Berlin Memorials

March, 2013

Berlin -- Again at home in Berlin; it's my fifth home here, over three decades. The first was in Lichterfelde-West, then Lichterfelde-Ost, Schmargendorf (in the British sector, where bagpipers marched on ceremonial days), and Steglitz. Now I'm at home in Kreuzberg, hard by what was once the Soviet sector.

On a short walk over to the Spree River I see magpies and hooded crows. On the river are moorhens, tufted ducks, and seagulls. Swans fly over. Across the river is the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall. Supposedly under protection as a memorial, it is now threatened by a large development project.

On the opposite side of my block is a memorial evoking an earlier time. A cobblestone-sized brass plate in the sidewalk in front of an apartment house notes that Rosa Abraham lived here until 1943, when she was deported and murdered at Auschwitz. Another plate notes that Georg Fleischer lived here until May of 1944, when he was arrested as part of the German resistance movement and executed in Brandenburg. Similar memorials are all over Berlin; I saw several last week in Stuttgart, too. They stand a better chance of surviving, not being so much in the way of development.