For our second day in Berlin, we had another walking tour, this one focused on the Third Reich of Hitler and the Nazi Party. Our tour guide this time was Nigel who was from Scotland, which made Cade and I pretty excited. He sounded as though he came from England, but when he switched to his Scottish accent it was pretty cool. But, for this tour we went around the city and Nigel talked about the war. I learned things such as the United Kingdom came in and bombed pretty much the whole city. It was crazy to think about how the city had so much destruction. We saw some of the buildings that got bombed and are now trying to be restored to keep as a ruin to remember what happened. For instance, a church got bombed and only one tour and the bottom survived, probably around a third left, and they are working to keep it from collapsing and building a new one right next to it. They also have lots of buildings that still have bullet holes in them from the war, which I thought was a really good way of remembering what had happened. Plus, it was really cool to see some history that still remains within the city.
Throughout the city, we saw the following things:
The Topography of Terror, which was a museum taking you through the war. They also had a section outside which used to be the underground part of a building where they would hold prisoners and torture them. They had this part outside covered by glass.
The building where the Gestapo tried to burn their documents to keep from the Soviets. Apparently, when the Soviets found the building on fire, they didn’t have anything to put out the fire, so they all starting peeing on it.
One of my favorites was when we went to the building where they shot the men who tried to kill Hitler, this was the same men/story that was played out in the movie Valkyrie. It was really awesome to see this in real life, and we went up into the building which was were Hitler met with the top generals to tell him is plan after being in office for four days. We actually got to be in the room and and walk in the footsteps of Hitler.
Later that night, we went back to the Monument for the Murdered Jews of Europe and went down into the museum. This was actually really sad, because they had original letters that were written by the Jews either in diaries or to their families, and there were a couple that were written by children. They also had information on some of the families that were murdered and counts for each country that was involved in the murders.
After this we went to the plaza where some of the Nazi Party burned books from the university, and we got to see Humboldt University, which is where Cade and I briefly considered going to grad school at. We took the bus down to Alexander Platz to have dinner at the restaurant that we couldn’t find the previous night. Lastly, we returned to the Murdered Jews Monument one more time to walk around the columns at night. We had been told that doing it at night really added to the experience, and we both had to agree. The idea was to make you feel disoriented and nervous, which it definitely did at night.
Completely packed day but completely worth it, and we got to see so much of the city and it’s history.