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Saturday, June 29: Day 68 – Bye, Bye, Berlin

The Radisson Blu Hotel has the largest free standing aquarium in its lobby. We happened to be there when a scuba diver was cleaning it.

Here is Rob looking at remnants of both sections of the walls at the East Side Gallery. He is standing in the death strip. The Wall was built a few meters into the East section so that the East could go through to inspect the West side wall and not allow anyone to do anything to their wall. In this part of town, graffiti abounds!!

When communism moved into East Germany, they forced all churches to remove crosses. People were not prevented from attending church but if you did attend your landlord, or that promotion would never come.

In order to show the world that they were technologically advanced, East Germany built a TV tower that can been seen all over Berlin. The funny thing is that when the sun hits it, an illuminated cross shines over the whole city. The communists tried everything to stop this reflection, but failed. They gave up and tried to convince the people that it was a plus sign-for positive change.

We went to see Hitler: How Could it Happen Museum that was located in a WWII bunker. The museum is based on a definitive book on Hitler. For 30 years, the author cataloged every moment of his entire life. The book costs $500. (We only paid $20 for the tour!!)

It is always hard to get up each day and learn about evil. However, it must only be a fraction of what the scared non-Germans must have felt when they woke up each day.

Two hundred fifty-four Jews were legally headed to Cuba to escape the terror. How happy they must have been! Cuba changed their minds. The captain asked Roosevelt of the USA to allow them to disembark. High ranking Democrats told him that if he did, he would not get their votes and not be reelected. They were sent back across the Atlantic and sent to concentration camps. That must have been a sad, tearful, long journey.

Propaganda was a big factor in shaping views. Racism is when one believes that he is superior and another is inferior. The biggest impact was by news reels that were played before movies. More that eight times the number of people went to movies than go to movies today.

Here are some movies about this time that I may view:

Rotation (1949)

Battle for Berlin (1973)

The following three films are credited to Leni Reifinstahl. She was a German woman film maker who made propaganda movies for Hitler. She was part of Hitler’s inner circle yet claims to have no knowledge of the Holocaust. I find that quite impossible.

Tiefland (1954)-used concentration residents for extras who were later returned to concentration camps to meet certain death. (I wonder who Speilberg used for extras in Schindler’s List? I don’t know too many actors who would starve to the point of death to be an extra!)

Triumph Des Willems (1935) portrayed Hitler as a deity and is credited with being the catalyst for the Nuremberg Rallies.

Olympia (1938) chronicled the 1936 Olympics and is considered her best film.

Concentration camps are meant to work the inhabitants to death. Poor nutrition and health were the slow death. Those unfit to work were then killed as efficiently as possible. Extermination camps were built ONLY as killing factories. I think of all the construction workers who built these camps and railroad employees transporting the Jews, etc!! What was going through their heads???

When there was the call for every German man to participate in the war, they also separated out those unfit to go into battle. However, they were not exterminated like the Jews. Specifically, five hundred men Hamburg Reserve Police were too old to fight so they were assigned to a special mission. They were asked to separate the Jewish men fit for work from those that are not. The unfit were then to join the women, children and elderly and exterminated.

After they learned of this “special” mission, they were told that if they were not able to do this, that they could leave. Only twelve did so.

After the war, in depth research was done on why people joined were the Nazi party. Most recited the excitement of belonging to something big, pride of their heritage, etc. Rarely did they allude to hatred of Jews.

There were 44 attempts or planned attempts to kill Hitler.

Hitler did not want to fight any battles in the Fatherland. However, as the war was coming to an end, Hitler turned on his own people by bombing German facilities. He said that the German people got what they deserved.

Although there have mass killing of human beings before, never in history had the systematic and large scale annihilation of people by the use of extermination factories been used. Let’s pray that this and all senseless killing will never happen again.

I am so proud that my dad, Stewart Boone, served in World War II to help stop the madness!!!

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