This morning we said goodbye to our Berlin hosts Jens and Raimund as they left for a week’s holiday in Beyreuth. Mark and I are staying in their house by ourselves until our departure for Frankfurt Monday morning. Today I visited the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, a church I learned about from Miss Kapp, my first German teacher, in 1981. I had long wanted to visit the church whenever I made it to Berlin. It was not very big inside, as most of it was destroyed in World War II. Its small space made it more crowded than other landmarks yet I stayed inside to read every exhibit. The original Christ statue was destroyed and was on exhibit. Afterwards I strolled down the Kurfürstendamm, a major street and shopping area of Berlin. There I bought my first Berlin postcards and some 3D Ampelmännchen cards. Mark and I met after my bookstore and postcard run and visited Potsdamer Platz, an area recently constructed since it had been in no-man’s-land during the Wall era. We took photos of each other next to remaining sections of the Wall and along the brick-embedded street marking where the Wall once stood. After this we visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The museum was underground, but on the surface was an arrangement of monolithic grey blocks. There were 2711 blocks set up in straight rows and columns, with roller-coaster paths of varying depths between them. One might have one’s head above a block in one row, then two rows down one might be dwarfed by a Space Odyssey HAL. We entered the memorial after a long wait outside, went through security then entered the exhibit. It was a memorial with only photos and text. There was silence everywhere; although the memorial was packed inside, I didn’t hear anyone say a word.
The only words were those uttered in one’s mind as one reflected on the tragedy of the six million Jews who died all over Europe, from Norway to Greece.
I had one final souvenir run and bought five model Trabant cars: four small cars in different colours and a larger green metal Trabbi that had doors which opened and sped along the ground when you zoomed its tires. We found a cheap Chinese restaurant and ate enormous meals for under five euros each, then walked to the Internet café where I am composing this message. Tomorrow on our last full day in Berlin I plan to go on a border run to Steinstücken, a former enclave of West Berlin, which itself was an enclave.