Sunday, January 25, 2009

January 24, 2009 - 9:39 PM

The rest of our group came in today. We are now 15 strong. We left here after noon and went to the German Resistance Memorial Center. Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (Valkyrie) was killed by firing squad there in 1944. The movie Valkyrie that is now playing with Tom Cruise is about the people in 1944 that attempted to kill Hitler with a bomb. The order was called Valkyrie and had the home guard protect Berlin. At any rate there were many, many people involved with this attempt. Claus was shot by firing squad in the square surrounded by this museum as he was instrumental in the effort to kill Hitler. The museum shows the many that were involved. It would have only been better had all of the displays been completed in English. It was however pretty easy to understand what was being said. I am hoping to upload some images tomorrow to show you all the places we have seen. Lots of WWII history has been found by this group.

We spent quite a few hours in this museum and then walked to Checkpoint Charlie (CC) - the dividing point between East and West Berlin. I had my photo taken with two soldiers at CC. The museum was very commercialized and we decided to skip it as they wanted nearly 12.5 EU per person and decided the first museum was better and was free. We didn't go to the CC museum.

We also viewed another outdoor museum related to the Gestapo, SS then the Berlin wall and the difficulties of living in a divided city. It was called ? of Terror and the Gestapo and SS originally had their offices in the building that now longer exists at this sight. The Wall is just outside this open air display with images of East German soldiers helping children through the barbed wire. It is said that over 5,000 East German guards escaped into West Berlin. In fact there is a photo of a guard climbing over the barbed wire. Interesting.

We have seen a great deal of this history and am grateful to be able to relive it in some way. Tomorrow we go to Stalag Luft III. Only the rooms on this side of the pension work on wireless so everyone is in our room or in the hallway talking to family on Skype or emailing to their families. We all went to dinner at Schoerr Cafe. I had roast duck with dumplings and red cabbage. Jerry had schnitzel with potatoes and peas and carrots. And the ice cream was great!

Tomorrow morning we are on the bus by 7:30 am and head to Poland. Our bus driver who spoke English is ill so we now have one that speaks German and Polish. We can communicate with hands and one of us speaks decent German so we should be ok. We will be at the prison camp and walk the five compounds, view the museum, guard tower, great escape tunnel remains, fire pits, and cooler. We will get to spend time in the barracks recently constructed by the British at the museum at the prison camp. We will also tour sites in the area - like the barns at Grosselton (big U shaped barns with the old boarded up manor house). On the forced march, the first men out, the south compound were able to rest here for a few hours. We then return to Zagan and head out at ll:00 PM on the 27th to do the first nine miles. I thought we had a day in between the final 15 miles but it looks like our schedule will be 9, 15, 13, 16 then on to Nuremberg by bus.

That is a day ahead of you as it is now 9:34 PM on Sunday. I will attempt to download some images tonight and will post some tomorrow. Be well. Happy days ahead. Val

I am going to close so I can go to bed and rest up for the next few days. Be well. Val


ME said...

I love following you on your trip. I also look forward to the picutres. ME

Barry Schoen said...

Thank you so much for posting the daily adventures. How I wish I could be with you to experience first hand what I've been researching for the past 18 months. My father's best friend was held in the Belaria Compound. I look forward to any pictures you share.

Tamara said...

Val, glad to hear you are having a good time. Be well and enjoy. Hi to Marilyn.


Anonymous said...

Hi Val, glad to see you are having a good time. Hi to Marilyn. Tamara