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La Dolce Vita


GERMANY | Monday, 18 August 2014 | Views [765]

I stand in the middle of a small, modest apartment parking lot, surrounded by plain, brick apartment buildings. A willow tree looms to my right and a small, red and blue children's slide sits to my left, currently unused. 

“Four meters below where you are standing is where Hitler committed suicide in 1945.” 

Our tour guide pauses to let the powerful words sink in. “I could go on about what an awful human being Adolf Hitler was but I’m sure we are all aware. So instead, I just want you to look around.”

We do. A few lampposts are sprinkled throughout the open area. Families pass to and from their apartments. A few small birds land in a shallow puddle, nipping water quickly.

It’s hard to go anywhere in Berlin without being constantly inundated with World War II references. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is just down the street. Haunting, coffin-like structures jut out of the ground at different heights in an effort to portray the tragedy with art. The Ministry of Aviation, now a gargantuan government building, was once an integral part of Nazi Germany. Even standing on Potsdamer Platz, one of the main streets in Berlin, you are reminded of the second world war just by its sheer modernism and neoteric feel. The old Berlin is gone, and you stand in it’s young wake. 

As the tour group moves on to the next site, I look over my shoulder just as a child gets onto the slide. Families live here, eat here, sleep here, love here. There is no plaque or memorial here (as it should be). The memory of an dreadful time is rightfully snubbed just by existing, unbeknownst to passersby, below the ground of some cracked concrete.

Tags: berlin, führerbunker, germany, world war ii

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