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  • Writer's pictureAllon

005~ Seeing the other side for the first time, from their side

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

Once again, down the stairs, on a train, off the train, through a tunnel, up and down all those Schindler's Lists... (one of which is now captured in my pocket camera). At some point, we disembark and ascend from the underground. I am still holding onto the lingering memory of the photograph I took and of a young kid whom I decided I just had to take a selfie with. God only knows why I clung to this kid; it was as if I was seeking a normal interaction with another survivor. Thanks, kid, for your cooperation. It was fun to show you how the camera works. :D



Random kid in U-Bahn


We walked out to the Zoo Station and as my brother reached the top of the stairs, I saw the massive blown-up roof top, behind him. The rooftop is missing, almost blending with the sky, which really made it look like a set in some Game Of Thrones set.

I could almost hear the explosion and see the fire and ricochet hitting all over. I called Paul to turn around, and got them both in a single shot.


Saint Paul and the Devastated Kaiser Wilhelm Church in the back


Walking around, I began to deeply fathom, for the first time, the scale of destruction that had been inflicted on this area, and it was staggering—it seemed to be everywhere. Holes in walls became apparent, and I started to notice that many rooftops were relatively new compared to the buildings they were atop. It was easy to imagine the immense amount of bombardment that had taken place. I had seen countless aerial clips showing the destruction from above, but being on the ground allowed me to truly feel the horror that this nation had brought upon itself.


With the Allied forces gradually closing in on the city, fueled by their rage, strength, and expertise, they were now unleashing their firepower on the eye of the storm that had engulfed Europe and beyond. It was an unparalleled display of massive firepower, unlike anything I had ever witnessed before, and I thought I had seen it all.


Of course, I am well aware of the evil ideology that originated from here, the propagation of hate targeting various groups, primarily the Jewish community. It is a painful reminder of how ugly and brutal war can become. I understand it, and to be clear, I am not passing judgment. I'm simply acknowledging that, for the first time in my life at the age of 38, I felt empathy for Germany and started to wonder about the other victims of the war, beyond the Jews. I pondered the larger scale of destruction and the bigger picture. For instance, what was the total number of casualties in World War II?


The rough estimation of 76 million people in total shocked me. I mean, I knew about the six million Jewish victims, and perhaps another five million civilians. Then there were the large numbers of soldiers—maybe 20 million, 30 million, or even 40 million? Some sources suggest 65 million, while others go as high as 85 million. Regardless, from that perspective, I began to look down and see things more holistically, feeling the need to put the Jewish tragedy in proportion and context. It was important for me to see the full equation and acknowledge the incidents from the other side.


Here's the corrected version of the text:


One such incident that struck me was a short restoration video clip of Berlin, where women were seen lining up across the rubble, each holding a bucket. Up and down they swung those buckets, with no talking or laughter, just a momentary pause before returning to the line with their buckets, each in their own silent reflection.


I felt I had to sit down for a moment. Even then, as I lifted my eyes from the coffee table, I encountered another historic remnant—a partially inhabitable, torn building.

The remnants of the long-ago destruction were everywhere, lurking, haunting.

This was a powerful experience for me... No jokes...

This called for a broader scope of understanding!


resurrected ruins, from my coffee table


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