The first part of the day wasn’t that atrocious, even though we had to wake up at 5:30. My jet lag had pretty much been wiped at that point, so I was just chilling on the bus, having a good time. Apparently it was “Golden Hour” so everybody was trying to take pictures. The sunrise looked pretty beautiful, especially on the top of a double decker bus. It was a nice bus ride, good start to the day.
The Bauhaus was actually a really interesting museum. It wasn’t so much of a “museum” as it was just kind of a building that had a lot of history to it. I picked up that everything had to be designed for a reason, it had to be efficient. If there was no reason for something, it wouldn’t be there. I like that. In a sense it seems like the architectural spin on a response to romanticism. Romanticism was all about feelings, emotion, spontaneity. The bauhaus, and much of modernist philosophy, is about efficiency, importance, the reasons behind something. I found it really interesting. We’ve been learning about Nihilism in my AP Lit class, and I feel like this was a nice little addition. It was just a building rather than a novel.
Going to Bernberg was not what I had imagined. Bernburg, by the way, was a Euthanasia center for the Nazi’s. They sent people with disabilities of all forms there to be murdered. Standing in the gas chamber, I was shocked by how much it didn’t “feel like a gas chamber”. It felt like a museum. There I was standing, in a room with a death toll of 14,000, and I was wondering why I wasn’t more upset. It wasn’t “easy”, but it for sure wasn’t the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I came on this trip wanting to be able to mourn the lives of all those lost, and I’m now realizing that it might not be possible to mourn that many people. What does 14,000 people even look like? It’s just impossible to visualize. I will say though, standing there, I felt my back touch the wall, and I instinctively moved away. It just felt so cold, I can’t describe it. To know that that room was where so many people were murdered, I couldn’t touch it. The tiles were the original that had been there, spare a few new ones, so I was just felt so wrong being up against it.
After that, we took a pretty hefty bus ride back to the wall. I am not ashamed to say that I knocked for a little while. The wall was pretty cool. I love seeing those videos of the people tearing down the wall, and being able to be there was pretty amazing. The graffiti was pretty cool, I’ll have a picture with that attached. Scott was moving in the foreground, he looks like YG in the album cover to “Still Brazy”, I think it’s funny.
I love subways in different countries, so that was fun. After that we went out to get food. I ate some Turkish food. Also, ATM card finally worked, so life is good.
It’s weird for me to think that this all happened in one day. I’m going to go to sleep now.
So today started off like any normal day with a wake up call from Ms. Sarkis at 5:30. The perfect way to start a day, on the brink of tears from exhaustion.
After breakfast ended we got on the bus to Dessau, where we went to the Bauhaus and enjoyed a 2 hour long bus ride. I actually mean it, we enjoyed that ride. We took a lot of selfies, laughed a lot, and even tried pronouncing words in German. We arrived to the Bauhaus and it was subtle yet screaming for attention. You couldn’t not notice it. Every room was black and white with accents of color, and the idea of classical modern art and architecture didn’t seem to crazy until we saw pictures of conventional phones and horse driven carriages.
After the tour, which was led by the sweetest old lady that was originally from Queens, NY, Ms. Freeman took us to the park across the street. Yes, all 49 grown-ish looking adolescents to a park with one swing and one terrifying trampoline. The neighborhood dwellers didn’t seem to amused to have us there but what can we say, American teenage tourists just wanna have fun.
Augustine and I took a walk around the neighborhood and decided that we would move to Germany. Not completely practical, but worth at least saying out loud.
After lunch we boarded the bus for an hour long ride to the Euthanasia hospital where they gassed, dissected, and murdered many disabled people. Some of he disable people were labeled as such simply because they would have depression or mental illnesses, etc. Walking through the gas chamber was surreal. I still can’t wrap my head around how horrible some human beings were to just kill because they felt like it was necessary. I couldn’t understand how so much hate existed nor how people would think that they could play God. It was inexplicable.
After leaving the hospital, we all pretty much napped for 2 hours until we got to the old Berlin Wall, well what was left of it. And on our way there, Donald Trump declares a National Emergency... how ironic. Needless to say, we don’t want to come back to America... sorry mom. But the Berlin Wall memorial was fascinating. I meant fascinating as in really inhumane and just horrible. How could you separate families from one another? A mother and a child, a wife and a husband, two life long partners. Lives ruined. We walked along the wall and went to the former ghost station where the train could take you all over Berlin and just stood there for a couple minutes before making our way down to the subway.
Trains in Germany are scary, those doors shut faster than sixies running to lunch, and that’s pretty fast. We took two trains and went out for dinner, which we burned off by walking 15 minutes to the hotel.
We basically run Germany now. Today was fully emotionally and physically exhausting, that being said I expect us all to be trainwrecks after being in Auschwitz.
2/15/2019 06:29:34 pm
Grappling with the inexplicable of the euthanasia hospital is huge- I enjoyed your descriptions of how you managed those emotions so they hit you in visceral but limited ways.
Meredith Gonzalez (Gavi’s Mom)
2/16/2019 06:49:08 am
“Trains in Germany are scary, those doors shut faster than sixies running to lunch” Bwahahaha
2/16/2019 01:18:24 pm
I had the privilege to experience this trip with Ms Freeman (and Ms Webb and Mr Lane) a few years ago.Thank you for sharing your thoughtful and reflective posts. I clearly remember the struggle to understand the unfathomable horror of deliberately killing thousands of individuals in a hospital - a place that should be dedicated to healing, and helping those in need. I, too, felt a chill from the coldness of those tiled walls - emotional and physical....
2/17/2019 04:00:39 pm
I am reading with great interest the impressions of the students' experience in and around Berlin. Quite different from my own visits when the wall was still there to separate East and West. Glad to learn that you enjoyed the Pergamon Museum (situated on the Museums Insel) which houses so many valuable treasures. Keep on soaking it all in!
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