Sunday, January 06, 2013

Berlin December 2012

Been visiting Berlin for many years before and after the fall of the wall in 1989. This time to do a triple bill of lecture, debate and chair a film at Online Educa, with two extra days to explore the city.

Day 1 – Talk, talk, talk
The double-decker S-bahn express from Schonenfeld loops through former East berlin round the back of Museum Island and the Reichstag to Zoogarten. I went straight to delivering a lecture on the future of Universities but something weird happened. Just as I was about to start, while opening a bottle of water with a bottle opener, the top of the bottle snapped off and I cut my hand in three places. A fair amount of blood was flowing but a woman in the front row had three plasters and I was patched up.
At the end of the day I was a participant in The Big Debate, again on the future of Universities, which we won (surprisingly) as most of the audience were academics. Then off to the Soho House Hotel for dinner. It’s in a restored Bauhaus building, in former East Berlin, formerly used by the Communists as a huge archive, one of those dark, stylish and busy joints where musos stay – sure enough there was a band checking in as I left. Then U-bahn back to the Intercontinental, where Gil and I were staying – huge room, espresso machine….
My son and our friend Jackie were at the H10 Kaufdamm hotel, which I highly recommend. Not only did they both get upgrades, there’s a superb artwork in the huge foyer, a metal figure in a balletic pose. Rooms are great and only £70 a night and it’s right next to a U-bahn station.  So nice, we moved here for the remaining few days.

Day 2 – Gluwein and bratwurst
Breakfast at a small café across the road, always preferable to expensive hotel buffets, then down to Charlottenberg and the Christmas market for some gluwein and bratwurst. I was back chairing a session for a film titled Connections, which I disliked but the audience loved. The German’s really invented Christmas as we know it, and they still do a good job.
Out to an unusual Italian for dinner. You get a card, grab a table, then fetch your food and drinks from counters. It’s classier than a buffet, busier than a sit-down restaurant but the food was excellent.

Day 3 – Walls, Gates and Platzes
First time in Berlin for Callum and Jackie so off to the Holocaust Memorial, Brandenburg Gate and walk down Unter den Linden. I was a little shocked at German tourists standing on the blocks and screaming with laughter for photographs. This is a beautiful and sombre monument, a maze of grey blocks, all of different sizes. It speaks to the horror of being lost, confused, losing your identity, and ultimately represents the anonymity and brutality of the Final Solution. How could they fail to see this?
The Brandenburg Gate has those famous horses that Napoleon stole and I remember this as the site of the wall until 1989. You can now pose with Russian hats, listen to buskers and buy pretzels. I’ve visited lots of walls - The Great Wall of China, Berlin Wall, Hadrian’s Wall, Antonine Wall, Derry’s Walls….. None of them worked in the end.
Then back to the Pergamum Museum. I’ve been there often so sat in the café reading while the rest did the Ishtar gate and Pergamum Altar.
Across to Potzdammer Platz for dinner at the Lowenbrau Brauhaus and a fine evening was had by all – beer, goulash soup, meat, dumplings and strudel. This is really Bavarian food but it was fun. The Sony Centre is fantastic at night.

Day 4 – East Berlin – Stasi Museum
Stasi Museum
Off on a long U-bahn and S-bahn trip to the Stasi Museum deep in the former East Berlin. I shared a room with the guy who turned out to be a major Stasi spy, so this was a trip with a purpose. We first learned of his double life in a Panorama programme. This is someone we went on holiday with, have holiday snaps together, drank together – and we never knew. My initial reaction was to feel miffed at the fact he never asked me to be a fellow spy.
When the wall fell in 1989, the Stasi started to shred their 100 kilometres of files but the shredders overheated and were kaput. Unfortunately for Robin, who was active right up to the night before the wall fell, they stopped just before these British files. He was the real deal with invisible ink and a transmitter, paid 500 Marks per month.
As you enter East Berlin, the huge apartment blocks appear, with lots of graffiti (excellent it is) and the area that surrounds the Stasi Museum is truly stark. The museum is well worth the hike, as you’ll see more of the real, post-unification Berlin as well as experience something extraordinary – a state that turned on itself.
The rooms, living quarters, meeting rooms and so on are still there with their brownish, dated furniture. I visited the DDR Museum near the Dom and found that their reconstructed typical ‘living room and kitchen’ were almost identical to the council house I grew up in Scotland. It all looks so ordinary but the people in these rooms were responsible for executions, torture and oppression on a massive scale.

Surveillance
But it’s the apparatus of spying that betrays the extremes of the surveillance. This is a disguised baker's van used to lift and transport suspects. There’s flatbed trucks with spy cabins, cameras in car doors, watering cans, rail sleepers, logs, ties, behind buttons on coats, in bags, pens, walls, electric sockets, telephones. You name it, they shoved a camera into it.


Youth movements
I can remember Robin wearing one of these pioneer blue shirts. Looked a little odd in the late seventies and early eighties. Mass youth movements are usually a sign of a dysfunctional society, whether it be the Nazi Hitler Youth or Socialist Pioneers.

Punk
What I really liked were the photographs of the punks and rockers in disused churches and basements, defying the state in style. I like to think that punk played a part in the downfall of the wall. This girl with the huge guitar says it all.

Jar
But the most fascinating exhibit was these sealed jars. Thousands of these were found, and at first they puzzled the citizens who broke into the various Stasi headquarters. Turns out that those who were interrogated, were made to sit on towels, as they sweated during interrogation, their personal smell was captured and the cloth stored in these jars. There’s even a manual on where to mplace the towel.
PS I highly recommend Stasiland by Anna Funder if you and further insights into the Stasi and their methods.

9 Comments:

At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is awesome. I've researched the like a while ago though this is a lot more accurate. Kudos

My weblog ... just click the up coming site

 
At 2:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comes in at under $100 and while it doesn’t
have the same quality as the G25 it is a good choice in this price bracket with overwhelmingly positive reviews.
He likes to share his experiences through his articles.
If you require your trucks or heavy vehicles to be transported from one
place to another may it be from within city limits, city to city or interstate it is
a good idea to hire a professional truck delivery company.


My website :: euro Truck simulator 2 Crack

 
At 7:11 AM, Blogger Junda Xu said...

20150630 junda
burberry outlet
tory burch outlet online
ray-ban sunglasse
pandora jewelry sale
coach outlet online
louis vuitton
hollister kids
true religion sale
oakley sunglasses sale
michael kors bags
oakley sunglasses
ray ban sunglasses
michael kors handbags
tory burch handbags
cheap ray ban sunglasses
toms outlet store
oakley outlet
cheap soccer jerseys
louboutin
toms shoes for women
ray bans
coach factory outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
kate spade handbags
coach outlet
michael kors outlet
prada outlet
toms shoes sale
kate spade bags
true religion jeans outlet
nike blazer pas cher
michael kors
replica watches rolex
michael kors handbags
football jerseys
cheap jordans free shipping
cheap snapbacks hats
cheap oakley sunglasses
gucci belt
ralph lauren polo shirts

 
At 3:18 AM, Blogger lina123 Chen said...

chenlina20150706
michael kors outlet
cheap jordans
louis vuitton outlet
oakley sunglasses
abercrombie fitch
michael kors outlet online
abercrombie store
cheap toms
coach factory outlet
michael kors outlet
michael kors
louis vuitton outlet
beats by dr dre
kobe bryant shoes
longchamp outlet
air max 95
mont blanc pen
michael kors uk
ray ban glasses
retro jordans
michael kors outlet
ray ban outlet
christian louboutin outlet
toms wedges
coach outlet
longchamp sale
ncaa jerseys
michael kors outlet online
burberry sale
gucci handbags
jordan retro 11
michael kors
christian louboutin outlet
michael kors outlet online sale
chi flat iron
michael kors outlet
retro 11
louis vuitton outlet
christian louboutin sale
michael kors outlet

 
At 3:13 AM, Blogger Xiaozhengm 520 said...

2015-10-9 xiaozhengm
Red Bottom Shoes Christian Louboutin
Louis Vuitton Outlet High Quality
Coach Factory Outlet Online Authentic
Louis Vuitton Outlet Quality Handbags
michael kors outlet
Coach Factory Online Outlet Cheap Purses
cheap jerseys
ugg boots
Ray Ban Outlet Store Online
nike free run 2,nike free runs,nikes,nike air max 95,nike high tops,air force 1,nike pegasus
Outlet Michael Kors Online
ugg boots outlet
michael kors uk
Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM Monogram
michael kors outlet online
cheap jordans,jordan shoes,cheap jordan shoes
canada goose jackets
louis vuitton handbags
jordans for sale
Authentic Coach Factory Outlet Online
canada goose jackets
canada goose outlet
Air Jordan 3 "Infrared 23"
louis vuitton outlet stores
michael kors outlet
michael kors uk
Authentic Louis Vuitton Monogram Handbag
Authentic Gucci Factory Outlet
coach factory outlet
Louis Vuitton Backpack Purse
Air Jordan Shoes For Women And Men
timberland boots for men
michael kors bags
Air Jordan 4 Green Glow
michael kors handbags

 
At 9:32 AM, Blogger chenlina said...

chenlina20151205
tory burch outlet
ralph lauren outlet
louis vuitton outlet
ed hardy clothing
abercrombie & fitch
louis vuitton handbags
cheap uggs
cheap uggs
mulberry handbags
the north face uk
cheap air jordans
chanel handbags
oakley sunglasses
kevin durant basketball shoes
cheap oakley sunglasses
uggs for men
michaek kors outlet online
cheap jordans
lebron shoes
louis vuitton handbags
ugg sale
ralph lauren uk
fitflops
louis vuitton handbags
louis vuitton outlet
air max 90
nike roshe run women
gucci handbags
ray ban outlet store
oakley sunglasses
louis vuitton handbags
jordans for sale
cheap toms
adidas originals
north face outlet
coach factory outlet online
north face jackets
gucci outlet
michael kors outlet
giuseppe zanotti
as

 
At 6:03 AM, Blogger chenlina said...

chenlina20151218
canada goose outlet
mont blanc pens
nike air max
celine outlet
adidas superstars
coach outlet
oakley outlet
ray ban sunglasses outlet
prada handbags
louis vuitton outlet
ray ban sunglasses outlet
uggs sale
michael kors outlet online
ray ban sunglasses
cheap nfl jerseys
ray ban sunglasses
ugg outlet
hollister co
instyler max
adidas originals
louis vuitton outlet
ugg boots
coach factory outlet online
michael kors outlet
christian louboutin outlet
canada goose jackets
burberry outlet
coach factory outlet online
coach outlet
timberland outlet
jordans for sale
louis vuitton handbags
kevin durant basketball shoes
abercrombie and fitch
ray ban sunglasses outlet
tory burch outlet
cheap ugg boots
toms shoes
gucci shoes
louis vuitton outlet
as

 
At 8:27 AM, Blogger 柯云 said...

2015-12-24keyun
air max 95
chanel bags
oakley outlet
soccer shoes
nike air max
ray ban sunglasses
ugg clearance outlet
canada goose outlet store
ugg boots on sale
cheap rolex watches
louis vuitton outlet
coach factory outlet
fitflop clearance
michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet
louis vuitton
louis vuitton
gucci outlet
michael kors outlet online
nike free 5.0
canada goose outlet
ralph lauren
ugg outlet
ugg boots clearance
air max 95
ugg sale
coach outlet store
ugg outlet
jordan concords
oakley sunglasses wholesale
beats by dre
ralph lauren outlet
coach outlet
lebron james basketball shoes
canada goose outlet
michael kors outlet
jordan 11 concord
coach outlet
coach outlet store
michael kors outlet

 
At 5:11 AM, Blogger Xiaozhengm 520 said...


2016-4-21 xiaozhengm
toms shoes
coach factory outlet
jordans for sale
nike air force 1
hollister
louis vuitton outlet
jordan concords
christian louboutin sale
michael kors outlet
christian louboutin outlet
michael kors outlet
coach outlet store online
ray ban sunglasses discount
adidas shoes
coach outlet
kobe bryant shoes
gucci outlet
toms shoes
air jordan retro
cheap oakleys
ray ban sunglasses
coach factory outlet
air max 90
pandora jewelry
michael kors outlet
polo ralph lauren
jordan 6
asics shoes
pandora jewelry
rolex watches outlet
air jordan pas cher
nike trainers
adidas trainers
louis vuitton bags
adidas originals
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors handbags
gucci handbags
kate spade handbags
kate spade

 

Post a Comment

<< Home