Berlin and Dresden

German museums astonish me. There is a level of thoroughness, thoughtfulness and subtly rarely seen elsewhere. They never avoid complexity but embrace it and carefully prise apart the strands to illuminate difficult issues. In Berlin on Friday at the German Historical museum on Unter den Linden, I saw the Death of Diversity, the first (and perhaps the most important)  of a multitude of exhibitions and events between now and November to commemorate the rise of National Socialism. A combination of images, objects, artefacts  screens and audio it plunged me into the abyss of the Nazi rise to power, showing some of those qualities I have mentioned above put to sinister use. That Germans are through and correct to a fault and the level of documentation on show here over the smallest consideration is extraordinary. Using the personal and the particular to illustrate specific events it had both force and poignancy. It was three hours, which for someone as impatient as me is unheard of, to emerge.

From Unter den Linden I walked to Kreuzberg to the the main Berlin print shop.After  a couple of hours looking around and talking to those who worked there  I was ready at least in mind if not otherwise to move to Germany. An extraordinarily large, well equipped set  of studios with every possible facility, staffed by helpful, knowledgeable,engaging artists and technicians. Not fancy or new but all in excellent, considered order. The studio is supported by the city and the basic daily rate is 8 euros.

On to Dresden and settling into my new apartment which apart from being sandwiched between the railway line and a large green factory chimney is ideal. Comfortable, warm and spacious with wi fi that puts my BT line to shame. It is  two minutes from the Elbe path from which I can walk in 15 minutes along the river and across the bridge to the centre of the old city. This morning I headed to the German Military museum with its new Daniel Liebeskind (he of the Jewish museum in Berlin etc.)  addition. Another astonishing museum and one which I will have to return to more than once.The special exhibit was on the Battle of Stalingrad and again no stone was left unturned to consider ever part, implication and aspect of this appalling battle which is seen by the Germans as the turning  point of World War II. Besides this there are four floors of thematically considered exhibits which proved more than I could deal with in detail on one day. The top floor offers a spectacular view of the city from Liebeskind’s ‘intersection ‘ or wedge as they call it here.
This afternoon a brisk walk along the riverbank into town. Germany eschews Sunday trading and apart from cafes, churches and museums all else is resolutely closed.


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