Quick trip to Berlin in a roundabout trip home from orientation. What a torturous history this city has had! I can't think of any other city with quite so dramatic a past in the last 100 years.
This building from which Hitler ruled was practically a vacant lot when I first visited in 1995, not long after the wall came down. This was the place where the Soviet soldier famously planted the Russian flag in 1945.
Church of Remembrance
These remains of the original Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtnis Kirche are currently hidden under restoration, but they are a reminder of the relentless bombing we did of Germany until Hitler was finally defeated. I asked a friend yesterday where the bunker was where he committed suicide and I guess it is kept a secret so that no one will make it into a shrine. What a complete loser Hitler was, this man that ran the German people--not even really his people since he was Austrian--into the ground.
As if getting bombed to bits wasn't enough punishment for the citizens of Berlin, they were then divided into east and west by the Russians until finally the Berlin Wall was built in 1961. There's a line in the road now that runs in front of the Brandenburg Gate where the wall and the beginning of No Man's Land used to be. The wall came down of course in 1989.
One of the most bustling places in town now is the Alexanderplatz in what was formerly East Berlin. I saw that they are now line jumping from the top of the Park City Hotel where we stayed last time for several days in 2004. The Eastern part of the city is now far more integrated into the city than when I first visited in 1995. Unification was in 1990.
So ruled by Hitler, bombed to bits by the Allies, divided by the Russians, unified again in 1990. I don't think even Jerusalem can claim such a torturous history these last seventy years.