Monday, November 9

Remembering the fall of the Berlin wall.

Today, twenty years ago the Berlin wall fell. I remember it well, and can recall how pieces of the Berlin wall went on sale on ebay. I don't know if what they were selling was actually pieces of the wall, but the scenes on our television screens will always be remembered by most of us old enough to remember that far back. But Berlin as a city has more history than simply a wall coming down, and two sides of a divided Berlin trying desperately to come together after the cold war.
As tourists we went on a walking tour of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp located just out side that city.
It was first used as a concentration camp by the Nazis, and then as a gulag by the soviets. In the later part of the war, ovens were also used there.

Berlin is a beautiful city. The Brandenburg gate is particularly beautiful at night when it is lit up, and some of the scenes I remember from twenty years ago showed people streaming through the gate from east to west.
Check point Charlie now is a bit of tourist fun, it is manned by students who will give you a stamped fake pass to get through the gate, provided you give them something like ten pound sterling, you can get your photo taken there too, and take a look at what remains of the wall, which isn't a lot. I was told that the Germans did want any memorablia from the wall remaining after it fell, which is a pity, so now there isn't much of the wall left to see at the 'checkpoint'. It is a very interesting city, with boat tours along the river, and historical tours including the many walking tours organised from the Brandenburg gate each morning during the summer. We couldn't see everything there was to see here on a one week trip and hope to go back again to see and experience the things we didn't get to see on our last trip and to enjoy some of that German hospitality and good food.

The writing on the front gate of the camp says 'Work will set you free', which of course it didn't in that place. The only way out for the prisoners was through the ovens, a horrible testament to mans' inhumanity to man.

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  1. I can remember watching it on T.V. but it was only later when I found out more about it and exactly what it stood for. It makes you wonder how people can treat each other in this way.
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  4. Anonymous17:27

    Wow great photos. Thanks for the information! I enjoyed it too!