Berlin Modern Art Museum
“People had lost all control and discipline, all concept of ‘mine’ and ‘yours’ was gone. Of all the horrors of war, this was the most terrible: Since then I have feared nothing in this world quite so much as the bestiality of a wicked human being; no animal would behave in such a way.” ~Katherina Heinroth
Blind Power~Rudolf Schlichter
“With their nightmarish monsters, these pictures make us reel by confronting us so closely with the spurious foundations of our existence.”
Berlin Jewish Museum
Garden of Exile
“One feels a little bit sick walking through it. But it is accurate, because that is what perfect order feels like when you leave the history of Berlin.”~Daniel Libiskind
In the Garden of Exile, I felt an eery sense that no matter where I walked I would be in the same place, even though I knew there was an exit. I felt trapped with the appearance of being free. As I walked through the isles, I realized the view was always the same, a clear path with a wall at the end. I couldn’t escape the strict design. Despite the order of the rock garden, I always felt unbalanced as I was never able to stand up straight due to the tilted foundation. Olive willow tree tops peeked out from columns, but I could not enjoy them because they were too far away to properly observe. The sound of my boots on lonely stone pathways resonated emptiness and abandonment with traces of fear and mourning hanging heavy in the air.
As I look at the closing door and the darkness envelops me, my throat becomes tight, and I hold my breath. Letting go of the pain in my chest might make me lose that last bit of light which feels like hope. My eyes well up, but I hold back emotional response. I could be here for a long time, and I cannot lose it yet. I have to hold it together and think. So I move my paralyzed body, touching the cold wall to guide my blind fumbling. I see a small bit of light at a top corner of my cement prison. I walk towards it, and the space around me only narrows. Claustrophobia sets in, panic. What cruelty to leave some light but have it be impossible to reach. I feel betrayed. I want to scream, but I am afraid of what else might be in here. I frantically follow the wall to the other side and come back to where I began. I realize attempts at exit are futile, so I squat with my back to the wall trying not to cry, holding myself so I don’t feel so alone, so I feel protected against the unknown. I comfort myself with memories of what it feels to be in the light, and I calm down remembering this is not my reality. That I can return to the warmth if I choose to step out the door, but horrified knowing so many never did again. That they died like this.
Axis of Continuity
I grow weary as I climb these stairs, but I push my tired body to keep going up. When I reach the top and look back, I see the lattice-work, the intricate bindings. The struggles that make us stronger. I can relax knowing it is all part of a greater plan. The interweaving of a blanket. A door opens into warmth. How apt there is a tree in the center with wishes of children hanging from it. Always a tree remains to remind us beauty and peace exist, that hope is just around the corner if we can open our hearts to change.
“I wish we could all live in peace, love, not war, no hate, just for everyone to be at one.”~Anonymous