these are the posts tagged ‘walking on history’:


walking on history, VII: escape tunnels


thirty nine tunnels were dug under the berlin wall, through which over 250 people escaped to the west – and almost as many were arrested by the stasi. many tunnels ended up never being used.

this one on bernauer straße was dug by hasso herschel, who helped smuggle over 1000 people to the west through tunnels, modified cars or airport exchanges.

more on this series.

walking on history, VI: the wall

on july 1963, herr günter climbed over the wall near a construction site, when a truck was blocking the view from the guards. bernauer straße is filled with these small memorials to the people who fled from east to west – or died trying.

more on this series.

walking on history, V: buchenwald


buchenwald was the largest nazi concentration camp in germany: over 50,000 people died here, from all over europe. it’s a place of unspeakable horrors perched on an idyllic hilltop, in the middle of the forest. today, the area is filled with commemorative sites and this in particular is part of the jewish memorial. the sentence, translated in english, german and hebrew rises in carved stone above the gravel and reads:

“so that the generation to come might know, the children, yet to be born, that they too may rise and declare to their children.”

stark and sobering.

more from this series.

walking on history, IV: the sinti and roma memorial


the sinti and roma holocaust memorial on tiergarten opened only recently – despite them having been one of the largest groups of victims of the second world war. it’s a round pool, with a triangular stone which every day sinks and rises. a single fresh flower is laid on it. on the edges of the pool, the poem ‘Auschwitz’ by Santino Spinelli is displayed:

“Gaunt face
dead eyes
cold lips
quiet
a broken heart
out of breath
without words
no tears.”

on the ground around the pool, scattered stones remind the visitors of the places where sinti and roma were persecuted, while a lonely violin plays in the background…

more from this series.

walking on history, III: the reichstag memorial

there’s a discreet and intriguing memorial near the entrance of reichstag, a row of uneven cast iron plaques, with names and dates. no explanation is given for the curious tourists that wander around it.
reichstag memorialreichstag memorial
the memorial was unveiled in 1992, in remembrance of murdered members of the reichstag. in the borders of the 96 plaques are the names of the politicians from the german parliament that were persecuted by national socialists after they gained power in 1933. it is a simple and inconspicuous memorial, but a noteworthy one.

more from this series.