Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Berlin Day 2

Today we took a walking tour of Berlin. we viewed the Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe.

Today was a jam packed day full of exciting ideas to bring into our classroom. The day began with a quick 3 minute walk to the Network for Democracy and Courage. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe designed by American architect Peter Eisenman, was dedicated on May 10 2005 in central Berlin. The memorial is located very close to the Brandenburg Gate, An underground information center at the eastern side of the field houses an information center and an exhibition about the Holocaust which includes records from the Yad Vashem database about 3.5 millions of the Jews that were killed in the Holocaust.

The history of the memorial dates back to 1988 when the publisher Lea Rosh took the initiative to build a Holocaust-memorial in Berlin. A competition was made in 1994 but the winning proposal was not well received by the German Government, which however decided to continue the work by initiating a second contest in 1997. In 1999 the jury decided to give the commission to architect Peter Eisenman and in 2003 the building started. I have to say the out side structure is impressive. with concrete columns varying fron 2 feet to 12 feet in height. the ground varies in height as well and there are no clean lines, everything is at an angle.

An interesting note it stands at the foot of the famed hotel, where Michael Jackson displayed his child over the balcony. Weird! We then traveled to the Brandenburg gate. I know what I am doing for my lesson now!Here is a preview: The use of political systems around the world has had significant impacts on various societies and cultures around the world. The affects of developing political systems have been felt not only by single countries, but by the entire world as well. Systems of government, which include but are not limited to direct democracy, communism, absolute monarchies, fascism, and theocracy, have influenced the course of world history since the first political systems were first created several thousand years ago. As these political systems have developed and evolved over time, so have the groups of people who have been governed by them. As a result, political systems have drastically changed over the course of human history and have had both positive and negative outcomes for both individual nations and the world as well. The Brandenburg Gate and the role this historical place plays in history has been witness to many, if not all of these political systems. The gate is a German symbol of both division and unification. It is a former city gate, the only remaining one of several that was used as a formal entryway into Berlin in the late 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Originally constructed in 1791, the Brandenburg Gate was commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II and designed by Karl Gotthard Langhans. Throughout this unit, we plan to review several unique political systems, the characteristics of each system of government, how each has changed over time, and the impacts that each political system has had on specific countries and the world as well.

We then had lunch at the invitation of the Directorate-General for Culture and Communication. Great food and conversation. We then moved quickly past the memorial to the night of broken glass and were off to tour the Reichstag building (seat of the German Parliament) with information about the German parliamentary system.
The German Bundestag has convened in the Reichstag building since 1999. It was built in the late 19th century and was the first German parliament to be built. It has had a interesting history since then. The coolest part for me was the Russian graffiti that has been preserved on the wall after the fall of Berlin. Interesting to historians, and me, is that it is not derogatory it simply has manes ,dates, and home towns of the soldiers.

In the evening we were treated to a string concert featuring Vivaldi four seasons.

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