Sunday, August 25, 2013

Day 2: Wednesday August 7th, 2013

It was a busy first full day in Berlin. After sleeping in, we had a small breakfast and began making our way to the Jewish Museum. The museum is housed in two separate buildings. One building is visibly older, the other more modern. First, we entered the modern-looking building and began looking around. This building was designed and constructed by American architect Daniel Libeskind, and deals primarily with events surrounding the Holocaust. There are three different axis' within the building--Axis of Exile, Axis of Holocaust, and Axis of Continuity-- all running in different directions. On the walls of the Axis of Exile are names of cities from all around the world where Jews were exiled to as a result of Nazi rule. The walls of the Axis of Holocaust show names of different concentration camps. Throughout the building itself, there are exhibitions with stories of different families destroyed during the Holocaust. Also part of this building is the Garden of Exile, an outdoor section full of large stone structures. Given that my grandfather is one of the millions exiled, and our family therefore exiled as well, we took a picture of the five of us in the garden.
After finishing up that part of the museum, we moved on to the other building, which was your pretty standard museum detailing the history of Jews in Germany. It eventually comes to the Holocaust, where there is a lot of attention devoted to the trials of Nazi criminals which were held in Germany in the 1960's. There was a long movie being shown about the feelings of the German people as the trials were going on. and clips from the trials themselves. The movie featured a lot of Hannah Arendt, the German philosopher who famously covered the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem. Interestingly enough, there was no mention at the museum of the 1972 Munich massacre.
We finished up at the museum and began walking back to the U-bahn when we found a Turkish place for lunch. At first, we thought such a restaurant would be a novelty on the trip, and therefore decided to have some Middle Eastern food while we had the chance. As you'll see during the course of this blog, we were sorely mistaken. Anyway, I got a "doner kebob," like the Israeli schwarma, a sandwich on pita bread with lettuce and vegetables in it.
Once lunch was done, we went to the East Side Gallery, where a kilometer-long portion of the Berlin Wall remains. There are some really interesting graffiti designs on the wall, like the one you see on the right, which is near the beautiful view on the Spree River.
It was also a great pleasure for us, later that evening, to get together with our Israeli cousin, Roee, who was spending the summer in Berlin. Along with my father and sister, we went out with Roee to get a beer and something to eat at a nearby beer garden.
Beer of the day: Alster-a German mix of beer and Sprite. Nothing to write home about. Oh wait, I am writing about it.

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