It may seem a little 'Goth,' but we spent a little time in Berlin's cemeteries. There was a reason, of course-Berlin is the home of Bertolt Brecht.
Who had what seemed an appropriate grave-
But it was the graveyard that had been partially uprooted for the split between East and West Germany where, between the amusing one upmanship between secret and super secret or really secret or whatever advisers to royalty (my host has tried to explain the difficulty in translation, but it is not nearly as amusing as the grave stones that differentiate between secret and really secret advisers), came probably one of the more sobering things.
All throughout Berlin you can see the odd unrestored building riddled with bullet holes. I've spent my life where no war has scarred the landscape, war is an abstract to me. But what really hit me was walking through the graveyard.
Many of the tombstones were damaged and covered with bullet holes. Of course, I cannot imagine war, nor do I have much of a desire to. But that-this was the last gasp of the war for Germany, a street by street fight with a Soviet army that wasn't going to go easy. How horrifying, how morbid, to have this last stand among the graves. Some of the tombstones taught the military service of the person buried there or their children.
Afterward I became more aware of the stories of the bullet pock marks-imagining the sniper that must have held up on Museum Island that attracted the small group of bullet holes.
What made it worse was the graveyard had to be partially uprooted for the Berlin Wall to be made, a section of which was still up.
Actually, a great deal of it was still up, now used simply as the cemetery wall.
Which is I guess where all those authentic pieces bought by tourists are supposed to be coming from...