Ich bin eine Berlinerin

Alexis Weidner
June 29, 2017

















I was in seventh grade history class when we were assigned a project. The task was to research our heritage, where our ancestors came from and what cultures made us who we are. For me, this was a constant thought in the back of my mind. Losing my grandpa, whom I called opa, at a very young age, left me with a lot of open questions about my German heritage. I was in seventh grade history class when I knew one day I would live in Germany, if only temporary, and discover the truths the country holds.

Here I am, less than a decade later, wandering the streets of the once divided capital, uncovering the history and awe of the place I currently call home. 

Berlin was heavily destroyed throughout wars, but parts of the past still remain and can be easily seen, like walking alongside the Berlin Wall.

There are also memorials throughout the city to remind you of its history. (Above: Denkmal für die Ermordeten Juden Europas, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe) The complete list of Berlin memorials are listed here: https://www.visitberlin.de/en/memorials-in-berlin 

Berlin finds a way of weaving the past into the present. The parking lot above is the lot used for my apartment building to the right. Underneath the parking lot, however, is where Hitler’s bunker was and where he died.

Above is bebelplatz, a city square in Berlin. Today, as people walk through the square, they see a cutout in the ground filled with empty bookshelves to symbolize the Nazi book burnings. For those unaware to the events that took place here, you could pass through here nonchalantly. Berlin loves to make its visitors work to know the truth about its history. Some of Berlin's stories are not easily given to those who are passing through, and I have grown to appreciate this about Berlin.

Throughout the city, you can escape into the past and discover amazing Berliners. There is a museum one can visit that used to be a workshop of a man name Otto Weidt. Above you can see a doorway to a room with a wardrobe. Beheind the wardobe, is an entrance to a hidden room that Otto Weidt once used to conceal Jewish men and women from the Nazis.

Although this is the capital of Germany, it can be easily forgotten that's the country you are in. With a multilingual city filled with all cultures, To ensure you know, Berlin gives subtle reminders that you are in fact in Germany - like eating traditional German dishes at upcoming restaurants or with street art reminding you of the past.

Here I am with new friends at Checkpoint Charlie, where you can enter the museum and learn about the sector and what that would have looked like when it was functioning. A place that people once couldn't easily pass, now open to all. 

I believe that my favorite trait about Berlin is the inviting atmosphere. Here, people of all races, sexual orientations, talents, and desires can find a niche in Berlin. With that being said, here is a place that has acceptance, positivity, and light throughout its busy streets. 

For me, Berlin wasn't a city I fell in love with from day one. However, I have grown friendships, both new and old within these city walls. This a city I have shared laughter, tears, sweat, strength, fear, and courage with. Now, ich bin eine Berlinerin. I will forever be a Berliner.

If not now, when?

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Alexis Weidner

<p>I lived in Northern New York for 18 years before moving to North Carolina for college. I have traveled to 12 countries (and counting). Music lover. Coffee enthusiast.</p>

2017 Summer 1, 2017 Summer 2
Home University:
Campbell University
Business Administration
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