Yesterday I crossed a more than 400 year old oak tree in Berlins biggest city forest , the Grunewald. She stands near to Großes Fenster a small beach with a great view approximately 1 km north of the land bridge to Schwanenwerder.
Passing older trees, did you ever think of what this creatures have already seen in their lives?
What is this trees history?
- At first – like every existing tree today – she was lucky because she was the one who survived the competition with thousands of other oak tree seedlings and the appetite of animals.
- In the beginning of the 17th century she was born right into the Thirty Year’s War where half of the early Berliners where killed and the city has been nearly destroyed.
- This was a time where the tuberculosis killed millions of people, where the inquisition and the persecution of witches took place, where Shakespeare wrote Macbeth and where Copernicus’ claim, that earth revolves around the sun, was reinforced by Galileo, a discovery that pretty much rocked world’s history.
- The oak saw Napoleons entrance to Berlin and the beginning of the industrialization.
- A lot of trees where cut down in this time but the Berliners started to realize the value and the beauty oft he forest. They protestet and the Grunewald became a protectet area from there on. Today it is the biggest city forest in Germany.
- During the second world war the oak stood in the middle of a battlefield between russian and german soldiers.
- After WW2 she was a part of West Berlin, while her colleagues on the other shore of the Havel and only some kilometers more, where suddenly part of another country. In 1989 the wall came down and they where fellows again.
Today the oak still stands there. Peaceful and dignified in the garden of the German Water Lifesavers Society (DLRG).
Go and listen to the stories she has to tell.