The famous words of President Reagan, spoken in front of the Brandenburg Gate touches me in many ways as I visit this city.
The cycle of historical events keeps forcing itself to my brain making me reflect on what I see and what the meaning is of this place where I’m standing right now. Guess a ‘simple’ weekend in Berlin is not in it for me.
When we walk out the door of our cheerful hotel ‘Nhow’ we are almost immediately confronted with the Berlin wall. A beautiful art object where artists have placed respectful expressions, all focused on freedom and the wish that humanity rises above itself and does not make the same mistakes again.
I am constantly reminded of a journey I made through Israel and Palestine. Apart from the wall, I was confronted again and again with another part of German history, the Holocaust. Also during our trip to Berlin you can not ignore the grim past.
Germany still looks like it’s mourning and the many memorial monuments resemble a persistent apology when in my opinion no one is blaming them. But I understand it.
Germany, in my view, has developed a tremendous freedom culture because they have learned from the past and because freedom is so incredibly important to them, that is evident from the many urbancultures that can be found here and the great title ‘Vegan Capital of Europe’. ..
Out of respect we did visit the holocaust monument with the holocaust museum which is free for everyone. I always have to cry in these places and, to my great regret, I always have to conclude in these places that we have not learned from our past and that we only pour the pain into another vessel each time.
The holocaust museum is a small museum with a series of photos and camera footage of the occupation, Auschwitz, Jewish families before the war, in the ghetto and prints of old documents about gas chambers, slaughtering’s, mass graves and medical tests carried out on Jews. I can not help being constantly reminded of more recent footage.
Because I only want to focus on the people I see here in the photos and pay them my respect, I try to force my very awake brain to shut up.
I had the same experience during my visit to the Holocaust Museum in Israel. A much larger complex with several monuments, museums and beautiful trees. The images I had to see there made me really understand the horror of the 2nd World War. Nothing during history lessons at school allowed me to see and feel what I saw here.
People are capable of making monster moves and instead of reinventing ourselves over and over, history seems to be repeating itself, it’s just about who has the power, the guns, who has the most developed brain, thumbs even …
After seeing old, grim footage of our Jewish fellow man behind bars, dirty, sick, pain in their eyes, piled up outside the gas chambers and treated inhumanly.. an hour later i had to drive through a 1.5 meter thick concrete wall with barbed wire in to Palestinian territory. … a wall which had beautiful art on it as well.
Did I seriously just witness with my own eyes what I saw an hour ago on images from almost 70 years ago? the comparison was striking. I could not do anything but be silent for the rest of that day.
My trip to Palestine was in 2014 and I did not know what I know now.
During my visit to the holocaust museum in Berlin I was again confronted with saddening images of our Jewish fellow man. Images I see on social media every day, but with animals!
This comparison will probably awaken resistance in some of my readers but is it not the case that pigs, cows, sheep, chickens and even cats, dogs, horses are only locked up because they are in fact a pig, cow, sheep, chicken, dog, cat or horse? And that they have no right to a ‘humane’ existence, are killed, gassed, piled up, separated from their children and used for medical tests? Can someone explain me the difference? I am very open to that discussion.
What exactly did we learn except that we do not do it to our own kind anymore? I answered that question myself quickly when the memory of Palestine imposes itself on me and more recently, the images of Syrian refugees behind barbed wire for the Eastern European borders.
When I travel I always try to gain meaningful experiences and my experience in Israel and Palestine was 1 that came back during my visit to Berlin. And every time I develop, I learn new facts about the world and about myself. But I also end up in a new phase every time. My search for religion brought me to beautiful Israel and Palestine, my search for veganism brought me to Berlin.
It is nice that both quests gave me the same answer in the end .. mankind still has so much to learn and why are we doing all this harm to ourselves and other inhabitants of the earth?
To end this blog cheerful I have to say that Berlin made me happy. It felt so good to see the changes we are making and that despite of our human inabilities and learning proces we are actually trying so hard to rise above ourselves. Germany, and especially Berlin is at the forefront of the Vegan revolution and was at the forefront of opening up to refugees.
There is a balance between the gray atmosphere that I felt at the wall and at the monument and the euphoria when I came to places where everyone can be who he is and where we all live and eat delicious sufferfree food together.
Kennedy once said ‘ Ich bin ein Berliner’ and looking at the transition this city has made.. I hope that one day we all are.
2 restaurants in Berlin have really stolen my heart. Mivadu on Rosenthaler Strasse and Kopps on Linienstrasse.
At Mivadu everything can be veganised and you can enjoy delicious crunchy Vietnamese snacks and the tastiest tofu under your flying noodles.
At Kopps you will find fine dining without having to wonder if you want to eat it, you want it all! The most beautiful moment for me was seeing the bread baskets with egg salad. They looked like they are meant to put on the table and share but everyone, myself included ordered it as a starter and so you end up with entire parties with bread baskets in front of their nose. No sharing!
The egg salad is fantastic .. a taste that you have learned to love and which in the first 30 years of my life was one of my favorite will always taste good to me. I will never eat eggsalad again with an actual egg involved but here at Kopps or at home at Mr and Mrs Watson it will always be my first choice.
Just like in the past, when I did not understand how much grief there is behind that egg, I carelessly peeled it and mixed it up with some mayo .. Because then I could not yet look behind that wall, the wall where the grief and abuse and the inhumane treatment of animals takes place.
I broke down my wall.. who will join me ?!
Please go vegan. For the animals, for the planet and for the deserved development of mankind! We are ready!