Friday, December 17, 2010

The Gifts of Freedom - Day 4

Another day in Berlin and all of the questions and thoughts about being free collided when we saw the preserved portion of the Wall.  I simply wept.

Martin Luther believed that a person who had religious faith was a free person.  He provided a means for people to discover that faith when he translated the Bible and began public schools.  His philosophy freed people.

The cities of Vacha and Eisenach experienced the aftermath of the Second World War differently - one as a closed city and the other an open one.  Their access to political discourse was vastly different, as were their economies.

Berlin experienced personal and political difference every day as a city divided following WWII.  The personal courage of Kennedy on October 27, 1961 to declare that West Berlin would remain free when US and East German tanks faced off at Checkpoint Charlie ... sustained a crack in that wall ... and helped lead to the crumbling of it less than 30 years later on November 9, 1989.  Germany was reunited in 1990.

There is a powerful outdoor display telling stories about the Wall - where the wall once stood.  And the Topography of Terrorism is a library and museum that chronicles the cruel ideology of the Nazis, the horror and outcomes of WWII, the trials at Nuremberg, the split of Berlin, and the lessons of terror.

Spent and silent, we managed to find our way to an intimate private museum that housed works of Käthe Kollwitz - one of my favorite artists and social critics of war.  Her work is not what one would call "cheerful" but it is strong, independent, truthful and courageous.  It gave me hope.
Check Point Charlie
I was leaving the American Sector.
Preserved portion of the Wall - underneath this section are excavated interrogation rooms used by the Gestapo.

One of my heroes - Käthe Kollwitz.
Dusk on the vibrant and lovely Kurfürstendamm in Berlin.

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