Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Berlin Reichstag and Holocaust Memorial

Today the group met in the school foyer bright and early (7.45). We then went on the short walk to the Werder train station before catching our ride to Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Our first location of the day was the Reichstag, the German parliament building. After going through a rather intense security screening (passports and bag x-ray required), we had a guided tour around all of the interesting parts. We learnt about the government parties and a little bit about the way Parliament is run; as well as all of the interesting archetectural and artistic parts of the building too. After also exploring the dome at the very top of the building, taking plenty of cool photos with the mirrors inside and of the views outside, we left the Reichstag and headed through Brandenburg Gate for our lunch. 

After our free time, we met with the tour guide who encouraged us to once again walk through the intense, emotion-provoking Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Going through this memorial is a moving experience, simultaneously feeling like walking through a grave yard and being trapped in a prison/maze. We went down into the inside exhibition after this, which was terribly sad but also very interesting. It showed photos, facts and first hand accounts of the horror that specifically the Jews of Europe had to endure during World War 2. One room was dedicated to simply reading aloud the names of each Jewish man/woman/child that died during the Second World War. It would take over 6 years to listen to each name and small biography, but we all took some time to listen and to try to imagine what their short lives must have been like. 

I think we all would have liked to have spent more time in this memorial as there was so much to read and listen to, however after around 45 minutes we had to train home to our awaiting host families. It was an amazing day in Berlin, and despite the less than stellar weather, the sights were truly incredible. (by Maddy)

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