Author: Paul Nesselroade

Germany/Poland ’23, Day 12

Auschwitz I and II Today we went to a place where language does not follow. A mere description of our day is all we have to offer. We walked through an 8-hour educational tour of Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II (Birkenau) with the help of my friend and exceptional guide, David Kennedy. Afterward, we met at the hotel to discuss our experience. In our time of sharing, many themes emerged. Here are some of the most persistent ones: the ethics of using knowledge gained by inhumane experiments and the post-war allied use of experts tainted by affiliation with the National

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Germany/Poland ’23, Day 11

A Little Bit of Everything Our first full day in Kraków provided us the opportunity to cover a lot of bases. We peeked into St. Mary’s (and actually 3 other churches as well), walked up to Wawel Castle, passed through the Kazimierz District and on to the Ghetto Memorial and the Ghetto Wall Memorial, and finishing mid-day at the Schindler Factory Museum. Several of us topped the day off by attending an evening classical music concert in St. Peter and Paul’s Church where we heard about 15 pieces from composers like Schubert, Mozart, Bach, and Vivaldi. Pretty strong day when

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Germany/Poland ’23, Day 10

Travel to Kraków, Poland Short and sweet review for today. Thursday was almost entirely spent in the coach traveling from Berlin to Kraków. We were able, however, to meet-up with Asbury alum and missionary (and fellow Zoo boy), Mike Green, who has spent over 30 years in this city. Mike was kind enough to take the lead on a brief walking tour of Old Town – we only had time to swing through the square and then catch a dusky glimpse of the castle. Tomorrow we will do some more proper exploring. Here are a few pics from the day:

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Germany/Poland ’23, Day 9

Distance The word “distance” seems, in many ways, to be a fitting description of our experience today. For starters, our destination, Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, was a great distance away from Berlin, and the camp itself was a good 45 minute walk from the closest train station. Furthermore, there was a dramatic lack of distance between the horrors experienced in the camp and the nearby city of Fürstenberg which sits nestled comfortably on the opposite shoreline of swelling in the Havel River. Conversely, the residents of this beautiful little German town have worked hard to create a great distance between themselves

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Germany/Poland ’23, Day 8

A U.S. Embassy visit and a bit more of “Free Berlin” On Tuesday, we had the privilege of meeting with two U.S. Embassy officials, Robert Greenan and Cherrie Daniels. Diplomats have such a unique vantage point from which to provide us with insight as we try to understand the present situation in Germany in light of the terrible recent past that we are studying. Our discussion primarily focused on the experiment that Germany has undergone as the only country in history to so openly and fully claim ownership of it’s troublesome past. Is it working, or are the upcoming generations

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Germany/Poland ’23, Day 7

Free Berlin Day! Today we had the entire day to explore Berlin and follow our own interests. For the students, this included the zoo and aquarium, shopping, chasing down an abandoned radio station, and consuming lots and lots of food. See pictures below. I took the opportunity to go to several new locations, namely Marx-Engels Forum, the DDR Museum, the Wall Museum at Checkpoint Charlie, the Espionage Museum, the ruins of a bombed out Benedictine Monastery, the Evangelische Parochialkirche, and St. Nicholas Church. See the second gallery of photos. A quote found at the Wall Museum, “Escape is the mother

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Germany/Poland ’23, Day 6

Churches and Museums On this Mother’s Day, many students started off by attending a service at the Berliner Dom while others went to St. Mary’s, the oldest church in Berlin. In the afternoon we managed to visit two very important venues – The Jewish Museum of Berlin, located in the heart of the city, followed by The House of the Wannsee Conference, positioned way out near Potsdam. For a large group, we really moved through the city well and showed great endurance to get this all in today. Below are some pictures: Tomorrow is a much-needed free day in Berlin.

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Germany/Poland ’23, Day 5

Sachsenhausen On Saturday we visited our first of three camps, Sachsenhausen. This camp sits just north of Berlin and was important for several reasons – its size, its proximity to Berlin, and the number of techniques and tactics that were learned here and implemented across the rest of the Nazi camp system. The experience was very challenging for all of us, to say the least. There is no way to soften the reality of the brutality and inhumanity that occurred in these places. Educationally, not only did we learn a lot of particular facts, but we began to ask many

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Germany/Poland ’23, Day 4

Wittenberg, the Reformation, and a bit of Rail Confusion Day 4 was a break from the Holocaust and National Socialism, although there were contextual connections that were made – namely, a brief look at a pre-enlightenment, pre-biological expression of antisemitism. Challenges on the rails on the way home did not damper what was a wonderful day spent in the city of reformation. The Asisi Panorama, City Church, and Castle Church were the most significant locations visited. Below are a few pics. Tomorrow we venture just north of the city to the concentration camp most proximal to Berlin – Sachsenhausen.

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Germany/Poland ’23, Day 3

Of Beginnings and Endings Today was our hardest day thus far. Not as many steps taken nor as many locations visited, but the content was tremendously heavy. Before places like Auschwitz were even imagined, Brandenburg was. It was the location where what had previously only been imagined was first put into practice – the medicalized and state-sanctioned killing of other people. The critical first step taken at this facility and the practical, methodological, and contextual lessons that were learned by the perpetrators here in Brandenburg would form the procedural foundation for the millions of deaths that would follow. Our day

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