Road Trip From Berlin: Happy Liberation From The Nazis Day!

The 8th of May, the day of the unconditional capitulation of the German Wehrmacht, is finally a holiday in Berlin. We decided to take a road trip towards the East to visit some relevant locations in the area. We went to the honorary cemetery of soviet soldiers in Müncheberg, to Seelower Höhen, where one of the last big battles of WW2 took place and to Küstrin, where the Red Army crossed Oder River to close the ring around Berlin and initiated the end of WW2.

And again: We still learned something new.
Some years ago, a friend asked me, if I could take someone his buddy with me in my car to Hamburg. I was delighted, because I don’t like to drive alone and so I had a very interesting trip with someone I didn’t know before. The guy told me, he grew up in Eastern Germany and graduated from High School when the wall came down and he went directly to the United States afterwards. Clash of cultures and everything. Not only because America but also because of small town Iowa Christian environment. An adventure.
When he was asked about the Nazis – because every German in a foreign country is asked about the Nazis – his first inner reaction was something like “Wait. That’s not us. That’s the other Germans.”, but he quickly noticed, that something was strange about his inner dialog.
In Eastern Germany, kids at school and citizens in general were taught, that the Nazis are the people on the other side of the wall. The wall between the two Germanys was called “Antifaschistischer Schutzwall”, protective wall against fascism. And of course, while my (western socialized) grandmother in the 1980th still had a fearful expression on her face when she saw anything Russian, resulting from cruel wartime experiences augmented by western propaganda during cold war – Russians, in the eyes of Eastern Germans, were seen as saviors from evil.

History and education made, that Eastern German people today write thank you letters to the Red Army which liberated Germany from the Nazis. Which is of course completely true. But it is also true that the concerned Nazis may have been the grandparents of the authors.

There is no clear line between good and evil. The more you learn and know, the more it becomes obvious. You can observe it in everyday news. Black and white in history and communication – nothing is as untrue as that.

 

Müncheberg

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On Our Way to Seelow
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Seelower Höhen
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The landscape on the picture above is the battlefield of the fight between the Red Army and the German Wehrmacht from 16th to 19th April 1945. It was the last big obstacle for the Russians on their way to Berlin. Many lives were lost in this battle and in those last days of war. 11 days later, Hitler killed himself in his bunker and 8 days later, war was over. DSC_6655DSC_6640DSC_6635DSC_6669DSC_6693

 

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The Garden In May

What you see on the first picture is a branchling of the long-eared owl (Waldohreulen-Ästling) which is a kind of a teenager owl who can already fly but still lives with its parents who feed it. We had three siblings of them in our pine trees and they made hell of a noise. When it starts getting dark they start screaming “iiiigh” every other second all over the night. I called them Ilona, Ingo and Ignaz. They are so cute and fluffy and they can turn their head 180 degrees!

What an abundance when everything starts to bloom and grow!
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DSC_6535The tiny Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) which I brought from the Azores and planted in October is still alive but it doesn’t (yet) grow.

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Berlin Day Hike: Silence And Sunrays In Stobbertal

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Berlin Day Hike: Around Wukensee In The Sun

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Stasi-Führungsbunker in Biesenthal

Approximately 2 km North of Kleiner Wukensee we found an ancient GDR military area with ruined buildings and subterranean bunkers. When we had wifi again, we found out, that the big hill we saw, was the former “Stasi-Führungsbunker” (bunker of the leaders of the ministry of State Security).

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Hobrechtsfelde

On our way home we passed through Hobrechtsfelde and made a stop at the wonderful James Biergarten. Have a perfect vast view into the fields and a craft beer!

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Wild Berlin

Sometimes, on a walk through the city, you see more animals than in the forest. For example a grey heron 🙂

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Harnekop Sternebeck

Berlin Day Hike: Summer Lights Around Sternebeck

We had a short walk around beautiful wild lakes near Sternebeck including an outdoor train museum and a swim at the end.

Through the forest and around the lakes

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Harnekop

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The train museum, a cat and a time machine

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Cooling-off in the lake

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Location: Sternebeck Kiefernweg – along the rails (south of the rails) – back to Kiefernweg through the forest to stern becker See – Norther shore – Northwestern shore of Schloßsee – Harnekop Hauptstrasse – across from Harnekoper Strasse reenter the forest on your right – Southern shore of Sternebecker See / Distance: 6 km / Public Transport: Very complicated and at approximately 2h, Eberswalde, Wriezen, Prötzel, Sternebeck / from city center: 58 km / East / Weather: 29 °C, sunny / Camera: Nikon D500, 18-105 mm lens

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Berlin Day Hike: Marvels Of The Forest

Today we walked around Herrensee near Strausberg and discovered lots of small wonders in the freshly nourished underbrush after the strong rain last night.

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Berlin Day Hike: Cloudy Hike Along Maxsee

Between Buckow and Fürstenwalde/Spree you find the small village of Hoppegarten (not to confuse with Hoppegarten next to Berlin). From there you can take a beautiful walk around the lakes.

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Location: Hoppegarten/Mark, Am Maxsee,  South-Eastern shore, short detour to the marshlands on the most southern point – go back on the North-Western shore / Distance: 13 km / Public Transport: Berlin – Strausberg by S-Bahn, by bus direction Hoppegarten (you need to call the bus), 1:30h / from city center: 25 km / East / Weather: 21 °C, cloudy / Camera: Nikon D500, 18-105 mm lens
Other trails nearby