Sunday, 30 August 2009

Berlin 1933 to 1989

Berlin is a place where some of the most important events of the last century took place. There is so much to see here that relates to World War Two or the Cold War, some of it obvious and some of it less so. In the former category sits what is left of the Berlin Wall, as well as bullet-holes in East Berlin buildings and this mural of Communist propaganda found at the former Luftwaffe HQ.

In the latter category, though, and of more interest to me are the things that look simple and ordianary but are actually the site of something much more significant. A prime example is this parking lot, a place where we were told people bring their dogs to do their business and sometimes do their own business here as well. The reason? It is the spot of Hitler´s bunker in the latter parts of WWII, and the spot where he died.

Another facinating legacy of the past is Ampelmann, the green and red man in all the traffic lights. I would not have noticed it usually but was told that he is Ampelmann, and is the only part of East Germany culture to survive the fall of the Great Wall. Apparently when Germany got reunited the East Germans were happy to shed the icons from the Cold War, but would not give up Ampelmann. He´s now used in all of Germany, and you can buy an entire range of Ampelmann products including clothes and lollies. Awesome.

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