First full day !
Today, after we finally got some sleep we woke up early and headed to the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus is an art school in Dessau. It was pushed out from its original locations in Weimar and Berlin for being too progressive. Bauhaus is famous for its new approach and ideas to architecture and design. The design of the building is all glass on the outside except for a wall to stabilize it. This was a new concept in architecture at the time the building was built, and not to mention very beautiful to visit. After our tour of the Bauhaus we took all our knowledge to lunch in the cafe.
We then drove to the euthanasia center in Bernburg. This was a heavy stop for most of us. This was a killing center where people were sent if they had mental illness or had qualities deemed socially irresponsible. We walked down the same halls that these people did before they were murdered. As we stood in the gas chamber on the original tiling and walked through the examination room, there was an eery silence. Everyone took in the experience in different ways and it was a very powerful experience. Lastly we stopped at the Berlin Wall before dinner. It was a full day and we were all exhausted.
The first stop of our day after a great breakfast was the Bauhaus museum and art school. The ingenuity of this place was amazing for a place that was around in the 20s. I love the symbolism of its presence given its proximity to idealistic german homes placed there by the nazis in protest of the progressive nature of the Bauhaus. Our guide revealed to us just how genius the artists were who created this place by showing us how almost every aspect of the color scheme and architectural features were 100% intentional. It was overall just a really cool place - even the playground was unique!
After the bauhaus, we went to bernburg to a hospital. This psychiatric hospital was the place in which over 1400 people belonging to targeted groups -mainly disabled people- were gassed and cremated. The circumstances surrounding these gassings were far different than the ones we normally talk about. These people and their families were told that they would receive specialized treatment for whichever disability or heath issues afflicted them; they walked in to the gas chambers hopeful. The nazi party sought out these people to kill systematically for the purpose of eradicating their “flawed” genetics from the population. It was an application of eugenics in the most inumane, absolutely disgusting way. It goes without saying that this memorial was incredibly emotional for all of us. It was the first time we were confronted with real & ugly history on this trip. Walking into a gas chamber knowing hundreds of people came in the same way I did, but never got to leave was simply chilling. The sequence of rooms in which we went was also something I reflected on. We walked from the gas chamber, then to the dissection table, then to the crematorium. the nazis had no mercy; they took what they wanted and then disposed of the excess. At the end in the crematorium room we had the opportunity to look at the faces and names of victims. This part was also moving because you got to see the victims who walked the same path you did, stood where you did, but never left the way you did.
Then, we got back on the bus to leave Bernburg and head back to Berlin. After sleeping almost the entire way, we got off the bus at this seemingly random side street. We soon found out that this was the site of a memorial to the former Berlin wall. We got to see the both the inner wall and the outer wall from both the east and western perspective. It was interesting to hear stories of the extents to which people went in order to cross east to west, because I will never know the realities of the separation as I wasn’t alive when the wall was up.
A few words on dinner. A few people and I got Mexican food which was surprisingly really good! Our waitress was really sweet and funny and super appreciative when we left her a small tip.
Then off to bed we went! Thanks for reading!
2/16/2019 04:43:50 pm
We are enjoying all the posts! Are you eating any good food?
2/17/2019 05:34:53 pm
For those of you on the trip who like Bauhaus should visit the exhibit that runs currently in the Harvard Art Museum celebrating the centennial of the Bauhaus school. The founder Walter Gropius, of course, emigrated to the US and taught at Harvard. In the context of the emerging women's movement, his role was actually quite controversial related to equal opportunities.
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