Saturday, March 28, 2009
SNAPSHOTS FROM AROUND BERLIN—AND BEYOND
SNAPSHOT 3: THE THIRD REICH
But this place is powerfully infectious and the opportunities are great and wonderful....we wandered around the city yesterday, walking from the Brandenburg Tor through recent Berlin history--even to the now apparently certain FurhrerBunker where this evil, sad little man meant his end.... past the Wall and the SS and Gestapo headquarters and through the Berlin Holocaust Memorial... a sad journey...to another tragic site. On several levels it doesn’t really stack up to the Holocaust—what does, except another Holocaust and sadly we have many opportunities for holocaust comparisons.
But I’m a book lover, you know. So you’ll understand when I write that one of the saddest moments in a city of sad moments was the site of the burning of the books, in the BabelPlatz across from Humboldt University (http://www.hu-berlin.de/standardseite/?set_language=en) from which the listed books were removed. Underground, empty shelves, equivalent to 20,000 volumes...empty now...gone, rare and first editions...all replaced, of course, but not really.... a quote from Heine is on a plaque near the window into the underground room: “Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.” Written 100 years, I think, before the books were burned and Jews were burned.