Back from Berlin


Margie Hofman 


© Copyright 2018 by Margie Hofman

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

It is strange how life plays tricks with you. When I lived in London I gave talks to 15 year olds about the second world war and how it affected the children in both Germany and England.

My two children now live and work in Berlin and I visit severals times a year. I have spoken to men who were stationed there during the war and after and I can tell you, they are still rebuilding and altering things after all these years. Sometimes they run into trouble. The soil in Berlin is very sandy and many many unexploded bombs remain. A few months ago, the hospital where my daughter worked got a warning that they had just excavated a large Second World War bomb and they had to close down the main railway station. The station is hugely important dealing with trains from Poland and the East, to have this shut down caused chaos.

Everywhere in Berlin I am reminded of the awful consequences of being Jewish. A very interesting place for shopping is called Hackescher Markt with various food and craft wares. Just outside the area are four bronze placques on the floor –Here lived the family Schneider and their two children – taken to Auschwitz. There are about 2,000 of these plaques all over the city.

By Friedrichstrasse Railway Station is a wonderful monument to children from the Kindertransport. Rescued and organized by a wonderful man called Sir Nicholas Winton, who, with the help of the Quakers managed to get three trainloads of children from Germany and Czechoslovakia to England. The statue is called The Trains to Life and the Trains to Death, showing two groups of children.

Berlin itself is packed with tourists and restaurants are full, the whole area is very wealthy.

I still point out to young tourists the bullet marks on the cathedral where the Russians fought their way into the city.

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