Katharina arrived on time to take Wendy to the airport but with the disconcerting news that the Israeli prime minister had just arrived at Tegal and security had closed some of the roads! As it turned out traffic was slowish but we got there in time and Wendy departed without drama.
On the way back Katharina took me to see the boat she is restoring. It is an old wooden American Coast Guard boat that she was practically given. She is getting enormous pleasure from the project and learning lots in the process. It is a huge project to my eyes! It is out of the water at the moment due to needing work done on the hull. She has it at a wooden boat specialist and we saw a couple of beautiful wooden racing yachts also under repair.
From the boat yard I went off to the Wannsee Conference Centre which is near the sailing club where Katharina usually keeps her boat and has a supplementary job cleaning the sailing school. The Wannsee area was developed in the 1870s for wealthy Berliners who built exclusive summer villas. Many of them were prominent Jewish families such as the publishers Langenscheidt and Springer and the impressionist Max Lieberman.
After 1933 many Nazi agencies overtook many villas and Jewish families were forced to sell their homes below market value or they were confiscated. Their properties and the area became a centre for recreation and planning for the Nazis. They made one mansion the centre for the Wannsee conference in 1942. It was at this conference that a circle of 15 high ranking representatives of the ministries of the party and the security department discussed and wrote the protocol for the extermination of all German Jews and ultimately all European Jews.
It is a Jewish education centre now which has documented the whole conference proceedings. It was so chilling especially after Wendy and I had visited the remains of the Berlin wall and seen the photographic display of political events in Berlin and Germany charting the rise of Hitler in 1933. It made us think about how manipulative governments can be. We saw similarities today between politicians and truth bending, nationalism and jingoism and how important strong opposition voices are to society.
By now I was feeling pretty tired after an early start so we decided to have the rest of the day resting. I returned to the apartment, which seemed so empty after Wendy left and slept for an hour!
3 thoughts on “4 th June Berlin”
It IS tiring taking in all of those historical facts and figures! Your brain needed that sleep. Glad Wen got to the airport on time. Sincerely hoping said Israeli PM settles the troops before we go anywhere near the Gaza Strip…
Anne my feelings exactly but it will be an adventure what ever.
Do you think an atmosphere like Hitler’s Germany and policies to exterminate a group of people could ever happen to a country like Australia in the 21st century? They said Germans were educated and sophisticated people but still it happened.