My musings on life in Berlin, mostly in pictures. And a few words.
There is an important fact I learned about Germany only after moving to Berlin — and I’m writing about it because it is something we can all learn from. It’s about the importance of reconciling with your past.
All over Germany, you’ll find little 4 by 4 inch brass tiles cemented into the sidewalks (“Stolperstein” in German, which literally translates to “stumbling stone”). On each tile is inscribed a name, date of birth, date of death (if known) and the place of death — the names and dates of ordinary people who perished at the hands of the Nazis.
There is nothing grandiose about these tiles. You’ll find them as you’re walking along the street, going about on your daily life. But once in a while, you’ll stop at one of these tiles and pause and reflect.
Yes, the Holocaust was one of the most heinous crimes committed in history. But what is also important to learn about is Germany’s effort to reconcile with the past. This lesson is worthwhile for other countries who have committed similar transgressions; slavery in the United States or the Armenian genocide, for example. It is also a worthwhile reminder for us, as ordinary human beings, to reconcile with our own pasts.