Sunday, 4 January 2009

Hitler's Bunker is a Car Park

Berlin was as riddled with pivotal world history, as it was with bullet holes and shrapnel scars; reminders not only of Allied bombing but also the terrible Battle of Berlin.

And I couldn't help, as we wandered about, seeing the sights, but imagine my grandfather and his father and his father's father playing, living and walking these very same streets we were.

There are perhaps too many highlights to bang on about, the best thing you could do is just visit Berlin itself but the site of Hitler's bunker is one of the stranger and more compelling, whether it be the bizarre mundanity that envelops the place, or the sheer evil that was present here.

Eva-Jane and I debated whether the car park should be marked with something other than the small sign, or whether indeed the small sign was too much of a marker for the final resting place of evil; why is it okay to remember victims as a spur to never letting the thing happen again (having said that, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe reminded me of the stacked up coffins of Srebrenica) but the instigators are erased from history?

Speaking of erased from history, Eva and I went off the beaten track to pay our respects at Garnisonsfriedhof, a neglected military cemetery that contains German war dead from the First and Second World Wars, some of their graves had fresh flowers and candles, some didn't.

It struck me that Germany is a nation that can't celebrate it's war dead but rather has to hide them away, like Hitler's bunker or the elements of architecture destroyed to cover-up the past; Berlin itself has three small man-made hills that surround it, they are made up of the mounds of rubble that Berlin was reduced to.

And then there was the Berlin Wall, looming, long and ominous; slicing the city into an odd shaped half, crappy concrete bits popping up here, there and everywhere, a marker of Communism drawing a line in the sand and a reminder that the idea of building walls never goes out of style...

Of course there was more, the lovely people, the huge array of architecture, the serious lack of jay walking, the great beer and marvellous but heavily pig-based food of which we had our fill. I mean, Currywurst is a fucking brilliant idea.

It felt in someway home, my surname was common (even streets were named after me...) and Eva and I felt that this is a city we could live in if ever London and the UK became too much...or we both got a part in a German soap opera.

Here's to Berlin, past, present and future.


  1. There is one in my town called Baulding Street.


  2. I saw a screening of Tom Cruise's movie Valkyrie, about an authentic plot to kill Hitler. I think the German accent is difficult for someone who doesn't speak German. In that movie they used British accents.

    Can you do a German accent?

  3. It's very difficult and mine comes off as a wee bit Dutch, funnily enough though I can do Polish...

  4. Berlin is a fine city. I remain a loyal fan.

    btw, that buffoon troll at mine calls you a retard, plus a few other useless rants! this is probably why he sent the picture to you. A testimony that Zionists are just another ilk of air-headed extremists!

  5. I'll be over at yours in a sec to unlease the rage...

  6. Always wanted to go to Berlin. The cafes, history and the german people - those whom I've met? Good folk. Gl;ad you had such a great time and brill that you felt sort of at home, that's a good thing..

  7. I guess they have a death wish, maybe thats why they drive so fast?

  8. Doozie, just becuase they don;t have a limit on the motorway, doesn't mean they are dangerous.

    They have less accidents then most nations.


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