When my dad, my brother, and I were in Berlin this summer, we of course had to walk over to Museumsinsel, which is home to all of the incredible museums and archives that the soviets did their best to destroy through neglect. Buildings that stood open to the elements for 50 years after the war are finally being restored, and the artifacts reconstructed and displayed once again. It’s an incredible transformation, and is producing my favorite collection in the world. Nothing beats the Pergamon!

Last time Dad was in Berlin, the wall was under construction, so he’d never gotten to walk down Unter den Linden Strasse (where, yes, they have now replanted the linden trees). While it’s come a long way even since I was last there, you can definitely tell that you’ve just transitioned between the Marshall Plan and ex-Soviet block. “Block” is the operative word there, since it seems they only allowed you to build with the concrete kind. The restoration of the city is beginning to manifest in the East as scattered architectural gems, and even the old palace reconstruction is underway. As Berlin rebuilds, however, it is adding in some potent reminders of a nasty past.

On our way to the museums, we stopped by the Neue Wache, which has become the memorial to the victims of war and tyranny. We were the first people there at opening, so we had the rare chance to see the memorial in silence.

Neue Wache Pieta

Neue Wache