Learning through Seeing

The following are pictures from the Humes Berlin trip during spring break.

Day two in Berlin was a 10 mile guided tour of the city from Dr Denham. We stopped at various memorials throughout. I was particularly struct by the prominence of graffiti and physical damage from the past. Even from the first day, it was clear that Berlin is like no American city that I am used to.

On day three, we visited the Bundestag (German Parliament). We talked to MP Ekin Deligöz and were given a tour of the art collection of the Bundestag by the curator. This experience allowed me to reflect on the differences between the German parliamentary building and the US Capital building. The degree to which the German government seeks to include representation of all Germans in their primary government building was inspiring.

On day 4, we travelled to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. This camp was used primarily to imprison gay and disabled Germans and as a training facility for SS officers during World War II. It was then used by Soviet troops when the area came under soviet control as an internment camp for Nazi soldiers and those who were suspected as supporting Nazis.

Visiting Sachsenhausen was the most meaningful experience from the trip. To me, all the money that was spent during the trip was worth sharing this experience with 10 of my classmates and Davidson professors and staff. The power of visiting a site where such atrocities where committed cannot be put into words.

The picture below is one of the two that I took at Sachsenhausen. This quote follows me to this day, as I feel that it applies beyond the Holocaust. I thought back to the United States and our commemoration, or lack there of, of slavery and lynchings in the US.

On day five, we visited various memorials that commemorate different groups that were persecuted during the Holocaust. We also attended a new interpretation of The Magic Flute.

Day six included a visit to Sanssouci, the summer palace of Frederick the Great.

On day 7, we had our first and only “open day.” I chose to visit the Hamburger Banhoff, Berlin’s major contemporary art museum.

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