The grand finale of our project was the visit to Berlin in Germany. Our four day trip started on 1.12.13 at Mannheim Hbf. After a five hour train ride we finally reached Berlin where we checked into our hotel and went to the Brandenburg gate for sightseeing and a first review of the German history during the second world war.
The next morning we visited the house of parliament where we were warmly welcomed by Mr. Stefan Rebmann, a member of parliament. He showed us his workplace and explained the strategic moves of his German democratic party!
It was extremely interesting to visit the German parliament when being shown around by a person who works there and has background knowledge which he offered us. One could see different aspects of the new democratic Germany which did not always exist in the past, like during the second world war. The German political system is built in such a way that a seizure of power can only be accomplished by being voted for by the parliament
Later that day we went on a tour through Berlin visiting a number memorial sights. It was our aim on the one hand to deal with the modern democratic Germany as we experience it on a daily basis and on the other hand work with the history of Germany and wanted to remember the challenges faced by different groups during the second world war.
Our First stop was the holocaust memorial for the european jews killed during the second world war. The sight was simply magestic! Because all the stones have a different height it looks like a sea of stones which makes the sight extremely impressive. It really showed what it was intended to show: The vast number of Jews killed during the second world war!
A museum which is dedicated to the Jews killed is located under this very memorial sight. It tells stories of separated families, children killed and tortured men/women. Everything was laid out in a very pictographic way which made it easy for us to put ourselves in the position of the helpless Jews. Now we were not talking about the 6 million killed Jews but about ONE person or one family! We could not relate to the 6 million Jews but we could e.g. relate to a young Jewish boy who wanted to become a footballstar but could not follow his dreams just because of his religion! It is not the whole bulk of stones that shows the pain, it is one single stone that shows the pain. One story.
Our next stop was the memorial site dedicated to the Sinti and Roma who were killed during the second world war. It is not only stimulated the eyes but also to the ears. The site which was designed by Dani Karavan has a speaker placed on the side which plays soft violin music. It is dedicated to the 500.000 Sinti and Romas that were killed, which often go unnoticed. Everybody knows about the Jews that were killed but the murdered Sintis are often forgotten.
Another forgotten mistreated group were the homosexuals in Germany, whose memorial we visited after the one for the Sinti and Romas.
Our second last stop was the house of the Wannsee conference where we worked with this complex and sad topic. Because of its complexity the Israeli and German students had to be divided as we had to be guided in our mother tounge.
After this we went to Gleis 17 from where the Jews were deported during the second world war. We arranged a little memorial ceremony for the deported Jews. It was exremely emotional because the young generation of Israelis remeberd the killing of millions of their forefathers together with young Germans in a new democratic Germany.
Before leaving Berlin, we took a tour of the Scheunenviertel, an area of Berlin where a large number of Jews used to live. The tour was guided by the tour guide of centropa.