peeks at the world through my lens

Posts tagged “Nazi

German WWII Atlantikwall Pillbox

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Nazi Pillbox, Scheveningen Beach, The Hague, Netherlands

When I was a kid living in Holland in ’75 and ’76 I used to ride my bike to the beach (Scheveningen Beach) with my brother Mike and our friends. Near the end of the ride we passed through extensive sand dunes before we reached the North Sea. At the periphery of the dunes we passed these Nazi German R671 Pillboxes, which are remnants of the German Atlantikwall heavy artillery defense system.

The Atlantikwall was an extensive system of costal defense fortifications built by Hitler and Nazi Germany between 1942 and 1944 along the coast of Europe and Scandinavia which included trenches, gun positions, colossal coastal guns, and thousands of German troops stationed to protect against the anticipated Allied invasion of WWII. They are part of a last generation of static defences built on such a large scale.

In writing this entry I came across a website that visually depicts the Third Reich’s massive defensive line established on the European Western coast.  Of special  interest to me were the photographs of the intricate tunnel systems built  beneath these very structures on this small section of the Dutch coast. I highly encourage you to explore this link (Bunkersite.com) and visit the tunnels and trenches under this and other beaches as well as descriptions of other components of the Third Reich’s Atlantikwall. Start with the gray links on the left of the page. This photo is from my 2014 visit back to Holland.

 


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.


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.