Tag Archives: West Berlin

West Berlin Part~2

18 Aug

SUNDAY MEMORIES

 Judy Wills

JUDY

         

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.

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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.

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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

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

                                                     

 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.

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To be continued………..

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