatively unharmed, with its beautiful historical graffiti on. Located in Friedrichshain, near the Ostbahnhof railway station, it is about 1,300 meters in length (0.8 miles), covered with over 100 paintings, some of which are real masterpieces.

When we went to see it, we were amazed at its poor condition, though. As it happened, except for a partial restoration project in 2000, the leftovers of the Berlin Wall and the East-Side Gallery were seriously neglected. Vandalism and corrosion did the rest. Read the rest of this entry »




Berlin Wall – East-Side Gallery

14 09 2007

The East-Side Gallery was created in 1990, during the first year after Berlin Wall’s collapse. Hundreds of artists from all over the world came to Berlin, and covered some 1300 meters of the remains of November 1989 events, with 106 stunning wall-paintings, most in a graffiti-like style. The paintings are said to reflect the artists’ thoughts and vision about the new era of peace in unified Berlin.
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The Berlin Wall

12 09 2007

The Berlin Wall (Berliner Mauer) was a separation barrier between East and West Germany, which divided Berlin for 28 years.

The Wall’s construction begun on August 13 1961 (funny, exactly 10 years before I was born) by the East German communist regime, as an “Anti-Fascist Protective Rampart”, and became an iconic symbol of the cold war.

There was an explicit shoot-to-kill order for attempting to escape to the West by going over the Wall, and some 125 people overall were killed trying.
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The Berlin Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

2 09 2007

This monster of a memorial, which was unveiled in May 2005, is located in a very central place, near the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate. It is based on a design by Peter Eisenman, an American architect. The “Field of Stelea” is made of 2,711 concrete blocks of different heights, structured in a grid pattern. It can be entered anywhere, and the blocks are supposed to form different wave-like patterns as you move through it. I didn’t really notice that. Click on the photo to enlarge.

The Memorial after rain.

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Berlin Must-Sees: The Reichstag

30 08 2007

The Reichstag is the seat of the German Bundestag (federal government), near Brandenburg Gate at the west end of the Mitte quarter. It was constructed from 1884-1894 by the architect Paul Wallot. The inscription “Dem Deutschen Volke” was added in 1916, during WW1.

Dem Deutschen Volke.

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