Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Days 7+8

June 22th:
     This week started with an intense and cloudy day. In the morning, we gathered at our hostel at 8am and went for our World War two Underground Tour. This bunker was unique in the way that it was not bombproof as the other bunkers, but it was kept because of the railway station above it. Since we were not allowed to take pictures inside the bunker, I took some notes during the trip. As we entered the bunker, some of us felt quite uncomfortable due to the lack of oxygen even though we only had around 20 people at that time. It was hard to imagine what the situation was like during the war, when hundreds of people needed to stay there. The first area we went to was a women’s restroom. The toilets we saw was rebuilt after the war since the original ones were already destroyed. The tour guide told us that this was the only private place that people could have at that time, which was also the place where many women committed suicide after they lost everything during the war. Then, we went to one room where there were several benches. According to the tour guide, people waited in this room when there was bomb outside. In normal cases, the room could only accommodate around 50 people. However, the number of people mounted to several hundred during the world war two. The increasing number of people in the bunker caused the lack of oxygen. In some extreme cases, people even confronted the dilemma when they were going to suffocate due to the lack of oxygen, but they couldn’t go outside because the war was still going on. This underground tour was a special experience, which let us experience more closely what those people went through during the world war.
     In the afternoon, we went to the Youth Museum Schoneberg. They were having a diversity project in the museum. For the project, some immigrants from different countries are invited to decorate a room in their own way, reflecting their cultural backgrounds. We were assigned into a group of 2 or 3 to each room, and need to find out some information about the person based on the decorations or stuff in the room. After the exploration, each group did a short presentation on what they found out about the person.
     In the evening, we had a group dinner at Clarchens Ballhaus, where we had a fantastic time. It was really good that all of us could have dinner as a group and share our feelings about this trip so far. The salsa dancing after dinner was also a lot of fun.

June 23rd:
     Today was a cold and rainy day, which fits perfectly with our Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp tour. We met at our hostel at 8:30am today, and travelled together to the concentration camp. It was quite surprising that Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp is located in a small and peaceful town. After several blocks of walking, we arrived at the camp. I knew we were there when I saw those walls made out of stone, which gave me a feeling of heaviness. The tour guide showed us the buildings where prisoners used to live. In a pretty small room, they had more than 100 people living there. Just as our tour guide said, there were some nice people trying to help each other out in the room. But since all the prisoners came from different cultural and religious backgrounds, it was inevitable to cause conflicts. After I saw how those beds were arranged in the room, I could not stop but imagine the tension between those prisoners’ relationship since they didn’t have any privacy for themselves. The last place we went to was where the mass murder occurred. Everyone listened quietly when the tour guide described to us the steps of how those people were killed. And we went to see those rooms where tons of people were killed.
     Even though the weather was terrible, today’s trip did make us to think a lot about this past history and what it really means to us right now.


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