Venturing through the streets of Berlin

Posted on January 23rd, 2015 by

Our time here in Germany keeps disappearing faster and faster each day. It is hard to believe that we only have about a week left in Europe. Oh how the time flys by when you are having fun!

Today we had loads of fun throughout all different eras of German History. Two places that I found most fascinating were, The Otto Weidt museum and the Berlin Dom.

Blind and deaf workers Before coming on this trip I knew nothing of what Otto Weidt contributed to the harboring of Jews during the Nazi Regime, but now, I am in awe of his commitment to stand up for what was right and for facing fear straight in its face.

Otto Weidt was born in Rostock, Germany and when he was a little older the family decided to move to Berlin. Otto’s father was an upholsterer. He taught this trade to his son during their time in Rostock. Otto had always been a pacifist, so when it was time for World War I he managed to escape from being drafted because of an ear complaint.

Between WWI and the Nazi Regime, Otto was trying to become a decorator in Berlin, but that failed and after almost becoming fully blind he resorted to brush making in 1936.

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In his brush making factory Otto hired the blind and deaf to work. Most of these disabled people were Jewish, which was a big problem during Nazi Germany. Harboring Jews was against the law, but that did not stop Otto, who organized hiding-places for them and helped them from being deported. He bribed the Gestapo and used deception to make his work look like a positive Nazi cause as to keep his workers alive. Otto told the Nazi soldiers that these men and women were “important for the war effort.” This saved them from being sent to concentration camps or working camps for a while. ¬†Otto worked very hard to save the innocent Jews from being murdered in cold blood. However, on February 27, 1943 all of his employees were rounded up during “Operation Factory” on the streets and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

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To hear this unknown story about an amazing man who risked his life to save an oppressed people was eye-opening. The tiny little museum dedicated to Otto and his work was larger than life. Bless Otto Weidt for helping protect those who were unrightfully persecuted and standing up for peace during a time of so much hatred.

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On another note, the second place that was absolutely amazing was the Berlin Dom. This cathedral must be one of the most beautifully constructed and decorated of any cathedral I have visited in Europe and the United States.

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When you walk in, all you see is the huge altar surrounded by gold statues, crosses, ornate decorations and so much more. One section of the Dom that was creepily incredible was the crypt.

In the crypt there are about 94 bodies from the late 15th century. A few kings, their families and other royal members of the courts are buried there including, Kaiser Friedrich III and others from his royal party. It was incredible to see how big some of the coffins were during this time period, as well as seeing how many small children’s coffins were in the crypt.

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Later in the evening at precisely 6pm there was a service in the Dom, which a few of us attended. Even though the entire service was in German, it was nice to sit and listen to the Homily and prayer in such a breathtaking space. We were able to listen to the organ play, which in itself makes you float to another place and relax completely. Having this feeling of stillness after being on the go 24/7 was just what was needed to reenergize the brain and revitalize the exhausted legs.

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So all in all, today was an amazing day. We celebrated two birthdays and ventured through the streets of Berlin learning new things around every corner, and finding stillness in the hustle and bustle of the city life.

 

 


One Comment

  1. Samantha Block says:

    Great post!!