The Sachsenhausen concentration camp

1 12 2007

The Sachsenhausen concentration camp is located some 35 kilometers from Berlin, in Oranienburg. You get there by taking the S1 from Berlin to Oranienburg central station, and from there taking bus line 804 directly to the place.

Entrance from outside. Entrance from the inside.

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Fatherland – a novel

29 11 2007

Fatherland, by Robert Harris, is, in my opinion, one of those rare examples of good fiction combining historical knowledge and philosophical insights.

Basically, it is a detective novel, focusing on a murder investigation, taking place in Nazi Germany, around the time of Hitler’s 75th birthday celebrations. The “hero” (more of an anti-hero, actually) is a detective in the criminal police (Kripo). The deceased – an “Alter Kampfer”, that is, one of the Nazi party’s real veterans, together with Hitler since the putsch of 1923. And that’s all I’ll say here about the plot of the book, since I think it is really worth reading, and do not want to spoil it for those of you who will read it…

Fatherland - a novel

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House of the Wannsee Conference

27 11 2007

The Villa Marlier on Am Großen Wannsee 56-58, the place where the conference dealing with the “Final Solution to the Jewish Problem” was held back on 20 January 1942, is nowadays a memorial and educational center.

Villa Marlier on Am Großen Wannsee

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Grünewald Train Station – Gleis 17

25 11 2007

The Grünewald S-Bahn station is a train station on the S7 line going to Potsdam. This station was the place where the deportations occurred. More than 50,000 of Berlin’s Jews were deported from here to extermination camps.

Gleis 17 Gleis 17 sign

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Remembering the Holocaust

23 11 2007

The next few posts will deal with a subject close to my heart, and one of the things that first attracted me to this magnificent city. That is, the memory of the Holocaust. I have already mentioned here before I have personal interest in this subject, being what is known as “third generation to the Holocaust”, and obsessed about the issue.

My particular obsession is focused on learning from history, making sure such things never happen to anyone, anywhere. One of the aspects of learning from history is the issue of dealing with the memory. Being a descendant of victims is not an easy thing. There’s a lot of unremitting pain involved, a lot of distress, a lot of very tangible loss, still very much alive. But I always thought that being a descendant of the perpetrators is even harder.
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Berlin Festival of Lights 2007

21 11 2007

Berlin isn’t a “City of Lights” like Paris is. True, it is known for it’s lively nightlife, but but only on weekends. Actually, on most week nights it is rather dark. But this only made these festival days last October even more exciting. Here’s a taste of what we saw (click on the images to enlarge / for a slideshow). Click here for more about the Berlin’s Festival of Light.


Park Inn, Alexanderplatz.
Alexanderplatz. Fire blower. Yonit near Brandenburg Gate.
Karl Liebknecht strasse. Alexanderplatz TV Tower. Europa Center.
Berliner Dom.
A fountain near Alte Museum. A fat statue near Alte Museum. Tripod shooters. Berliner Dom. Inside the Reichstag.
Brandenburg Gate. On the street. Hassische strasse.




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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Berlin Must Sees: Gendarmenmarkt

13 11 2007

This beautiful square in the middle of the Mitte quarter at the center of Berlin, includes the German Cathedral, the French Cathedral and the Konzerthaus. It was laid out from 1688 according to plans of the architect J.A. Nering, and was originally known as Linden Markt, and then Friedrichstädtischer Markt or Neuer Markt. It became known as Gendarmenmarkt because of the old Gendarme regiment that was housed here from 1736 to 1773.
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The Hackeschen Höfe

11 11 2007

The Hackeschen Höfe is a complex of eight courtyards, which was built around the turn of the 19th century, and consisted then of a mixture of offices, workshops, factories and residential apartments. The place was renovated in the 1990s.

Hackeschen Höfe map

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