See also 2014 Visit to Berlin

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Doreen writes:

This was my 3rd visit to Berlin. My first was with my mother about 58 years ago. In winter 2014 Anthony and I visited Berlin.. While Eitan was dealing with bridge matters, Ruti Erez and I went touring. <>This time we flew to Warsaw where Eitan was overseeing the last bridge tournament directors’ course that he was organizing. I continued on to Berlin. I was a little apprehensive as I hadn’t flown by myself for years and Eitan, my super hero, always arranges everything.
I asked for and received a lot of help in getting around – a boarding pass here; help with the train to Berlin city there, getting around the city. Even so I managed twice to board a train in the wrong direction and once had someone hovering over me to help when I hadn’t even asked for directions. Google Maps was usually good but made me walk miles. Dani my granddaughter who was also in Berlin and whom I met showed me an app for the Berlin subways which was a great help. I heard Dani’s friend Lior murmur:” I wish my ma could get around like you”……if she only knew!

My first stop was to the Pergamon Museum situated on Museum Island. Before I managed to get in I was sweating. Although I had bought a ticket from Get your Guide, I couldn’t find the barcode that would allow me to pass. In the end I gave up and went to get money from the locker. Suddenly the barcode appeared, and I could go in.

The highlight of the visit was the Processional Way leading to the Ishtar Gate opening to the inner city. Built by order of Nebuchadnezzar II in the sixth century BCE, even today it is a magnificent sight. (This is the same Nebuchadnezzar who destroyed the first Temple in Jerusalem 586BCE). After WW I the amazing blue glazed tiles with lions, bulls and dragons were “reconstructed” in Berlin.

pergamon Berlin2022

After exploring the museum I went to the Neues Museum to see the bust of Nefertiti. Since photography of the bust is strictly forbidden, I took a photo of a relief of Nefertiti, queen to Akhenaten and their children. Akhenaten is most famous for 
moving the capital to Amarna.and introducing a monotheistic religion in Egypt that worshipped the god Aten. After his death his religious reforms collapsed and his capital was abandoned.

Another interesting artifact was this clay tablet written in cuneiform. It is a rigorous training program for chariot horses written by Kikkuli for his Mitanni masters around 1400BCE



After lunch – needing to rest my aching feet more than needing to eat – I went to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. In 1964, a few months before I married Anthony, my mother took me on a tour overseas. Of our visit to Berlin two things made an indelible impression; a visit to this church was one of them.  The church was built at the end of the 19th century and badly damaged in a bombing raid in 1943 during WW II.  When we visited the church it was still in ruins, and the damaged statue of Jesus was covered in blood-like red. Today the statue stands in pristine white. Unfortunately the people there were too young and when asked, they said it must have been graffiti. But it wasn’t. The cross to the right of the statue is the Coventry Cross of Nails taken from beams in the church in England after it was bombed in November 1940. It is part of a community and symbolizes reconciliation.

Following another memory I went to The German Resistance Memorial Center. I have a distinct memory of meeting a blond curly headed woman at Natal University where it was whispered that her father had been part of an assassination attempt against Hitler. Unfortunately I can’t recall her name and no-one else seems aware of her. And I did not know to ask further then.

It seems that there had been some 42 unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Hitler. George Elser a factory worker, hoping to stop the war placed a bomb at the beer hall where Hitler was to speak. But Hitler came early and left before the bomb exploded. The most famous attempt by an organized group of people led by von Stauffenberg placed a time bomb in a suitcase below a table where Hitler was to speak. The briefcase was inadvertently moved and the table prevented injury to Hitler. All attempts failed and he eventually took his own life on 30 April 1945 in a bunker in Berlin as the Russians approached.

That was enough for one day – 10 kms walking and aching feet were too much.

The next day I was up early and using the Berlin metro app I arrived at the Gendarmenmarkt Square and sat looking at the Berlin Concert Hall and the French and German churches flanking them. Intriguingly, our neighbor back in Kiryat HaSharon’s brother is a pianist and composer here in Berlin.

I then walked to Checkpoint Charlie, reading and looking at the outdoor photo gallery. I also walked and touched what remains of the wall after the fall of the Soviet Union.r. And here is the other remarkable memory of my trip to Berlin with my mother in 1964. Gertie was a tall beautiful woman with a commanding presence. At the height of the Cold War she managed to get a car that crossed Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin and we drove around the city. Even today I am overwhelmed by the memory of greyness and the uniformity of the buildings on the other side of the wall. When movement of ordinary people was so restricted, I shall never know how she managed it.


Now it was time to go to the Reichstag and meet my granddaughter Dani and her friend Lior who were also visiting Berlin. Although entrance is free, numbers are limited and I was delighted we could go together. The Reichstag building suffered an arson attack in February 1933 and went up in flames. Hitler used the fire to seize almost unlimited power. The glass dome was erected after the reunification of Berlin in 1990. There are two spiral ramps enclosing the glass core - one going up and one down. After we read the history of the Reichstag Dani and Lior ascended the ramps.


When they came back we walked to the Brandenburg Gate. During the Cold War it was a symbol of the war and a divided city. It is now a national symbol of peace and unity. Below its arches we saw a sign ”Silence in the Brandenburg Gate” and went inside just to be quiet and thoughtful for a while.



Close by is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe with 2,711 concrete slabs that look like coffins.
We sat on a concrete slab and Lior and I shared stories of our families. Lior’s family left Germany in time.
She told us that her grandfather sold his business and bought passage on two boats – one went to Palestine
and the other to South America and they never knew what happened to the others. A few years ago
Lior’s parents boarded a plane and found a couple sitting in their seats. No, it’s our seats, Geller.
Lior’s parents said no they were Geller – and the two parts of the family were reunited after all these years.
I recounted the story of my grandparents, when my grandfather and uncle were collected off the street in Vilna and sent to Ponar where they were murdered. My grandmother ran away and was burnt in a synagogue.


By this time lunch was needed and Dani and I  found a delighted Indian restaurant in Potsdamer Platz. We separated to have an afternoon rest and met for dinner at a Vietnamese Restaurant. It was a great day.


Looking at the map I saw that my hotel, Museum Island and Gendarmenmarkt were all in what was East Berlin. 30 years later it is impossible to see the divide except on a map. After 2 full days I flew back to Warsaw to join Eitan and friends at the seminar they were giving.

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See also: 2014 Visit to Berlin

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