Sunday, August 30, 2009

Berlin: Topography of Terror

Because some things should not be forgotten ...

Shattered windows and displays at Jewish shops in Berlin in the morning after the pogrom (Reichskristallnacht), November 10, 1938.
Arrest and public humilation of Jews in Baden-Baden, November 10, 1938. On November 10, the SS and police arrested around 80 Jewish men of Baden-Baden and took them to the local district police station. The "protective detainees" then had to walk under SS and police escort to the local synagogue, where they were forced to read Hitler's Mein Kempf out loud. The synagogue was set on fire and the detainees deported to Dachau concentration camp. The photo shows the victims arriving at the synagogue through a gauntlet of spectators.

Jews arrested during a raid at an "assembly camp" set up in the suburb of Drancy, Paris, August 1941. In the foreground is a French police guard. After the 11th arondissement in Paris was "combed," 4,000 Jews were interned in Drancy until deportation. A majority of the Jews arrested in France, at least 75,670 people, were deported from this camp, which was run by the French police, to the extermination camps "in the East." Only 2,570 survived. This photo was taken by a war reporter belonging to Wehrmacht propaganda company.
After the arrival of a deportation transport carrying Hungarian Jews, the victims are prepared for "selection" at the ramp of the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau by SS men. (Late May/early June 1944). The inmates from the train came from the Hungarian region of Carpatho-Ruthenia, most of them from the ghetto of Berehevo (Beregszasz). Women and children (left) and men (right) were assessed for their ability to work. Those deemed unable to work were murdered. The Wehrmacht occupied Hungary, which was still allied with Germany, on March 19, 1944. Between then and July 9, 1944, more than 437,000 Hungarian Jews were deported. The Holocaust claimed at least 550,000 lives in Hungary. The photo is from an SS photo documentation known as the "Auschwitz Album."

Latvian Jewish women and children are shot by Einsatzkommando (special mobile unit), December 15-17, 1941. This mass killing claimed 2,754 lives and took place on the dunes of the Baltic.

Exploitation of Jewish property: bidders and spectators probably at an auction of household goods and linens that deported Jews had to leave behind; Hanau, updated (1942). The photographer was the head of Hanau City Picture Archive.

Third deportation of Jews from Main franken: deportation victims during the march from the Gestapo assembly point to Aumuhle Station, Wurzburg, April 25, 1942. Gestapo and SS guards, in the background, bystanding spectators. On April 25, 1942, 852 men, women, and children from Wurzburg and various surrounding rural districts were transported to Krasnystaw in the Generalgouvernment in Poland. They were marched to Krasniczyn. Those who had survived up to then were probably marched to Sobibor extermination camp on June 6, 1942. The photograph was taken by a photographer from the Wurzburg Gestapo office.
Jewish deportation victims embarking on a German Railroad convoy train at Bielefeld Station, December 13, 1941. The passengers on this convoy who came from districts of Munster and Osnabruck and from Bielefeld and the vicinity, were deported to Riga Ghetto. The photo came from a Bielefeld war chronicle, made by the Bielefeld City Authority.

Deportation of Jews in Gailingen on Lake Constance, October 22, 1940. Deportation victims get into an Order Police truck. Foreground: Officers from the Order Police involved in the operation; background: neighbors looking on. 178 Jewish men and women from Gailingen, the biggest Jewish rural community in Baden, were deported to Gurs camp in the south of France.
Workers form the Corrugated Aluminum Works in Singen on a carnival float decorated as a dragon, Singen, 1939. The "Jewish" costume accessories include long, hooked cardboard noses. The figures of the dragon swallowing Jews is a variation of the Nazipropoganda's stereotype depiction of destruction of the "Jewish threat."
The carnival float with the slogan The last Lebanese Tyroleans are getting out makes the forced expulsion of Jews into a carnival topic by presenting pupils and teachers from the Ekkehard School in Singen dressed up as "Jews"; Singen, 1938. The "Jewish" costume accessories include long, hooked card board noses.
Jewish residents of Oldenburg taken into "protective custody" are led by SA men through the city streets to the prison; November 10, 1938.

I will not forget.

All of these pictures are photographs of photographs that are on display at Topography of Terror in Berlin. This exhibition is available free to the public.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I Missed Something Free???

My ancient of days Camaro could have earned us a free one of these yesterday:

And I missed it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"He was precisely overwhelmed by the revelation that what makes life worth living is, precisely, the emotions." - Sheldon Vanauken in A Severe Mercy

Monday, August 24, 2009

Edinburgh Festival Reviews

Short. Sweet. And to the point:

Return of Ulysses: Five stars for being fabulously innovative and entertaining. I had never been to a ballet that played tunes of a Doris Day era.

Mikado: Five stars for comedic-timing, amazingly strong vocals, and a talent for captivating the audience. Well done St. Andrews!

West is Best?

I usually hate when tourists take pictures in inappropriate places (like prisons!) -- and taking smiley pictures in front of the Berlin Wall is not quite fitting -- but I did it anyway.

It's such a piece of history.

Most of the remaining portions of the Berlin Wall are painted: well-done professional paintings, scribbles, scratches, spray-painted. It's all there, and most etchings communicate something significant.

Ever wanted a GDR stamp in your passport? They're still available in some tourist shops. Crazy!

Typical Subway Station in Berlin: Practically Empty.

When we first entered the subway in Berlin, we were wondering if the station was actually closed .... it was that desolate.

Berlin is majorly underpopulated and you can see the effects everywhere.

View from my parent's hotel window -- note the empty buildings.

When people fled, they fled. And have yet to return.

But some are making the best of it .....

Hence the former Communist blocs that have been painted cheerful colors.

Yet it's still typical to walk past buildings like this.

However - there are bright spots!

Leisure Sunday Brunch in East Berlin = Best Idea Ever

If you're ever going to Berlin, do it over a weekend and make brunch a priority. If you like food, I cannot rave enough about the huge and varied German buffets .... yum!

Friedrichshain Neighborhood: Heart of the East

Berlin is an endlessly fascinating city -- albeit not the prettiest European destination. There's so much recent history to digest that a weekend is not enough to see and do everything.

One other fascinating thing about Berlin: We did not hear Americans anywhere.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Did You Know?

When the government opens its public facilities for expressive activity, it may not enforce a content-based exclusion unless it can demonstrate that the regulation "is necessary to serve a compelling state interest and that it is narrowly drawn to achieve that end.” Perry Educ. Ass’n v. Perry Local Educators’ Ass’n, 460 U.S. 37, 45 (1983).

Thus, a public school cannot let the Lyons Club use their facilities on the weekend without also allowing a religious group (if the group applies like anyone else) use their facilities on the weekend. It's all or none folks!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"After our older son declared his desire to be a veterinarian, the seven-year-old said, 'I want to be a Chinese man.'" -

Fav Berlin Photo

Counter-culture still rules in East Berlin. Haircuts, hair color, clothing, piercings, home furnishings. All of it is so distinguishable from other "sophisticated" and "cultured" parts of Western Europe. The populace of East Berlin fought oppression, overcame, and still hang on to many of their former sentiments and forms of expression. Thus, it's not surprising that spray painted facades cover the area -- especially Friedrichshain. Walking along Simon-Dach-Strafsse I saw the above and had to snap a photo of it.

The story behind the painting fascinates me -- even though I know nothing of its' origin. Yet, curiosity still pierces me. Who painted this? Are they remembering the past? Addressing some Neo faction in the area? What prompted the artist to spray paint the above in 2009 when Nazis haven't terrorized humanity and ruled Germany in over 60 years?

Perhaps the painting is a prompt to the rest of the world that formerly oppressed segments of the German populace won't let it happen again. Who knows ....... nonetheless, it's fascinating.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

About to ....

I'm about to meet my friend Katie for tea. I wish we could enjoy some of these:

What can I say -- I found an addiction in Paris!

* The above is a real-life macaroon I indulged in from the Grand Epicurie at Le Bon Marche.
I want to live somewhere one day where I can take classes like this: Compleat Scholar Offerings. So interesting!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Once in a Lifetime Find. Once in a Lifetime Moment.

Mom and I made a fantastic find last week: Chocolate Abyss. Who has ever heard of chocolate tea? Consider yourself lucky for this introduction because it is yummy! And Eteaket ships internationally.

A closer runner up to Chocolate Abyss is ......

Laduree's Caramel Tea.

Oh my goodness! It's yummy!

Mom and I had such a special afternoon at Laduree in Paris.

Caramel tea and a selection of macaroons: raspberry, vanilla, lemon, and chocolate.


Here's a close-up. I was trying my best to be calm, cool, and relaxed ....

but nonetheless.....

We were at Laduree on the Rue Bonaparte. Does it get any more amazing than that???

So I snapped a few pictures. Sssshhhh. Don't tell!

Here's a candid of the fancy interiors. It's lux in every possible way.

Once in a Lifetime Moment: Splitting Macaroons in Laduree with your Mom! I will always cherish this memory!

Creative Commons License
This work by Ashli Sutton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at