peeks at the world through my lens

Archive for October, 2015

Ghost Stations of East Berlin

Ghost Station of East Berlin, Alexanderplatz

 

Ghost Stations of Berlin.

The Berlin Wall, constructed in August 1961, divided not only the city of Berlin into East and West, but also many of the underground U- and S- Bahn subway lines. While many of these lines now simply stopped at the borders, other lines which were primarily in the West now passed through a short segment of East Berlin. These lines remained open to the West Berliners, however they no longer stopped in East Berlin. They did, however, need to slow to a crawl as they passed through the now “Ghost Stations” (Geisterbahnhöfe) of East Berlin. Passengers would now pass through spooky, dimly lit, abandoned stations that were heavily guarded by East German guards who watched them slowly pass.

These stations were reopened in 1989 after the fall of the Wall. Entering the stations in ’89 (and now) was like stepping into a time machine and entering Cold War-era East Berlin, with the stations looking like they did when constructed in 1931 with original ads and signage as well as old green drab tiles on the walls. Most have now been totally refurbished. This shot was taken in the Alexanderplatz station in 2013.

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Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin

 

 

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin 2

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin

Consisting of 2,711 gravestone-like pillars ranging in height from 0.2 to 4.8 m (7.9 in to 15 ft 9.0 in) and arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field,  this memorial was completed in 2005 and was the first formal German government-sponsored Holocaust memorial. Maintaining the word “murdered” in the title was intentional, as Germany as a nation was finally officially admitting to a crime.

There is no intended meaning. Instead, the memorial was designed to instill in the viewer a confusing and uneasy feeling. Is it a labyrinth? a symbolic cemetery? It’s up to the you to derive the meaning while pondering this horrible chapter in human history.


Autumn at The Brandenberg Gate, Berlin

Berlin, Germany, HDR

Autumn at The Brandenberg Gate,  Berlin

The Brandenburg Gate (1791), is an 18th-century neoclassical triumphal arch and the grandest and last survivor of the 14 original arches of Berlins Old City Wall. It is crowned with a four Horse chariot with the Goddess of Peace at the reins. During its existence, it has often been a site for major historical events

When the Nazis ascended to power, they used the gate as a party symbol. The gate was heavily damaged during World War II and was one of the last structures still standing in the Pariser Platz in 1945.

Traffic passed freely through the gate until the Berlin Wall was built Aug 1961. During post-war Partition of Germany, the now East Berlin gate was isolated and inaccessible adjacent to the Berlin Wall. In June of 1987, Ronald Reagan gave a speech at the Brandenberg Gate and challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall!”

When the Revolutions of 1989 occurred and the Berlin Wall fell Nov,1989, the gate symbolized freedom and the desire to unify Berlin. Thousands gathered there to celebrate its fall. Today it is considered a symbol of the tumultuous history of Europe and Germany, but also of European unity and peace.


Autumn at the Reichstag Building, Berlin

 

Autumn, Berlin, Germany

Autumn at the Reichstag Building,  Berlin

The Reichstag Building opened in 1894 as the house of the German Parliment. The building was nearly burned to the ground in 1933 by arsonists, an event that the Nazi party used as evidence that communists were conspiring against the German Government.  Adolf Hitler, then the Chancellor of Germany, used this to convince the German President to pass an emergency decree suspending all civil liberties of the German people, ultimately leading to the consolidation of power by Hitler and the Nazi party. Many believe that Hitler himself orchestrated the blaze.