Edit Blog Post
Published: June 10th 2015
Today I was heading to Lueneburg on an overnight train because I was hoping to catch a bit of the last trial of a Nazi war criminal, Oskar Groening, nicknamed the "book-keeper of Auschwitz," who is accused of being an accessory to 300 000 murders. The trial was particularly interesting because he was specifically charged with the jews murdered from Hungary in 1944, where my Grandmother and her family were deported to Auschwitz from. However, the train strike left me stranded in Frankfurt 8 PM the night before the trial was supposed to start at 9 AM (but you had to line up by 8 AM to get in). Desperate to make it to the trial, I went to the autobahn and hitchhiked to Hamburg (which is close to Lueneburg and had train running in the morning). I ended up getting picked up by a bus going there but it was full, so i sat in the emergency seat in the front for the 7 hour trip. I also wasn't able to sleep because besides the seat which went up and down with every bump in the road, I caught the bus driver falling asleep a few times and so being to nervous to fall asleep, I spent the night pouring him coffee (made possible with a coffee machine he stored on the bus) and requesting that the music be turned up to keep him awake.
So I finally made it to Lueneburg on time for the trial, and just my luck, I was standing next to the only (hopefully) Holocaust denier at the trial. For half an hour this man went on about how all the murders at concentration camps were exaggerated, and that those who did die, died from natural causes; that it was Britain and Poland who started the war, Poland because they were apparently destroying German villages in Poland; and, how Hitler was correct in annexing Austria because the citizens were German and wanted to be part of Germany. This man also kept insisting I take fliers and check out websites...but after arguing with him originally I realized it was useless trying to convince him so I just ignored him.
Sadly, when I finally got into the trial, the head judge announced that Groening was to sick to get out of bed that morning (he is 93 years old, and the previously day they had to stop early because he wasn't feeling well), and that the trial would be postposed. Following his announcement, I went over and met the head prosecutor for the case and then I spoke to one of the witnesses who was supposed to testify that day. It turned out that he was a Holocaust survivor from Hungary, and was living in Montreal (obviously living in Cote St Luc). He was also there with with his son and daughter, his son was a psychologist living in New York, but his daughter also lived in Montreal and actually went to school with my Professor's (for an independent research course I'm doing on the Holocaust in Hungary) mother. They were really kind and invited me over for shabbat dinner in Montreal and to hang out with them at the hotel that day, but I was on a tight schedule so after speaking for an hour and exchanging information, I took a train to Berlin (aprox 2-3 hours away) for my final night.
I got to Berlin around 2 PM, I first went to a Camping store to pick up some final stuff for Ghana and then I walked to the Jewish Museum. The Museum is massive and really beautiful (minus the bathrooms which were disgusting and I believe must have been overlooked in its original design) with very unique architecture (the building was in the shape of a lighting bolt), and the exhibits were very different then any museum I have ever seen. Although I see how people are in awe of the museum, personally I did not really like it as I found that its set up was quite confusing. I stayed at the museum until around 8 PM (when it closed), and then walked to Checkpoint Charlie Museum which was open until 10PM. The museum kind of looks like a huge mess with so much information everywhere, but I found that the incredible amounts of artifacts displayed in seemingly a dozen apartments combined together made it particularly distinctive. I stayed at the Checkpoint Charlie Museum until it closed and then starting walking to the Holocaust Memorial, on the way I accidentally found myself in a turkish comedy party/event, which was entertaining just to see but I left after a few minutes when I was tried of not being able to understand the jokes. Following the comedy club, I walked through Postdam Plaza where I listened to a free concert and found a nice place for a beer and fries. When I finally arrived at the Holocaust Memorial it was pitch black, and so although i could walk around the Memorial, which was really interesting and well done, I could not see it completely. Finally, I walked to the Brandenburg Gates and the Reichstag (German Parliament), before I went to the train station and got ready for my 4 AM train to Frankfurt. After arriving in Frankfurt, I went straight to the airport where I caught my 2 PM flight to Accra.
Tot: 0.235s; Tpl: 0.01s; cc: 9; qc: 47; dbt: 0.0771s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (10.17.0.13); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.1mb