Made Me Cry: Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

Oh for pete’s sake, I didn’t post yesterday!  Well whatever.  Andrew told me that writing every day is excessive anyway.  Onward!

“I probably could’ve slept through the night, but that would’ve been counter-productive, so at 3pm we got up, showered, and set out.  Since it’s Christmas Eve, we sort of dressed up a bit.  We walked up the Ku’Damm and went for supper at one of the only restaurants still open, El Dorado.  Candlelight, Christmas music, Andrew ordered hare, I ordered goose, and we drank Berliner Pilsner.  We shared a Spanish orange cake for dessert, and I had a cup of German coffee.  Sooooo good.”

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Christmas lights on Kurfürstendamm, Berlin.

“Then we walked to Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.  After World War ll, the people of Berlin had voted to keep it standing as-is, so you can see the damage of the bombs.  The spire is broken off, and the walls have big chunks blown out of them.”

At this point, I have to interject.  This memory is one of the strongest, most moving memories I have from our travels.  We were tired from our long flights and seemingly even longer layovers.  We were maybe a little stunned that we’d finally arrived.  And though we were walking along the typically bustling Kurfürstendamm, there weren’t many people out.  I couldn’t help but think a little sadly that this was because they were all at home with their families, and here Andrew and I were, alone on the street.  And then the snow started.  It was amazing — big fluffy snowflakes drifting down.  And as we strolled, it suddenly came into view…

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Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.

I was shocked, staring.  I’d never seen anything so old, or so violently destroyed.  Just thinking of what had all happened in and around that church, in the time it had existed, blew my mind.  And here we were, standing in a place that is busy about 364 days of the year, on the one night when no one was around… snow softly falling, looking up at this magnificent, damaged structure.  I thought it was so gorgeous, that the Berliners chose to leave it as it was, to be honest about what had happened — to not try to eliminate all reminders, but instead to face them, and remember, and move forward.  And then the bells began to ring.  Stunning.

In typical Erin-fashion, here is how the rest of the journal entry goes:

“On one side of the church is a new bell tower, and on the other, a new church.  We went to the Christmas Eve organ concert, which was impressive… but I think I nodded off.”

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Inside the new Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.


2 responses to “Made Me Cry: Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

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