The One About the Tower of Terror

January 8: Today is our last full day in Berlin and I feel like I could spend so much more time exploring all the sites here. Thinking back, I’m pretty sure this is the largest city I have seen to date, and it is hard to conceptualize how massive it is. Perhaps the future will bring me another opportunity to visit again.

We woke up early, or what seemed to be early, to venture to the Berlin Jewish Museum. This museum went through the history of the Jewish Tradition and how it has evolved over periods of time. Hands down, this was the coolest museum I have ever seen. The artifacts and ways the information was presented were so artistic and open-ended, fostering a dual purpose of drawing personal meanings with each display. Usually museums strive to communicate simple, straightforward information for the purpose of educating the public. Here, you were expected to analyze material and interpret it. There were two specific rooms that carried out this philosophy perfectly. The first was the Holocaust Tower (or, as my roommate Becca mistook as- The Tower of Terror). It is a remembrance room located on the corner of the museum that is at least five stories high and walled with solid concrete. There is no lighting, heating, or ventilation- only a sliver of natural light coming from the top of the roof and a solid steel door. The purpose of this room is to immerse oneself in a completely isolated state and reflect on the lives of Holocaust victims. The simplicity of the room sparked such complicated feeling and reflections. The second room was called the Fallen Leaves exhibit. This room comprised of a dark, desolate area, however it had more natural light than the Holocaust Tower. The floor was made up of 10,000 steel plates with faces. The purpose of the exhibit is to walk across the faces without making a noise. When doing this, we were forced to look at all the faces, giving it an incredibly creepy effect. The room is hard to describe, but it was SO COOL. All in all, the museum wasn’t too solemn, but it made me think more about how many challenges Judaism has faced over the years.

Later, the group visited Check Point Charlie, a Cold War site where people could cross from East to West Berlin. They are currently building a visitor center of sorts to commemorate the site. The area around Check Point Charlie was very touristy, and to be honest, I was checked-out of Charlie (so punny, right?) and was more worried about being pick-pocketed. So, I didn’t pay that much attention to the information. Oops.

After we finished our class tours, some of us ate lunch and decided to go to the very edge of town to see the East Side Gallery.  The East Side Gallery is composed of a large section of the Berlin Wall that is dedicated to graffiti art. It took us a while to navigate the subway system (and a minor run-in with the Subway ticket police) to find the site, but it was so worth seeing. The double-sided art was incredible and stretched for more than a quarter mile.

We came back to the hotel to discover that another Elon Winter Term trip had arrived in Berlin and were staying at the hotel! I was excited because a couple of my good friends on the trip were able to be there on my birthday. We celebrated it grandly at the Irish Pub…again. It was just too good to go somewhere else.

All in all, great day and an even better birthday!


1 thought on “The One About the Tower of Terror

  1. Happy belated birthday, Kelly! So glad your luggage arrived and you can eat without getting sick. I love reading your blog. Safe travels!

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