Author: Paul Nesselroade

Holocaust Studies Tour, 2024, Day 11

Schindler’s Factory Museum and Free Kraków On our first full day in Kraków, we started off walking from Old Town to the Schindler Factory Museum. On the way we stopped by a 14th century basilica (Corpus Christi), the Ghetto Plaza Memorial, and a small stretch of the ghetto wall. In the afternoon and evening students explored widely what Old Town Kraków has to offer. Some pictures are below feature a Wawel Castle tour, some cultural performances in the Old Town Square, and a classical music concert at the Peter and Paul Cathedral. Tomorrow is Auschwitz I and II (Birkenau). We

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Holocaust Studies Tour, 2024, Day 10

Off to Kraków Most of today was taken up by a 9-hour private bus ride from Berlin to Kraków. We got to our destination with just enough time to take a quick walking tour around the Wawel Castle and Old Town Kraków before we needed to crash and prepare for the next day. A few pics are below. Tomorrow we walk through the old Jewish district, peak-in on Corpus Christi Basilica, take in the ghetto wall and plaza memorial, and then go through the Schindler Factory Museum. Those hearty enough for a lengthy walk will go on to check out

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Holocaust Studies Tour, 2024, Day 9

Alt Rehse and Free Berlin For our last day in Berlin, we split up to follow different interests. About half of us went 2-hours north of Berlin by regional train to a small village called Alt Rehse. Here, the Nazis set up a training facility for medical doctors and midwives. It was a program for medical leadership – i.e., to groom and prepare the next generation of medical professionals to put into practice the racial-hygiene policies and eugenic principles that sat at the heart of the Nazi utopic vision. (This place was constructed to reflect the Nazis understanding of the

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Holocaust Studies Tour, 2024, Days 7 and 8

A U.S. Embassy and two Concentration Camps The last two days featured a meeting in the U.S. Embassy in Berlin with embassy personnel, and our first visit to a concentration camp…two, as a matter of fact. At the embassy we spent an hour or more with Cherrie Daniels, a cultural attaché with the department of public affairs, as well as a few of her graduate interns. We discussed the importance of holocaust awareness and education, and we were informed about some of the policy efforts and international agreements the U.S. State Dept. is spearheading to help return back to their

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Holocaust Studies Tour, 2024, Day 6

Church, Work, and Play On this Mother’s Day Sunday we first made time available for folks to attend a local service. Most students either went to the Berliner Dom (Lutheran) in the morning or an Anglican service that met in the early evening at nearby St. Mary’s (a Catholic church which changed to Lutheran post reformation). Confused yet? In early afternoon we made our way to the south central part of the city where we took in one of Berlin’s most visited museums, The Jewish Museum. Lastly, students found their way to various eating establishments – and a few brave

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Holocaust Studies Tour, 2024, Day 5

House of the Wannsee Conference and Free Berlin Today we first traveled to the southwest of Berlin to the idyllic resort town on the lake named Wannsee. Here, in January of 1942, 15 high-ranking National Socialist government officials gathered to organize the implementation of the final solution to the Jewish question. Around the table sat 8 Ph.D’s and many other highly-educated, highly skilled leaders within the Nazi party. And within 90 minutes they had finished all the needed arrangements and coordinations and adjourned the meeting. Sometimes we go to places which highlight the victims, today we focused on the perpetrators.

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Holocaust Studies Tour, 2024, Day 4

A Day in the City of Luther Today the group boarded a south-bound region train to a different German province, Saxony-Anhalt, and the city of Wittenberg, where we were walked through a guided tour on all things Luther. A pleasant one-day reprieve from our program’s focus. (The “Jewish Pig” display on the outside wall of the City Church of Wittenberg, however, reminds us of just how deeply embedded into the German psyche were the cultural references leveraged by the Nazis.) The main sites we visited were the Lutherhaus, the City Church, and the Castle Church. Pictures are below. Tomorrow we

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Holocaust Studies Tour, 2024, Day 3

The Memorial at Brandenburg I’m going to be super brief today. I need to catch up on sleep. We spent the day with historian and educator (and friend), Christian Marx. He works at the Brandenburg Euthanasia Memorial where he, among other responsibilities, organizes and leads group interactions with the history of the National Socialists’ attempt to rid the German public of “lives unworthy of life,” a phrase coined by academics over a decade before the Nazi’s came to power. Yes, it is a dark, dark topic. But the students did so very well. Christian met us in Berlin where we

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Holocaust Studies Tour, 2024, Day 2

Walking Tour of Berlin Our first full day of the tour was designed to ease ourselves into our topic and to gain familiarity with the many things to do within walking distance and short train rides around Berlin. On the lighter side, we checked out Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg Gate (a subgroup went on to find the 1936 Olympiastadion and the Kaiser Wilhelm II Memorial Church ruins. On the more sobering side, we spent time at the Topography of Terror Museum, the Aktion T4 Memorial, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The first batch of pictures

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Holocaust Studies Tour, 2024, Day 1

Arriving in Berlin, Getting Familiar with Alexanderplatz On this first day we gathered everyone from the airport and made our way to our hotel, sitting in the heart of the city – Alexanderplatz. This impressively-sized square was the primary city center of the former East Berlin. Its’ most prominent feature is the towering Fernsehturn, the Soviet-built TV tower built in the late 1960’s made to both invoke Sputnik and to dwarf any similarly-shaped church steeple – a comment on an imagined future, one that bespeaks of the Soviet claim that technology is the true savior of humanity; a realization that

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