Bye to Berlin, On to Dresden!

This is our last day in Berlin. Tomorrow we take a bus to Dresden to the Volkswagen Factory and later to Prague and Brussels to NATO.
But I have to say my last day in Berlin was a both somber and fascinating day. All of these emotions!
We took a bus to Potsdam. This is where the “House of Wannasee Conference” mansion still stands. It’s the place where plans were drawn to murder all European Jews. We read the actual documents drawn up and carried out by the Reicht and the SS, Secret Service. They discussed killing methods…gas or executions. How to deport Jews. It was all written down by governing officials.
Our next meeting house was after Hitler’s dictatorship and allies took control of Germany. We visited the Cecilienhof Palace. Cameras were not allowed inside. We saw a huge round table where the treaty was signed by then three leaders…President Harry Truman of United States, The Soviet Union leader and the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. They made the decision to divide Germany into sectors. It was decided that United States, Great Britain and France allies would take over West Germany, the Soviet Union took over the East. Thus became a country divided…East and West Germany.
We then went to a palace…the home of King Frederick the Great…Sanssouci. It is the yellow brick palace below and it was beautiful. And this was just his summer home! We toured the garden and saw where King Frederick was buried.
The last half of the day we were to explore on our own. I chose to visit the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. The large gray rectangular stones represent a mass grave of millions of slaughtered Jews. Underneath the stones, there’s a museum where cameras weren’t allowed. This was very emotional. My heart dropped as I read a letter from a 12 year old girl who decsribed how children were being executed. It was taking longer than the German police had expected. Some of the police would run out of ammo, so the children waited and watched as the officers reloaded and killed more children. Their bodies fell into a pit. This little girl wrote a letter to her father while she waited in line to be killed and threw the note to the side before her death. It was only a few lines detailing what was happening but the words that I remember most were, “I’d rather live but I cannot.” She along with six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
There were many stories like this throughout the memorial. Mothers killed with their babies in their arms..babies left to starve to death in the pit.
It was so troubling and unbelievable that it was hard to read. But at the beginning of the tour, you understand why you are there. To never forget. At the entrance a quote from Primo Levi reads, “It happened, therefore it can happen again”.
I feel forever changed.

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