On our first full day in Berlin, Dr. P finally announced our groups for our time in Berlin. According to Dr. P, he had placed us in our groups 3 weeks ago and “tested them at our last meeting.” Let me tell you, Dr. P knew what he was doing, as he placed THE Peter Donaldson, THE Harris Podell, THE Taylor Harville, THE Emma Kight, THE Kynnedi Rone, and me in a group together! Our time in Berlin has been filled with adventure after adventure! We have had some great laughs, but we also haven’t been afraid to have deep conversations about our lives and discuss our emotions.
On our first full day, we visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which is a powerful memorial and evokes unique experiences for each individual. This memorial extends over a city block, as hundreds of dark stelae line many undulated pathways. Walking through the memorial on both a rainy afternoon and a dark night allowed me to have a glimpse into some of the emotions the victims of the Holocaust may have felt at that time. Because of the overwhelming size of the stelae, I was never sure if someone would be around the next corner or if I would be found by another person exploring the memorial, just as many Jews were in hiding and never knew whether they would be found by the Nazis.
Due to the mere size of the memorial, once I made it to the center, it seemed as if there was no easy way out, just as many of the people living at this time felt like there was no easy way to end the violence of the Nazis.
Although the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe caused me to feel many emotions such as fear and isolation, I did find one reminder of hope in the memorial. In between the bricks of the sidewalk, there was bright green moss growing, which allowed me to remember the survivors. After studying more about plants than I ever thought I would this semester in biology, I learned that mosses, a type of bryophyte, are a very persistent type of plant that can live in places that many other plants could not survive. Just as the moss is able to grow between the bricks on the ground of the memorial, there were many incredibly tough people who were able to survive this incredibly tough time in history.
Berlin has reminded me that the future can be so uncertain, as many Jews and other victims of the Holocaust had no idea what the next day had in store for them.
Here’s to living in the present and not worrying about what is yet to come!
And here’s to team alpha and ampelmann for reminding me that “you’ll never walk alone,” especially with the familia!
Sending love from Berlin,