My Goodbye to Berlin

No, sorry, this isn’t the book review for Christopher Isherwood’s other novel.  I haven’t finished it yet, because I – me, myself, personally – have actually been in Berlin these last few days… and the Kindle emptied its battery just when I needed  it for the journey home.

Here are some of my photos of Berlin:

Anhalter Bahnhof  former railway station
Anhalter Bahnhof, former railway station, used to transport Jews to transit camps during World War II
Gilded cage, San Souci, Potsdam
Gilded Cage, presumably for sitting in, outside Frederick the Great’s San Souci Palace in Potsdam.
Preserved portion of Berlin Wall
The preserved bit of the Berlin Wall, outside the ‘Topography of Terror’ museum.
Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate in 2013

So much to see!  And so many museums, mostly about the Second World War, although museums about Communism are propagating fast too.  The DDR Museum and the Wall Museum (‘Checkpoint Charlie Museum’) tended to have more genuine artefacts in them (‘primary sources’), whereas the World War Two museums tended to be all photos with lengthy captions.  Presumably this was because the 1930s and 1940s are further away than 1989, and also a lot of valuable historical material pertaining to the Nazis was bombed, or consciously destroyed by the Red Army.  A piece of Art Deco inspired Nazi architecture, like Templehof Airport (used in the Berlin Airlift) is a rare find.  When in these places, I try to look at what’s on display, rather than read captions, as I can do the latter in a book!

I make it a general rule not to write about any place I haven’t visited personally, as otherwise I could really put my foot in it.  For instance, I had it in mind to make a passing reference to a Jewish child being placed on Kindertransporten at Frederickstrasse station and for her mother to walk home.  Now knowing a little about the layout – and size – of Berlin, I realise that this would have been impossible.  However, I came away determined to write several stories revolving around World War 2 or ‘The Division’.

Unfortunately, however, I wasn’t able to locate any of the places mentioned by Isherwood.  My tourist guide told me that he tended to write about the ‘seedier’ areas.


One thought on “My Goodbye to Berlin

  1. Looks fascinating. Chapters of recent history, some of it during our lifetime, giving us food for thought as to the trials and tribulations of those who were a part of it. Very moving too, I would imagine. I was overwhelmed when I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, several years ago. An experience that stays with you always. And as you say, plenty of inspiring material for writers.

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