Greetings from Berlin

Once again Berlin presented an education as well a vacation. I was staying with a pen pal of my father. They first connected as High School students in 1946 and have more or less been in touch ever since. I stayed with him for several days and was treated to some invaluable first hand history lessons and recollections about living in Berlin during the war, while the city was divided, etc. By chance, I was there for the anniversary of the capitulatgion (as he called it) or libertation (as we call it) of Berlin by the Russians in World War II. We went to a celebration at the Russian House (a cultural center), went through his momentos and discussed the city and couyntry at length.

The Ford Bau (Ford Building) is part of the West Berlin Free University, donated by the Ford Motor Company (perhaps you've heard of them?). My host is very proud of the University in part because it is his alma mater, but also because before he attended he helped with its founding and initial organization.

The Berliner Dom is the major cathederal in Berlin, and has the statues to prove it. As with most buildings, it had to have major repairs after the war. We attended a brief evening service. The original building was erected in the late 19th Century, so it is not old for a European structure, but it is still very impressive. By the way, if anyone needs a copy of the Lord's Prayer in German I can help you out.

This Red Flag was brought to a memorial for the fallen Russian soldiers who liberated Berlin during the war. Local politicians gave speeches denouncing fascisim. The Germans are very conscious about the dangers of nationalism, so you see very few German flags. The only flags at this memorial were brought by spectators, and none were German.

The statue is inspired by a famous story of a Russian soldier who saved a child.

At the Branderberg Gate I came upon this main playing electric guitar. Despite his noise he was pretty much ignored. Instead everyone flocked to take their standard issue tourist picture in front of the gate, or if they were feeling lavish, would pose with actors in US and Russian military uniforms (I didn't ask why the British and French were not represented).


This is me reflected in a train as it whizzes past.