Tag Archives: Berlin

Random Memories of Germany

10 Jan


Judy Wills

Berlin-Part 1

We were able to visit Berlin several times while we lived in Germany – during each of our tours of duty in Germany.  We marveled at what we saw, each time we visited.  I remember (but not exactly when) I was describing being in Berlin and how much we enjoyed it, to the lady doing my hair.  I believe she was a German girl, working in the American beauty shop on base.  Her response surprised me, in that she said she didn’t think she could live in Berlin, since it was so “closed in” with the wall surrounding it.  And that thought surprised me!  I told her that Berlin was beautiful and felt quite “open” and not closed in at all!  But she was firm in her belief.  I was sorry I was unable to convince her.  The very air in Berlin feels like “hope” and freedom.

Our first visit was when my Mother came to Germany for a two-week visit in May, 1969.  We stayed in the hotel near Tempelhof Airport.

1969 – Tempelhof Airport.  U.S. Air Forces – Tempelhof  Central Airport

We were curious to see some sort of monument in front of the hotel, and later learned that it was a memorial to the Berlin Airlift.  And not only that, but it happened to be the 20th anniversary of the airlift.  The airlift, resulting from the Soviet blockade of the city in 1948, is quite a story unto itself.  I will not retell that story here, but would encourage my readers to Google “Berlin Airlift” and read about it there.  It was a major event in the Cold War, and Tempelhof was a major part of the story.

1969 – The Berlin Airlift Memorial monument. Judy in bright pink, Mother in blue.

We took a bus tour – to see the high points of the city, before we struck out on our own.  The Berlin Wall was up by that time, and we were unable to see the East side of Berlin, as it was controlled by the Soviet Union.  The difference between East and West Berlin was startling.  West Berlin was a modern, beautiful city, while the East side looked like a war zone still.  Amazing!

1969 – Looking into East Berlin from Checkpoint Charlie

One thing, especially, that fascinated me, was the ruins of Kaiser Wilhelm Kirche – right next to the new, beautiful Kirche.  I don’t have pictures of the new church during that time, so I don’t remember whether or not we went into the new church that visit.  But we did during our visit with our daughters in 1983.  It’s really beautiful.

Credit Google Search and art-days.com

It is along one of the main streets of West Berlin, Kurfurstendam, affectionately known as Ku’dam.

1969 – Looking down the Ku’dam at the old and new church

I had wondered why the ruins of the church were left there in the middle of the town.  I was told that the German people wanted it left – as a reminder of what war had done to their country – twice!  And to never instigate war again.  It is a vivid reminder!

The original Kaiser Wilhelm Kirche

Credit Google Search and Culture of Readers Journey – Edublogs

But there are some wonderful things to see there, as well.  We went to the Charlottenburg Palace.

1969 – The Charlottenburg Palace

1969 – The Charlottenburg Palace manicured grounds

In addition to all the “royal” stuff one might expect to see, we saw the original bust of Nefertiti in the museum.  There is much speculation as to why she is in Germany and not Egypt, but that’s another story, too.

1969 – the original Nefertiti bust

Walking along a lovely city street, we came upon an old hand-watering pump.  Apparently it is free water to any and all, and it looked like it was used by many to wash their cars there!  We showed it to our girls in our 1983 visit, as well.  Little things like that fascinate me!

1969 – the old hand-watering pump

1983 – the same pump. Karen, Judy and Janet

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

West Berlin Part~2

18 Aug


 Judy Wills



One of our favorite places to visit in West Berlin was the Charlottenburg Palace.

1It is very like many of the palaces and castles built by German King Ludwig, and part of it was influenced by those structures.  It is built in rococo and baroque style.  It was built in the late 1700’s.  The central area has a large domed area with a gilded nude statue of Fortune as a weather vane.  The grounds are beautifully landscaped, similar to Versailles in France.


Within the Palace is the Charlottenburg Museum.  One of the most fascinating things in there is the original bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.  We’ve always wondered why the original was in Germany and not England or even Egypt.

In the Tiergarten area of West Berlin (a large public park to the west of the city center) is the Russian Memorial.  It commemorates the 480,000 Russian war dead who died in the Battle of Berlin in April and May of 1945.  Throughout the Cold War, Soviet honor guards from the Soviet occupation zone were sent to stand watch at the memorial.  It is an impressive sight.

5Another impressive sight is the Victory Column, also in the Tiergarten area of Berlin.  It was built from 1864 to 1873 to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Prusso–Danish war in 1864.  The shaft of the monument is made of cannon captured from the enemies. The bronze figure at the top was added later, after further Prussian victories in wars against Austria (1866) and France (1870– 71); so the column marks also the unification of Germany after these victories.  It’s really beautiful.

We had heard of the Congress Halle, and walked past it when our oldest daughter 6and I were in West Berlin with Fred, who was on a TDY (Temporary Duty) back in 1969.  It was built by the Americans and given to the Berliners as a symbol of friendship between the two countries.  Because of it’s unique design – an “open” oyster – it is affectionately known as the “pregnant oyster” by the locals.

While we were with Fred on that TDY, we were staying in a hotel that was miscpart of  Templehof Airport, where the Berlin Airlift originated.  One day, I wasn’t feeling very well, kind of like I was getting the flu.  When I went down to the restaurant, the German server inquired about my health.  When I explained, he said he had just the thing for me – and he brought me a cup of the most delicious lentil soup I’ve ever had.  Mostly broth – nice and hot.  And then he put together a tray of very hot water with several tea bags and had it sent up to our room.  After all that TLC, I was back to normal by morning.

One of our fondest memories of West Berlin is the English-speaking Baptist church we visited.  There was a large group of English-speaking people in7West Berlin, and they managed to find each other and form a church.  All were welcome – including any Germans who might wish to attend an English-speaking service, even if it was more to increase their knowledge of English, than to worship our Lord.  But along the way, they were sure to be touched by the people around them, as well as the Holy Spirit, and perhaps come to know Christ as their personal Savior.


Our tour and trips to West Berlin were some of the most satisfying of our time in Europe.  Certainly something we will never forget.

West Berlin~Part 1

11 Aug


Judy Wills



 We had some amazing experiences during our times in West Germany.  We saw so many wonderful sights while there.  So much history, as well. One of our favorite cities to visit was West Berlin.  At the time we were there, The 1Wall (Der Maur) was still in place.  And, unfortunately, the Brandenberg Gate was in the Russian Zone, or East Berlin.  We were unable to get close to it.I later spoke to a German 2national who said she just couldn’t imagine living in such an “enclosed” place as West Berlin.  I tried to assure her that it didn’t FEEL enclosed.  The American Zone was quite open and free.  I don’t think I was very convincing.  She just had to experience it for herself.

 3As we walked around the city, we came upon a fascinating piece of old Germany – a very old hand-watering pump.  Apparently, anyone who knew about it, could bring their car/wagon/etc. there and get free water to wash whatever they had – as long as they were willing to hand-pump the water.  Not something you see around the U.S.

My Mother had come to Germany to visit us that year (May 1969) and we delighted in taking her places that I know she only dreamed of ever seeing.  We happened to be in West Berlin during the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift.    The German people had erected a 4monument to that occasion, and the celebration took place in front of it.  The monument is three-pronged, representing the American, British, and French efforts to keep the free German people from starving and out of Russian/Communist hands.  It was a tremendous success.

Another site that impacted me greatly was in the heart of downtown West Berlin, along the 5Kurfurstendam, affectionately known by the locals as the Kudam, which is the main shopping street in downtown West Berlin.  After the colossal disaster of World War 2, the German people decided to leave a reminder to themselves of the cost of pride and war.  They left standing the bombed-out shell tower of the Kaiser Wilhelm church.  And built right next to it a beautiful and modern new church and church tower.  While the new structure is impressive, it cannot be fully appreciated until one is inside.  The all-glass bricks are a cobalt blue, and with the sun shining through those bricks – well, all I can say is, it’s breath-taking.  And peaceful. And amazing.  And I’ve run out of adjectives already.


To be continued………..

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