This morning Brother Minert took us around Berlin to show us a bunch of sites significant to church history. The first building was one where some sisters lived back in the day. Brother Minert told us about the terrible things Russian soldiers did to German Women when they were in control and I got to read a story to the group about a few sisters who were blessed to see a branch member when they had thought it had been Russians coming up the stairs.
Another site, and the one that touched me most, was the prison where Helmut Hübener was executed. He was just a 17-year-old LDS boy with access to the BBC radio show and a type-writer, who didn’t believe in the principles being forced down their throats by the Nazis. After printing several anti-socialist flyers, he decided that his cause was noble enough to ask a French-speaking co-worker to help him translate his message into French. Those he worked with obviously didn’t agree on the importance of this cause and Helmut was turned in. Helmut’s two friends and accomplices received prison sentences, but Helmut received death by guillotine.
Other Germans who had attempted to resist the Nazi regime had experienced similar fates, and the prison is now preserved as a memorial to them. Several of their stories can be read on plaques on the walls of the execution room.
We also visited the place where the old mission home stood before it was destroyed during the war. Now it is just a spot in a foresty area, but it was once a place of importance for the church. Luckily one of the brethren was prompted to move all the important records to another building before the building was destroyed. Gotta love the Holy Ghost am I right?
Since we were so close to the Victory Tower after this excursion, naturally we meandered over there. We went to the top to get the sweet view of course, but my favorite part of the tower was the dents made in it by shrapnel. Not every tower can claim it has shrapnel dents, let alone that it survived a bombing. This one is a determined survivor.
After that we went to see the Brandenburg Gate. which was totally huge and totally cool. There were some embassies around there and I thought it felt pretty good to see the American flag again. I saluted it.
To finish off the evening we went to a Jewish Museum that was super cool. Even the shape of the Museum was cool. Most of the display descriptions were in German so I didn’t always know what was going on, and on top of that I think the whole place had a lot of symbolism, which I don’t always pick up on. Even though I didn’t always fully comprehend everything, it was still a sweet museum to experience. We spent a couple hours there but I don’t think I saw half the stuff I wanted to. I literally could have spent all day.
|Exterior of Museum|
One of the first things I saw was an outdoor area that looked like this:
And brother Minert explained to me that this represented what it might have felt like being a Jew during the war. It was hard to figure out where you were because everything looks the same and you can’t see very far around you. For a time the Jews didn’t really have a place to call home, where they could feel safe. To me it felt like somebody could come around the corner at any minute and there was no place you could just put your back against the wall and see whatever was coming because it could come from all directions! So ya, the museum was full of stuff like that and I really enjoyed this experience.