It’s all coming together.

While at the Villa Wannsee today, I spent considerable time browsing the institution’s library, and came upon an early edition of a book published by Emmanuel Ringelblum, known now as the chief unofficial archivist of the Warsaw Ghetto. The book contains observations of Ghetto life, and Polish-Jewish relations before, during, and after Nazi occupation.

We will participate in this year’s third annual “Memory March” in Warsaw, which commemorates the start of the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto in retribution for the Ghetto Uprising. This year we will march in honor of Mr.Ringelblum.

Book discovered today at Villa Wannsee

Book discovered today at Villa Wannsee

Invitation to the march

The group with our fabulous tour guide, Greta.

The group with our fabulous tour guide, Greta.

At the Berlin Wall Memorial

At the Berlin Wall Memorial

Learning about the lives of extraordinarily (brave, intelligent, steadfast) Jewish citizens of Berlin during National Socialism.

Learning about the lives of extraordinarily (brave, intelligent, steadfast) Jewish citizens of Berlin during National Socialism.

A heartfelt goodbye to our guide Greta!

A heartfelt goodbye to our guide Greta!

The right to be….forgotten?

Our last days in Munich shared a theme – with visits to Munich’s soon-to-be-opened NS-Documentation center as well as the Holocaust Archives at the Institute for Contemporary History – we were confronted with questions surrounding remembering/forgetting/and that which is being lost.

IMG_20140706_112121365Talking to an Official at Munich’s Ministry of Culture raised questions about what is included, and what excluded, in curating the new NS-Documentation center.  And how to visualize memories through design and architecture as concepts of the new building were presented to us.

At the Archives, we were able to think through the ways in which personal items, individual memories, diaries, letters, postcards

IMG_20140707_155540413… were archived as windows to the past. Personal items as public goods. We were asked to think about the limits of remembering, the possibility of being forgotten, but also about that which gets lost – in translation or digitalization.

Bavaria & Neuschwanstein Castle

Today, we took a break from the curriculum to visit Neuschwanstein castle, ride our bikes through beautiful Bavaria, swim in an alpine lake, and go down an alpine slide.  A breathtaking and relaxing experience! We are very, very lucky.

At the castle!

At the castle!

On our hike. Bavarian cows are happy cows.

On our hike. Bavarian cows are happy cows.

On our bike tour.

On our bike tour.

Wahoo!

Wahoo!

 

Tour Through Munich: Munchen’s Nazi Past

Today, we spent the morning and early afternoon learning about what one could call the birthplace of National Socialism: Munich, Germany. Our tour was capped off with a visit to the White Rose Museum, in the University of Munich. The White Rose group was one of the groups who resisted Hitler’s ideology.

A monument commemorating the place where the synagogue used to be. Though there is a new synagogue in Munich, the old one has been replaced with a square of shops, roads, and restaurants.

A monument commemorating the place where the synagogue used to be. Though there is a new synagogue in Munich, the old one has been replaced with a square of shops, roads, and restaurants.

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Learning about the White Rose resistance movement.

 

Meeting with a Holocaust Survivor

In a two hour discussion, students learned from Mr.Gruber about the context his family found themsleves in before, during, and after the Second World War. Mr.Gruber showed us some fascinating photographs, and deftly answered our questions about his life and circumstances through the present day.

In a two hour discussion, students learned from Mr.Gruber about the context his family found themselves in before, during, and after the Second World War. Mr.Gruber showed us some fascinating photographs, and deftly answered our questions about his life and circumstances through the present day.

Arrival in Munich

We have arrived.  Munich welcomes us with a wonderfully sunny and beautiful day.  After settling in, sorting ourselves out, getting ready for our week of activities, we also need to stay on top of the World Cup….watching it here:

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Getting ready for the 2014 Dialogue

With less than a week to go, our group is getting ready for our month-long journey through Germany and Poland to study questions of trauma, memory, history, and politics regarding the Holocaust.

Leading up to our departure, the following news ought to provide some food for thought for us:

Otto Dov Kulka’s memoir shows we will never understand what happened in Auschwitz

German immigrant charged with Nazi death camp crimes held in Philadelphia

Nazi Treasure Trove Discovered

The trauma of second-generation Holocaust survivors