Dienst ist Dienst und Schnapps ist Schnapps
Alex Goga- Today was a shorter day than usual, but nevertheless a very important one. We visited the Berlin Museum of Jewish History. It was a very impressive experience, particularly because we learned about Jewish History in Europe, not just in the last century, but also before the 20th Century when the persecution reached its apex with the Holocaust.
The day started as usual at 9 pm by all of us meeting Dr. Byrnes at the Ebenswalderstrasse U-Bahn station. From there we took the train to the station next to the museum. From the very beginning, Dr. Byrnes told us that we definitely have to see two of the exhibits: The Garden of Exile and the Holocaust Tower.
The Garden of Exile was meant to give a symbolic experience for the uprooting feeling that many European Jewish felt as they had to live in other countries that those they were born in.
The Holocaust Tower managed to give us quite a feeling for the terrible experience that millions of Jews had to go through. Standing there in the cold, with only a ladder to high to reach and a light somewhere high in the darkness surrounding them, we understood the pain and suffering that these people had to go through and I am sure we were all thinking that it should never have happened, but more importantly, it should never happen again.
After seeing the two exhibits, we all spent another hour wandering around the huge museum, looking at various exhibits and testing our German with the many videos and recordings in German available.
After the visit to the museum, we went to have lunch in a market close by to the museum. We ate at a Turkish-owned Italian Restaurant, perfectly fitting for the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Berlin. We all had different plans for the evening, but the all included big German style dinners (of course consisting of mostly Italian, Turkish, Asian food, although the occasional snitzel, bratwurst and kraut slipped in for some, like yours truly) complete with at least one liter of heavenly good German beer. The nights were usually filled with bar-hopping (i.e. going from bar to bar in search of people to practice our German and listening to techno-music) hanging out in the park next to our youth hostel, or enjoying cocktails in some of the many cafés around our hostel.
As the days go by in Berlin, I realize how much I love this city... just one more of the wonderful opportunities offered by a unique liberal arts education from Wabash. I never would have imagined that I, as a European from Romania, would be going to study abroad in the US and end up realizing my European roots during an immersion trip to Berlin. I know for sure that having chosen Wabash and to double major in Economics and German were two of the best choices I ever made in my life.