Friday, May 11, 2012

Today I had my first taste touring Europe in what felt like one of the dog days of summer. Hans, our tour guide, met us at the great steps of the Glyptothek around 10am and the sun was already firing up. Although I had already toured the museum and admired its sculptures earlier in the week, I was not introduced to the history of the building itself. The building had been destroyed during the bombings of WW2, a fact that became all the more devastating later in the tour. The area around the Glyptothek was home to many official Nazi buildings built in an architecture style called "Neue Sachlichkeit" or, New Objectivity, which utilized reinventions of Grecian architecture. Hans pointed out characteristics of Nazi versus traditional Grecian or Bavarian buildings and enlightened us on remnants of Nazi Germany in the city's architecture. Eagles, "aryan" faces and old banner holders minus the swastikas and propaganda were revealed to us. Unfortunately, none of the Nazi buildings around the Glyptothek area were destroyed in the bombings, which is truly a unfortunate consequence of war. 

                                  The head of Augustus inside the museum.

A now transformed nazi building in the style of Neue Sachlichkeit.
Note the "greek" columns.
An official building turned bier garten.


We concluded our tour at the JYM headquarters and met up with Professor Guy Stern, a member of The Ritchie Boys and a pioneer in the field of holocaust studies. Stern was a modest and humble man considering all that he has accomplished. I enjoyed listening to his lecture on his time with US military intelligence and his start in writing and understanding literature. His smile and humor, even when reflecting on the horrors of war, gave me hope for my own future. His lecture gave me the strength to make the venture back through the concrete desert, to the apartment to partake in a well needed group nap. Although my feet grow weary, I can honestly say today was a day well spent.

                               Enjoying a well needed meal with Professor Stern.
                      A personal indoor lecture was a fantastic way to beat the heat.

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