Centropa Summer Academy
July 22-28, 2013
This week will truly be a time to remember, this is my first trip to any part of Europe. So, ever since Monday I have had several aha’s moments. On Monday, I left Myrtle Beach. South Carolina and on Tuesday by 12 o’clock I had visted theCharles De Gaulle airport in Paris, France and also had arrived to my final destination, which was Berlin, Germany.
Tuesday, the most exciting event was that we went the Centrum Judaicum. This was the first time I ever heard this story about how this synagogue was saved and why. I have pictures of this and I will show some of them to my students as one of their Hook activities before we start the Holocaust stories.
Next, we did the walking tour. The cemetery was the most inspiring event to me on that tour. So many grave sites had been destroyed and all was left was a garden of ivies. My pictures will show just how it appears now. This was very disturbing to me because grave yards represent our past and a piece of history is truly missing when man destroys them as well.
On Wednesday, we went to a section of the Berlin Wall. This was another moment in time I will always remember. Just to see the height of the wall and to see the “No Man Land” was unbelievable. I will show students the pictures and we will discuss how it must have felt to live on both sides of the wall.
We also toured the Soviet War Memorial at Treptower Park. I never knew that it was around 70,000 Soviet soldiers that lost their lives as they help to take control of Berlin from the Nazis. I have pictures of the park as well to show my students.
On Friday, we went to the ruins of the station called Anhalter Bahnhof, this is where they took many of the Jewish children and place them on the Kindertransport to take them to England to be educated. This was very hard on the children and the parents. I will show the students pictures of where this place was located. This was so hard to see because many of these children would never see their parents again.
On Saturday, we discussed the book called Beautiful Souls: Saying No, Breaking ranks, and Heeding the Voice of Conscience in Dark Times, by Eyal Press. I was very impressed by this book for several reasons, one being this is the first time I had ever read about any German soldiers defying orders and protecting some of the Jews. Secondly this again was the first time I ever heard an author mention the psychological drilling the soldiers had to be taught to do such heinous assigned missions to the Jews. This book as several topics and ideas I will use in my class as we discuss World War II. I plan to do at least one debate and a Padeia Seminar as well.
On Sunday, I went with my group to a cemetery called Dorotheenstadtischer. I was amazed how many Jews returned home to Berlin after being forced to emigrate to another country. Again at times they were mistreated in that country such as the United States during McCarthyism period and still return back to their homeland to be buried. This is showing the utmost of determination and nationalism in spite of so many obstacles. I took several pictures of famous people who was buried in this cemetery and plan to have students research their lives and how did they return home to Berlin for their final resting place.