Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 2- Berlin

On the bus ride to a modern memorial in the Bavarian Quarter of Berlin, Shalmi lectured about the background of Nazi Ideology. He explained that it is based on science of the 19th century, when scientists like the German Humboldt brothers and Charles Darwin began asking the question, "How (empirically) do things happen in the world?" Their theories about species and the survival of the fittest were the impetus for later sociologists and scientists to link their theories to racist theories. When all of these ideas mix together, and the Nazis apply them to the Jews, then they label Jews as racially inferior.

videoShalmi Barmore gives insight to the students at the Bavarian Quarter Memorial. Once at the Bavarian Quarter, a neighborhood of Berlin where Jews once lived, we viewed a modern memorial which consists of signs with pictures on one side and anti-Jewish laws or rules on the other. Shalmi led a discussion in how some of these laws came from the top down--such as "Jews can't use public telephone booths"-- and some came from the bottom up--such as "No Jews are allowed to sing in choirs." It is important to realize that the Nazis set some laws in place, but community members in Germany also made their own anti-Jewish rules.

videoFrankie reacts to the Bavarian Quarter Memorial. Bavarian Quarter Memorial Website - Click Here Later we toured part of the German History Museum, where Shalmi contextualized the history of Nationalism in Germany, which had its origins in 1806 when Napoleon defeated the Germans in the battle of Jena. Shalmi told a story of the German composer Beethoven, who in 1803 composed a symphony for Napoleon who had just ended the Holy Roman Empire and became Emperor. He titled it "The Emporer Symphony;" however, in 1806, following German defeat, he retitled it "The Eroica", wishing to disconnect it from Napoleon. During the years 1826-1845, due to the Industrial Revolution, the German population rises from 23 million to 32.7 million. People, including Jews, moved from the country farms into cities, where factory jobs were. Jews, who were literate, cosmopolitan and engaged in commerce, came to Germany wishing to assimilate, beginning a "one-sided love affair". The Jews loved German culture for its music, art, and literature. However, German Nationalism was rooted in Romanticism and was based on history. Shalmi explained using a tree analogy, saying that Germans like composer Richard Wagner, saw a German as one whose roots were German. He did not believe that famous German composer Felix Mendelsohn-Bartholdy, even though he was born a Christian (his father had converted), was not German. Wagner, and other Germans who were applying the racist scientific principles, would not reciprocate the love for Jews.

videoDaiQuan and Mrs. Lisa Bauman discuss secret Nazi documents concerning the Wannsee Conference. After a stop for an authentic German lunch, including schnitzel, German potato salad and cucumber salad, we went to the Wannsee House. While sitting on the back steps overlooking the beautiful lake, Shalmi talked to us about the three phases of The Twisted Road to Auschwitz. Phase I, 1933-1939, to legitimize the Nazi government, all policy decisions needed to be based in law. The first task was to identify who was a German, and Jews were not allowed to be German if one or more grandparents was Jewish. During this phase, the Nazi government "encouraged" the emigration of Jews. Phase II, 1939-end of 1941/beginning of 1942 with the Wannsee Conference, Nazis focused on the process of gathering Jews of Poland and other European nations into ghettos for possible further removal to Madagascar, and killing the Jews of Russia through mobile killing squads. Phase III, 1942-1945, the decision to implement the decision to kill all the Jews of Europe, which included the technology and bureacracy of the process of death.

Student Reflections


Celina says... As I stood on the street in the quaint Bavarian Quarter and looked around me, I saw that it was a completely modernized, new, Berlin, one where I wanted the chic apartment on the corner. I closed my eyes and tried to bridge the past, to see Kristallnacht happening around me. I felt transported into history in a way that I had never felt before. The lives and stories of the Holocaust are still alive and speaking to those there to listen. It is truly a living breathing history that is unlike any other historical site I have ever experienced. The life that the Holocaust has taken on encompasses everything in Berlin to form a time machine that whisks me back to a different time.




Sarah says... Venturing out on this trip, I anticipated learning strictly about German history pertaining to the events of the Holocaust. Today proved to entail more information about the country of Germany before. It can be admitted that the drastic and severe circumstances make it hard to look at any other historic attributes of Germany’s past. However, visiting the German Historical Museum provided details that would be looked past when only studying Holocaust details. Many attributes of Germany’s early historic period linked to the future without direct reference. Explained through photos, artifacts, paintings, and detailed descriptions were details pertaining to the middle class of the 19th century and the creation of the national identity of Germania. All of these experiences contributed to the experience of being immersed in the foreign surroundings of a fascinating country with a long strain of impacting history.




Brenton says... Just to know that I stood on the same porch that Hitler’s top ranking officials did to approve “The Final Solution” is an unexplainable feeling. It just seems so unreal that a horrific plan could be put into place at a beautiful site such as the Wannsee House.






Casey says... Today at the Wannsee House we were brought to the back of the house overlooking the lake of Wannsee for Mr. Barmore to give us a lecture about the history in the house. I was shocked to come upon the house being in an upper middle/upper class neighborhood, while it held thehistory of such atrocities being planned.









31 comments:

  1. Thank you to everyone for sharing your thoughts...we can only experience this through you. I am excited to hear more as you continue this important journey. Stay safe and be sure to keep a written and photographic journal of everything!

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  2. I think that it's shocking how Hitler and Germany came to turn on Jews. It's clear from the information given to our class that Antisemitism has been present for a long time, especially in Europe due to conflicts of religion and harmful stereotypes. However, during the period of time before the Holocaust began, most Jews were very assimilated and accepted by the Gentile neighbors and friends. Some people who would later be labeled as "Jewish" did not even think of themselves as Jews because they didn't practice or associate themselves with religion. Jews were successful and accomplished people. Even the doctor who treated Hitler's mother when she had cancer was a respected Jewish doctor. However, through the propaganda spread throughout Europe, from lingering historical Antisemitism, and through the isolation and separation of Jews and Gentiles, the Nazis were finally able to make the Jews inferior in the eyes of non-Jews, which was key to eliminating them without opposition.

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  3. I absolutely love the fact that you are integrating videos into the blog. That, combined with the student reflections, work to articulate a powerful learning experience.

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  4. I can tell by the amazing expressions on all your faces in the photos that you are doing exactly what we discussed in our meeting before you left for the trip: "listening", feeling and taking note of all that is around you.
    Keep up the hard work and get the most out of this trip as you can. Hi to Ms. T, Mr. Chang and the indispensible Mr. Barmore.

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  5. Like Eric Sheninger, I too am happy to see the integration of videos and student reflections in this year's blog. These instant reactions help eloquently put into perspective the immediacy needed for this type of education.

    I am fascinated by Sarah's reflections on today's learnings -- both personal and historical. This trip can have that affect on people.

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  6. I continue to be amazed at how rich a learning experience this is for our students at New Milford. As I watch the videos and read your comments, I am inspired once again at the power of education to transform attitudes, misconceptions, beliefs, and ultimately lives.
    Keep on learning! We miss you all, and I personally look forward to following you on this trip of a lifetime!
    Love ya,
    Mrs. DePoto

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  7. It is so interesting to learn that towns also created anti-Jewish laws. I had never known that before. It is also interesting to learn how racist and anti-Jewish ideas can be traced all the way back to Darwin asking how things happen. I love how you guys are using the videos and reflections. I hope everybody is having a great time,and we miss you Mrs. Bauman!
    -Hannah Smith

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  8. As I look at the videos and the expressions on your face I can see that you are all mesmerized by the history that you are seeing and learning. Absorb all you can learn from it and come back and help educate others. Take plenty of pictures brenton as I look forward to seeing and learning from you. Love you all stay safe

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  10. I never thought of all the work and planning that it must have taken to make the final solution... I guess I just always thought that Hitler took power and decided that he didn't like jews, and wanted to get rid of them. I never could understand why the german people just went along with his, well, crazy ideas. I never realized that the Nazi party took 6 years to make an impression on the people before they started moving jews to Ghettos. I guess that the people went along with it simply because the government had been good to them for so long they didnt realize that it was capable of such attrocities.

    Thanks for keeping us updated on the blog and we'll miss you in class tomorrow Mrs. Bauman!!!

    ~Molly Bernard

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  11. I am so happy and proud of the students choosen to go on this study abroad trip, especially you Jessica! I want tons and tons of pictures! Take care God Bless and have fun!!

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  12. I wish I was there! It sounds like you all are having a good time. I really liked what Brenton said about how he was standing on the same porch where the idea of the Final Solution was decided. That's so crazy to think that you were all in that same spot where such a big decision was made.

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  13. I found Celina’s reflection on the Bavarian Quarter fascinating. It was very similar to my own experience when visiting the Grunwald Train Station. The act of closing your eyes and picturing the past while standing in the place where these atrocities occurred has a tremendously powerful effect, and it really does bring the history to life!

    Meredith McCann

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  14. I have always found this particular aspect of the Holocaust particularly disturbing. That Hitler and his confidants could twist the theories of Darwin to their advantage and convince an entire nation that Darwinism should be applied to enslave and eventually exterminate an entire population. It brings to question how man can be manipulated by man and the utmost importance of freedom of thought and education. Perhaps a main reason that our great nation fights throughout the world for these basic rights.

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  15. As we sit here at 11:00 PM ready to post Day 3 of our blog, we want you all to know that your comments and encouragement are greatly appreciated. We are thrilled this year that our blogging is teaching others about our very important journey. We see this in your reactions to the themes that we are all exploring together.

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  16. Sorry i found out about this blog just now T! My mom was at the high school when you skyped with shen and all the parents so she told me about it. The Bavarian Quarter still stands out to me so much from that trip because of the way we tried to approach people on the street to question them about the mural and so many of the older people would just ignore us. That was until the teenage girl who lived in the area gave us one the most memorable moments of that trip in explaining her education of the Holocaust. Hope all is well, i'll be following

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  17. Sounds like you guys are having a great time! The Wannsee house looks so beautiful! I would love to have taken a tour of it. I could never imagine that being the site of the horrific Final Solution. It's so cool that you all got to stand where Hitler's top ranking officials stood. That must have been a remarkable experience!

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  18. It looks like everything is off to a great start!! Looking at all of these pictures and videos brings me back to HST2009, which I can't believe was already 2 years ago! I still think about it almost every day and have even applied it to a few of my classes at Ithaca!

    I look forward to reading more of this years adventures!
    Zoë

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  19. I didn't know about the Twisted Road to Auschwitz, and I think that's really interesting. I'm so jealous that you guys are actually getting to see what we are talking about in class. Mrs. Bauman, Schindler's List is so good so far. We just finished the first tape. Oh and someone tell Theresa she's missing out on some rough swim practices. Be safe guys and hopefully learn a lot!

    PS: Mrs Bauman, I did my accent from Hamlet for The Importance of Being Earnest. I'm better than Anthony.

    Lauren

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  20. It is great to see pictures of you as you take engage in the tour. It is a never to be forgotten experience. You will return to O'Dowd with a lot more life experience and perspective. We miss you.

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  21. When I read about what Shalmi said about the signs that said Jews couldn't be in telephone booths and sing in choirs it reminds me of what we learned in American History about how African-Americans used to be treated in the South. They faced the same kind of discrimination as the Jews did in Germany. I didn't know that the regular German people felt like that about the Jews like the Nazis did. I'm sure it wasn't all of them but it was some of them.
    -Dashawn Harden

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  22. I find it very interesting and important that the modern memorial at the Bavarian Quarter recognizes the laws that were made also by the towns that the Jews lived in. I believe that as people witnessed this horrendous time in history occur they did not want to take any responsibility for the murders and suffering. It is very easy to pin all of the blame on Hitler and the Nazi's, but we must remember that the worlds distant attitude was a major factor. As Elie Wiesel points out in his book night, taking responsibility is a main way we can mourn and make sure an event such as the Holocaust never happens again. Thus, it is vital that the entire world realizes what part they had to play in allowing the Holocaust to happen.
    -Callie Prince

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