Backpacking to Europe – Part 21: Brandenburg Gate & Holocaust Memorial

Backpacking to Europe – Part 21: Brandenburg Gate & Holocaust Memorial

Previously

If you just reached here and wanted to read the start of our journey, let’s go to Part 1!

Bought some chocolate before walking to the Gate. Address: Französische Straße 24, 10117 Berlin, Germany

We took the U6 train all the way to Französische Straße station before proceeding to walk to our next intended destination – the Brandenburg Gate. Let me admit, I was quite a nerdy kid when I was younger, loved to watch documentaries especially the ones related to the World Wars. I still remember watching one documentary, where the former president of the United States, Ronald Reagan made the memorable speech: “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!“. Since then, I told myself, I want to visit that place!

Walking past here before reaching the Gate.

Kami naik tren U6 sampai ke stesen Französische Straße sebelum meneruskan perjalanan ke Brandenburg Gate. Masa aku kecil dulu, memang aku suka sangat tengok dokumentari, lebih-lebih lagi yang berkaitan dengan Perang Dunia Pertama dan Kedua. Aku ingat lagi, ada satu dokumentari tu aku tengok, aku nampak Ronald Reagan, bekas presiden Amerika Syarikat ada buat ucapan “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”. Sejak tu, memang aku teringin sangat nak ke Brandenburg Gate.

Pariser Platz and the Brandenburg Gate.

The walk from the station to the Gate was not a tiring one, thanks to the cold air of winter. Not a single drop of sweat was dropped and it was a pleasant walk. We walked past the infamous Hotel Adlon where Michael Jackson once did his baby-dangling act from one of the balconies. There were also some protest going on but I shot a video from afar, afraid of getting caught. The Pariser Platz is definitely a good place to walk at ever since it has become a pedestrian-only road.

Jalan kaki dari stesen ke Brandenburg Gate tak lah penat sangat sebab cuaca sejuk kan. Kalau kat Malaysia, dah berbaldi peluh aku tadah. Dalam perjalanan ke Gate tu, kami lalu depan Hotel Adlon, hotel yang Michael Jackson pernah acah-acah pegang baby dia dari beranda tu. Scary kot! Kawasan Pariser Platz ni memang kawasan yang seronok jalan kaki sebab sekarang, kenderaan dah tak dibenarkan lalu.

We were here!

When we arrived at the Gate, I spent some time looking at the enormous gate which had withstood the test of time and now proudly standing there, telling the world that ‘I had seen a lot and will see a lot more’. If only the Gate could talk, I wonder what it would tell us. We walked underneath the gate soon after, my palm touched the wall and I smiled. A place which I had never imagined that I will be visiting this soon.

Sesampai je di Gate, aku dok perhati je betapa hebatnya binaan ni, mampu bertahan dari dulu sampai sekarang. Kalau Gate tu boleh bercakap, macam-macam dia dah cerita kat kita rasanya. Kami jalan di bawah Brandenburg Gate sambil tangan aku memegang dinding Gate tu. Perasaan yang aku rasa, Tuhan aja yang tahu.

The inscription said: [To] the German people.

We continued walking to the Reichstag Building, the parliament house of Germany. Initially, I wanted to visit the glass dome area since it is free to visit. However, they imposed quota on the number of visitors allowed per day and when I went to the website to book a slot, it was full. As a result, we just took some photos in front of the building, a symbol of democracy for Germany.

Kami terus berjalan menuju ke bangunan Reichstag, bangunan parlimen Jerman. Asalnya, aku nak lawat ke dalam kubah kaca dia sebab percuma je nak masuk. Tapi, kena book dalam talian sebab ada kuota. Malangnya, masa aku nak book, kuota dah penuh. Akhirnya, kami cuma bergambar di depan simbol demokrasi Jerman ini.

Confusing.

From Reichstag Building, we continued our walk to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe or the Holocaust Memorial. From afar, it looked messy, confusing and disturbing. Before reaching the memorial, I told Amira “This looks so confusing. Where should we enter this memorial from?“. However, as soon as we entered into the Memorial, everything looks in order. Every column was of the same heights.

But systematic.

Perjalanan kami teruskan lagi ke Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Dari jauh, nampak binaan dia serabut, tak teratur. Aku siap cakap dengan Amira, “Nak masuk dari mana ni?”. Tapi, makin kami dekat, makin nampak teratur. Semua tiang konkrit tu nampak sama tinggi dan tersusun.

Luqman, Jamine’s friend whom HE Dato’ Ambassador had asked to accompany us told us that the confusion and subsequently the systematic order of the stelae were done on purpose – to show everything that Holocaust is all about. Initially, the Jews living in Germany were in a confused state, they did not know what to do or where to go. As a people, they are strong together and they were always together but then, they were systematically killed in the infamous massacre.

Luqman, kawan Jasmine yang Dato’ minta teman kami sambil kami berjalan bagitau kami yang apa yang kami rasa itulah sebenarnya kisah yang Memorial ni nak sampaikan. Nak bagi kita rasa, betapa kelirunya orang-orang Yahudi masa kejadian Holocaust dulu dan betapa sistematiknya kejadian yang berlaku.

Where to next?

I could not help but to think what they had to endure during those days. Yes, we all know about the story of Bani Israel in the Quran but to think about it, there were also children among the victims. They were innocent. They did not ask to be born as Jews during the Nazi period. And they were killed, solely for being of a particular race. It was tragic, to be honest.

Jujurnya, aku rasa terganggu dengan Memorial ni sebab ia buat aku terfikir pasal kejadian Holocaust tu sendiri. Aku tahu, ada yang kata Holocaust tu cubaan orang Yahudi nak meraih simpati, tapi ada tak terfikir, ada mangsa yang terlibat tu kanak-kanak. Diorang tak minta dilahirkan sebagai Yahudi? Kenapa diorang kena jadi mangsa juga?

Amira and I sat there, discussing about the Holocaust, among other things, and what we had seen up until today. Then, we we walked to Brandenburger Tor metro station to our next destination.

Lama aku dan Amira bersembang pasal hal ni di situ, sambil tu kami kenang kembali apa yang kami dah dapat belajar dari trip ini, setakat ini. Sambil berbual, kami teruskan perjalanan ke stesen Brandenburger Tor untuk ke destinasi seterusnya.

More photos:

Next: Part 22

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If you plan to visit the glass dome of the Bundestag, you can register for a slot here.

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