It is my second week here in Berlin and I can’t believe how fast time is flying. For most of my courses, we have been doing a lot of visits to museums and concentration camps. Interestingly, I have noticed that I am the only African American student in my both classes. And I feel fortunate enough to be studying abroad and it would not have been possible without the aid of Fund for Educational Abroad and other scholarship organizations. I again would like to thank you for making this study abroad journey of mine possible.
Since my arrival, I have been learning that where ever you go to Berlin, it has indeed the ghost of the past left its marks on it. This week, I have visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also known as the Holocaust Memorial which is in the center of Berlin. It is a place of remembrance and tribute of the up to six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The memorial from outside consists of 2711 steles and represent graveyards. In the underground, you can find information about the victims and their locations. Intriguingly, not too far to the right side of the memorial is the national Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Brandenburg Gate. The monument is meant to be there so that to remind the politicians about the horrible crimes that were committed by Nazi Germany and to always prevent something like this from happening again. Additionally, five minutes’ walking to the left side is the Führerbunke or Hitler’s bunker where he killed himself after losing the war. Now, the location is used as a parking lot.
My second visit was to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, located in a city called Oranienburg, which is about 45 minutes away on a train ride from Berlin. Primary, the Nazis regime used the concentration camp for political prisoners, but later it included civilians and prisoners of war. The camp was used for labor, torture, and exterminations. The camp was erected in 1936, and the Nazis imprisoned more than 200,000 people here until 1945. After the camp was liberated in 1945, by Soviet and Polish troops, the Soviets used the site and its structures as an internment camp for political prisoners from fall of 1945 to 1950.