Today we stood under the Brandenburg Gate and learned about the waves of history that have flowed through this gate.. from the Prussian Monarchs through the Nazi era and the fall of the Berlin wall. Including JFK and his famous declaration.
This moment truly illustrates our cohort of amazing students. After viewing memorials to the darkest times of history they continue to engage intellectually, support each other, and end each day with a smile on their face. They continue to impress us and those we come into contact with along the way.
Enjoy their words and images from our days in Berlin. Tomorrow morning we head east to Poland… we look forward to seeing their growth on the foundation that our time in Berlin has set.
Yesterday was our first full day of exploration! We started off by meeting Frank at the German Department of Defense about the Stopelsteiner project. These small gold plated blocks are placed in front of the houses where Jews used to live. Our tour continued, and while crossing a busy Berlin street I looked up and noticed at the top of this beautiful ornate dome was not a cross, but a huge Jewish star. It was the Orienberg Strasse Synagogue, one of the largest synagogues in Europe and a very impressive site!
-Maayan, college fellow & Josh, high school participant
After a long day on our feet of touring Berlin we were met by Gunda and Levi who led us in a discussion about the recent law that may be passed to make circumcisions of children illegal. This pending law has become as ideal platform for those Germans with ill feelings about the Jews. It is absolutely shocking to have faced such a contrasting experience with the galleries by day that commemorate the Holocaust, and these current events in the evening. At dinner, my group continued the conversation. To realize that antisemitism is NOT just in the past and cannot be ignored was an eye-opener, and really brought things into perspective. Although shocking, this experience I feel will serve as preparation and a sort of foundation of what is to come next on our journey.
-Alby, high school participant
Today the group visited the memorial for the Jewish people who were murdered in the Holocaust. It was an extremely emotional experience. We walked through what seemed to be an endless maze of large concrete blocks. A great deal of sadness came over me because I felt the loss and struggle that the people went through. At one point I felt stuck and I felt like I was being swallowed by the darkness of the maze. It made me think about Helen and her struggle and how lucky we all are to even be alive. Most importantly it made me realize that I can’t take my friends and family for granted, because one day they too could be here, and gone the next. I personally will never forget today and the lessons I learned.
– Sofia, high school participant
Posted by Admin on June 28, 2012