The Bear and the Wall

The Bear and the Wall

I was standing in what is now called The Topography of Terror to take this photograph. That should give you an idea of what this spot is like.

At the bottom of the image you can see what is left of the headquarters of the Gestapo and the SS. Only the crumbling remains of the basement survived the bombing of World War II and the demolition afterwards. Seventy years ago standing in this spot would have been a much more serious experience.

I distinctly remember the first time I went there. The museum had not been finished yet but the area was mostly open with a path around and signs giving you information on what you were seeing and the histories of some of the people known to have been brought there. Brought there and never seen again. As soon as I spotted an excavated area that was part of the basement a chill went through me. I know what happens in the basements of places like this. No way out, no one will ever hear you.

The building at the top, the intimidating, slab-sided behemoth with dark windows that remind me of hundreds of dull eyes, was originally built to be the headquarters of the Ministry of Aviation. I'd imagine, despite the name, it was always really the Luftwaffe headquarters but they just couldn't call it that. It didn't matter, five years after it was finished, it was both in name and purpose the center of German military air power.

Think of it as ironic or not, the Luftwaffe headquarters managed to survive the heavy Allied aerial bombing at the end of the war. The Gestapo headquarters did not.

And after the war, the city was split. The Berlin Wall, which you see here in the middle of the photo, didn't come until 1963 but the border was already there–it showed up immediately after the war. Indeed, it’s essentially a freeze-frame of where the sides were at the end of the war.

I always imagine, when I'm in Berlin, what a cruel fate it was for those who survived the world war only to be on the wrong side of the wall. A bit like going from the fire to the frying pan. From Naziism to communism.

Now, sitting in the shadow of the Luftwaffe headquarters, looking through the broken Berlin Wall at the former site of the Gestapo and SS buildings, is a blue bear. The symbol of Berlin.

It’s the only bright spot in a very bleak landscape. Then again, maybe that’s why it’s there.

My other photographs of Berlin can be found in the gallery.

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EXIF

Camera: NIKON D90
Lens Type: 10.0-24.0 mm f/3.5-4.5
Focal Length: 24 mm
35mm Focal Length: 36 mm
Exposure: 1/40 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 100


Taken: 2012-02-25 15:22:30
Posted: 2012-11-22 | 21:55





The Bear and the Wall

The Bear and the Wall

I was standing in what is now called The Topography of Terror to take this photograph. That should give you an idea of what this spot is like.

At the bottom of the image you can see what is left of the headquarters of the Gestapo and the SS. Only the crumbling remains of the basement survived the bombing of World War II and the demolition afterwards. Seventy years ago standing in this spot would have been a much more serious experience.

I distinctly remember the first time I went there. The museum had not been finished yet but the area was mostly open with a path around and signs giving you information on what you were seeing and the histories of some of the people known to have been brought there. Brought there and never seen again. As soon as I spotted an excavated area that was part of the basement a chill went through me. I know what happens in the basements of places like this. No way out, no one will ever hear you.

The building at the top, the intimidating, slab-sided behemoth with dark windows that remind me of hundreds of dull eyes, was originally built to be the headquarters of the Ministry of Aviation. I'd imagine, despite the name, it was always really the Luftwaffe headquarters but they just couldn't call it that. It didn't matter, five years after it was finished, it was both in name and purpose the center of German military air power.

Think of it as ironic or not, the Luftwaffe headquarters managed to survive the heavy Allied aerial bombing at the end of the war. The Gestapo headquarters did not.

And after the war, the city was split. The Berlin Wall, which you see here in the middle of the photo, didn't come until 1963 but the border was already there–it showed up immediately after the war. Indeed, it’s essentially a freeze-frame of where the sides were at the end of the war.

I always imagine, when I'm in Berlin, what a cruel fate it was for those who survived the world war only to be on the wrong side of the wall. A bit like going from the fire to the frying pan. From Naziism to communism.

Now, sitting in the shadow of the Luftwaffe headquarters, looking through the broken Berlin Wall at the former site of the Gestapo and SS buildings, is a blue bear. The symbol of Berlin.

It’s the only bright spot in a very bleak landscape. Then again, maybe that’s why it’s there.

My other photographs of Berlin can be found in the gallery.

Show this photo on a map ✈

EXIF

Camera: NIKON D90
Lens Type: 10.0-24.0 mm f/3.5-4.5
Focal Length: 24 mm
35mm Focal Length: 36 mm
Exposure: 1/40 sec
Aperture: f 7.1
ISO: 100


Taken: 2012-02-25 15:22:30
Posted: 2012-11-22 | 21:55


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