Friday, June 15, 2012

Through History

In three consecutive trips, I have managed to see the history of Germany a little before and well after WW2 and the experience has been wonderful. Now, before I discuss the details, I might add that a German as such might not like to discuss these issues, which I find rather funny. After all, in India, no matter how dark a part of history is, we do discuss it.

So anyway, the first trip was to Nürnberg to the Memorium Nürnberger Prozesse (The Numerberg Trials Memorial). There, for €3, you get an audio guide that takes you all around the memorial. It starts from World War I, when the Allies decided to create a system in which all issues between States were to be taken care of by dialogue. Then we come to 1933, when Hitler became Chancellor and introduced a racial policy to "Germanize" Europe and exterminate Jews.

It then moves on to the Allied Victory and the Nuremberg Trials, going into the constitution of the IMT, the punishments handed out and new wings related to the Tokyo Trials and the International Court of Justice.

Just two days after Nürnberg, I headed to Dachau, the first Concentration Camp established by Chancellor Hitler in 1933. It was scary to say the least - ARBEIT MACHT FREIE said the entrance: the greatest lie in history. It was a sad place to be in - those were the houses of death. Amazingly, we found ourselves a random Australian backpacker to travel with! The scariest part was, of course, walking through the crematorium and the gas chamber in particular. To imagine that an elaborate system could have been created just to kill people is shocking.

Finally, we went to Berlin, where I had a chance to see the Berlin Wall. After WW2 and the end of Nazism, there was still untold suffering as Germany was zoned and Berlin sectored. Even today, the former East Berlin is far behind the rest of the city and appears to be mostly cordoned off. It felt pretty unsafe there, especially at night (we're used to the safety of München). The Window of Remembrance was the final monument near the wall in our wonderful trip through German history.

Germany - a nation of untold suffering. And still so very great... 

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