Sachsenhausen

Here, at last, is the final album for 2018 Berlin. I think it could be said this post goes far. Straight to the edge of extremes, you might even say. Beyond further exploration of the now familiar neighborhoods (such as Hackescher Markt and Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, Weissensee, and Friedrichshain), are two more focused tours. One is GDP/Soviet-era development on Karl Marx Allee (which is a boulevard that stretches between Friedrichshain and Mitte), and the other is the Sachsenhausen, Berlin's closest preserved concentration camp (which is in Oranienburg, 45 minutes north by train from the Bornholmer Strasse Station).

I found visiting a concentration camp was an experience like no other. Perhaps even something like the kind of vistas that travel is supposed to be able to uncover. A vista over a thing that, in other words, can only be seen from the place where it happened. And visiting a concentration camp now seems to me to be a required experience, if you want to tour the entirety of Germany (let alone the whole Europe, or hell, if I may be candid, any human built environment).

Karl Marx Allee is a GDP-era architectural wonderland that was meant to be something like the street of dreams for the East German post-WWII reconstruction project. The section I visited was part of the first phase of the development, built in the mid to late fifties using the "wedding-cake" style, which was apparently popular during the Stalinist era of Soviet architecture. It reminded me of archtitecture you might see in Manhattan's Upper-West Side as you walk along Central Park, such as the San Remo or the Eldorado. But instead of coops for millionarires, the Karl Marx Allee was intended as worker housing, which struck me with its overtly Utopian outlook as something unique, a poignant historical marker.

So thanks, I hope you enjoy my personal take on these assorted scenes.

oroboros on 9/12/2020 7:48:31 PM

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