Last day in Berlin
Everything is closed on Sunday in Berlin except for museums and restaurants. Fred and Josh went to Chaos Communication Congress. A hackers conference. Nerd central. Josh got a kick out of the whole thing. Fred posted the pictures and they are priceless. Jess, Em and I went to the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Pergamon Museum. Very different adventures today.
The museum underneath the memorial is quite incredible. The memorial was open to the public 2 days after the 60th anniversary of VE Day in 2005. The architect, Peter Eisenman, was chosen from a pool of applicants to create the memorial. Made of concrete slabs put into a maze that is confusing on one hand but orderly on the other. To me, it was all about the museum.
The beginning ot the museum basically gives the history between 1933 to 1945 from the development of the Holocaust to the extermination of European Jews. I didn't spend that much time in this area because I am quite familiar with the history.
The second room is a dark room with illuminated squares that give written down personal accounts through postcards, letters and found papers of about the persecution. There is the translation, the actually writing and some background information on the person who wrote the piece.
Room of families is next. This room gives a history of fifteen Jewish families that represent the diversity of European Jewish culture prior to the Holocaust. Each document the families before, during and after the Holocaust. There are photographs and personal information. Out of all 15 families, parents, children, spouses, etc., very few survived.
The next room is a large dark room with square seating in the middle. Each wall highlights one persons name on all four walls at once and then a curator tells the information on that person in German and then English. The format that is used to read aloud the names and biographies of each of the victims presented in this room would take six years, seven months and 27 days. Think about that. Every one of those names were killed during the Holocaust.
The next room is the Room of Sites. This room shows film and photos of the extermination areas including routes and death marches. There is a map of Europe in that room that has yellow squares on each site where Jews were exterminated. As much as I have read and thought I knew about the Holocaust, I had didn't realize that there were 220 sites where killings took place. They are described in this room in detail. This room really shook me up.
The last room is the Holocaust Memorial database. There are a bunch of computers where you can access people (if you know someone who was in the Holocaust).
The amount of research to document this museum is mind boggling. People were killed so randomly and in mass and so much was destroyed that to put this together ( there is a museum in Israel that is dedicated to preserving all of the history ) is almost overwhelming to take in.
After, we walked over to the Pergamon Museum. Every says it is a must see. The large altar in the first room you walk in to is pretty cool but as a whole, I am really not into the antiquities of ancient times. A quick walk through and we left.
Walked by the markets, again, and got that last sausage. It was a must.