LeBron and Libby Williams accompanied us on our train trip to Poland. We left the GeilenKirchen train station on April 2nd with a planned stopover in Berlin.
Here we are waiting for the train to Berlin.
Hanhams and Williamses on a bridge over the Spree River in Berlin This part of the city used to be part of East Berlin.
This bridge over the Spree River separated East from West Germany. This was one of the border crossing points during the Cold War.
There are still some remnants of The Berlin Wall.
Richard was our official tour guide. What would he do if he lost his maps?
While in Berlin, we took a walking tour of the city.
Richard in front of a museum
Richard in front of a church where Hitler attended the wedding of one of his officers
Constructing new parliamentary buildings in West Berlin, replacing the old East Germany parliament buildings
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The new Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, designed by Peter Eisenman, is a vast grid of 2,711 concrete pillars, whose jostling forms seem to be sinking into the earth. The location could not be more apt. During the war, this was the administrative locus of Hitler's killing machine. His chancellery building, designed by Albert Speer and since demolished, was a few hundred yards away just to the south; his bunker lies beneath a nearby parking lot. The memorial's grid, for example, can be read as both an extension of the streets that surround the site and an unnerving evocation of the rigid discipline and bureaucratic order that kept the killing machine grinding along. The pillars, meanwhile, are an obvious reference to tombstones.
Although this train ran through East Berlin, the entrance was bricked up to prevent its use by East Berliners. Those under Communist control could “hear” but not use trains of freedom used by West Berliners.
Location of Hitler’s Bunker where he committed suicide
Propaganda mural painting portraying prosperity of Communist East Germany
Suzanna standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate. This is now one of the busiest streets in the city. For years it was off-limits, since it stood in the no-man’s land between East Berlin and West Berlin. It has been recognized as the symbol of freedom, since the East Berliners could see it over the Berlin Wall.
Here is how the Brandenburg Gate and street looked during the Cold War years. The Berlin Wall prevented all access to the gate. It could be seen in the distance from anywhere in the city but not visited.
There were “live statues” near Brandenburg Gate. They looked like real statues until they moved.
Here is Checkpoint Charlie - the best known of all the border crossing points. We visited the museum here.